Death From Cancer: A Poem About My Father

My father died from lung cancer on January third, 2005. After entering a nursing facility for rehab, we soon discovered that he had stage four small-cell lung cancer. He lived for three and one-half weeks after his diagnosis.

While January third never had any signficance before, it now holds signficance for me that I would never have imagined.

The words to the poem describe how one often feels about the anniversary of a person’s death.

Before this year, for as long as I recall,
January was a good month for me.
Though winter brought snow, and a deep-seated chill,
it was the beginning of the end you see.
For January meant winter, and winter means spring,
and spring is the beginning of life,
The death of the fall season, with its debris and decay,
marks the termination of struggle and strife.
January one was the day of beginnings,
hope filled the air all around,
Even as winter grew deeper, and the days grew shorter,
the promise of newness did abound.
January second denoted new years was past,
it was time to look up and move ahead.
But the end of new years now fills me with darkness,
thoughts of tomorrow now fill me with dread.
January third was once like any other,
until the third of this year that is now past.
For it was on that dark Monday that you up and left us,
a reminder that few things will last.
Before this year, for as long as I recall,
January was a good month for me.
Now the winter brings snow, and a deep-seated chill,
it is the beginning of the end you see.
For January means winter, and winter means spring,
but spring now seems so far away.
But every January third brings back memories of you,
and the pain we all shared on that day.

Roland Cavanaugh is on staff at a large church serving as the Pastor of Congregational Care and Sr. Adults. He has self-published a book about his late father, “For As Long As I Can.” You can find ordering information at http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A4QR97K7TE63B/ref=cm_blog_dp_pdp/104-6890346-0876758

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