cystic fibrosis, art, 65roses
Creativity, Cystic Fibrosis, Self

The Elephant in the room #cf

The Elephant in the room

He’s been there since the day you were born but

we were unaware of him until

we received an unsolicited knock on the door.

He must have slipped in with those nurses

while we were off guard

Ten foot tall, grey and looming.

An unwanted gift is no gift at all.

We didn’t have room for his lumbering weight in our lives

and yet we have shifted to accommodate him.

We’ve moved house a few times

he’s crammed himself into our boxes

the removal men oblivious to his weight

every house far too small for one so huge

yet somehow the walls and rooms bend but do not break

He follows us to every park and every party

we try not to make eye contact with him, just glance through averted eyes

Sometimes he wakes me in the night, I feel him hovering

ominous in the dark,

resting his heavy foot on my chest

sometimes he wakes my husband too

his threatening murmurs coating him in sweat

He is the unease in the back of our minds. The silent knowing glances,

He is the unspoken sentences.

He is the tears we hold back

behind the smiles that say “everything is good”

He remains despite the pills that rattle in my handbag and your stomach

he remains despite the talismanic huffs and blows

and despite the way we beat your chest to try and scare it away

It still remains breathing heavily


in my ear.

I wonder if you can feel its trunk winding around you.

No amount of tears and screams and shouts will deter it.

Believe me I’ve tried.

he’s an old and unloved part of the furniture

or an ugly moulding that can’t be removed.

Even you have started to notice his presence

He is a heavy burden you’ll too soon have to carry alone

You accept him, unquestioningly for now.

But I dread the day you ask how we could have let him in


1 thought on “The Elephant in the room #cf”

  1. Really beautiful that, captures the feeling so well. I certainly remember becoming more and more aware of my CF as I grew up and what it meant, but couldn’t possibly know what it feels like from a parent’s perspective.

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