Less afraid of death

Ayla, five months old, fell asleep at my breast,
milk trickling down her chin onto me.
At 33, while nursing this new life,
inside me grew the threat of impending death–
a cancer that would wrend my body from my child

I didn’t feel less of a woman
when the chemo took my hair,
and the surgery my ovaries –
my fertility death.
Resilience grew, outpacing my tumor.
When I couldn’t give milk, my baby swallowed love.

I hope I’ll become a little less afraid of death,
that my daughters don’t sense their mother’s ultimate worry.
So they learn the strength to cope
with little deaths of all kinds:
dropping an ice cream, losing a game, saying good-bye.

After treatment, I returned to my childhood home.
Within my yellow bedroom walls I dreamed the woman I would become—
fun, strong, larger-than-life mother.
Now I conjure her amidst the nagging fear of death,
fear that saps my energy,
as blood draining from my breast.

Fear is the hardest part of surviving cancer.

In my mother’s kitchen I see pictures of my younger self.
                                                            My eyes settle on three-year old me, in pigtails, bright, brown eyes staring back.
I want to feel how she felt –unafraid.
I turn away from the fridge to give Ayla her spoon, Yael her water.
Silently shifting from child to adult,
aren’t we all just trying to become
a little less afraid of death?





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1 Response to Less afraid of death

  1. Peggy says:

    Hello beautiful you..I stumbled on your page…due to Lisa! There is so much about you..I don’t know…but I read some of your post..and this one struck me… I can honestly say, “I don’t fear death”… and yet I wonder, if I had to face the possibilty of death head on would I feel the same?” I believe I would..but one never knows till they are there. However I do know a mothers heart…and to face death when one has children…small children…heck any children…then it becomes something ‘Huge’ our mothers love and hearts…want to be there for them, every moment of every single day….’who could love them anymore then me’. I had a n ear death exsperience over 24 years ago…at the time I had a 4 month old and a almost 2 year old…what i remember most..is how much I wanted to go!!! how peaceful, how loved I felt, how excited I was to ‘go home’ and then all of a sudden I remembered I had 2 little ones…they were my world, my life..and I was a very hyper-vigilant mom…in that moment as I let the thought out…”what about my girls?” I returned to my body…but i have never forgotten how much I wanted to go! and I was blessed to have had this exspereince. I will have you in my prayers. The lord knows y our heart and the desires of your heart…hang in there beautiful you..beautiful mom! p.s I borrowed your post on lisa…I copied and pasted it into my blog…because it was so beautiful. My sister new her. I never met her, nor ever spoke with her..but she touched my life!

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