lucia maya and elizabeth blue spotlight

Photo: Jade Beall

Lucia Maya and her daughter Elizabeth Blue in 2012

It's the diagnosis that no one wants to receive, but one that more one and a half million Americans must face every year. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of an estimated sixteen hundred people each day. Voices for the Cure is an opportunity for some of the countless people whose lives and loved ones have been touched by cancer to share stories of courage, love...and hope.

lucia maya and elizabeth blue portrait

Photo: Jade Beall

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 would have been the 24th birthday of Elizabeth Blue. She perished from lymphoma in 2012, less than one year after her diagnosis.

Elizabeth was a writer and poet from a very young age, and she became a creative writing major in the Honors College at the University of Arizona. She is remembered as a strong and opinionated young woman, a feminist who was passionate about justice, beauty, and art.

Elizabeth's mother Lucia Maya is a teacher and healer who now considers it one of her passions to tell her daughter's story...

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Lucia's blog Luminous Blue presents many of Elizabeth's writings, including this poem:

Tucson: my one true love

{Something I’m working on as I drink a mint julep at 5pm in a garden of the sunny sunny city I have learned to call home.}

Elizabeth Blue 5.18.12

Tucson Arizona is unequivocally my one true love.

Do I doubt that I have truly loved various exes?

Yes.

I have never doubted, since I first left my Tucson, that I truly loved it in absolute terms.

Tucson cradles me, it kept me solitary when my youth, arrogance and zealousness could have destroyed potential connections and relationships I wasn’t ready to experience.

Tucson feeds me avocados at affordable prices, burritos at all hours of the day and night, fresh roasted coffee in the mornings and authentic tamales between 10am and 7pm.

Tucson serves me heavy mint juleps for $5 at 4 in the afternoon without judgement or expectation. Tucson drips hot fresh roasted espresso down my throat at 5am when I’m late for work.

Tucson loves me, Tucson employs me. Tucson reminds me there are still fights worth fighting and still strangers worth knowing whose eyes I’ve been catching for years.

Tucson kicks dust in my face when I am wrong and pushes me to exhaustion at 110 degrees in the middle of summer when I need to remember god and humility by jumping into a pool.

Tucson gave me a community of Tucsonians who have formed mini-colonies of our kind in strange cities so that when I travel I rarely feel alone.

Tucson taught me “yall” and country boys in crisp white shirts on Sundays. Tucson gave me a reason to believe in having a home town and speaking Spanish.

Tucson taught me that not all Texans are evil.

Tucson dragged me out of graves I’ve dug myself 100 times, claiming truths I was not ready to believe: That I’m still needed, that I’m still loved.

Tucson dragged me by my hair (or bald head), all dusty and tired, to friend’s front porches, handed me a beer and whispered ‘drink baby drink. It’ll make you feel better.’ And Tucson didn’t lie.

Tucson hugged me real close and told me it was time for me to leave but that it still thought I was beautiful. Then Tucson called me back home.

Tucson gave me a home, gave me a family I knew was finally real and didn’t and wouldn’t forget me. Tucson gave me my body back when I became a ghost. Gave me the best doctor in the country, a neighbor in my backyard, when I had cancer. Tucson fetched me, Tucson fed me, took care of me and kept me alive and gave me warm dusty backyards with ferns falling in my eyes when I had become accustomed to harsh steel and cities without eye contact.

Tucson whispered in my ears, late at night, when I thought I was all alone, all the stories I would ever need to tell to be a writer. Tucson hugged me close and left me fearless.

Tucson taught me a murderer’s kiss and the most tender feminine men I have ever known. Let me stomp on them and worry about punishment that was delivered later.

Tucson fed me when I was hungry, left me when I was spoiled and kicked me in the face when I got arrogant. Taught me the difference between cheap and easy.

Tucson gave me a few years of my life worth recording

that’s still recording.

That I think is still recording me.

May 18, 2012 - Elizabeth Blue