Your poems: Jo
Dying Matters was sent a poem by Chris Davies which was written by his wife, Jo, who died from a brain tumour in 2007 aged 33. The couple have a son, Harvey, who was five when Jo died.
Jo composed the poem during sessions at the Trimar Hospice in Weymouth, Dorset, now part of Weldmar Hospicecare Trust. She wrote it to help friends and family better understand how she was coping with cancer.
Her poem won national recognition: it was used to introduce an evening celebrating World Hospice and Palliative Care Day at the Tate Gallery, London, in 2006, and has also been used by a specialist care team working with nurses in Leeds to help them understand the needs patients.
Chris has very kindly given us permission to publish Jo's poem.
But Remember This
I was created perfectly
But fate turned to me
And said, I have deceived you,
Your time is up, now see:
Childish dreams, fragile and weak at the seams.
Grown up plans, crazy trips to far off lands
Where I'd love to be good, but rather be bad.
What's inside my head, is driving me mad,
Hiding swollen eyes and a wounded pride.
The best years of my life denied;
For all my wild ideas
Taunt me now. Filled with tears
The flesh is weak, the mind saddened and slow.
Life goes on and round we go.
Words can't kill these things, I know
But man can't live on hope alone
It can be cut, all that is grown.
I'll cross the sea for a brighter world
Yet led by Angels, with life's treasures to behold:
A daughter, a sister, a mother, a wife,
Time has slowly been twisting the knife.
There's a sadness in my eyes -
No-one guessed, no-one tried.
Some people think I'll be far away,
Some know, I'm with them every day.
But remember this...
I am blessed; I have loved and been loved.
Some friends have come and gone;
Ones who have lied, who said they cared
Left me hurt, left me scorned and scared
But the good ones have stayed, and played, and
Have been inspirational to this frightened little girl.
Bless the day you came into my life.
I'm looking out for Angels,
Just trying to find some peace.
Is this the right place to stay?
Please, my wings, fly me away
I know Heaven sent and Heaven stole. But Angels
Lead me to some peaceful land that I cannot find inside my head;
The present like I've never seen it...
Is this the right place to rest, and stay?
Please let my wings fly me away.
Always Heaven is a place nearby.
Heaven knows I'm ready to be found,
So there's no need to say 'goodbye'.
Jo made a film, with the help of Catherine Batten of Rosetta Life, to be shown at her funeral. It includes her reading 'But Remember This'. The film starts with Jo's monthly trip to Poole Hospital for chemotherapy, followed by Jo's poem with stills from her life, ending with shots of her son, friends, family and Jo getting her chemo.
Below is another of Jo’s poems, used as the epitaph on her gravestone.
I'm scared of being forgotten
Remind my son of me,
Remind him how much we chuckled,
Of how much we giggled,
Of how much we laughed,
And of how much we roared.