Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Banting House Museum

This summer is flying by right before my very eyes and I feel like if I blink just one more will be over..............and school will be starting again. I want to savor every moment I have with Emma. I love having her home all day with me. Every once and a while the thought of how much I will miss her again once school starts will creep into my head and make the tears and sadness threaten my eyes. So, I shove those thoughts away and we spend our days together laughing and hanging out.
There's a D-related summer trip that I want to share with you actually. Last week Emma and I visited the Banting House Museum in London, Ontario. It's only a little more than an hour away from where we live...and I have wanted to go for years...but for whatever reason, we had never made it. I talked about it with Emma ahead of time and she kind of shrugged it off as the "insulin museum"...not really expecting much out of it, but still willing to go anyway (the girl loves a good road trip!) We parked the car and walked up to the house seeing the "Flame of Hope", a time capsule, and a statue of Sir Banting himself along the way. As I stood there taking pictures of Emma next to all of these beautiful monuments, I could feel my heart hurting. There we were standing just outside of this house...the house that the man who discovered insulin lived in...the man responsible for the thing that has kept my child alive for the past 4 years....the man who has made it possible for me to look at in her beautiful eyes, hear the sweet sound of her laughter, hold her in my arms, and kiss her little face. How epic a feeling it was. Overwhelming gratitude taking over my entire body.
We walked around to the front door and I couldn't help thinking to myself, I wonder how many people have walked through these doors? How many lives affected by diabetes have come to these porch steps? How many have felt exactly what I am feeling right now? It was a very surreal experience.
We walked through Sir Banting's house, took in absolutely everything around us, and soaked in the moment. Emma spent her time reading all of the information hanging up on the walls, looking at the old furniture, desks, medical equipment, and learning about this man....this person who she has heard about for many years now...this person that essentially saved her life. I stood there in awe. I was torn between watching her and taking in her trying to see everything myself. We walked around from room to room and saw pictures of him, pictures of when the Queen herself came to visit and light the Flame of Hope...the flame that will not be extinguished until a cure is found. We saw pictures of his medals and awards, his paintings, wood carvings, drawings. We read about his accomplishments and marveled at the fact that not only was he a very innovative, curious, and intelligent man....but he was also creative and full of pride and honour. He was a teacher, a doctor, an artist, an innovator, a son, a husband, a father...he was an amazing man.
We made our way upstairs and walked down the hallway to his bedroom. We sat on Sir Banting's actual bed and looked around at the decorations...there were flowers on the wallpaper and flowers on the floor. The room was small and yet cozy. I sat there with my arm around my daughter as one of the women who works at the house took our picture. It hit me all at once. The magnitude of where we were and what it meant to us and so many people around the world. We were sitting on his bed...Banting's bed. The same bed that he tossed and turned in until the wee hours of the morning of Halloween 1920. He had a lot on his mind...a lecture that he had just attended, the fact that he was financially distraught, he didn't know what he would do. So many of us have laid awake at night doing the same thing....stressing out over life's problems and wondering how in the world we will make it through. Then it occured to him...insulin. He grabbed his "idea book"...wrote down 25 words....and as they say, the rest is history.
There are no words available to describe the deep impact that moment had on me. You may think I am silly or strange for thinking this...but I swear that you can feel a presence in that that house. You can feel his spirit it Banting himself...or simply the spirit of what he accomplished in his that house. It was a powerful feeling...a powerful moment. I have never felt that amount of immense gratitude before in my life for someone that I have never met...never laid eyes on...never spoken to. I have more love for that man than I can even explain. Because of him...because of that moment at 2am....because of his curiosity...his intelligence...his strength and heart is whole. How do you thank someone for giving you that? How do you even begin to express what that means to you? I sat there wondering what the Mom's and Dad's of some of his first patients said to him. I wondered if they just hugged him...cried tears of gratitude...for saving their children. I wondered how he reacted...what his response was...if he was humble. I believe he was in fact humble...from all that I have read about him, I can see him reacting that way.
It was a beautiful day...a beautiful visit...a beautiful moment that I will carry with me in my heart for the rest of my life. On the day a cure is found, I will think back to that day...sitting on his bed...and I will know that we made it....we made it and we struggled and fought and won.....we won because we were granted the opportunity to even begin the fight because of this man.

As we walked out the door and headed to the car to drive home, Emma turned to me and said, "Can we come back again please Mommy? I love it here! It makes me feel like I belong and I wish I could live here." I spent the car ride home driving...hiding my tears behind my sunglasses and listening to my daughter chatter and play with her toys in the back seat...enjoying the sound...and relishing in the feel of the tears upon my cheeks. Gratitude.


  1. This is such a beautiful post and I can't stop crying either! I am so happy you were able to experience this....wish we lived closer to visit as well. I can imagine the emotions you felt as you visited his home. The image of the Flame of Hope really gets to me. I can't wait until that flame can be extinguished. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a beautiful post! I cried as I read this, and even though I've never been there, I feel,like you did an amazing job of capturing the spirit of the place. Thank you