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 chuckled.
During his inpatient stays, I often walked the hospital corridors to stretch my legs. When I stopped at each piece of art or photography I found the works more than decoration. Each stop became a momentary hiding place from all things medical and a ministry to relieve stress,while my husband managed with extraordinary grace and courage, 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, my husband often said, “It is good for you to go out doors for a walk.” I did.
Along one path I a sculpture of a blue lady. caught my attention. I stopped to admire her. Struck by her defiant yet graceful stance with hand on her hip and her chin-up, I spoke to her. “Something happened in your life too, and you also waiting 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 when we walked our final journey together. When I committed to honor my husbands request, “You must be brave,” God 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, 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. Perhaps it will encourage someone else looks and waits for someone.