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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: My Cups Overflowed
By Robyn Burke


I watched Rick’s car pull out of the driveway. I was finally alone.

In our bedroom, the sheets were tangled and the comforter had slipped down to the floor. The room was awash in morning sunlight and my cat, oblivious to my presence, was stretched out in its direct path.

I took in the scene but felt no compulsion to neither make the bed nor climb back under its covers. I closed my bedroom door instead, where a full length mirror hung on the other side. As my eyes met my reflection I realized I had been holding my breath and with a whoosh, let it go.

Dark green eyes with flecks of gold gazed back at me, framed by tousled hair. Hair that had its days numbered once the chemo began. My robe slipped open revealing the over sized t-shirt, one of Ricks, that covered a part of my body I had been trying desperately to ignore for the last several days.

The bandages has been removed and the surgery site had healed nicely, the doctor assured me but I had had no interest in examining what was no longer there. The cancer that had invaded my breast tissue had been eradicated and in its place resided scars. What had once boasted a set of perky ‘ta-ta’s” as my gal pals and I referred to them, was now a barren empty space that I didn’t want to look at. Until today.

I was alone for the first time in several days. Rick had gone back to work after taking time off to be with me. Frankly I was relieved to have him go. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my husband but too much time together, when one part of the couple is hovering, gets a little wearing after awhile.

And besides, what I needed to do, I needed to do alone.

I shrugged off the robe and hesitated. Gritted my teeth and gently eased the t-shirt over my head. My eyes never left my face in the reflection. Trembling and uneasy, I slowly made my eyes travel down my body, to my upper chest. I swallowed hard.

No matter how much I had tried to prepare myself for this, it was still gut twisting to see this part of my body that had once been something I considered a valuable asset, reduced to a what now resembled a photo I‘d seen of the moon’s surface.

Steeling my emotions, I forced myself to scrutinize the site. Forced my hand to touch it. Sank to my knees and allowed the tears to flow.

I allocated exactly five minutes for my pity party before I stood up, wiping the tears off my face with Rick’s t-shirt .Breath. Focus. Count.

One. The cancer had been detected early. Two. The doctors were confident they had removed all of it. Three. I would live. Four. I paused to think. Aah! I would never suffer back and shoulder aches again from the weight of what my bras were packing. Five. My husband was much more of a leg man. Likes my caboose too. My thoughts getting cocky, I turned to admire firm skin. Six. Tank tops! They would fit so much better and summer just around the corner! Seven…

I was smiling now. Mission accomplished. Suddenly an old song popped into my head. “Like the woman at the well I was seeking, for things that could not satisfy, and then I heard my Savior speaking; Draw from my well that never shall run dry. Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, come and quench this thirsting in my soul…”*

When my sister and I were kids we took this beautiful country gospel song about the woman at the well and desecrated it with the twisted humor of pre-teens. “Fill our cups Lord, we lift them up Lord” we would giggle, as we boosted near nonexistent bumps towards heaven.

Later to my chagrin I’d found myself “blessed” with more than I really wanted or needed. “My cup overfloweth” I would think as I tried in vain time and again to make buttons on a cute blouse meet and connect.

“Looks like you’ve brought me full circle Lord”. Tears threatened again but I didn’t try to hold them back. These were tears of gratitude for all He had brought me through. I was alive! I was loved! My cup was full… indeed my cup overflows!

*Fill My Cup, Lord, by Richard Blanchard

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This article has been read 688 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst06/11/09
From serious to humorous to tender and back to serious, I was pulled into this intimate experience with your exquisite story telling ability. That song invaded my mind as well this past week. I'm glad you were able to do something amazing with it!
Beth LaBuff 06/12/09
Your story of heart-break has an uplifting message of hope. This is very well written.
Nancy Gustafson06/15/09
I loved your story's positive attitude, its finding hope after such a loss. I know that because of your faith, which comes through clearly, this story will help women who have experienced the trauma of losing their breasts.
Anita van der Elst06/18/09
I am soooooo proud of you, sister! A well-deserved win. Congratulations!!!
Emily Gibson06/18/09
a perfect take on the topic, and done with humor and grace.
Bryan Ridenour06/18/09
Congrats on your entry placement. Very well done!
Carol Slider 06/18/09
Nice touches of humor in the midst of trauma and sorrow! I'll never think of the song "Fill My Cup, Lord" in the same way again...:) Congratulations!
Robyn Burke06/18/09
Thank you everyone for your encouragement and support. A special thanks to the green eyed gal who inspired me on this one.
Catrina Bradley 06/18/09
This is a tear jerker! Wow, I'm drained after reading this emotional roller coaster. I love how she "counted her blessings" in the face of loss. Great job, and congrats on your Editor's Choice award!!!
Eliza Evans 06/26/09
What a bold, tender bit of writing. Well done.

And congratulations!! :)