Art Meets Life

Phoenix Rising. Beyond Breast Cancer.

They say grief doesn’t get smaller but that you get larger if you allow the vessel of your life to grow larger around it. It’s been five years since I lost my husband and my breast to cancer. In this time, I’ve learned that “larger” takes on forms one might not imagine at the point of loss.

Dazed survival mode
on the shores of grief,
building sandcastles
out of ashes.
I didn’t know
I was sitting in ashes.
Ashes make poor sandcastles.

I wanted to have a phoenix tattooed on my mastectomy side. My breast surgeon advised I wait a few years because I opted out of radiation/chemo to treat what may have been left behind in the skin tissue (my margins weren’t clean). Having lost Ray just months before, I couldn’t imagine going through the combination of chemo and grief with a successful outcome. A holistic approach sustained my fragile will to live while my body cleaned house.

Continue reading “Phoenix Rising. Beyond Breast Cancer.”
Art Meets Life

Dream Weaving A Crone’s Delight

Dream Weaving a Crone's Delight • 10" x 20 " • Collage by © Bernadette Rose Smith

A friend and I were joking, one morning, about the effects of gravity and later-in-life dating. She was on her way to pick up a set of room darkening curtains in preparation for “afternoon delight” with a young lover. We both agreed that our sensual nature had not diminished with age and laughed about her desire to “set the stage.”

My muse must have been listening in because, after we hung up, she dropped this line on me.

She had a one candle body
but her passion lit the room.

Who was this woman with such passion that she could light a room? Images of darkened meeting places and intertwining body parts beckoned me. I wanted to know her story. I waited for more.

My muse fell silent. Muses are such teases.

Continue reading “Dream Weaving A Crone’s Delight”
A Messy Life Musings

Breast Cancer. Kissing My Breast Goodbye.

Breast Cancer Bites. Kissing My Breast Goodbye

Written for every woman who lost, or is losing this intimate partner.

—–Originally posted, August 17, 2017, on my old website. Re-post worthy.—–

I find myself on the merging ramp to a mastectomy and wishing to yield, for just a moment, before this breast becomes a blurred memory in the traffic flow of life.

She is the part I must release to protect the whole, but she will not go without notice or appreciation for what she held space.

There is a body of experience in this sweet breast of mine. She and her sister were late bloomers. No doubt, I got that premature training bra because my mother was tired of fielding questions that always started with a whiny “When…”

As intimate partners go, both breasts have been first class. But she is the one that held space over my heart. For that I grieve her loss. I would love to kiss her for all that we’ve gone through together – but she is not that large nor I that agile.

Sound strange?

Our bodies are living, breathing temples that hold space for a fusion of body, mind, and spirit – from the most elemental level to the most sublimely sacred that life has to offer. And each part speaks to aspects of experience that leave imprints – clues – as to how we maneuver through and integrate events from the significant to the mundane.

Continue reading “Breast Cancer. Kissing My Breast Goodbye.”

Art Meets Life

Cut And Paste Beyond Breast Cancer. When Art Heals.

Mixed medim art for breast cancer awareness by Bernadette Rose Smith

Stitched and stretched. That’s what I’ve titled this piece because that’s what breast cancer ushered in with every decision I had to make. Cut it. Stitch it. Now, stretch it beyond anything recognizable as you.

Life flew apart like confetti without a party. Not unlike my private-moment, mixed medium attempts at depicting this most bizarre journey. (And so shortly after losing Ray to cancer.) Countless bits and pieces of paper – glued, splattered, pealed back up, and reassembled with the best of intentions – were tossed in the trashcan next to me because they did not fit the picture as I had imagined.

The writer-me has freely spoken about her journey with breast cancer. The artist-me had not taken her shot at it. Quite frankly, she couldn’t get the writer to shut up long enough for the artist to quietly seat herself in the studio and ask, “How do you heal through this with art – not words?” Continue reading “Cut And Paste Beyond Breast Cancer. When Art Heals.”