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Mary Beth Lawler Art Blog

The Healing Handbook

by marybeth , March 9, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: healing

Last month I was fortunate enough to attend a five day workshop at The North Country Studios at Bennington College (VT). The class was Thread as Markmaking and I thought this would be useful for my paper quilting. On the first morning setting up my stuff I met the woman sharing my table, Barbara. We didn't get the chance to talk much we were to busy with slides and demos and assignments. Somewhere along the way I noticed that she had one breast. The next morning I apologized for asking but asked anyway."Was it breast cancer?" She said,"It was, twice!" When I told her of my diagnosis 11 months ago she gave me the biggest hug and said "It's a cruel reason for a sisterhood." We talked a lot after that, treatment, surgery, hair loss support and healing. She told me she had written a book with a friend called The Healing Handbook. True to her word she sent me a copy, when the class was over. Lovingly written by Barbara Filleul and Lucy Crichton Metting, it holds page after page of advice, reassurance, permission, humor and survival. Filled with stories, observations and honesty,they thoughtfully left pages for journaling, drawing, collecting, expression, lists and notes. It is the up side and the down and how they got through it and how you will too. It is not just about breast cancer, it is about loss and living, humor and rage, anxiety and patience. To get a copy (or several, what a gift!) email Barbara at or Lucy at



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