Writing Through Cancer with Sharon Bray

For the Week of January 15, 2012:

Lost and Found

by Sharon Bray

“Before you know what kindness really is,” poet Naomi Shihab Nye tells us,

“you must lose things…”

Loss. It’s often synonymous with cancer. Loss of hair, parts of the body;

loss of self-image, of dreams, or loss of loved ones.

We feel overwhelmed


we face a landscape defined only by losses, hopelessness and grief.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.

–from “Kindness”, by Naomi Shihab-Nye in

The Words Under The Words ©1994

Here’s a suggestion for writing. First, take a blank sheet of paper and list all that you have lost. Don’t stop there. Turn the page over. Now list the acts of kindness that you remember, the ones that made a difference. And gave you hope, rediscover what you thought your lost or help you see things in a new light? Explore what you’ve lostand what you’ve found

So, this is my writing assignment for this week. The week that begins the first infusion of battling the cancer that came back. Returned. Didn’t retreat. Did NOT stay down.
Was not eradicated.
It came back.
That is the beginning of many losses, but as before in the desolate there were gains innumerable.
I will write on this all week here.
I have lost contact with old friends, and cancer brought them back.
I have lost zeal for living when I endured heart break and disappointment in men I have loved and lost, but cancer brought back the zeal-not the men.
I lost hair during round one, but it came back fabulously curlier, and a bit wild. (women pay for this look)

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