Power Poles and Healing

This week, we attended a ceremony where nine themed children’s IV poles that our friends and family helped to raise money for in Miles’ memory were donated to our local hospital. We partnered with a wonderful non-profit, the Fight Like Mason Foundation, which was started by two parents who lost their 4-year-old son Mason to cancer in 2016. Their foundation produces Mason’s Power Poles, custom-themed children’s IV poles featuring characters and images like superheros, watermelons, and emojis.

We didn’t really know what to expect for the ceremony- a fantastic young woman who works for the hospital foundation organized it, but we weren’t sure exactly who would be there or how it would unfold. Shortly after we arrived with several family members and friends, we were led to a small courtyard in the hospital building. When we rounded the corner, we saw a large group of people including Miles’ pediatrician, oncology nurse, and several other nurses who provided us with care during our frequent hospital stays. I hadn’t seen them since Miles finished chemo last fall, and I wasn’t prepared for the flood of emotions that hit me. These medical professionals were an integral part of Miles’ journey and story, and seeing their eyes fill with tears just like mine as they greeted us made me feel connected to him again.

The IV poles stood proudly in the courtyard- beautiful, bright, cheery, and colourful. These poles wilI remain in the pediatric rooms of the hospital. After the ceremony, the nursing staff wheeled the poles up the concrete ramp towards the pediatric ward, their excitement palpable. I stood watching them, imagining all of the kids whose eyes will light up to see them- how getting to choose a princess or a superhero pole will mean that getting an IV poke will be a little less scary, or how proud they will be to show their visitors these bright characters that they’re hooked up to. I know how much Miles would have loved them. I think he would have liked the panda bear pole the best.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about honouring Miles. Doing good things in Miles’ memory is one of the only things that brings me any measure of comfort these days. Seeing positive things arise after his death is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, I don’t want there to be anything positive about it. Losing him has been terrible and unfair and just plain shitty. But then I think about how there’s nothing we can do to change the fact that he’s gone- but putting energy towards helping other families and sick kids is something we can do.

Some days, moving forward without Miles feels like trudging through mud- messy, heavy, and really, really hard. But days like the other day at the hospital, although extremely emotional, make walking forward feel a little bit easier. The IV poles may just be colourful pieces of metal and plastic, but to me, they represent much more than that. They are a way to heal through helping, and the beginning of a lasting legacy for our sweet, sweet boy.

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