What am I doing?
What should I do?
I feel useless.
I feel horrible.
I feel this pain
While you’re engulfed in it
Only to be soothed by medication
Which always hinders our conversations.
Hugs are too painful.
Yet, you’ve always given bear hugs.
Now I hate myself for not being affectionate enough.
No amount of drawings on the fridge,
Or quiet afternoons playing boardgames
Can take away that feeling of guilt.
You’re her everything.
You’re their brother.
You’re their father, grandfather, uncle…
And I’m the grandchild who has to force
Upon your foreheard
Because I’m not sure what I should say to you.
Can you even hear me?
I don’t see you for months
Suddenly you’re pale.
But they lied to me and pretended everything was fine
Because I had exams.
Because it was my birthday.
Because my sister had prom.
Because everyone else was living
While you were slowly fading.
We’ve both always been quiet people.
Although everyone thinks you’re serious
I know you’re hilarious.
I’m sure it must’ve hurt your feelings when
I asked why you had a big hole in your head.
I’m sorry, I didn’t know what going bald was at the time.
I guess I was expecting to see another face appear.
Everyone had eyes on the backs of their heads then.
And I didn’t know your mother died of cancer.
Not until last night.
Which makes the strange dreams…or nightmares
I don’t know how to react to them.
Dreams of death.
Dreams of loneliness.
Dreams where I wake up and beg to cry
Just shed one tear for my uncle
For my grandfather…
And I can’t.
I know I’m not heartless
I think I was prepared for this.
I think I knew that you’d grown thin
And your hair would fall out.
I’m sorry for seeming so distant
I just don’t know what to do or say.
I’ve always been this way.
I sit quietly,
I shrug my shoulders,
I look out the window and watch the birds.
I think of anything,
And avoid the present.
That is how I cope.
And I’m fast.
The other kids have always said that.
I’m a runner.
I can go for hours,
Sprinting in the wind
While my thoughts that
Had raced in my head are left behind me.
Yet I haven’t run since spring.
I stopped running away.
And although I sat by your bed quietly,
Just staring at anything else,
I was in the present.
I didn’t run away in my head.
I didn’t try to.
I wanted to talk to you
But I didn’t know what to say.
I hope you don’t think I’m afraid of you,
Because I’m not.
I just don’t know what to do.
You all lied to me and said everything was fine.
You all lied.
If no one had kept secrets
We could have done things differently,
And you wouldn’t have to feel as though you need to stay
And suffer longer because she’s scared to lose you.
You have sons that live too far
And grandchildren all growing up too fast…
And while we grow up, you grow old,
and the cancer grows….
Why does cancer grow?
Growth is supposed to be green
And lush and life giving…
This isn’t…what I expected.
I don’t want you to die.
People who die become almost…
Almost like they never existed.
They just become apart of the world I escape to in my head.
So if you die, I’ll end up running to you…
Every time I run away.
I’ll just run and run and run….
And end up somewhere…which is really no where.
Reality is here.
Reality is now.
Adults don’t play pretend.
Adults don’t have that freedom.
I’m supposed to grow up,
Not get out.
Although I feel my age,
I still like to play hide-n-seek in my head.
I don’t know what to do.
Someone tell me how to help.
How can I fix things?
How can I make everyone smile?
I just want everyone to be happy.
I don’t want to make anyone worry.
Children don’t have to do this,
and although I’m someones child
I am not a child.
I’m an adult
And this is called cancer.
This is a disease,
And they need me.
Because while they’re struggling
To keep it together,
I have to stay together…
Not in my head.
Not in my endless stories.
When I’m around them
I’m right here,
In a kiss…
In a peck on your forehead.
I’m saying I’ll be strong,
For her, for my parents, uncles, siblings.
I’m not a cry baby anymore.
They don’t know it yet,
But they will.
I don’t cry anymore.
I don’t run anymore.
I’m not a child anymore.
And I don’t see you fraile,
When I think about you.
I don’t think of you laying in bed.
I think about you making me a kite,
watering yor plants,
shoveling the drive way,
building a snowman,
raking the leaves,
drinking your coffee,
telling me stories.
You’re still a giant in my mind.
And how you manage not to cry
When you’re in so much pain…
Makes me realize I have no right to shed any tears
Over trivial things.
So I haven’t.
I can bury it deep within
And stay strong
And tell myself lies.
I hope you don’t feel bad
Because I don’t know what to say…
I hope the kiss…
Shows you I’m being brave.
I love you.