What to Do When You Don’t Know How Else to Help

My husband’s daughter, Heather was just readmitted to the hospital with the final stage of cancer. Last Sunday we had her and her husband Jerald over to share a meal with us. Reflecting on this experience afterwards, I wrote this poem…

Stage 4
The hiss/swish of her oxygen unit keeps time
like a hydraulic clock in the background
We converse and laugh 
carefully avoiding the minefield of reality
the dark mist that surrounds us all
Her lashless eyes morphine heavy
Her head chemo bald
The nasal cannula that hangs from her nose
connects her to the lifeline of air

The decline of her shocks me
There is no longer room for miracles
How can I help in her mortal struggle?
All I can do is prepare a homecooked meal
with apple crisp for dessert
We savor it in the company of family
around the table in the warmth of my kitchen
Maybe that is enough

12 thoughts on “What to Do When You Don’t Know How Else to Help

  1. Your family dinner was just what everyone needs, I’m thinking. Your poem is touching and so descriptive of those desperate and intense times. We join you in concern and Heather keeps her dignity so intact. Touching….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alanna, thank you so so so much for sharing this message!!! I’m honored to call Heather my Best friend and she is like a sister to me. I can’t say this enough over and over and over again and express my gratitude for how thankful I am to have heather be such a huge part my whole life and how Heather has helped me become a better person and has helped me learn how love myself for the first time. Heather has been somebody I have always looked up too, She has always had the True good qualities in a person that I strive to be every single day! There is nobody in this world that I’ve ever met that has a heart as big as hers and for her to always care for another human beings, animals and living things the way she does. I am the luckiest chick to have been able to grow up with her as my best friend!! She makes this world such a more beautiful place and she has touched so so so many countless lives! Heather is the greatest friend, greatest daughter, greatest wife, greatest loving soul that I have ever come across and will ever. I love you to the stars and back to the roots of my mothers roses to all the animals souls that are alive because of you today and the list never ends. I love you so much words can’t describe how blessed I have been to have you be such a huge part of my life and how you have always been there for me! Thank you for showing me how to fight and never give up! I love you bottom of my heart and always will.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katie, Thank you so much for sharing your heart about Heather. It’s good to know how deeply she has touched your life. We share this sorrow. Best wishes.


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