Lily: Living up to Her Name-Acrostic

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Laura P. Salas is hosting the round-up:

Creating an acrostic for a poetry assignment this week got me remembering another acrostic—one I composed this past April.

A first grader—daughter of a former student of my husband’s—was dying of a rare form of cancer. Besides the connection I felt through my husband, I felt my own connection with the child. As a kindergartner, she had won her school’s poetry contest. (Not that I ever won that distinction, but loving poetry from my youngest years—that would be something we had in common.)

Given the child’s tenacious response to her cancerous plight, the watchword for her fundraising campaign was fittingly based on the words of another poet:

shakes p for lily croopped (2)William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In response to the heart-wrenching news of the child’s Easter Monday “death” (Her family prefers to think of her release from the pain and infirmity that held her captive—free to be forever joyously alive with God.), I set about to write an acrostic in her honor.

The resultant poem “frightened” me—in an awe-struck way–in that the name-acrostic seemed larger than life—the life of hers that just had passed peacefully into eternity.

How poignantly the poem proclaimed what had been the child’s defining response in the face of adversity…As if her given name, the name she answered to for three months’ short of seven years, held the secret of who she truly was (in contradiction to the apparent namesake-connection with a delicate flower), as well as what was heart-breakingly, and equally inspiringly, to become her legacy in the ongoing fight against childhood cancer…

 lily screen grab (2)



If you feel inspired to learn more about this purple-loving little Shakespearean protégé, here are some links:


19 responses to “Lily: Living up to Her Name-Acrostic

  1. What a beautiful acrostic for a beautiful little girl. Hugs to you and to all who knew Lily.

  2. This made me cry…but also filled me with strength. Thank god for fighters and for poetry. Thank you for sharing…

  3. It’s just not right for a child to leave so soon. This is a beautiful poem for your friend, Lily. I’m glad you shared the story and her connection to poetry.

    • Amen. I give her parents a great deal of credit and praise for doing what most parents (understandably) do not wish to do–have an autopsy and donate the tumor for research. Because her particular kind of childhood cancer is so deadly and so rare, being able to do that kind of research is key. Her mother wrote a post about the first day of school that was just heartbreaking. (Lily has a twin brother, now in 2nd grade, who still needed a lunch made, still needed a new backpack, still got on the school bus, that passed by the house, leaving with one empty seat.) I pray the researchers find a cause & cure. Soon! Thank you so very much for taking time to read and to reflect. I appreciate your kind words very much! God bless you!

  4. Lily is one of the sweet angels in heaven who sits watching the world fight the fight of childhood cancer. In her honor, I lift up prayers for all the children who are fierce in their fight. One of our young adults lost her fierce fight several years ago and we still honor her journey today. Thanks for letting me recall the wonderful memories.

  5. Thank you for sharing the story behind your poem. Lily was indeed a fierce fighter. The acrostic was a powerful way of showing how one so small and so young made a big impact on all the lives around her.

    • And continues to do so….thank you so much for reading and for sharing your reflection. It’s true…The efforts to keep her alive enlivened those who care(d). God bless you for taking time to read & to care! Thank you!

  6. Celebrating Lily today, and her family – thank you for your lovely poem.

    • I still shake my head in awe-disbelief every time I think of what “Lily” acrostically spells. Thank you so much for taking time to read/respond, and moreso for thinking of her and her family. She has a twin brother…God bless you!

  7. Your description of the first day of school was heartrending; how poignant that Lily has a twin. In our community, a teen twin was lost to suicide, and that seems unfathomable for the one left behind.
    Lily’s parents seem like they are doing a wonderful job of honoring her and helping others.

    • Bittersweet; one still left; one constant reminder of the one gone. Biggest challenge for both parents, I imagine, is to protect (& not be able to fully protect) the one who is left…And the ones who are left, I imagine, wonder if their fate will be the same–if they will be next. I had a difficult student h.s. student once (Junior); didn’t understand him till graduation when I learned his beloved older sister–the smarter/”better”one–had died and his parents pulled away from him; like survivor guilt impoised by the grieving parents…Death doesn;t end some relationships–only makes relationships more complicated–esp. in the case of twins. God bless the twin you know and the one I know. Poor parents! Thank you for caring…

  8. I’m moved. Thank you.

    • Thank you for taking time to read/respond. If you ever saw the look of joy on that child’s swollen face, with one eye so affected by the cancerous growth, you would ask how she could still be so full of life, so full of joy. What an amazing little girl. I pray the tumor that took her life reveals the secret of how to cure that cancer for all the other children in the world….God bless you! …Now…on to your post…

  9. It must be so very hard on the parents. Thank ou for sharing her with us!

  10. What a beautiful little girl, inspiring so many. Heartache is such a bitter-sweet thing.

  11. Okay. If I only teared up a little at your post, they broke free and flowed when you wrote about her twin on the first day of school.

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