Today I did something I have wanted to do for such a long time but have been afraid to do. It is yet another blessing to come out of cancer. I have longed to join a writer’s group. I have researched local groups in the area time and time again. I have looked up their meeting schedules, locations and times. I have set an appointment in my calendar only to have the day or evening come and find that I am not able, not willing to go. I have looked up writing classes or workshops at local community colleges and community centers. I have circled the workshops in the brochures over and over again. Only to find that they conveniently conflicted with other obligations in my life. Or if I am honest, only to allow myself and excuse to not go. The real reason, fear. Fear of my writing not being good enough. Fear of writing but when reading it aloud hearing negative feedback and falling apart. Fear of learning that I am truly not a writer. Well, cancer does something to you. Especially when you beat it. Twice. It makes many things altogether clear in a way that they never were before. As I looked upon the one year anniversary of my first diagnosis yesterday I reflected on all that 2016 held for me in regards to cancer, treatment and surgeries. As I wrapped the thoughts up it was clear to me the one blessing that I cherished most about last year. Cancer gave me the gift of time. Time with friends and family that I had not allowed myself to relish in more often before. Time with the love of my life. Time with my children. Time by myself. Time with God. Time to read and write and just be. And more time as a survivor. I have more time! My time is not up! And so today I headed to a writer’s workshop for cancer patients and survivors. It is called Writing For The Moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was surprised to find it was all women. And mostly older women. I am not sure what I thought it would consist of but realized I didn’t even consider the fact that I might be the youngest one there. Duh. They welcomed me in with open smiles and pleasant greetings. We introduced ourselves but they didn’t pry into my story or share theirs. I imagine that will come with time. They meet every Thursday from 1-3 PM. They got started pretty quickly. The woman running the workshop had brought two poems. She read the first poem out loud and then we were to write. No instruction given. I initially thought I was expected to write a poem. So I hesitantly wrote a poem of sorts. I have never been much of a poem writer. I was timid in my writing and feared what they would think if I were to read it. As the time ran out for writing and it was time to start sharing the leader asked for a volunteer. The women to my right, Lee, volunteered to go first. She read her writing and it was then that I realized it wasn’t about writing poetry at all. The poem read had sparked something in her in regards to her own life and she wrote it down. In her own way. Just a journaling of personal thoughts about her home and how she was thinking she should sell it and become debt free but in her search realized just how much her home meant to her. One by one they shared. I was the last as they traveled around the table. The leader told me I was not obligated to share but I said that it was what I had come for and so I would do it. It was then that my voice cracked and my eyes welled up with tears. Could I do it? Could I read what I had written outloud to people? Whether I could or not, I was going to. The first thing I wrote was more of my past and it led me to write a second page about my present. I wondered what the ladies would think. Here is what I wrote:


When Home Is Anything But

When home is anything but
most moments surrounded by endless, stiffling

When home is anything but
happy, a moment of joy here and there
quickly ended with heart, wrenching

When home is anything but
walking around on eggshells and broken glass

When home is anything but
what you imagined it would be
day in and day out
only wanting to be free.


And the second page:

No Where I’d Rather Be

That place, that space
where love, joy and laughter
fill the room until there is no place for air

Where friendship begins
the very moment you step in
and lingers long after you are gone
-waiting for your return

Where you are welcome
one and all, young and old, pretty – or not
simply because you are you

Where time stands still
seemingly so, although the world continues to go
it matters not when you are here

The place where I am free
to be me, to love you, to be loved by you
happy, peaceful, wonderful – Home.




…my heart was racing a million beats per  minutes when I finished. Instead of feeling afraid I felt exhilarated. I felt accomplished. I felt safe. Several thanked  me for sharing and said they enjoyed it. One lady leaned over and said, You are safe now right? I said yes, I left him in 2001. I am living the second part now.

Then the second prompt was read. It was also a poem about Fisherman’s Warf. I got hung up on the Canadian Geese line. I will share that writing in a new post….. ‘Canadian Geese’.


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