JUDE BURKHAUSER

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: March 11, 2002

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Brushing my hair until it falls away ...
mixed media
8 x 10 inches
North Cape May, New Jersey
1994

During treatment at the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania for breast cancer, I self-published a collection of poems and drawings that were part of my healing process. This book is dedicated to oncologist DuPont Guerry.

[Brushing my hair until it falls away ... is an illustration for the poem "I Remember Love," excerpted below.]

... brushing my hair until it falls away
I see your deep eyes swallowing mine
and
I remember
love.

Giving Sorrow Words
poetry
North Cape May, New Jersey
1983

Madonna of the Feathered Gauntlet (Chemotherapy Trade-off)
water color, pencil on bark
16 x 22 inches
North Cape May, New Jersey
1994

When the gauntlet of a life-threatening diagnosis is thrown to one, "picking up the gauntlet" or accepting the challenge may require sacrifice and loss. My cancer diagnosis at the age of 36 and my choice of chemotherapy treatment brought the onset of premature menopause. Learning that opportunity is often disguised as loss was part of my healing process, for, while the painting mourns the physical child, it celebrates the birth of the "spirit" child, creative production -- a "feathered thing."

One of a series, "Spirits in the Wood," employing Mexican bark paper with its attendant tradition of healing symbolism.



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