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

 

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