A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

A Single Flame…

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

What would we ever do without friendships? Sometimes– if we are very fortunate, we find people to enjoy life-long friendships with. My mom has this kind of a friend in Gregg Kaufman. They met in junior high school and they have remained friends forever. I have been the truly appreciative recipient of his friendship through all of my years, including his loving support throughout my cancer battle. A card would show up in our mailbox, or Gregg would show up at our door with fluffy socks and a cozy blanket. He always had words of encouragement, and he showed his care in every way and every chance he would get.

Gregg asked me if I would come to speak to his Rotary Club this past week and to speak last night at the Morro Bay Relay for Life. It felt great to be able to do something for Gregg for a change! The Luminaria Ceremony is my very favorite part of Relay. I thought about the emotional impact I feel each time I attend Relay and wrote a poem to share last night at the Luminaria Ceremony. 

 A Single Flame …

beyond its rippling edges is a vast space no eye can see.

It is here the worst of fears have been confronted,

and tears have been shed in the light of joy, and the dark of sadness.

It is here patience has been shoved again and again,

all while trust clings tightly to its feeble legs.

It is here faith has crumbled before being built anew, and here that existence

has finally peeked out through the crystal clear window of perspective.

It is here that the greatest of battles were fought,

although most will never know of them …

It is here that an army rose up,

coming together for one purpose-one soul.

It is here that loneliness pierced abounding support,

and here that roads twisted, turned, began, and sadly, ended.

That one, single flame is an intricate and delicate story … if you listen quietly you can hear it speak of its life-paths chosen and un-chosen.

When multiplied, the sheer quantity of softly glowing flames

can overwhelm the mind and sink the heart.

There is an innocence in their glow …yet ever-present is an incredible strength,

a quiet strength, often an unknown strength.

To stare at your flame is to feel your life sweep over you in an instant …

emotions flood the heart,

but none can dilute the immense amount of gratitude already there

To stare at a flame that contains not only a story, but a spirit is to be made numb … No words …

And then, a little miracle takes place inside …

every emotion blends and mixes while inability to feel melts away.

And in an instant hope arrives through hopelessness …

and through hope, purpose …purpose for every, single flame

Copyright Melinda Marchiano August 6, 2011

Aquarium at the Entrance to Duke Children's Hospital

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