Voting Ends 5/30/2024 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time

Take Me Instead

Take Me Instead

10 votes

Fundraising Goal

Raised $10
Goal $25
Michelle Clark

Brain Tumor Type

Date of Diagnosis
June 2005

Participant Group
Caregiver/Family Member

Photography/Digital Art

Artist Statement (include type of art, techniques & materials used, what it means to you)
"Take Me Instead" is the second of a two-part series of digital paintings that reveal my experience with a brain tumor diagnosis in the family. My art focuses on the anguish, guilt, anxiety, and preemptive grief that a brain tumor patient and their family might feel after being diagnosed. The words express my inner thoughts during the waiting period before my mother's brain tumor surgery. Each agonizingly slow moment was filled with dread of different shades: there was the pre-mourning of her life, there was worry that she might never be the same, and of course, there was ever-present guilt. Beneath all of that was an underpainting of immense helplessness. The only thing my young brain could think to do was to beg the cosmic forces to exchange my life for hers. For context, this is my story:

The night of the terrible news, my mother and I had a furious argument over something I now know was trivial to say the least. Stewing with rage, I declared with cosmic irony that I wished she was dead. About an hour later, I found out that my wish might be granted. Filled with a shame that would take decades to resolve, I spent every day until her surgery wishing it was me instead of her. In my young mind, I had cursed her. Much to my eternal gratitude, our story had an unexpectedly happy ending. But the moments in between changed me, and I'm glad it did. That is the story I wish to tell.

Although I acknowledge the importance of hope, gratitude, and positivity during such a grave situation; I chose not to make that the focus of my work because I wish to reach the families of brain tumor patients who might relate to my story- those who know what it's like to regret so deeply it makes you question your place on earth, and those who love so strongly that they would bargain with their own life. My new wish is that, from the images of an amature digital artist, others might learn from my foolishness. Therefore, I leave you with this urgent message:

It is all too easy to take life for granted. Now is the time to forgive, to come together, and to let our loved ones know how precious they are to us, because we may not always have that opportunity.

All of my love goes out to those who have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and to each of their family members. My story is a testament that, even if it feels like the cosmos is punishing you, there is hope and there is love. Always.

Artist Bio: Tell Us Your Story
I am a life-long student of the Arts, and although I specialize in photography and many tradional mediums, I have recently set my sights on exploring the digital arts. I have found that it is quite different from tradional mediums in many ways, but that is part of what makes it fun to learn! My goal with much of my art is to make space for traumatic memories and uncomfortable feelings, so that my viewers might see the parts of themselves that need a bit more love. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and my way of expressing it!

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