“He’s gone.” These words poured down on me like the fearless rain. A storm of denial whipped my soul. It hit me then — the bitter truth — and I just stood there. That’s all I could do. “He’s gone.” These words a millionth time I seemed to hear — and not a split moment the shock did pause, to offer my wounds a small chance to mend. “He’s gone.” From my body, my soul ripped away. Even a tear was too much to afford. And my poor ragged heart? I was too late to save. It shattered to pieces, every last bit. I felt so little, I felt so much. I felt like nothing, I felt gone.


Cancer. The word itself has a miserable tone. It’s a devious predator looking out for a bite, for someone to victimize as its vulnerable prey. My father was one — an ill-fated casualty who befell the killer’s embrace. His life had been sucked out of him by the gluttonous disease. I did not expect anything less. Life is, after all, borrowed— it comes to collect what it once gave.


Yet what are our gains, but the results of our pains? The aches we encounter bring us to joy. For how would we know pleasure, if it was not for the troubles to compare? Every rose may have its thorn, but in its midst springs the soft, stunning flower. Even in our darkest times, we can eventually find the bliss we crave if only we are patient enough to wait for the rose to bloom. And even though the petals will in time begin to fall, a new bud will blossom, holding to it dear the memory of the erstwhile.


Recognized on Poetic Power.

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