I’ve been rationing.
I only allow myself one story a day from Kerri’s new book, because I want to rediscover her writing little by little. I skipped over the contents page, so I would to be surprised when I worked out which stories from her Six Until Me blog made it into this new collection.
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Kerri tells this tale beautifully, and exactly as it happened. I know, because I was there. The general gist is that on one her visits to Australia, Kerri and I were sitting outside in the Melbourne sunshine enjoying a coffee. At the next table was a woman and her daughter. When she heard us talking about diabetes, she looked up and joined our conversation, hungry to hear about our diabetes lives, and sharing with us that her daughter had been recently diagnosed. It was only a short chat, but as is often the case with diabetes in the wild stories, it has stayed with me, and I thought about the woman and her daughter each time I walked by that cafe.
Reading the story again in Kerri’s new book, I remembered that day – the perfect blue sky, the frothy tops of our coffees, the way that we were talking a million words a minute as we tend to do when we are together. And I also remembered how five years later I had another chance encounter with the woman from the cafe. ‘You were both so lovely & made me feel so much better,’ she said. ‘I was so glad for your openness and the hope it gave me! I always wanted to tell you that.’
Kerri’s stories are full of the humanity of diabetes. It’s one of the reasons her blog was so popular for the 14 years she wrote it, and why her occasional posts now are so welcome and gratefully received by people in our diabetes community. Her writing is real and generous, and rereading each post is testament to why storytelling is just so damn powerful when it comes to healthcare. I may live on the opposite side of the world to Kerri, exist in an upside down time zone and have to navigate a completely different healthcare system, but there is a familiarity to every single word she writes.
If you’ve never read Kerri’s writing before, this book is the a great place to start. And if you have, the book is a brilliant collection to have on your bookshelf, to pull down every now and then, open at any random page and envelope yourself in her magical storytelling.
And so, Kerri: Congratulations on this book, my darling friend. I remember you once wrote about the friends that live inside your computer. I’m delighted that now, I have you living inside this book and on my rainbow bookshelf. You’ll be alongside the blue spine-d books of Helen Garner, David Sedaris and Jhumper Lahiri – some of my favourite writers. Which is exactly where you belong.