We had you.

From time to time.

The truth is though, you were more of a dream.

Not a reality.

Of hers. Or mine.

Early on, we felt you so.

A few weeks into our new reality, we felt you go.

‘’We got it all John.’’

Cancer. No more.

I thought we were free.

Yea right.

Cancer. Horror.

I’ll never forget that moment.

The nurse came walking into the room.

Stage four kidney cancer it was not.

The actual diagnosis so much worse.

Devastation. Doom. And gloom.

You cried and told her, you didn’t want to go.

‘’I don’t want to leave my daughter.’’

The words, and the vision, devastated my soul.

Doctor after doctor, they knew what was to come. 

The cancer would come back.

 This time in four spots, not just one.

 Even then, you fought with all of your might.

 Your strength and courage made you my hero.

 Fear always the vision ahead of us.

 Yet somehow you smiled through the fright.

 Hope was occasional.

 Here and there.

 We had to search for it.

 The reality is if you search long enough, there is some version of hope.


 Miracles happen.

 We hoped for one.

 Until one day. When hope was truly done.

 I lost hope.

 Desperation won.

 Then something amazing happened.

 At my absolute lowest point.

 New hope had come.

 I felt it in my heart.

 I knew it in my mind.

 I’m not saying it was easy.

 But I grasped onto the new hope, as I was forced to leave the old hope behind.

 You were in a coma.

 I spoke to you.

 As I cried.

 I told you it was ok now. 

 And that you could go.

 In that moment, our love was larger than this world.

 It was soul to soul.

 I went from wanting to die.

 To determined to live.

 You made that happen.

 You refused to let me give in.

 ‘’No John, you are not going to give up.’’

 ‘’You will make it through this. I know that you can.’’

 It’s because of you Michelle, that even in the most hopeless of times.

 I am somehow, a hopeful man. 

*This piece originally appeared at betternotbitterwidower.com

John Polo

John Polo is a widower and step dad. He is also an author, blogger and speaker. John met the love of his life, Michelle, at a young age, and the two dated for a year in High School.  After eight years apart the two reunited and planned to spend their life together, alongside Michelle’s amazing daughter.  Two years after their reunion Michelle was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive cancer.  So rare in fact, that the two were told when you consider what type of cancer it was, and where it developed, there is only one case a year in the world of what Michelle had.  Michelle fought valiantly for two and a half years before taking her last breath on January 22, 2016. It was no easy feat, but while Michelle was in hospice John had a moment that would forever change him.  He was able to rid himself of the bitter, and find his better. John is currently a contributor to a handful of blogs and websites; including Good Men Project, Hope for Widows, The Grief Toolbox and The Mighty. He also serves on the Hope for Widows Advisory Board, is a speaker for the National Cancer Survivor’s Day Foundation and is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors. John has co-authored a journal entitled ‘Hurt to Healing, The Journal from Life to the Afterlife’ and his first book, entitled ‘Widowed: Rants, Raves and Randoms’ will be released on November 11th, 2017. John’s true passions are writing and speaking about love, loss and hope as he tries to help others honor their pain and see that a hopeful tomorrow can indeed exist. You can find John’s blog at www.betternotbitterwidower.com and on Facebook