The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

You're Not Here I mixed media with Polaroid emulsion transfers 49 x 32 inches 1994

On Christmas Eve 1991, my husband was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He was not a smoker. In eight months, he went from a man who jogged, wind-surfed, skied, and loved life to a man who couldn't walk, didn't want to eat and had trouble communicating. I was his primary caregiver until his death at home on September 10, 1992.

Unanswered questions, anger, grief, loneliness, what to do about everything -- this is what I was occupied with. I also had more time, and -- after not having painted since college -- I began to paint again. And because I was so raw and my thoughts on loss were so constant, I began what has turned into a series titled "You're Not Here." This series has helped me to express my feelings and, I hope, to make other people think about loss, time, and emotions.

You're Not Here II mixed media 49 x 32 inches 1995

This painting portrays a disfigured x-ray and my anger concerning the treatment my husband received from his first doctor, who did not diagnose his lung cancer. To say this changed my whole life would be an understatement.

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