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April 11, 2011

A Letter to Cancer by Christine Burke

The following poem is by Christine Burke, written in memory of
Edward Joseph John Burke (August 8, 1933-September 30, 2009)
When I was growing up, I knew of only one person in our circle of family and friends who had cancer.
Now, however, I know almost no one whose life has not been affected by this sneaky and powerful disease.
I wonder how our changes to the environment may play a large role in the increase of cancer cases.
And while much progress has been made with regard to medications and treatment that lead to remission,
I find it difficult to swallow the fact that the American Cancer Society now calls itself the "Official Sponsor of Birthdays."
That slogan tells us that they are not thinking of people like Christine and many, many others
for whom cancer is the grand thief of birthdays. 

Christine's poem is honest, beautiful, and in spite of her loss, a poem of deep affirmation.
It inspired me, as I hope it will you.

Dear Cancer,

You took my love, my friend, my soul
You broke them down till they weren’t whole
You pushed and pulled and tore them up
You wouldn’t stop
You would not give up

You made them fight, right to the line
You made them show their strength in impossible times
You may have taken their bodies away
But you haven’t won, and you will see that one-day

You took my love, my friend, my soul
But you cannot touch an angel, I’m told

One day, and one day soon
With the help of our angels, we will beat you
On behalf of all who are fighting,
and in honor of those whom we've lost 

Poem, Copyright 2011, Christine Burke, All rights reserved.

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