Birthdays Come With Tears After Cancer

Grandson wonders why she cries at birthdays He thinks it’s “the things”
Were the balloons not pretty enough?
Was the cake not good?

She hugs him hard, breathes him in
He’s too young to know that she belongs to a sorority of survivors

She’s crossed the burning sands to ring the bell
Now, cake doesn’t taste the same
And birthdays come with tears

Her kids say she is hard to shop for at holidays She asks them not to buy her anything
They do anyway
She adds to the closet full of unopened presents They mean well

They don’t understand

Store-bought love is not what got her through
“The things” don’t measure up to hearty laughter or a heated debate
People who visit more often
The chance to miss them when they leave
Friends that remain consistent
Eyes that see she’s changed but don’t pity
Stifled snickers from a dirty joke at an inappropriate time
Watching the children take over the holiday traditions
The pensive way her daughter in law searches her eyes for approval of the meal

The excited way her grandson runs and jumps at her when he hugs
How her children admonish him to be gentle with her
The smell of his hair

They don’t understand
That his little arms are made of flower petals and granite
They were the things that held her together during her difficult days They are all the things
The reminder that more rest is not being lazy
Doing nothing is doing something
She is not afraid of quiet moments anymore

The number on the cake symbolizes another completed trip around the sun And she is still here
In remission
She’s stolen these moments not promised

Moments feel better when they are stolen

The fullness of winning wells up in her chest Liquid gratitude spills down her cheeks.

She hopes he never has to find out

Why birthdays come with tears.

This post was written and submitted by Danielle Dixon. The article reflects the views of Dixon and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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