Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

As the month "honoring" breast cancer (as if it deserves to be honored) comes to a close and all that pink fades into the distance and out of the sunset, I want to share one more poem with you. This one has been a favorite of my readers over the years and they tell me that it can apply to any situation, not just breast cancer:

No Lifeguard on Duty

it is difficult
when one is drowning
to wave to the people
on shore

one wants to be
friendly, of course,

but perhaps it is
more important
to keep

(excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness)

I hope this poem encourages you to take care of yourself – not in a selfish way, but in a loving way so that you can sing the song you came to sing in this world.

2 Responses

  1. Hello Lois….About 15 years ago I heard you speak in Portland and bought FINE BLACK LINES, which you inscribed for me. I’ve read and re-read it many times. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, again in 1997 and with another type of cancer in 2007. I am happy to report that I am doing well and thrilled that you are too. I was delighted to find your blog and Facebook page this afternoon. I was searching among my books for something and pulled yours off the shelf, after not looking at it for awhile. This prompted me to “google” you. “No Lifeguard on Duty” is my favorite poem of yours. I had it on a post-it above my desk for years. What a pleasure to connect with you today and receive your gift of encouragement. For, although I am well, I have recently lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer and just found out that another friend is sturggling with bone cancer. I am so pleased to add your blog to my favorities bar. I will be in touch with you. How great that you have started blogging at 81!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *