The Strong

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Those who believe say that 'God' only gives you what you can handle,
that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
I ask you:
What sort of twisted joke is this, then, when the strong only continue to get tested?
And what about people that love the strong?
That have to see them hurting time after time.
Those that can do nothing more than "be there" as though that somehow makes a
difference when the strong still must go through their struggles primarily alone.
Are they the strong too, for suffering alongside?

And what really constitutes as a struggle anyway?
Your broken heart will mend the same as any. (S)He wasn't worth it in the end.
But as much as I'd like to say this isn't about love or a relationship,
I can't.
This is about the most beautiful and strong woman I have ever known.
This is about how time after time after time she gets tested and stands back up,
wipes off her knees,
faces the world once again hoping that the worst is behind her.
She is amazing.

But then there's me:
The not-strong-enough.
The one who needs people to pick them up and be forced to face life.
I've watched this woman from the shadows on the ground in awe.
'How can I be like her?' has turned into 'How can I be there for her?' as the years tick by.
Because each time it seems like she's survived,
something else comes along to break her spirit.

The car crash didn't kill her and despite what the doctors said,
she was walking within a month when they weren't sure she ever would again.
That jerk she gave herself to didn't keep her down,
nor the death of her parents, nor being reliant once more on someone else
when she's always been the one to take care of herself and others.
And now this:
A killer from within,
The big C.

Breast Cancer.

I can see the fear now, that she always kept hidden.
And I can see, too, the weariness slowly being written in fine lines around her eyes.
But still she insists - she "don't need anybody".
Though family was there when she went for the surgery,
I knew she still felt like she was in this alone.
Because how much can anyone really "be there" for someone else?

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