I am practiced at living a compartmentalized life
each box separated from the other
so I can breathe and manage
in a challenging world
She was my second daughter
alive on this earth for 32 years
living with an individuality all the while
behind the bars of liver disease
She was born a sick baby
resisting to accept and learning to manage
her diseased body, in this world for a purpose
reminding me daily to appreciate what I got.
She was sassy and belligerent
tall and beautiful and marched
into this world with bravado
laying people flat once they found out.
We were warned the clock was ticking
the black cloud was looming
trouble was coming
to put our seat belts on
She was hilarious and troubled
loud and silenced
loyal to a fault and lonely
as she hung on to what she knew and denied
I learned my voice was hidden by my pain
advocating her needs with health professionals, educators,
insurance agents and anyone else who tried to
define what she needed based on their rules.
I surprised myself with the power of love as I
grew and changed, denied and accepted
the inevitability of her exit long before my time,
I discovered fierce courage.
My compartmentalized spaces became