Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Thousand Cranes

At this point, you probably understand how important art is to me.  How I have used art to understand my current situation, to guide me, and to assist me in healing.  This is not the first time that I have turned to art to create clarity when life has felt overwhelming.  After college, it was series of self-portraits that brought me to art therapy.  During the end of my first marriage, I can remember drawing a road map that detailed how to get out of depression.  When I was trying to get pregnant, I can remember laying on the gurney after what the doctors thought was an ectopic pregnancy and wondering how I would represent the event visually in my journal.  Art has been a powerful ally.

I have talked before about how isolating cancer can be.  Most days I don't feel well enough to leave my house.  Other days I am too exhausted.  And then there are those days where I just feel vulnerable.  Some friends are wonderful about calling and checking in.  Others disappear.  Social media has been extremely important in keeping me from becoming a recluse.  Through Facebook, I can connect with my family and friends bald and in my pajamas.  I have also joined an amazing online support group that has walked with me through every step of chemotherapy.  As each of us completed our infusions, we congratulated and cheered each other on in a way that only another survivor can.  I have also used this blog to share my experience - and through this blog I have connected with a larger community of survivors and people who have sent positive healing energy my way.  But, even with all of this support, cancer is still isolating.  Mortality is lonely. 

On Sunday, I was given over a thousand folded origami cranes from former students in my art therapy community.  It is difficult for me to express what this gift has meant to me.  I am in awe that so many took the time to craft each beautiful crane for me.  I look at these cranes, and I feel supported and connected.  I feel loved.  And again, I am moved by the power of art.
 I am putting these cranes in my bedroom.  So on those nights when everyone is sleeping, and I am alone wrestling with dark thoughts that keep me awake- I will look at these cranes and feel strong, hopeful, and supported.  

Thank you to everyone who participated.  Thank you to Kristyn for organizing.  I am blessed.


  1. A thousand paper cranes?!? That is truly spectacular!!! I don't know you, but I am sending good vibes and thoughts your way.