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Margaret Plumb / Blog

For Jill

My beautiful daughter-in-law is relaxing on my couch. She tells me of her trials and her father, who is battling with cancer and chemo… And a life expectancy cut short. As if that is not enough She tells me that today she accidentally discovered That cancer invaded her mom again Disguised in another form… Such a dreadful, insidious word, the C word, Such a bearer of pain. Too enormous an onslaught for my girl to bear.

I can’t imagine how to help. I think of all the things I am not, How clumsy I am at caring, How inept I am about gifts and thoughtful gestures. My scattered life swallows me while my loved ones get the crumbs. My place is strewn with the reminders of lost good intentions… What? Is this about me? Yet, isn’t this the way it is with humans? Hedonistic--thinking about ourselves again, Using someone’s misfortune to wallow in our own inadequacy.

I do not have much to give-- Except silly words written on a napkin in a restaurant, A napkin wet with tears that I try to hide from strange, inquiring eyes. Tears for a dear young soul who is facing losses so young. I wish I could wave a wand and make it go away for her Like a good fairy god-mother-in-law … I can pray—and pray I will-- And I’m glad that she can receive that —It’s the least and the greatest gift that I can offer

My daughter-in-law. . . She is a beautiful, strong, capable and resilient woman, And yet I know that she cries in the night Like all of us do. . . I hope she knows that sometimes, I am weeping along with her, And offering a plea to a God who is no stranger to pain and loss, Who is not always silent and who loves her more than she can grasp. And who said that He will wipe all the tears from our eyes, And someday, dry them all…