Tuesday, October 2, 2018

"In Memory of Her" by Dr. Barbara Billey ARCWP


When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
Maya Angelou

Sculpture by Barbara Billey, Artspeak Gallery, Sept 2018
My Mom, JoAnn Wells traversed the last 26 months of her life across the brutally, beautiful terrain of stage 4 breast cancer. She inspired many with her exuberance for life despite the painful realities of cancer that had invaded her lungs, bones and liver.
In Canada, 1 in 6 women 80 years and older will be diagnosed with breast cancer. There is no organized screening program for early detection for women75 years and over. The rationale is that they will likely die of other medical causes.
Before her diagnosis at 80 years of age, Mom enjoyed an active social life with no significant health concerns. Early detection could have saved her life.
My intention in creating this sculpture is to capture light and beauty within the challenging experiences of Mom's cancer journey. I also want to raise awareness of the importance of early detection for women over 75 years of age.

Sculpture by Barbara Billey, Artspeak Gallery, Sept 2018
This art work is fashioned from medical supplies that were used in the care of Mom by her home visiting nurses. Vacuum bottles like these drained fluid from Mom's lungs, several times a week for over a year. A retired nurse, Mom chronicled her various medical procedures and appointments in 30 pages of text written in her cancer log. A drainage bottle contains excerpts from this log.
JoAnn Wells, Kingsville, Summer 2017
Mom's faith sustained her through her cancer journey and to her ultimate end. A deeply spiritual person and devote Roman Catholic, I had the privilege of companioning Mom to her death on July 1, 2018 at 8:40 pm in Y Emara Hospice, Windsor, Ontario.
A small amount of Mom's cremated remains is contained in one bottle.
Many thanks to women artists, Judy Chappus, Sandie Collins and Rebecca Draisey whose art work appears in the background of my sculpture. I will be forever grateful for their loving presence in these early days of loss and for their extraordinary creative wisdom.
Artist Barbara Billey, Sept 2018
Registered Psychotherapist
Canadian Registered Art Therapist
Priest, ARCWP
(519) 735-3943

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