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Poet Suzanne Edison On Parenting A Chronically Ill Child

Poet Suzanne Edison
Seedison Designs

Learning that your child has a serious, chronic illness is like falling off a cliff, without knowing how — or if — your feet will ever find the ground again, says poet Suzanne Edison.

When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder, Edison coped by writing poems about her experience. Once her daughter’s condition stabilized, Edison began offering writing workshops at Seattle Children’s Hospital for parents in similar circumstances. She also interviewed them, and created a chapbook of poems about their common experiences called “What Cannot Be Swallowed.”

Today she reads two poems from that collection, “Only Serious Applicants Need Apply” and “Bearing It.”

Edison is a psychotherapist, and serves as the family support director for the Cure JM Foundation. She has led workshops and given presentations on the effects of chronic illness on families to parents and medical professionals. Her reading was recorded in the KUOW Studios on Jan. 11, 2013.