Posted in #atozchallenge, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, Parenting, poetry, slices of life, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Sample

Cancer Consumes: #atozchallenge Day 3


Consumes Save Joy

Cancer robs us of so much

Cancer devours and consumes

Consumes the strength and body

Consumes the spark of life

Life sapped away to feed it

Life given to insane growth

Growth uncontrolled and relentless

Growth that ends in its own death

Death can be a release sometimes

Death can bring an end to pain

Pain that grows and swells and builds

Pain the tumors bring as they press

Press down all will to move and do

Press outward from the organs they destroy

Destroy the life we lived before they grew

Destroy the hope of a long life with my love

Love is a thing no cancer can digest

Love is immune to the greedy chewing cells

Cells can kill a body but never our love

Cells can end a life but never a soul

Soul is beyond the reach of disease

Soul omnipresent and immutable

Immutable as the history of our lives

Immutable as the magic of our love

Love so improbable right from the start

Love that bound us heart to heart

Heart from the east coast met

Heart from the west in the space

Space between here and there

Space that once separated now bound

Two hearts flying beyond reality

Two souls out on the stony unknown edge

Edge of the Grand Canyon where we sat

Edge of infinity faced as tumors ravaged

Ravaged body wasting into death’s release

Ravaged hopes and dreams for the future

Future erased by the conquering disease

Future ended but the past is mine to hold

Hold as he held my hand on red stone

Hold as he held me in turquoise water

Water not nearly as warm as his embrace

Water where he proposed

Proposed that we join our lives forever

Proposed that we two become one

One love one life going forth together

One score of years of sorrow and joy

Joy that we had so much love and wonder

Joy bests cancer and joy I will live



While it’s true that a swift and aggressive cancer killed my husband on January 12th, there were things it couldn’t consume.

Twenty years of marriage, plus several months, and the months of friendship and learning each other – almost twenty-one years, all told – are indelible. They gave us two living children, and one who lived only twelve days, but long enough to donate his heart valves and improve another child’s life. They wove into the fabric of everything I am, and changed me in ways that can’t be undone.

When I met “Big Jim” Burton, I was twenty-seven, and scarred in ways I didn’t even understand. On the night he died, I was forty-eight, and, though the scars will never be erased completely, I have, with his love and support, come a very long way toward healing. I’m a more loving, understanding, kind parent because of him. I’m free of toxic family-of-origin connections, because he showed me what a healthy relationship could be.

I’m a better human being, because I loved him. I’d like to think he was a better human being when he died because he loved me. For sure, our children will grow to adulthood far less scarred than their parents, and it was the nature of our love and partnership that made this possible.

And, though my Accomplice is no longer in this physical plane, he is a part of me, and our children, in every breath. In that sense, he’s still here, and will be as long as we are, and maybe beyond.

Come back to The Alphabet of Grief tomorrow, when we’ll explore Death’s Doorways.

Remember, you can read more C posts here.


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

4 thoughts on “Cancer Consumes: #atozchallenge Day 3

  1. That’s beautiful. What a beautiful sentiment. As you said, he lives on with you in your heart and through your children.

    Jayden R. Vincente
    Erotic Fiction Writer

  2. This was so lovely and sad, but lovely nonetheless.
    Cancer is terrible. It took my friend when we were 10. And my father-in-law nearly 12 years ago(13 days before our wedding). In his case, it was quick. The doctors mentioned lymphoma on Saturday, he was gone on Sunday. No idea how long it had been eating away at him before that.

    1. Oh, Fallon! To lose your friend so young! ((((So Many Hugs!!!))))

      Maybe there’s a kind of blessing in the swiftness, sometimes. Though I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it – a lingering suffering would have been so much worse.

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