At the beginning of 2014, a colleague and a friend was going through some rough.  He had developed throat cancer, and after months of struggling with it, he made the decision not to continue the treatment .

He was a humble, private man, quiet and self-sufficient, and he did not want a lot of hoo-hah about it.  He chose to go quietly into the long night.  I made this poem for him as a gift, to let him know I did understand.  A month or two later he was dead.  I honor him still….


So he told me:

The Big C has him by the throat

And he’s working on his exit strategy.

He doesn’t want it spread around,

No, no….

Can’t put up with the wails and trembling tears

Those awkward heart-moves

Of the other ones around the peripheries of his life.


He says he tried the torture they call “treatment.”

Spent his days with a blowtorch raging down his throat

And blisters blooming all over his face

As his body rebelled against

The indignities inflicted upon it.


So, he stopped…fuggetaboudit,

Not going there any more, he says.

(Not walking ’round with no hole in his neck neither.)

Not going to stand toe-to-toe with Old Man Grim,

Squaring off and fighting for

Every inch of space,

Every breath.


I did not give him speech number 647,

The one about life’s beauty and the virtues of never-say-die.

I did not offer up any of the cliché sweetness-and-light hope-candy thoughts,

All dipped in Nutella-flavored comfort.

He did not want that.


He was just standing there,

Shining in his acceptance,

A knight all suited up in his armor,

Ready to mount his snorting steed.

Clear and bright he was in that moment

As I stumbled around looking for words gone into hiding.


This was his gift to me,

That look into a mind blasted by the Dark.

I was breathless with the wonder of it.

And I thanked him.


Auwe, my braddah, auwe.

All respect to you…

As much as you can stand

As you face that Void and look into the deep places.

Go good, my braddah.

Keep looking for the Light.

I promise you, it is there….

picture credit: Rose From An Angel (Epsom – 4/10/09) by Richard Heaven via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]



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12 thoughts on “GO GOOD, MY BRADDAH

  1. What a beautiful poem for your friend. A brave decision not to continue with the treatment and face the transition into the next phase.
    I lost someone very close suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this year. One of the things I am most thankful for is that she never stared death in the face like this. She left, her spirit free, never having to make a decision to “let go”.
    It’s only those left behind who have to “let go”, find a new way forwards, towards the light.
    Lovely website and beautiful poetry.

    1. Hey Claire: Thank you for the visit and your comments. Please come again….

  2. This is a really beautiful poem and it was really nice of you to write this for him. It is really hard for a few people to accept that they have cancer but you brave friend accepted it and made the choice to go with the flow. It is really motivating but sad as well when you look at all the memories people leave behind you and go.

    1. Hey Shrey: Thanks for the visit and the comments. Please do come again….

  3. Hello Netta, thank you for sharing this beautiful poem for your friend. I salute your friend for being so brave. I am sure he already found the Light.

    Big C is indeed a traitor. We think we are healthy and all of a sudden it’s there creeping on us. This a good reminder to really take good care of our health.

    1. Julai, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please come again….

  4. Often the treatment for a disease is so bad that one should consider whether or not the treatment is worth it. We’re all going to pass away one day whether we have out illnesses treated or not. 

    Many religions teach that the afterlife is a much better place than this world. There’s all sorts of evidence of a better afterlife, such as near death experiences. There are even atheists who have had NDEs and, as a result, no longer believe that this world is all that there is.

    1. Thanks for commenting on the post, cpascal.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  5. Stephanie says:

    This warms my heart in so many different ways. I could feel the pain and comfort you were going through. Seeing a loved one fight for their life as well as not wanting to fight at all it’s just devastating. I hope you’re coping alright and I hope he’s in peace after all of the unwanted and heartbreaking suffering

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts and concern, Stephanie.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  6. Your poetic expression is truly captivating, and your thoughtful gesture in composing this piece for him is commendable. Acknowledging a cancer diagnosis can be a formidable challenge for some, yet your courageous friend not only accepted it but also embraced the journey ahead. 

    The juxtaposition of motivation and sorrow inherent in contemplating the memories people leave behind is both poignant and reflective. Your words capture the complex emotions surrounding this experience.

    1. Herman, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I sincerely appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

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