Fierce Courage

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