I have a guest writer this week. I asked this author if I could publish her piece of work and after balking, she demanded I double her allowance for payment and then gave me full publication rights.
I’m publishing this poem because I think it’s important to know the impact of parent illness on children. My 7 and 9 year old kids walk around and look just like other 7 and 9 year old kids, but their brains are so full of questions, wondering if I’m going to live or die or if my hair is going to fall out or if they will get to snuggle with me or if I’ll be too tired. They are distracted. They are sad. They are unbelievably angry. They don’t even really know why.
My daughter happens to be unbelievably articulate and mature about describing how she feels. She has stated that only her friends at Camp Kesem, an overnight camp for kids who have parents or caregivers with cancer, know how she feels. She walks around all day feeling a little alone, even though she is surrounded by the people she loves and who ferociously love her back.
I know how that feels too, but I’m 38.
There is so much beauty in her poetry and while I’ve spent hours deconstructing it and analyzing just how perfect it is, I’ll go ahead and let you do that for yourself.
I Am From
by Zoey Van Duyn
I know, right?
She’s incredible. Every detail of this poem makes my skin tingle. If anyone is interested in talking for hours about how insanely talented my gorgeous daughter is, I’m game. I’m so immensely proud of her emotional maturity and ability to express herself so clearly. And I am deeply sad that she has to explore these feelings at her age. It’s like a sucker punch to the gut. If it’s a legacy I want, I feel confident that she is it.