the big C at nautilus teachings

even in her dying
her beauty shown.
in fact,
she had a glow about her
never seen by anyone
who knew her
before she was
struck down
with the
big C word…
why her?
why now?
could she win?
she would fight
not give in
face to the wind
she would survive…
it all started
at the age of 52
with fatigue
then a mild heart attack
she recovered well
from both,
then the testing
making sure all
arteries were still clean
and no surgery would be necessary…
as she lay in her
hospital bed
waiting for the results
daughter by her side
she noticed the
trees swaying in the breeze
outside her window
felt the warmth of the sun
shining upon her
how the floors glistened
reflecting her age…
he entered
white coat on
stethoscope around his neck
chart in hand.
the dr. sat upon the bed
next to her
took her hand
and said,
“how are you feeling today, Dory?”
she just smiled quietly
took in a deep breath
opened her lips
and whispered,
“how long do i have to live?”
he appeared stunned
put his other hand to his
own lips
closed his eyes
and began,
“how did you know?”
she replied,
“i just knew.
i felt it.
i have not been myself
for quite some time…”

he drew in a long breath
glanced over at her daughter
patted the bed
asking her to sit also.
his eyes were big
and kind
his expression softened…
she glanced at her mother.
tears were already pouring
from her big
brown bear eyes
lips quivering,
“sher-it’s ok,
dear heart…”
the girl turned her back
looked up toward’s the ceiling
as her entire being went numb
she heard nothing the dr. said
she just stood there
paralyzed with fear.
she felt his warm hand
touch her shoulder
turned towards him
as he nodded
and left the room…
“what did he say, mom?”
her beautiful
best friend
the one person
on this earth who believed in her
supported her
pursuing art and writing
who always saved her
had her back
rescued her
the beauty
who would make her pancakes
on random mornings
then allow her to skip school
to go on adventures,
top down
music crooning
scarves tied around
their hair
sunglasses on
traveling all over
slow sleepy
artsy towns
rummaging through
antique shops
lunching at small cafes…
the only person
who held her heart
was crying
eyes closed
as she spoke the words,
“he said i’m going to die, sher…”

she did not hear the words
as she fell fast
into the warm arms
that not just saved her
prayed with her
but unconditionally loved her.
two hearts
beating as one
for just this one moment
the room echoed
with sobbing loss
until at last
the two of them,
mother and daughter
fell into restless sleep.
a short time passed.
the door flew open
waking them
“dory, dory…what did the dr say?”
it was her father
the man she heard
tell her mother
she was a bad parent,
the man
who never listened to what
his kids passions were
did not take the time
to talk with them about
so many things
the person who said,
“it’s my way or the highway,
you go to the school i pick
you major in what i tell you
or i do not pay.”
here he was.
her dad.
she felt as connected to him
as a fish out of water.
she loved him
his quiet, iron heart
never opened for her.
in an odd way he did protect her
from the demon toe heads
she named remote and control
yet, he forgot to fill up
her emptiness
neglected to lead her
with his strength…
then one day
when she was 11
she realized
he could never
give her anything
she needed,
she closed her heart to him…
so many years later
the ache
for a father still
called to her soul.
she rose
leaving the two of them
within the space