Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weeping Sunflower


Acrylic on 9x12 canvas panel
Available through DPW gallery/auction

Recently I lost a good friend of mine. Peg was a wonderful person who always supported my art. She always walked into the house & asked "whatcha working on?" Then she would ooooh and aaaah at what was on the easel. I use to call her my number one fan.

Four years ago, Peg was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer. She bravely chose to have a double mastectomy because her type of cancer is prone to show in both breasts - and she figured she was going in for surgery, might as well do it once. Not do it again 2 years down the road.

She recovered, slowly. And I would always tell her to say "I am in good health, and I have good health." She called it part of her affirmations that she said every day. Tests showed that she made the right choice to do the double, as the beginning of cancer cells was found in both. For 2 years after the surgery she worked at recovering and getting back to herself. She said her strength would not return 100%, but she was going to be damn close! I gave her a painting of mine with vivid yellow flowers & beautiful greens. I was told that yellow was energy and green was healing, and I thought she could use a little extra of both! All tests showed that everything was clear, they had gotten all the cancer, and that she was indeed, in good health.

Last year we talked and she said she felt more herself than she had been since the surgery. She spent the summer at the lake as she always did every year. She loved the lake and loved swimming - her therapy she called it. She then decided to pursue a dream of hers and that was to live full-time at the lake. She had first started talking about doing it when her husband had died suddenly 6 years ago, but her family talked her out of it. She started talking about it again after her surgery, and again, the family talked her out of it. They felt she had gone through a very hard time & should wait & see before making any major plans. So she waited. But last summer she said she was done with waiting, that she would pursue her dream and have a new house built. Her family backed her up, since they saw her determination on this. 

And so throughout the fall & early winter, they knocked down the summer camp and built a new, modest home that Peg could live in full-time. It was done at Christmas & she moved in - with her entire family celebrating Christmas Day at the new home.

A few weeks after Christmas, Peg began to feel poorly and thought it was the flu. She went to the doctor who gave her a shot, and told her to rest & recuperate. But she didn't get better. Long story short - one problem led to another, which led to another. And each test she went through resolved nothing. Then, 3 weeks ago she changed doctors & hospitals. All new tests were ordered and showed that her cancer was back, aggressive, and incurable. 3 weeks after that she was gone.

I miss my friend - and I will always "see" her at the lake. Her brand new home sits empty and will be put up for sale. It is now summer time, her favorite time of year, and the lake is full & inviting. I know she is swimming now, free of pain & disease - I just wish I could see her again, and talk again. But she will always be in my heart, and they are never far away when they are in our hearts.

I tell you all of this for 2 reasons. First, if you have health issues & you are not getting better - change doctors, change hospitals. I don't know if the outcome would have been different if Peg had sought new medical sooner, it might have - we'll never know. But I can't help but wonder.....

And secondly - don't put your life, or your dreams, on hold! No one knows how much time they have, don't waste it on waiting any longer than you need to. 

Don't let your dreams be dreams!




6 comments:

Sea Dean said...

This is a beautiful tribute Nan. I´ve been telling my Mum to change doctors for a long time and this gives me the kick in the backside to get it done.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Ah Nancy. I am so sad for your loss of your friend and even more sad for her. I am so glad she got to have her new home in her dream location, even though it was only for a short while. I'm glad she had such a good friend in you. I can see why you've called this piece a weeping sunflower. I weep with you.

jill polsby said...

What a beautiful eulogy to your friend. Your number one fan is still rooting you on in absentia.

Nan Johnson said...

Thanks Sea. And yes, prod your mother to seek different help if she is feeling poorly. Sometimes we do need to take charge of our medical - it's all too easy to settle into a routine. Sometimes a new set of eyes will see things differently!

Nan Johnson said...

Thanks Sherry. I am grateful that I had some time with her on this planet. I can still hear her laugh....

Nan Johnson said...

Thanks Jill. What a wonderful thing to say. You made me smile!

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