“My mother said she wanted to come back…”


Flowing by Lynn Lampky, 2013, Pastel on Fabriano paper, 14" x 17"

Flowing by Lynn Lampky, 2013, Pastel on Fabriano paper, 14″ x 17″

  In some Bodyscapes sessions, the creation of a prose poem which talks about illness does not easily arrive as did  the poem, Two Peas in a Pod, described in my last blog post dated, June 3rd. This time, my client and I worked hard to find the deeper layers of Lynn’s experience working through her mother’s cancer.  We sought to create a prose poem to express Lynn’s emotions, care-taking then losing her mother to bladder cancer. We began the session as usual, long moments of quiet mindful sitting while looking at medical illustrations of a bladder. Then, we  looked up our first definition: 

bladder \blad-der\ n 1 a : a membranous sac in animals that serves as the receptacle of a liquid or contains gas  2 : something (as the rubber bag inside a football) resembling a bladder

None of these words really connected with Lynn’s experience of her mother. Nonetheless, we copied some of the words onto a separate list: membrane, sac, and something resembling. We looked up the word membrane. Coincidentally, the word, resembling, was also used in one of the definitions for the word, membrane. We circled resembling on our separate list. 

Lynn's Poem List 1

Lynn’s Poem List 1

The definition to the word, sac, lead us to the word, receptacle. \ri-ˈsep-ti-kəl\ n  2 a : the end of the flower stalk upon which the floral organs are borne

Lynn put down her pencil. “My mother said she wanted to come back as her favorite flower, a tulip.”  

Suddenly, each word we looked up lead to another word which had even more significance. All the while, Lynn kept telling me more stories about her mother. 

Stalk  \stok\ n 1: gave us the words connecting two parts

Cancer \’kan(t)-ser\ n  produced the words, unlimited growth and expanding. 

Urinary \ˈyər-ə-ˌner-ē, ˈyu̇r-\  adj  brought in the words fluid and urn. 
Lynn’s narrative prose poem was able to help her move past feelings of pain, death and loss. She accessed the section of her heart free from the labors of care-taking. Her prose speaks of her ability to grieve, celebrate and honor her mother. 


Lynn's Poem List 3

Lynn’s Poem List 3


transparent ashes spreading across the coast,   expanding,   flowing with no obvious cause,   springing up everywhere,   creating love and support,   resembling my mom,   flowing with no apparent reason


The drawing came easily for Lynn. It took but one minute after I showed her a medical illustration of a bladder for her to “see” in her mind’s eye the drawing which would describe her mother’s bladder cancer traveling up into her kidneys. 

The bowl-like shape of the bladder became “the urn”. The left and right ureter coming out of the bladder leading to the kidneys became stalks. The oblong shape of the kidney stretched. “Tulips”, Lynn declared. “The orange tulip, my mother and the magenta tulip is me.”  Lynn extended the lines creating the narrow channel protruding from the bottom of the bladder shape (the urethra) to run off the page as urine flows out of the bladder. Across the bottom of the page, Lynn printed, “flowing makes me think of urine in the bladder.”  The drawing ends, anchored by soft yellow, orange strokes emanating from between the tulips up and off the top of the page, speaking of Lynn’s belief of the positive movement and energy in her mother’s passing. 

from lynn:

“hi diane,  once again thank you. it was a profound experience. it truly helped me move some of my grief. i miss my mother so much  but it helps so much to have a colorful visual. i am so touched that you gave me this opportunity. xoxo lynn”

The Red & Orange House relies on support from individual donors to maintain our work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Each gift brings another art-making experience to a patient’s bedside or their family while sitting in the family surgical waiting room. Donor benefits include a weekly subscription to our upcoming newsletter. You can share in the powerful healing moments experienced by program participants and their families. 

The Red & Orange House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (pending); all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. 


cell: 561.715.7878

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