The threads of past exhibits continue to be sewn in and out of my current artwork. During ArtPrize 2011, Metro Health Hospital invited me to portray Kara’s cancer story. So I created Braving the Wind which tells Kara’s remarkable story of determination and hope after her reoccurring battles with cancer.
This letter from “Warrior of Hope” is from another friendship that resulted from ArtPrize 2011. A friendship, like Kara’s, that has been woven into my life. After meeting these brave survivors, I have a tremendous respect for their enduring spirits.
One day my life came to a screeching halt. I had a massive collision with my status quo. My sense of “comfortable” suddenly became very uncomfortable—even terrifying. My divorce and cancer diagnosis shook me up and left me in complete despair—fragmented, bruised, and scarred. Thoughts of “What’s next?” or “Where do I turn from here?” frequented my mind.
Over time, I began to realize that life is not all about me, so I asked myself: “What can I learn from my circumstances?” One thing I learned is this: “Never give up and to keep on fighting!” There is ALWAYS hope. Real life miracles really do still happen.
I have now survived two cancer diagnoses and defied the odds; I still get to celebrate life. I may be permanently disabled according to the doctors. However, I have a lot of life and hope still left. My journey has reminded me of how precious life really is. And as a result, I’m learning to have a great appreciation for everything.
So I’m letting go of my fear of the unknown. I’m letting go of my fear of cancer. And I’m letting go of my fear of being alone.
Letting go and resting peacefully,
Warrior of Hope
Note: One hundred twenty-six participants pre-submitted Let Go letters and sentences to be collaged into the painting. The names and some details have been changed to protect identities.