Cancer Came to Live Here

Cancer Came to Live Here

A collection of poems about the love and loss of my mom, who was beautiful and lived her life with gentle kindness. Her bravery serves as an inspiration and eternal blessing to all who knew her. 

Gwendolyn Kaye (Burrage) Vukasovich
2/4/42 – 9/14/18  


The Intruder’s Host
The uninvited arrived in early September 
and didn’t appear to have plans of departing soon.  
Like any decent guest, outward appearances seemed tidy, 
even respectable. 
But, CT scans revealed the truth 
showing unpacked belongings scattered in various places 
most consider intrusive, even downright rude.  
No, this was not an ordinary guest, 
and there was no determining how long the stay would extend,
nor if more of its kind would choose to make an appearance.

It seemed only fitting to be engaging,
even accommodating, like any good host.
But, this was only met with further belligerence,
as if graciousness was an imposition
that was nudging it, quite unwillingly,
from its cozy corner of the room.
Even in times when bread was broken, 
its contentiousness toward casseroles and homemade soups 
was nothing short of curt and critical.

And as weeks turned to months,
things grew messier and even more unkempt
with disorderly conduct nearly impossible to contain.
So, it’s fair to wonder, since those given inches mitigate them to miles,
perhaps standing ground is the better approach.
But today’s answers can never come from a yesterday question
that was never realized should even be asked.
So, maybe just putting both feet forward,
and taking steps in the right direction
is the smartest way to move toward positive outcome.

But, optimism is not always true companion,
as rose-colored glasses can easily conceal darkest shadow.
Though even when cognizant of the gloom, its familiarity
is an eery comfort, as this stranger’s presence means I’m not alone.
So it’s best to continue with the same routine,
knowing that soon 
the familiar shuffle 
will give way to no movement at all.
It’s only then that even the unwanted will realize,
 nothing lasts forever. 

And, so it goes, the time has come 
that neither host nor guest remain. 
Their parting brings the usual florals and notes
that always arrive at the onset of departure,
yet can never replace, nor repair, the gaping loss.
So now that all is said and done, 
I’ve no choice but to strike out on my own
armed only with the lines that have become mere scrawl,
“tis’ better to have had
than to never had at all.”


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