Of Cancer and Little Boys

Up the ladder
On the loft
She snuggles in with her boy
Her hand on his small back

Memorizing the little bumps of his spine
That mole on his shoulder
The silk of his hair

Scratching his back until his rhythmic breath
Informs her of sleep.

There is only this moment.
Only she and her little boy.
The one God gave her out of heartache.
The beauty born out of the ashes.
And she is wholly unable to remove herself from this beauty

Motionless she fears when he wakes
He will be compelled to witness the slow fade of his mama.
If she moves from this place
This moment
This quiet
This stillness
It will become memory

Tomorrow will then come
And she’s not ready

So she leans her head on the pillow
Her hand resting on the small of his back
And stays far longer than she intends.
Capturing every morsel of this sweet gift.
Breathing deeply in darkness
The knowing floating through her mind
The unsettling gift of knowing life is a vapor
And the knowing is most assuredly a gift because in it all else fades
The schedules. The bills. The dirty forks in the kitchen sink.

They matter none

There is only now

And it is altogether fitting to rest on this pillow
In a bed not her own
To be wholly absorbed in each passing moment
Breathing in. Breathing out.

Memorizing the little bumps of his spine
That mole on his shoulder
The silk of his hair

Morning comes
Days build upon days
Years build upon years
And that mama doesn’t fade
Instead she grows


Still she can feel the weight of that night.

The waves of fear. The ache of love. The longing for time.
Still she can see with crystal clarity the little bumps on his spine
That mole on his shoulder
The silk of his hair

She cherishes the stirring emotions of the memory
Still she knows within her soul the loveliest piece of that night
was the knowing
Because in the knowing all else fades

There is only now.

And now is a gift all its own.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


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