Saturday, May 14, 2011

At the Edge

I saw in the eyes of a fellow BMT patient, the shadow of a place I call the abyss. He is beginning the transplant process, and fearful, was seeking reassurance. We talked for a few minutes, and I told him of my own fears, and how I found living a day at a time, understanding that each new day is a gift from God, overcomes the fear.

It is a dangerous risk we take when we receive a blood and marrow transplant, but the alternative is death. I very nearly died on May 26, 2010 -- the day I was diagnosed with leukemia -- a fast approaching anniversary. For a time, I wandered in the abyss, afraid and feeling very alone. Family and friends gathered quickly around and I discovered I was not alone. Now I can stand at the edge of that abyss and know it is only fear down there, and I can walk away and get on with living each day.


At the Edge

The abyss is always nearby you know,
Some days I stand and look over the edge.
I peer at the swirling maelstrom below,
And I struggle with unwanted knowledge,
Of what terror that depth-less darkness hides.
For I have beheld with benighted eyes,
The shadowy horror which there resides,
And with hopeless voice my future scries.

It was there I first heard the mouth of fear,
The first soundless sound, just a breath of air,
The first nameless dread whispered in my ear,
First doubts and forebodings encountered there.
Then voice becomes voices, a gallery
Gathers to measure my every flaw,
Free-forming an image to frighten me,
From failures, regrets, and injuries raw.

My nightmare self-portrait subsumes the voices --
Now seated, the conversation must start
At a table filled with endless bad choices,
All interconnected, each breaks my heart.
My spirit, sickened, refuses to choose.
I search through my image's lifeless eyes,
To find only myriad ways to lose.
Only then to finally realize...

I'm facing a mirror within my mind.
The whispering voices are memories,
Of failures, regrets, and acts unkind,
That unlock my fear with self-hidden keys.
With faith and a mere speck of fortitude,
I turn from the table and walk away;
From the fear-soaked darkness and solitude,
To walk in the light, where fear has no sway.

Now I stand here staring at that dark hole.
I smile at the sun shining on my face.
I shiver, once at a chill in my soul,
Remembering still that gloomy, dark place.
I shake off the cold and gathering rime,
Its lure and pull have been made to cease.
For choosing to live one day at a time,
God's daily gift lets me live on in peace.

Mick McKellar
May 2011

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