Poetry Month Day Two…

Celebrate Poetry Month by having a poem emailed to you each morning!  Just follow the link here: http://www.poets.org/poemADay.php. And from our own, Mary Rose Betten and Laura Beasley add their voice to our Poetry Month Collective!

Love Children

written by Mary Rose Betten

Who cares for my words

once they are written?

Do they go homeless

once they have been penned?

They tumble




of my mind




naked children


from their bath

I catch them

towel them

tuck them in

Lie with them


in the dark

The Easter Bunny

written by Laura Beasley

The Easter Bunny came early this year,

But he gave me something I truly do fear.

Like an egg in my neck, they call it a mass.

It means I’ll be put under by gas

On the day the surgeon cuts into my neck

To remove the egg-mass, oh what the heck!

It could be cancer or it might be benign,

Perhaps I’ll die soon or for decades, be fine.

I’ll get a scar in my neck, something real I can feel,

Just like this pen with the ink that is teal.

I grab for my life and I try to grip hard

To all of my dreams that seem broken like shards.

My future is hazy, my future is dim.

Will I be there to love him, her, him and him?

Will I ever hold my grandbabies in arms

And swaddle them tight like burritos so warm?

If you think that it’s easy to write of these things,

Then close your mouth tight and then try to sing.

Memories of My Cancer

Written by Laura Beasley

There should be a new movie rating, “CVD” for “Cancer Victim Dies.” That way I will know to avoid seeing that movie. I hate all those movies in which a character gets cancer and is dead by the end of the movie.  Many of us survive years beyond a diagnosis of cancer. I have lived almost eleven years.

Easter weekend 2000, I felt a hard, painless lump on my neck the size of a super ball. I knew that it was cancer although it took several weeks for doctors to diagnose lymphoma, cancer of the lymph glands. They considered radiation combined with chemotherapy but the tumor board decided that I should have six cycles of CHOP chemotherapy.

At the time of my diagnosis, my children were 19, 12 and 9 years of age. I had been married to my high school sweetheart for 21 years. I realized pretty early in my cancer journey that things were more difficult for my family and friends than they were for me. The worst case for me was that I would die. I believe that there is a better life after death. It was very difficult for my husband to be the caregiver and to be strong for me when he was so afraid. I was grateful that we went to The Wellness Community weekly where I got support from other cancer patients while Bob met with other caregivers.

We did not choose to have the Internet and email in our home until 2009 so when it came time to notify friends and acquaintances about my cancer diagnosis, I used the telephone. I called dozens of people and re-told my story. I am grateful for the prayers, love and support I received. I chose to keep my volunteer commitments leading weekly Girl Scout meetings and telling stories at the elementary school every Friday. I gave up doing the dishes and driving the car. I felt “fuzzy” from “chemo-brain.” My 19-year-old son, Theo took a semester off from college to drive his siblings to and from school and ensure that his 9-year-old sister could continue her daily ballet and dance lessons and other activities. Friends brought meals for my family for six months. One friend gave me a massage every week.

Every time I went to chemo, I would reread the get well cards from my friends and family. I read extensively (books not the Internet) but I would stop reading when the book would discuss survival statistics. I knew my odds would be either 100% or 0% so the statistics were meaningless for me as an individual. I continued to write daily in my journal. I started to write obnoxious rhyming poems about cancer as well modern fairy tales. After I completed my chemo, I wanted a long-term project so I decided to write one hundred short stories over the next decade (10/year). I recently completed my 100th story.

I have met cancer patients who wanted to complete their “bucket lists.” One friend postponed chemo so that she could take a vacation to Europe.  Chemo couldn’t start soon enough for me. I didn’t have a bucket list. My dream life was living with my true love, raising my beloved children, having friends, writing and volunteering in my community. I didn’t need any adventures beyond the life I was leading. I am grateful that my cancer is a memory and a reminder that when I needed care and love, friends were there to lift me up and carry me.