Courage

2007
Schwartz, Ros

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the taking of action despite fear.

Half awake she stretched herself, her hand went to her chest
where just a week ago there used to be another breast
but in its place was empty space, just skin beneath her hand
and a change in her self-image that she did not understand.

The doctors said it had to go, there was no other way
to have a chance to laugh and dance at her daughter’s next birthday
the cancer an aggressive one and she so very young
so many stories left to write, so many songs unsung.

So she said yes, they booked a date, though fear was in her heart
for this was just the first of many treatments that would start
her friends told tales of courage, but fear was all that she could see
for even with an absent breast life gives no guarantee.

What life may bring, we do not choose; how we act is our choice
and part of healing is to speak, to give our pain a voice
for courage is not lack of fear, but singing out despite
and living’s more than dodging death, it’s singing through the night.

A fine scar on her gentle skin ... a wound within her soul
she hadn’t planned to think of death till she was very old
but as she rose to dress herself and face another day
she thought perhaps she’d start to sing and heal herself this way.

Now quite awake she stretched herself, her hand went to her chest
where in another life, there used to be another breast
now in its place just empty space, just skin beneath her hand
and a change in her self-image she did not yet understand.

Footnotes: Storytelling through poetry and song can be an effective healing tool. These song lyrics illustrate the use of imagery and metaphor to provide support and inspiration.

Theme: Patients | Patients

Stories in Family Medicine | Récits en médecine familiale [Internet] Mississauga ON: College of Family Physicians of Canada. 2008 --.

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