Holding Her Smile in His Heart Forever


A devoted husband and caregiver shares the poetry he wrote for his beloved wife, Mary Lee, after doctors gave her 18 to 36 months to live.

My name is Guy Marini and I am the caregiver for my wife Mary Lee, whom I lovingly refer to as “my ML."

My ML has Multiple sclerosis, end-stage COPD and stage 4 colorectal cancer that has metastasized to her lungs. She has been given 18 to 36 months to live.

I have been writing some poetry to express my feelings about her/our situation. I have shared these poems with family, friends and some people who write poems locally. The response has been very positive. I offer them to the CURE audience. My hope is that they will help others who are going through similar troubles.

18 to 36 Months

18 to 36 months they say with eyes downcast

That’s how long we expect her to last

They mean well, they are learned, but do they know

The force of her mind and the warmth of her glow

18 to 36 months…the words tumble out with sadness

How to go on without constant madness

They look down, study their hands…and wait

She holds my hand, smiles softly…expressing no complaint

18 to 36 months…they mean so well

It’s time not to dwell

On treatment, false hope and regret

Enjoy life, stay strong…while sadness begets

18 to 36 months…they really don’t know

The fight in her heart, the strength of her soul…and so

Thank you for the prediction and well-intended words

But for now she will be one with the birds

That sing outside her window as we enter spring and fly

In search of cloudless sky and bring

Smiles to our faces providing sweet music to our glorious kingdom

As they enjoy freedom

18 to 36 months is a guess that gives her pause

And drives her to push the laws

Of medicine, trite statistics and the like

As she prepares for a long, tough fight.

For in her is the heart of a tigress

Who amazes in beauty, strength and kindness

18 to 36 months…the writer doesn’t agree

Because he has seen her so beautiful and free

Of worry and care with a deep well of feeling

She is one who keeps me believing

18 to 36 months…just numbers, a guide post…a guess

But not imagined to be true by me or my lovely lioness

Holding Your Smile in my Heart Forever

I will hold your smile in my heart forever.

Forgetting that spark of light…never.

Your soul emerges in its beauty with force.

If I couldn’t see it I would be filled with remorse.

Your bright eyes beam, your nose twinkles and your cheeks bloom.

People look in wonder as you fill the room with your special

warmth…joy…and soon.

You look at me with your soft, warm smile and I realize I have fallen for

you yet again while my heart is filled with love and admiration.

So, I must keep you with me as your touch overwhelms me like a swirling


I will hold your smile in my heart forever…

Forgetting your love force…never.

Our Quandary

Sickness ravages her body and not her mind.

Her will is strong and unable to break the bind.

How to live…how to die…how to be?

How to quiet your mind to rest soundly.

Her beauty explodes…her eyes soft and blue.

Her touch softer than a mild spring dew.

I dream that she will be well somehow and the reality makes my head bow.

She lives day by day by simply conserving her strength.

I pray for her recovery and a life vision with breadth.

And she struggles and I love her.

What to do? How to be and wish it were

True that she can recover and thrive.

But for now, I try to help her survive.

Hoping for that smile…that light in her sweet face.

And I feel everything I need to feel in her warm embrace.

Is This What Dying Feels Like?

She asks — “Is this what dying feels like?”

I’m struck by the question.

Her face is sad, somber…eyes no longer bright.

We stare at each other…no answer…only reflection.

“How could I know?” I respond.

“Do you feel weaker…hopeless?”

I wish for that mythical magic wand.

She says…”I’m exhausted, empty, restless.

No energy, motivation or will to go on.”

I tell her — “Your loved ones need you here.”

Is that the right thing to say…who knows…it’s with us she belongs.

She smiles broadly and tells me she holds me dear.

What to do but strive to make the best.

I hurt…I’ve cried…but I don’t know how she feels.

Maybe she wants to go her eternal rest.

Her life force slowly draining while my heart reels.

How does it feel to be dying?

Haunting, loving, surreal and trying.

Death and Beauty

She is slowly dying yet more beautiful than ever.

Her body wilts and she sighs with weakness.

Yet her eyes still sparkle like glowing ember.

And she reaches to embrace me with loving kindness.

Some how she has a renewed dignity.

While living her life in pure futility,

I cannot fathom her beauty as she fades away.

It’s not understandable yet I observe it every day.

Is my heart changing my perception?

Her growing beauty my hearts reflection?

I look for an answer and wonder —

Some how it feels like our love is more tender…fonder.

Overwhelmed by the future and the too soon to arrive loss.

Is her growing beauty just another one of life’s agonizing twists?

Or love’s final beautiful, amazing gift.

Sweetness and Sadness

Sweetness and sadness visit us daily,

There are tears…but, frankly, rarely,

Sadness comes in the way of no energy and sighs,

Sweetness comes with the sparkle in her eyes.

Sweetness and sadness visit us all the time,

At times we forget…know we are lucky…it’s sublime,

Then darkness rolls in without warning as she gasps for air.

In the next moment…any dreams of the future are laid bare.

Sweetness and sadness never leaves us alone,

Both have their place in our lives and home,

Sadness as her hands tremble and shake,

Sweetness…when another kiss from her I take.

Sweetness and sadness…how does this make sense,

As life goes from joy to being meaningless,

Sweetness…our love continues to grow,

Sadness…we hope the days will pass slow.

Sweetness and sadness…you need to go on,

And work extra hard to be strong,

The sadness is bearable because our hearts are one,

And we know the sweetness will never, ever be over and done.

Guy Marini, in addition to being his wife’s caregiver, writes children’s books. You can visit his website at www.supernonnobooks.com and he invites readers to connect with him on LinkedIn.

For my ML, from Guy.

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