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Regarding Courage

I know what courage is…

I’ve sat in a room and watched my 14 year old hear that she has cancer.

I know what courage is…

I’ve watched children sit still as they’ve been poked, examined, and had to endure hard procedures.

I know what courage is…

I’ve seen parents show up at appointments knowing they were about to be given bad news.

I know what courage is…

I’ve heard Doctors make phone calls to tell people that treatment wasn’t working.

I know what courage is…

I’ve seen nurses who carry the weight of knowing that death is coming, enter a patient’s room with so much compassion and love, and then have to leave to go take care of another patient, while acting like nothing’s wrong.

I know what courage is…

I’ve seen loved ones and friends show up to say their good-byes knowing that they’d probably never see our girl again

I know what courage is…

I’ve heard my own child tell me, she wasn’t worried about what would happen to her after she died, but she was more worried about me and the great sadness that I would feel.

I know what courage is…

I’ve stood beside her casket as it was about to be lowered in the ground and had to get in my car and leave.

I know what courage is…

I’ve walked into her bedroom and smelled her smell, seen her things, read her journal, and somehow managed to walk back out knowing she’d never be in that space with me again.

I know what courage is…

And what I’ve concluded is that dying takes a lot of courage, but living takes more. 

It would be easier to curl up and die with her, but I won’t. 

Courage can’t be ordered, shared, or given.

It’s dangled out in front of us like a choice

And it has to be chosen-in the moment.

Its counter-part is fear.

It screams louder and looks more appealing,

But its fake appeasement only brings with it more foes.

So, every day, I’ll choose courage. 

Courage to feel, deal, and be real- with my grief.

I know what courage is, but sometimes, I wish I didn’t have too.

Kim Taylor

7/9/2021

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