As I have mentioned many times, about a year after my son’s diagnosis with diabetes I joined the world of the Internet and found an amazing group of people in Jeff Hitchcock’s Children with Diabetes Parents online mailing list. In those days there was no Facebook or Twitter. I had no other support but this group of people that I would email with and they would reply. Over the years many of these online names have become some of my closest friends who have been there for me, been there with me, and kept me going when I wasn’t sure if I could do it.
This was (and is) a very diverse group. There were people with strong opinions, people with wide shoulders and people who were incredibly talented at putting their words to paper. Linda Kaniasty was one of those talented people who put the feelings of many parents into words. Her poem, A Mother’s Anthem has been a fixture on one of the pages of my website for years.
Recently it has been used to created a film. Sucscita Films took this poem and gave it a face for “Children with Diabetes UK.” and their national diabetes week. The poem was powerful. The video will reduce you to tears. Each time I watch it, more memories return and more tears flow.
A wonderful friend that I met thanks to the online parents list, Jen summed up our feelings best when she said “God, I’d forgotten about the bruises. She’s been pumping for so long that I’d forgotten about the bruised arms, and wondering what other parents thought of those bruises….This was harder to watch than the poem was to read years ago because its in their eyes. That thing that we keep just barely tucked away beneath the surface, so others don’t see our pain. the pain that we even fool ourselves into forgetting about, because we’re so good at being strong. But it takes something as simple as this to bring it right back up to the surface.”
I remember the bruises and thinking that people must believe I abuse him when I am actually fighting to keep him alive. I remember the fights to get him to eat because there was insulin in his system that had to be fed. I remember crying in the dark at night after my children were gone to sleep. I didn’t want them to see me but it hurt to know that no matter what I did, I would NEVER be able to “fix” this. I couldn’t “make it better”.
Thank you to Linda for this powerful poem and thank you to the people at Children with Diabetes UK for having the courage to put their pain to video and show the world what we all feel as mothers–as parents.