How do you stand so tall?

How do you walk so proud?

How do you smile easily?

How do you laugh so beautifully?

How do you comfort others?

How do you shine with such grace? With such class? With such dignity?

I use to ask my wife those questions.

The ultimate Cancer Warrior.

She fought so hard. So bravely.

With a spirit that left the World in awe.

And now, I’m asking you.

You:  The Cancer Warrior.

How do you do it?

To say that I admired her, well, that would be the ultimate of understatements.

To say that I admire you, well, that would be of the same.

She amazed me.

You amaze me.

Her spirit.

Your spirit.

Her grit.

Your grit.

Her strength.

Your strength.

Her heart.

Your heart.

Her fight.

Your fight.

I was in awe of her.

I am in awe of you.

But, with that said, I do have a confession to make. 

I know.

She told me.

My wife, that is.

She told me she was tired, of standing so tall.

She told me she was tired, of putting on a brave face.

She told me she was tired, of being so strong.

So, I know.

I know you’re tired, of the battle. The battle you never asked for.

I know you’re tired, of the fear. The fear you never thought you would face.

I know you’re tired, of the admiration. The admiration you never sought.

I know you’re tired, of being “the person with cancer”.

I know.

So, I say this:

When you can, stand tall.

When you can, walk proud.

When you can, smile easily.

When you can, laugh beautifully.

When you can, comfort others.

When you can, shine with grace, class and dignity.

And, when you can’t: don’t.  

Be vulnerable.

Be tired. 

Be weak. 

Be you.

You are a hero.

And your star will never fade.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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 and on Facebook