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Different People With a Common Pain.

Over the weekend, in the ridiculous downpour, I headed up to Clara Barton Camp to hear Dar Williams sing.  Dar is on a summer camp tour, and she ended her stint by singing to a group of girls whose pancreases (pancrei) have gone on hiatus.

Dar doesn't have diabetes.  And when I spoke with her after she performed, she told me that she was moved by the campers at Clara Barton, getting to know what type 1 diabetes is all about.  "They have an energy that's just unparalleled." 

Kerri Sparling, Dar Williams, and a painting of the pond that supposedly has two snapping turtles in it.
Snapping pics with the lovely Dar Williams
(and thanks to Julia R. for offering to camera-wrangle!)

I'm not that familiar with Dar's music (though she has a lovely voice), but she was engaging and sweet and her talent is obvious.  She played a few songs in that old CBC barn, and had everyone laughing and singing, and when she asked for requests, a group of CBC staffers raised their voices together from the back:

"Family!  Family!!"

Dar smiled (after cupping her hand to her ear and saying, "Emily?  What?  Ooh, FAMILY!"), and the room quieted down as she began to strum her guitar.

I've never heard the song before.  Dar told us that it was written by a friend, about another friend who had passed away, and the lyrics spoke to that collective mourning and healing.  She sang alone for a beat or two, but the campers and staffers joined in after a moment. 

"You are my family,
You are my family.
We stood outside in the summer rain,
Different people with a common pain."

The rain was still falling outside, on a humid August day.  Hearing her sing those lines grabbed me, even though I knew they were intended for a different cause, but they applied to the room.  A room full of pump wires and insulin pens and glucose meters.  Some girls were smiling.  Others were hugging the person sitting next to them, crying openly and without any fear whatsoever. 

Different people with a common pain.

Clara Barton Camp is home for so many, even those of us who barely visit anymore.  It's the place where I first saw a community of people with diabetes.  It's the first place I felt like needles were no big deal.  It's the only place I'd ever felt "normal," until the online community began its journey. 

Even though I barely knew a soul in that room, they are my family.  That's how it works.  And that's an incredible thing.


What a beautiful moment! And there go my watery eyes. Kadunk.

You need a category for "Posts That Will Make You Cry, So Don't Read This At Work". :)

I used to be really into Dar Williams when I was in college. "Family" was always one of my favorite songs. What a beautiful message!

Awesome post.

That is how it works isn't it? I felt the same incredible-ness at the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women conference when we all sang and danced to Superwoman by Alicia Keys. It's an automatic bond that nothing can compare to :)

I LOVE Dar Williams & GREAT POST.

How wonderful that you and the Clara Barton kids got to see Dar!

Dar did a concert at my little college some years ago. It was a great evening, and "Family" was very moving then, too.

Fast forward a couple years. The person sitting in the cubicle next to me was also named "Dar Williams," but he was a conservative, gun-club dude. (About the opposite of the other Dar, really.) On those occasions when he annoyed me, I would play something by "that angry lesbian singer." Good times.

This sounds like one of those moments where you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I'm happy you had that experience.

What a wonderful thing. G is at diabetes camp for her 2nd year this year and she already reunited with old friends from last year and she's just barely 9! It was heartwarming and heartwrenching all at the same time. I hope she gets this from camp, that she has another family who loves her, who is there for her and feels her feelings. Thank you Kerri for putting into words what I hope my gal gets from her camp too.
Oh and Dar Williams - she rocks - if you have a chance, listen to 'The Christians and the Pagans' - you will get a laugh and my personal favorite 'The Babysitter's Here.'

Family makes me cry every time I hear it. I wish I could have come to camp for the weekend, it means so much to me and yet I have little time to go now. CBC is still a second home to me and I miss it and all the great people there. Great post Kerri.

Dar's lyrics are wonderful. I've seen her twice, and have a picture with her as well. :) I second the suggestions of "The Christians and the Pagans" and "The Babysitter's Here" which never fails to make me cry. But "What Do You Love More Than Love" is my song for my youngest daughter. :)

Every time I hear "Leaving on a et Plane" I think of Regina, her guitar and closing campfire. sorry about the lost letter/ I need a new keyboard today

That is cool, I will buy that song, seems to fit. It seems to walk me through the night and that camp, I can hear the singing and hear the rain. Thanks for taking me on that journey with your story telling.

Awesome post Kerri! Camp is most definitely family!

Beautiful post! Wow! How I would love to have attended the Clara Barton camp when I was a teen. After my diagnosis at age 16, back in the "dark ages" of Type I, with no blood glucose meters and primitive insulins, I felt very alone. I guess the Clara Barton camp was around in the 1970's, but I didn't know about it. I'm glad such a place exists, and I wish I could have attended it during the days when I was left to adjust to life with Type I, all by myself. Dar sounds like a wonderful person, too!

The woods behind you and Dar at Clara Barton look far more cartoony than I remembered.....

I went to school with Dar! We were really good friends from fifth grade through high school, sang together in choir...She's so talented and a truly great person. Wish I'd known you were going to meet her...I'd have asked you to say hi. :)

Whoa! How awesome. Love Dar Williams. Great post, Kerri.

I am so happy I read this today. My daughter is at Clara Barton for the first time these past 2 weeks and must have been with you and Dar!
She comes home today (can't wait!) and I will show her your post.
By the way, we picked CBC because of what we have read on your blog. Your moms post from years ago is how we made the final decision to try it out.
Thanks to you both!!!

I love Dar so much.

I can't listen to "The Babysitter's Here" without sobbing uncontrollably. But in a good way.

I love this website, but my thoughts are elsewhere. I printrd your blog about "Diabetes: Terms of Endearment". I have 2 to add:
VAMPIRE:When you're doing a fingerstick, and a person's into goth, calls it "that vampire blood sucking thing"
Zombie: when your BG is severly low (20 mg/dl)and all you can think about is your glucagon pen prep;amazed that you are still conscious.

OMG!!!! I was there that day at CBC!! Session 3, rainbow ridge. I so remember that concert!!!! Thanks so much for reminding me! But I wish i had seen you. :)

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