the cause

the day she told me her treatment was finally over i stared blankly at the computer screen

as she walked away with her head down i was too selfish to notice the trail on her cheek that a tear left behind

my father told me i made my mother cry that day

i was happy her for but i didn’t know how to show it

i was thrilled but the excitement got lost somewhere between my brain and my mouth

i’ve never been good at showing my emotions

i don’t wear them on my sleeves

i hide them in my eyes

and if i had just turned around she would have seen all the lost hope disappear behind my retinas

she would have seen the hurt that was now over

she would have seen a smile stretching across my pupils

but i didn’t turn around

since the year i was born 11 million new cancer cases have been diagnosed

five million of those ended in death

and the doctors say it runs in my family

as if to say

good luck with livin’

it’s already taken my grandma, my grandpa, aunt, great aunt, and great uncle

but my mom refused to lose to a disease

it’s been seven years since she was diagnosed

and five since she’s been in complete remission

but that doesn’t stop me from wishin she never had it

from wishin i could take back the pain

from wishin i was her support when she needed it most because God knows she’s always been the first to support me

she handled it well

no complaints about the shots, radiation, or chemo

the endless doctors appointments didn’t seem to phase her

and the loss of her eyebrows, fingernails, and hair didn’t make her stop believing in her beauty

i was the one who gave her a buzz cut when her hair started to fall from her head like ash

and i was completely numb

i couldn’t feel a thing except the hair clippers in my hand vibrating as if they were trying to wake me up

but i didn’t want to acknowledge what was happening because that meant it was real

i turned my eyes from it all as if it would make me not feel

i still feel the numbness sometimes

i didn’t mean to betray her trust

and i wish i could go back and replace my blank stares with hugs

but for a whole year i could barely look her in the eyes without dying inside while praying that dying is not going to be how this ends

this is not going to end in tears

and i feared for the worst

while trying to hope for the best

and i will live the rest of my life with that regret on my chest from not being able to hug her

to hold her tight when she was awake in the middle of the night with the fright of getting sicker

i had seen what cancer could cause

and i realize i was the cause of a lot of paint that day

the day when she wanted to jump for joy was the same day i made her happiness hop from her face

i want her to know i was happy for her

so i’m rolling down my sleeves

and that only leaves the emotion in my eyes for her to see

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