Thursday, 2 November 2017


Skin translucent
almost transparent,
I see inside her.   

Cachexic, body eats itself,
leaves naught but bony barren mountains;
blood slows in stagnant purple rivers.   

head turns then body arches
as pain plays out its awful cruel game.

And here sit I,
a useless helpless heartless mamma
wishing she would fade away.

Oh how I have called out His Name,
begged Him to take her love her take her,
gave her up in sweet surrender,

yet He seems to want her not.

How I would love to lie beside her,
cradle her in loving arms,
whisper that I will always always love her

while wishing she would  gently




Shared with the good folk at dVerse OLN hosted by the lovely Grace.  Cheers Grace!

3.11.17 (19:30)
In view of the kind concerned comments from Glenn and Frank (of which I thank them deeply for) I thought it right that I should add this note.

I wrote these words late last year after having been directed to a Facebook page in which a very caring father made the decision to publish a photograph of his four year old daughter who was in the last stage of cancer.

The photograph is very harrowing and haunted me for a long time.  It is true that opening up the page again (as I have not long done) has left me emotionally shattered and I have cried again.  However I am fully behind his brave decision, as we who have never been in this awful situation view childhood cancers as in the images that we normally see, of smiling bald little children with teddies and balloons and we are comfortable with that.  But the reality is far removed from that of happy little smiling faces.

Seeing Jessica’s picture last year reminded me of watching my dad die of cancer many moons ago, and the words I wrote are of him too and how helpless I felt at the time.   He was diagnosed three weeks before his death.  As any loving daughter would be, initially I was praying for him to live to be cured, but not long after, oh how hard and oh how often I prayed for him to die, to be relieved from the torment of his unstoppable pain.

I cannot even come close to imagining how I would feel if I had had to watch my child die. 

It is essential that more money is poured into the research of childhood cancer.

Writing this has left me torn as to whether I should direct you to the page, but it is so that Jessica’s dad wanted the world to know the reality, the awful truth of childhood cancers.  I would suggest however that if you are emotionally fragile at present, that you do not open it.  It is here.

Peace dear little Jessica.


Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Artist:  Edvard Munch  (1863–1944)  


brudberg said...

So heartbreaking, and also contradictory... suffering is hard to watch, and that waiting has to be so painful.. I do love that drawing (or anything that Munch has done).

Amaya Engleking said...

Don't know that I can handle this sadness right now, but you portrayed a mother's suffering perfectly.

Kim Russell said...

I agree with Bjorn and Amaya. Deeply touching.

Dr. Crystal Howe said...

This is a truly heart-breaking, powerful piece, very well written, I can feel so much here... said...

Oh.....tears in my eyes. This is so well written and the anguish is palpable...the ending - I don't usually like "tricks", special effects etc - but here, what you've done, is the slowly letting go, the fading...and seems so beautifully sensitive to the whole. Just an amazing write.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Superlatives fall short for this piece, for it reads so personal, like a diary, that after one calms the lump in their throat, and wipes the tears from reddened cheeks, can hope it is fiction & not real. It reads as real. Often, as poets we shed light on our own pain. A big hug is coming your way.

Sarah Russell said...

That waiting. The hoping and dreading. You captured it well. And Munch’s painting was a perfect accompaniment.

Vivian Zems said...

A poignant, beautiful poem. I love the imagery of ghostly fading away......

Anonymous said...

Very impacting, palpable emotions, and the exhaustion is felt deeply,


Frank Hubeny said...

Best wishes if this is something you are going through now. I don't if this is about a child or a parent who is suffering, but I think you described the pain felt by those watching others suffer that appears to have no end.

Susan Anderson said...

Such a painful, poignant story you tell here. Exquisitely beautiful.

kaykuala said...

It is most moving Anna!. So young for her to suffer without a fair chance to taste life!


X said...

Oy, I have sat in that spot, though it was with a parent. Seeing them at the end of days, no longer a person as much as a shell of what once was. Unresponsive beyond unintelligeble words. Praying that God would take them.

You took me there.

Hello Anna.

Colin Lee said...

Have always wanted to visit yours but only when I'm out of the Great Firewall of China. This brought back a lot of memory, especially having just come back from a cousins’ gathering this weekend where sweet shadows of our late Grandma hover and smile over. She was brought back to life quite miraculously in her last battle with a cocktail of illnesses; but lost it to medical allergy unexpectedly some months later -- thankfully painless and peaceful. I was away and hadn't a chance to say that final goodbye. But I know she's in a better place. Peace to you, Anna. Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh Anna, how well you have captured the agony of that young father watching his beloved child suffering......and I hear it again in your words about your father's death. So heartfelt and lovingly written, this most heartbreaking of situations. Wow. This is an important poem. I dont feel strong enough to go to Jessica's link. There is just so much grief everywhere, isnt there? I carry a lot of it, on behalf of Mother Earth and all her creatures. Including us.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Pretty deep and honest. Relevant.