My daughter Lisbeth suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1988 when she was six years old. She had a summer virus that caused swelling of her brain tissue which brought on a non-stop grand mal seizure. She almost died. Lis was in intensive care on a respirator at Maine Medical Center for several days, unconscious. The neurologists told us that she most likely would never walk or talk again if she regained consciousness. They were preparing us for the worst. Lisbeth could walk and talk when she awoke, but she was never the same. This was the onset of intractable generalized seizures - an average of 12 to 20 a month - and multiple other challenges including developmental delay, verbal deficits, short term memory deficit, depression, anxiety, and extreme behaviorial problems. The blow to our family was of astronomical proportions.
I have used my art to grapple with this event, and to process my grief. These two self-portraits are about Lisbeth's illness.
One thing that has remained solidly intact for Lisbeth is her creativity and her mighty spirit. She is an amazing artist . Lisbeth makes intricate cut paper mandalas (snowflakes). Hundreds of them! It is ironic that a cluster of seizures is called a "flurry." Lisbeth calls her cut designs "brains," which is poignant, for in making each snowflake, it is as if Lisbeth is recreating her brain. She finds objects, animals and figures within the designs and says that these are what the brain is thinking! They are wondrous creations.
Lisbeth's Beautiful Brain, 2004
mixed media and collage on paper, 22" x 30"
Lisbeth in my Studio, 2004
mixed media assemblage and collage on luan panel, 36" x 45". For Sale.
Witch's Milk, 1991
charcoal on Rives BFK, 22" x 30", For Sale.
All the King's Horses/Invasive Monitoring, 1994
charcoal on Rives BFK, 22" x 30"
collection of Stephen and Tabitha King