Walking Beside Me

women with lymphedema deCabrera

About the Artwork

HeatheRoden Vda. Cabrera (submitted by Sara Cohen)

About the artist: 

“I paint, draw, work in terra-cotta, glass, stone and wood. I like mixed media, and I adore metallics and glitter. Visually, I am deeply concerned with the impact of light upon a scene or an object. My themes reflect my inner and outer worlds. I often paint issues that concern me: conditions in jail, impact on victims, and medical realities. I don’t try to be controversial; however, it is imperative to me that my work be authentic–no calendar art for me! I only do art to please myself. It is my spiritual affirmation.”

About the artwork:

“The title Walking Beside Me echoes a line from Juan Ramón Jiménez’s poem Yo No Soy Yo (I Am Not I):

Soy este
que va a mi lado sin yo verlo…

I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see…

It reflects the suffering that lymphedema caused me after I had a modified radical mastectomy.”

Sara Cohen writes: “The painting was created by my patient; I was her occupational therapist. I suggested that she use art to process her experience of living with lymphedema. She gave me this painting as a gift. I decided to donate it to the hospital where I work, and I asked that it be displayed in the lymphedema clinic so that women could see a beautiful image of women with lymphedema. Women often feel embarrassed about wearing bandages or a compression sleeve in public and want to hide their swollen arms. After the painting had been displayed for a number of weeks, some of the patients expressed distress upon seeing it, and it was removed. When I told Ms. Cabrera, she said, ‘Art is supposed to shake people up; I’m happy my painting accomplished that.’ “

Visual Editor:

Justin Sanders


3 thoughts on “Walking Beside Me”

  1. Heathersdaughter

    Beautiful artist, beautiful art. So proud of you for this meaningful piece and for it being selected for display. Undoubtably it will bring strength and healing to other women as well.

  2. Congratulations to two brave women, HeatherRoden for showing us how life is, and Sara for speaking up. Yes, art must shake us up!

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