"Scary"

This post was written by Kathy Curtis, healing artist, Fort Wayne Dance CollectiveThe Healing Arts program is made possible in part by generosity through the Parkview Foundations and integrates literary, movement, music visual arts into patient care. Read more about Kathy’s word art initiative here.

I was asked to visit a patient who had just received a diagnosis that was upsetting to her. When I poked my head in the door, she was sadly staring off into space, alone in her thoughts. I explained why I was there and what my word project involved, and asked if there was a word that would help her feel inspired to get well. She immediately said "NO."

Then, I asked if there was a word she couldn't get out of her head. That question she had an answer to. She said, "yes — my disease is scary." We decided i'd make the word "SCARY" for her. I thanked her for being so honest, and told her that in my opinion, the most honest words are the ones that have true healing power.

Her sadness began to lift as I drew and we talked. She told me what she knew about her complicated health situation, and also what she didn't know. That was the scary part. I asked her to tell me about the scariest thing she had ever been through, before this diagnosis. Not long ago, she responded, her car had been broken into in the parking lot of her work. She described how vulnerable that made her feel. When I asked how she dealt with that fear, she said she did everything she could to protect herself and then she had to let it go. I wanted to know how that turned out.

"Fine," she said. "I finally stopped worrying about it and life has gone on."

"Hmmm," I responded.

She smiled. I smiled.

I finished her word and held it up, and her eyes actually twinkled. She said it was beautiful. I told her that beauty has the power to bring us to a new perspective on something we don't want to look at.

She smiled a beautiful smile.

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