The Essence

Earlier, I referred to a poem I had written about a teacher who died in an automobile accident. In May, 1991, while unbeknownst to me, cancer was beginning to course through my body, I wrote a poem in tribute to Pam Weber, a teacher I had know for many years. The day of Pam's funeral was scheduled for a day I had planned to drive Jennifer and 3 of her friends to a water park in Myrtle Beach, SC, about a two hour drive. As I sat under the shade by the wave pool watching children scream with delight as artificial waves crashed against their young bodies, I wrote this poem:

On the Death of Pam Weber

You were like an egg,
Smooth and unruffled,
Delicate, yet strong.

A pure, creamy shell
Protected the sun-colored
yolk of your serenity.

Now the shell is broken,
Reminder that
Within us all
Life's essence lies,

Swirling, pulsing,
Ever poised to
Break its bounds,
Shatter its fragile shell,
Seep to other surfaces.

Pam, only your shell
Cracked and broke.

The essence of your life
Still swirls,
Seeping through the cracks,

Coloring the surfaces
Of all you touched
With the sun-colored yolk
Of your serenity.

Eve B. Coleman
May 31, 1991

Throughout my illness I have thought often of this poem in relationship to myself, beginning with my thoughts in the outer area of the radiologist's office awaiting the mammogram which would set a new direction for my life. My thoughts, then, were that my own essence did not lie in my breast; if I had to lose a breast so be it. Now my musings about my essence take on a deeper meaning as I ponder what lies ahead for life and beyond. If life is a journey, I wonder whether I am embarking on the last phase of it or, yet a new beginning. Whichever is the case, I wish for myself what my poem sang to Pam Weber--that it be only my shell which cracks and breaks and that the essence that is I, seep through the cracks of a broken shell and leave something behind, through the people I have touched and through the gathering in here of my songs, stars, and faces.


Symptom Management: Headaches and Seizures [Webinar]
by OncoLink Editorial Team
September 01, 2014