My Journey through Cancer with Art

As a nurse I have had many experiences relating to cancer while caring for the sick, the suffering, the dying, the recovering and the cured. I have counselled, sympathised and supported their friends and families. But none of these experiences had the impact on me, as did the death of my father of cancer in 1992. He was in England and I was unable to reach him in time to even say goodbye. Following his death I entered my first work in the Daffodil Awards relating to the effects of his death. The painting “
There, Back and Beyond” expressed my journey through guilt, sadness, loss, happiness and relief and coming to terms with his death.

Through the years I also have seen friends and family undergo treatment for cancer and I was inspired to make another work a collage of photographs stressing the devastating effects that treatment can have. I have very long straight hair and was prompted to make this work as I admire the courage of the many cancer sufferers who have lost their hair as a result of their treatment.
“Neither Hair or There”

The Puzzle

Last year my third entry called “The Puzzle” was a collage of pieces of jigsaw that didn’t fit together. My confusion at seeing the suffering of people and not understanding why, prompted me to make this work in the hope that one day with research and treatment some pieces of the puzzle will start to fit into place.

Neither Hair or There

This year my piece is called “Solace In Sky and Sea” because again I have taken a personal journey with cancer. I suffered some dizzy spells and following test and weeks of fear and worry was relieved to receive good news… No tumours. Then a call from my daughter telling me she had a tumour took me through an even worse journey of fear doubt, shock, denial, despair, and eventually utter relief … the tumour was benign. But not so fortunate my friends in England, They are husband and wife and have both been diagnosed with cancer and are separated at present in different hospitals undergoing treatment. The puzzle still exists for me. How can I be so fortunate?

Through these journeys of the unknown I have looked around me and at nature. I watched the clouds like life ever changing, calm and soft and beautiful one minute and angry tumultuous and heavy the next. I have taken solace from the clouds the changes of formations, moods and depths and have painted them as metaphors for the unexpected, the unpredictable and the uncertainty. The shells symbolize something still beautiful, more secure and solid and yet delicate as life itself.

How difficult it could be to travel through these times without a means to outwardly express how I feel. How fortunate I am that I am able to put my emotions into art.

The daffodil day awards has given me that opportunity and hope many others who have travelled this road have found the same consolation.