So much in life is about holding on and letting go. We hold on to memories, loved ones, hope. We struggle to let go of past hurts, insecurities, and losses. Cancer is one of those things that force us to both hold on and let go all at once. As I work on my art series, Holding On, for the Voices and Visions Exhibition opening this fall, I grasp her hands, I print out our hands, and I transfer those images over and over. I hold on to each image merging them with the materials, like layers of skin, to create a piece that represents the grief of losing a mom, a grandmother, a friend. But after months, I realized that I also needed to express the pain of the letting go. The ying and the yang. I needed to represent the cancer and although there are fewer of them, they hold a lot of power. They are dark and insidious...just like the disease. They lurk in the midst of the beauty of the person, revealing itself through symptoms that even doctors can’t define. They overshadow the life that one wants to live, with lives that are tangled in treatments. Cancer infiltrates our lives. We try over and over to let it go and at times it feels overwhelming and insurmountable, impossible to do. But here is the paradox, that in the midst of grief, there remains some ability that continues to exist that enables you to hold on to hope, to hold onto memories, and to hold on to the feelings of how each touch of our hands gave us the strength to both hold on and let go.