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BRAVE COUNTDOWN by Susie Clevenger

My oldest daughter, Dawn, is one of the strongest women I know. She has battled illness for years, but has never let it define her…

 She was diagnosed with several auto immune diseases which later proved to be wrong. I have lost track of the number of surgeries she has endured as physicians searched to find answers.

On November 4th, 2008 she faced yet another surgery. She was diagnosed with kidney cancer and her left kidney had to be removed. It was so difficult for my husband and me to watch her face another painful hurdle. She had gone through so much and we couldn’t believe she would now have to confront cancer.

Dawn never told us what was going through her mind prior to her surgery or on the day she entered the operating room. She was our comforter when she was the one needing comfort. Her calming spirit infused ours with courage and faith she had angels around her to protect and guide the surgeon’s hand. It was in that moment a divine presence filled each of us with peace to sustain us through this new trial and the days ahead.

Watching Dawn face her Goliaths has given me the courage to confront my own adversaries of fear and self-worth. 

 ~I truly believe my child is an angel sent to show the world how to respond with strength and grace when life hits you with its worst.~ 

My spiritual journey is no longer just one of lifting up requests, but listening to that still, small voice that brings wisdom and peace.

Dawn is often the muse that guides my pen to write poetry.  I wrote the following poem in response to the memory of how strong she was that November day.
'Celestial' by Katarina Silva

Brave Countdown

The morning sun doesn’t know
I will have to be brave.
It rises in the east in ordinary rays.

Another knife has been sharpened
with the letters of my name.
I dread the count to oblivion.

Positive lost its sunny spin
when carvings of flesh
revealed the dreaded word, cancer.

White light stares at me
with its glare of anonymity,
my name already forgotten in sterile walls.

Count down from one hundred.
I don’t wish to mumble in syllables.
Five is a better place to start.

5  (B)
4  (R)
3  (A)
2  (V)
1  (E)

©Susie Clevenger 2013
~Photography by the author~

Susie Clevenger is an author, poet, and photographer. She recently published her first poetry collection, Dirt Road Dreams. She is a member of the Academy of American poets, a coordinator for the New World Creative Union, and a member of the online writing community, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Her work has been featured online in The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, The Brinks Gallery, and The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project. You can connect with Susie on her website here and find her book on Amazon here, or find Susie on facebook here

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. I have goosebumps and the feeling of tears beginning as I read this special tribute from a Mother to her daughter,,,

  2. Your daughter sounds like an amazing woman, just like her mother! So glad you shared this touching and heartfelt poem. Wishing your daughter well as she faces her challenges, and wishing you strength as you stand by her side.

    1. Thank you Ginny. She is such an amazing, beautiful woman. She is doing really well. Today, February 21st, his her 39th birthday!

  3. Beautiful! I like the countdown.

  4. I wish you all strength and healing through your difficult times.

  5. Such beauty in your words and the love emanates for Dawn. Prayers for her always and for all of you to have God's strength, love, mercy and grace with you.

  6. I am feeling so many emotions right now from your poem that I am wreck. I would like to submit a poem.

    1. Moon, I know you understand this too well. By all means please submit a poem.

  7. Beautiful, Susie. You are both brave.


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