Wednesday, 24 February 2016

When Cassandra Spoke (February 24, 2016)

A hospital parking lot
She spoke
Those fateful words
About her grandma's health.

In pronouncing
Her doom
No one wanted to say
Or talk about.

Or medical staff.

"Grandma has cancer."

Never expecting
The sudden swing
To the head
By her dad
That missed.

A man
Who rarely shared
His strongest emotions
With others.

As he fled
To the car
His world

A month
Or so

They buried
Her grandma.

To hide
The tumours
Upon her body.

Therisa © 2016

Author's note: In June 1996, my oma breathed her last breathe, as cancer claimed her body. I was, one of three sets of sibling grandchildren, who acted, as her pallbearers. I so dearly miss her, and the way, she greet all grandchildren and great grandchildren, by calling us, little ones, in broken English and Dutch. No matter, how tall, we have gave grown, over the years.

The above poem, is my recount of that fateful day, in May 1996. Dad, if you can hear me, I didn't mean to hurt you, by speaking the truth, like I did. I forgive you, for your actions.


  1. What power! Both incidents, and their link in this poem. And it is always a powerful witness to bring the hidden into view. Too bad that making cancer visible has not yet cured it.

    1. Thank you, Susan. Maybe, one day, we'll be able to treat all forms of cancer. My other grandma, is a breast cancer survivor.

  2. Lovely poem. Children tend to speak the truth regardless of how much adults prefer to hide it. Too bad your Dad had such a hard time accepting the truth of your grandmother and the truth of your childhood.

    1. Thank you, Myrna. Does a person count, as a child, if they were 20something, at the time, of expressing these words?

  3. Children do speak the truth, which adults often fear. You have a big heart, to be able to understand and forgive. It is very moving, that your oma's grandchildren were her pall bearers. I love best about grandmas that they fully accept their grandchildren for who they are.

    1. It took me, many years, to reach this stage, Mary. Although, I still have trouble, with my dad, in him, not telling me, how proud, he was, when I got my university degree, in 1994, from Carleton University, at the National Art Centre, in Ottawa. Found out, from my mom's first cousin, after his funeral, in November 1998.

  4. Awww...this is reminiscent of the passing of my own grandma. How the adults back then wept with sorrow and me fearing the future. thanks.

    1. Your welcome, James. Do hope, my poem hasn't brought back, any negative emotions, for you.

  5. When a close relative dies a part of you dies with them. You are reminded of your own mortality and what you can never reach out for again.

    1. I understand, Old Egg, but my dad had never reacted like this, to either my brother or I. As my opa (my dad's dad) died, on my 14th birthday. There wasn't the same reaction, from him.

  6. My heart goes out to you and your family. This is emotive and powerfully told.

    1. Thank you, Hannah. The years have eased the pain and sorrow, I felt, at the time. For my oma, it was a release from her diseased body, and a chance, to rejoin my opa, once more.

  7. So hard--this is so honest and moving--thank you for sharing this!

    1. Your welcome, Audrey. Two of my younger cousins, who were, also pallbearers, where hit harder, by her pasting. As I told them, let the tears out.

  8. I think this is a poem of truth and love and forgiving for all the family - beautifully told

  9. When a person close to us dies it rocks our world. I think no matter your age at the time you were a child in her loving embrace and it is the child that misses her so.

  10. Incredibly powerful! Thank you for sharing this!


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