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

I Know oil pastel, graphite 30 x 11.25 inches 1995

I am from a family of six children. My mother was a career woman, one of those "super moms" who managed to take care of everything quite smoothly. My parents took an early retirement and, shortly after, my mother was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. She underwent a few months of intensive radiation therapy. Suddenly, she was the individual who needed to be taken care of. She had always kept her emotions to herself. Everything always appeared to be fine, whether it was or not. She wouldn't or couldn't talk about her feelings in any way other than positive superficial statements and would redirect personal inquiries. I felt compelled to make drawings describing my reaction to her and her condition. I wanted to reach beyond her "just fine" voice over the phone, so I awkwardly described a drawing I had just completed. This drawing represents hope (the top has little bits of illumination in the darkness) and fear (the bottom a swirl of stiff markings), the two blending, inseparable, in the middle. As I described this drawing to her, she agreed that was exactly how she felt. The subject was changed.

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