I have always considered myself really blessed to have strong women in my life. From my mom to my grandmother to my aunts and cousins, their strength to persevere and overcome any obstacle has been something I’ve constantly admired. They probably never even realized that they have been my example, my support and my teachers through life. As I navigate down my own path and continue along this journey, I am reminded daily what it means to be a woman of integrity.
While ALL of them have helped influence who I am today, most recently my aunt has shown me what it means to never give up. 3 months ago she was diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time, however this time was different. It had spread to her bones and lymph nodes and the fight she was about to embark on was probably going to be the toughest one yet. Unfortunately, my aunt is all too familiar with this disease and the struggle that comes from fighting it. I don’t know why she has been one of the lucky ones, but somehow she has managed to beat it three times (hoping for number four). The hardest part for me is just being a witness to her fight. Between the chemo treatments and all the horrible side effects that come with it, I know that I have zero control of the outcome. While I can’t cure her or give her some magic pill to make it all go away, I can shower her with all the love that I have deep inside my heart.
Cancer f*cking sucks (don’t mind my language), but if it’s taught me anything, it’s that our bodies are just the vessels that we use to maneuver through life. It is our souls and how we truly live that determine the mark we leave on the world. While my aunt’s body has been through hell and back, I’m in constant awe of how her beautiful spirit continues to shine through, inspiring me along the way. She is a fighter, my hero and one of the strongest women I know.
This poem is for her and for all those struggling with a disease that is out of their control; hang on for a better tomorrow.
To A Better Tomorrow
As I look at your face and into your eyes
I see the fear and pain you feel
I wish I could take every ounce of it away
But I know that somehow your body will heal
You are tired as you hold on and continue to fight
How I wish you knew how much determination I see
Remember that your body is just an avatar
But your soul is the one thing that keeps you free
Free to dream, to live, to laugh, to love
You are not broken; you are beauty, courage and strength
You teach me that our light shines even through the hardest times
And it reaches people at any distance or length
You are the epitome of a hero
Full of battle wounds, scars and a cape
I know you will overcome the biggest fight of all
And the new life you build will finally start to take shape
This does not define who you are
It is only a chapter in your book
Don’t you realize the beautiful affects you have on others
Just by giving them one simple look
You inspire me to live a life
That is genuine, authentic and kind
It is because of you that I’m not afraid
To create something that is ultimately mine
Can you see that through your struggle and adversity
You give others a reason to believe?
In endless miracles, hopes and dreams
To accomplish whatever they want to achieve
Beauty comes from within
And radiates from the depths of your soul
You’ve taught me that when you truly love yourself
That is when you will fully become whole
Thank you for being my teacher
Without ever knowing it at all
You have made me want to live and love
Without fear of standing behind a wall
You will beat this disease, I know it
And be an even better version of YOU
Because after this long courageous fight
All your dreams deserve to come true.
To my sweet Titi: “Just remember in the winter, Far beneath the bitter snows, Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, In the spring becomes the rose.” -The Rose