She was my head nurse on a treatment unit for psychiatric patients. In the course of our work we became as close as sisters. When she developed breast cancer with heavy spread into the lymph nodes, I was devastated but not surprised. She lit one cigarette from the last one throughout those days before smoking was banned. Her doctor told her to put her affairs in order but she refused. Somehow she beat it, feeling that it was cured by her mind and the continued smoking didn’t matter.
I remember my mother referring to me from early childhood on as “stubborn as a mule.” That trait has held me in good stead when dealing with authority figures or doctors who have tried to talk me into doing something I knew wasn’t right.
The event I remember most, though, comes from my grammar school years. A girl in our class was “retarded” (the term used then), as was her mother. She came to school with her hair uncombed, clothes dirty, and wearing no underpants. Each day at recess a group of boys encouraged her to go on the hanging bars so they could run under and look up her dress.
About the artist:
Pris Campbell has created graphics for haiga and has twice been published in Pulse. She was a clinical psychologist before ME/CFS rended her housebound. She makes her home with her husband in the Greater West Palm Beach area.
About the artwork:
“This is the last morning my husband spent with our cat before Spike crossed the Rainbow Bridge. The death of a beloved pet is like losing a member of the family, so this was a heartbreaking time.”