Permanent Collection Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Years ago, I walked the corridors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with my husband who was treated for esophageal cancer. We became very familiar with the corridor to Hematology-Oncology. We always stopped to admire the artwork displayed on the walls along our route. My husband often said, “Your paintings should hang here.” I always chuckled.
During his inpatient stays, I often walked the hospital corridors to stretch my legs. The artwork was for me more than decoration. Each stop was a momentary hiding place from all things medical and a ministry to relieve my stress,while my husband with extraordinary grace managed all the treatments given to keep his cancer at bay.
When his cancer progressed to terminal so did the frequent hospital stays. During our final journey together, his hospital room became home for us, and a living room welcome place for family and friends. On the warm June days, he often said, “It is good for you to go out doors for a walk.” I did.
Along one path a blue lady sculpture caught my attention. I stopped to admire her. I was struck by her defiant yet graceful stance with her hand on her hip and her chin-up. I spoke to her. “Something happened in your life too, and you also wait and look for someone.”
I walked away from, the blue lady, with these two thoughts. I could not change our circumstance. I knew full well my husband was dying. But I stood on a promise I made when we began this journey and now walked our final journey together, I recommitted to honor my husband’s one request,
“You must be brave.”
Through it all God also honored a promised to help me. The symbolism of the blue lady with her chin up stayed with me. I thought I might one day paint her. And so I did.
The Blue Lady, was sculpted by the late Barbara Kaufman.
My pastel of The Blue Lady and the story behind why I painted her now hangs in the new Hematology-Oncology Reception at the North Entrance of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in memory of my husband, Werner Zwahlen, a beautiful man to know. Perhaps the painting will give encourage to another person who looks and waits for someone.