Without Words

My aunt has cancer. It has metastasized and we don’t know how much longer she has to live. Last week, my mom and I went to visit her. This was the first time either of us had gotten to see her since she was diagnosed less than a year ago. It was a powerful, beautiful, wonderful, and painful experience. Most good things are.

I wrote this poem for her: 

There you are.

Well,
There you are.
Bones stripped of flesh
Like a plate of chicken wings, post Super Bowl.
You sit, infrared lamp on the tumor.

Smiling at me and eating kale

There you are.
How do I tell you:
How much I love you
How much you mean to me
How sad your imminent death makes me
How do I tell you:
How beautiful you are
How strong you are
How wondrous you are
How do I tell you these things
When I barely speak your language.

You are a small woman
With the spirit of a buffalo
And the heart of an elephant
You endure.
You remember.
You persist.
You care.

You are a force.

Not a tornado or an earthquake,
You. Are a tectonic plate.
You make the earth move
In our family, you are the earth.
You are steadily there. Always moving,
Shaping, pulling apart, drawing together.

You are a force of nature, a steady
enduring, elephantine force
You outlast. You always have

And yet here you are
Down to bones
And the cancer likes sugar
So you eat kale.

And I love you
And I miss you already
And I don’t know how to tell you that
Beyond with these few words
But words never seem like enough
They never seem like enough
And yet
They are what I have to give.

So here they are:
I love you, Aunt Patti.
And I will miss you when you are gone.
I miss you already.
And there are not enough words to say
And there never will be.

IMG_9251

If you feel touched by this or want to help my aunt out, she has a Go Fund Me support page here: https://gofund.me/deafcancerjourney

Thanks for reading! -Veronica

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