The Never Year

Mikayla 2010(800x600)In most of my blogs I write about the things that I’ve learned from my experience in the business world. Some of my blogs however are more personal and talk about things that I’ve learned about myself, and those close to me. This is one of those very personal blogs.

There is nothing more devastating than the diagnosis of cancer, or some other life-threatening disease in a child. However, I’ve also learned from my daughter Lesley, that there is nothing more powerful than the love and determination of a Mother trying to save her child from such an illness. Lesley and our son-in-law Steve went through this experience with their 15-month-old daughter…our granddaughter, Mikayla in 2010. As they dealt with the challenges of that year from the many blood tests and scans, through the multiple rounds of chemotherapy, tumor removal surgery, and more blood tests and scans, the word “Never” kept coming in to my head. “Never” expecting the diagnosis… ”Never” being so afraid… ”Never” feeling so helpless and angry… “Never” working so hard… but also ”Never” feeling so much love, …and “Never”, “Never”, “Never” giving up.

Mikayla 2011 (800x600)

So, 2010 became our family’s “Never Year” and I was inspired to write this poem to capture my daughters experience and to honor her for the power of her love and fierceness of her spirit. And now, 3 years later, with Mikayla cancer-free, and enjoying life as a typical 4-year old, I thought perhaps it was time to share the story and the poem.

My hope is that it provides comfort and inspiration to the many other families experiencing their “Never Years.”

The Never Year

Never hurt so much or felt such fear.
Never slept so little or cried such tears.
Never been so angry or felt so wronged.
Never had to be the one that’s strong.
Never worked so hard, or been so tough.
Never felt such joy in the simple stuff.
Never learned so much I didn’t really want to know.
Never been so many places I didn’t really want to go.
Never knew such love of family and friends.
Never doubted the power of prayer in the end.
Never been so blessed, and as you might expect,
Never want to remember, but never will forget.

Dedicated to Mikayla, Lesley & Steve

By Don McAlister, proud and thankful Dad and Papa
28 November 2010

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About donmcalister

I retired at the end of 2011, after a 39 year career in the Aerospace industry as an Propulsion Engineer, Engineering Manager and Program Manager. My professional interests and expertise is in the areas of Program, Risk and Knowledge Management. I'm passionate about life-long learning involving a wide variety of topics and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge and ideas with those who are interested. My primary hobby is performing jazz music. I'm a jazz keyboard player, and vocalist, and I'm on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Simi Valley Jazz Club, which is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of jazz music from the '20's through the 60's.
This entry was posted in Heroes, Life, Love & Courage, poetry, That's Life. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Never Year

  1. Rick Ladd says:

    You scared me for a moment. Thanks for sharing. So glad you could joyously.

  2. Stuart & Carmen says:

    In going through such emotional and trying experiences we learn a lot about humanity and ourselves. We’re very happy for your blessings Don. A very happy new year to you and your family!

  3. Betty says:

    Don, I am so happy to hear that Mikayla is cancer-free. Your poem is beautiful and left me in tears as I remembered my mother’s struggle with cancer and our emotional state during that time. Take care!

  4. Michelle. says:

    Such a beautiful poem, and very close to home. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 too and thankfully things are going well at the moment. Life will never be the same again, at the moment things are still very difficult for her but she is here and getting on with her life! Cancer is something you think always happens to others, but when it’s your child it rips your heart out and i have lost count of the times i wished i could swap places with her. I would not wish this on any family, and only the ones that go through this horrible nightmare really understand the impact it has on just about everything in your life. The future is still very scary, but we are so thankful to be at this point. We too have a new appreciation for life, for simple things like sunsets, family days out and laughter in the house again. Your poem really has captured everything, and i wish you and your family much love x

  5. Marie burdick says:

    Don. Thank God all is well now. Best wishes to you and your family.

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