Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 42

Dear Cancer...
Dear Cancer,
I assume you get a lot of hate mail, I know I
don't often hear your praises, but today I'm
here to thank you. I know it must feel like I
haven't noticed all you've done for me, like a
parent who is seldom thanked for all they do,
your existence in my life is so second nature
I've not stopped long enough to acknowledge
you much. I guess that's not true I acknowledge you often, I don't thank you though, so
here goes....
I'll start at the beginning, thank you for
taking my mother when I was just a child,
for with her here I would never have the
relationships with my siblings that I do.
They are my rocks, my safe landing places,
my world. We've been through everything
together and it would have been easy for us
to rely on her to keep us safe but instead we
became unbreakable together. That gift is one
I could never forget so thank you.
With that gift came the next, a father who
tried to always remind us to live in the moment. He always seemed to give to others even

Dear Cancer,
Sometimes I imagine you as an animated
character, like the chef in the Little Mermaid,
the one that chases Sebastian the crab everywhere, wanting to boil him alive. You're unrelenting, like that chef, and you keep coming
and coming.
It's not fair. And what's more, you keep
wanting to boil CHILDREN, not crabs. You
know what I think? I think you lose either
way. If the patient dies, you die too. And
if the patient lives, well, you lose again. So
really, why do you even bother? All you do
is make people stronger. And we're getting
closer. We're getting closer to figuring you
out. And I think you know it. That's why
you keep upping the stakes, isn't it?
I am not even upset anymore that you
existed within me and that you basically
took everything but my life. I held on by a
thread, and slowly but surely, I keep discovering that there is more to that thread than
I thought. I am more than a survivor, don't
you know? I don't really like that word. I was
so young when you came into my life, and
so young still when you left. It's like I really
had nothing to do with my own survival, but

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DECEMBER 2019

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when it felt we had so little. Even now as an
adult his little mantra of "God will provide"
rings in my ears when I feel the stress of life
creeping in. For the gift of his easy spirit I
thank you.
The next time you came into my life I was
an adult married with two small boys. Thank
you for slowing my husband down. He was
working so hard to provide an amazing life
for us he was barely able to join us in it. You
knew just how to take care of that. With
one easy swoop you slowed him down and
reminded him that our two small boys would
be men before we knew it and he almost
missed it! It's amazing how you always show
up just in time. Every time we fall back in
to our "easy" life your recurrences ground
us so quickly. You remind us that no one is
promised tomorrow and just how precious
each day together is. This thanks is easy for
me to give because you've reminded us just
how special our today's are.
This next one may be the hardest thanks
to give. As much as I would love for my boys
to still just be boys you've turned them in to

young men. Faster than I could you taught
them empathy, compassion and a strength
unlike any other. Where carefree joy used
to live there is now a knowing in their eyes.
The pain a mother tries to shelter her child
from can be seen within them. I'd love to
hate you for it, but they will be better men
because it is there, so today I say thank you.
With all the things in my life that I have
because of you my last thought is always the
same...." What else could you possibly have
to teach me?" If you could be done now, I
would say Thank You!
XOXO-

what I am responsible for is now. I'm here,
in spite of you. You tried to take me down,
and you failed. What I am doing is thriving.
And what I'm also doing is fighting back.
I'm a voice in the pitch black, and whereas I
don't always sound loud and clear like I do
on paper or on social media, I know what
I'm fighting for.
I am fighting you still because I hated
growing up in this body that I considered
to be broken. I've come to realize I'm not
broken at all, but I am strong in the places
other people can't be. I'm fighting you still
because I can't stand that you take and take
and take. Selfish cancer.
But did you know that in all that taking,
you are also giving? You give strangers a
reason to be friends, a reason to love each
other. You give hope a face and a name and
a body. You give reason why there are several hundred thousand (or even billions) of
prayers being said. You may invade the body,
the brain, or blood stream, but that's as far
as you can go. You can't touch our souls.
I have no memory of you, but I see you
every time I look in the mirror. I'm what
determination looks like. I'm what refusing
to give up looks like, though there have been

times when I wanted to just let go. Life's
hard. The memories of my childhood are
full of tears because I didn't understand
how you could do this to me, change me so
much, when I don't even remember having
you. And I hope, I'm what love looks like,
in one of its rawest, most vulnerable forms.
I am constantly searching, for things that
make sense, for answers, for places I belong.
And I've come to realize that I belong here,
fighting this fight. So thank you, cancer.
Thank you for helping me find myself. I will
forever wish that you didn't exist, that I, and
all of my friends who I have met and come
to love as family, were untouched by you.
But now that I'm older and somewhat wiser,
I've come to realize that I wouldn't be who I
am today without your hovering presence.
I see you, even now, you mad chef you.
And you're going down one way or another.
Cancer in a straitjacket, anyone?
Hey, imagination
is free!
Signing off.

LIZ KENNISH

DANIELLE CLOAKEY


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants and Tea - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants and Tea - December 2019

Contents
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover1
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover2
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 1
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Contents
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 3
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 4
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 5
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 6
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 7
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 8
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 9
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 10
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 11
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 12
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 13
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Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover3
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover4
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