THE STORY BEHIND THE PAINTING OF THE BLUE LADY

THE

THE DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER ART PROGRAM

OFFERS ARTISTS THE VENUE AND VISIBILITY TO SHOW THEIR WORK TO A COMMUNITY OF MEDICAL STAFF, HOSPITALITY, ADMINISTRATIVE, AND ALL THE SUPPORTING EMPLOYEES AT THE MEDICAL CENTER. THAT OPPORTUNITY STANDS ALONE IN IMPORTANCE.

THE ART PROGRAM OFFERS A DEEPER MISSION. IT OFFERS PATIENTS, THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS TO MOMENTARILY STEP AWAY FROM ALL THINGS MEDICAL. I KNOW BECAUSE MY HUSBAND AND I WERE ITS RECIPIENT.

THIS IS MY STORY

IN NOVEMBER OF 2000, DARTMOUTH HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER BECAME THE SECOND HOME FOR MY HUSBAND AND ME AFTER HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH ESOPHAGEAL CANCER OUR MOST TRAVELED PATH WAS THE NORRIS COTTON CANCER CENTER CORRIDOR. IT WAS NOT JUST ANY RUN OF THE MILL HOSPITAL CORRIDOR.

THE ROTATING ART GALLERY ALONG THE CANCER CENTER’S CORRIDOR ALWAYS GAVE US A DIFFERENT FOCUS.

OFTEN MY HUSBAND SAID, “YOUR PAINTINGS SHOULD HANG HERE.” I CHUCKLED. WE DIDN’T SPEAK ABOUT CANCER.

IN JANUARY 2003 CAME THE WORDS NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR

WE ARE SORRY TO TELL YOU THAT YOUR CANCER HAS RETURNED. THERE IS NO CURE. WE CAN OFFER YOU A COMPREHENSIVE PALLIATIVE CARE PROGRAM TO SUPPORT QUALITY OF LIFE AND KEEP THE CANCER AT BAY WHILE YOU MEET STATED GOALS.

“I WILL FIGHT”, MY HUSBANDS IMMEDIATE RESPONSE.

WE ENTERED THE PROGRAM. FOR THE NEXT FIVE MONTHS, THE PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM WAS AS GOOD AS ITS PROMISE TO KEEP THE CANCER AT BAY. THEIR CARE HELPED US PREPARE TO TRAVEL HOME TO SWITZERLAND ONCE MORE. WHEN WE RETURNED HOME, WE JUMPED RIGHT IN TO PREPARATIONS FOR OUR YOUNGEST SON’S WEDDING.

THE JOYOUS JUNE 2003 WEDDING CELEBRATION, AND THEN,

CANCER STEPPED UP ITS AGGRESSION. OUR TOP PRIORITY BECAME COMFORT.

ONCE AGAIN THE PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM’S CARE AND COMPASSION SUCCESSFULLY MANAGED PAIN. DID AS PROMISED.

ROOM 107 – OUR LAST HOME SUPPORTED BY

THE PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM AND FLOOR NURSING STAFF, WELCOMED ME TO STAY IN MY HUSBAND’S ROOM. THEY SHOWED ME WHERE TO FIND A COT, THE KITCHEN, AND TO ASK FOR WHATEVER WE NEEDED. NOW OUR HOME, WE WELCOMED FAMILY AND FRIENDS, TOLD STORIES, SANG, HAD A PICNIC, AND CELEBRATED LIFE WITH MY HUSBAND. LOVE FILLED OUR HOME.

ONE MORNING, I DIDN’T FEEL VERY BRAVE FOR WHAT WAS COMING

MY HUSBAND SAID TO ME, “IT IS GOOD FOR YOU TO GO OUTSIDE AND WALK THE GARDENS.” I DID.

THERE I MET THE BLUE LADY SCULPTURE. SHE STOOD WITH

HER HANDS PLACED ON HER HIPS AND HER CHIN-UP. HER STRONG STANCE DREW ME IN. I SPOKE TO HER NOT CARING IF ANYONE NOTICED. “YOU TOO SEEM TO STAND AGAINST TROUBLE THREATENING YOUR WORLD.”

AS I SAID THAT I REMEMBERED MY HUSBAND’S ONE REQUEST OF ME WHEN WE BEGAN THIS CANCER JOURNEY.

“YOU MUST BE BRAVE.”

  

I COULD NOT CHANGE WHAT WAS COMING, BUT I WALKED AWAY

CARRYING THE VISUAL SYMBOL OF COURAGE PORTRAYED IN THE SCULPTURE’S STANCE, I RETURNED TO MY HUSBAND WHOSE COURAGE AND FAITH HAD ONLY GREW STRONGER, AS HIS DAYS HERE WITH ME GREW SHORTER.

I HUNG ONTO GOD’S PROMISE TO GIVE ME THE WORDS TO WALK WITH MY HUSBAND ON OUR LAST CLIMB TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF THE RUBLIHORN, OUR SPECIAL SWISS ALP, WHERE HE CLIMBED HIGHER INTO GOD’S HANDS AND I DESCENDED TRUSTING GOD TO KEEP ME FROM FALLING.

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THE INVITATION TO EXHIBIT MY WORK IN THE 2015 SUMMER ART EXHIBITION

THE ART DIRECTOR HUNG TWENTY-SIX OF MY PAINTINGS; INCLUDING THE BLUE LADY AND THIS STORY, I THINK IT WOULD BE MY HUSBAND’S TURN TO SMILE.

THE DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER PURCHASED, THE BLUE LADY PASTEL PAINTING AND MY STORY. SHE HANGS ON THE WALL IN THE NORTH ENTRANCE TO THE CANCER CENTER. 

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THE ART PROGRAM SERVED ITS DEEPER PURPOSE DURING OUR JOURNEY THROUGH MY HUSBAND’S CANCER TREATMENTS BY OFFERING US MOMENTS TO STEP AWAY FROM ALL THINGS MEDICAL. IT WAS AND IS A THOUGHTFUL AND COMPASSIONATE EXTENSION THEIR COMPREHENSIVE CARE.

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 ART WITH PURPOSE, FOR BEAUTY, FOR JOY, AND THOUGHT THROUGH VISUAL EXPRESSION, AND FOR A DEEPER PURPOSE – FOR HEALING.

The photograph is the Rublihorn, the Alp on the right. A special Alp located in Saanen, Switzerland.

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