Aphasia and the Arts: Painting and Poetry

Happy National Aphasia Awareness Month to you all! In honor of National Aphasia Awareness Month, and in recognition of the upcoming, All About MossRehab Through the Arts, we are highlighting people with aphasia who are making a contribution to their communities through the arts.

We are honored to feature the work of mother, painter, poet, and survivor, Jenn.  She tells her story best, we’re so grateful to share her words and images with you.

The day I suffered from stroke I had an ischemic and hemorrhage stroke on the left side of my brain I had a craniotomy to remove the entire left side of my skull.  I was young, my son was only 14 months old, and I now had global aphasia, I could not read, write, speak, and couldn’t understand. I was in a lot of pain, and had a lot of sadness, but so grateful to be alive. 

With Aphasia Awareness, I would like to share you with a short story: 

Pain & Hope 

I couldn’t sing my baby a lullaby, read him a bedtime story and I could not say “I love you”.  I couldn’t spell my name and couldn’t understand my alphabet A-Z or even count 1 to 10.  It changed my life and it was extremely difficult. That was the only way to express myself… to paint.

After looking at all these painting of Red (angry) and Blue (Sad) I decided there would be a last piece of Red & Blue “Unraveling”.  My life was so tangled in a knot and it was so tight.  But now is much clearer and unraveling. I am so grateful and blessed for my life.

After these pictures I hadn’t painted for a long time, because I wanted to stay focused with my family. But recently, I wrote a poem  and read it in one of my aphasia support groups as a challenge to work on my words and prove to myself I can also be expressive through writing.  In particular, I will share my poem “The Only Light.” This poem was written by about my first painting “Isolated” as I was sitting on the floor in the dark when I made it.  My son was sleeping and I didn’t want to bother him while I was painting to convey the pain I was feeling at the time. Since then, I continue adapt and realized I can still communicate my thoughts and emotions by creative expressions like painting as well as words. No matter what you’ve gone through, don’t give up finding ways to show others how you feel. Keep trying in the darkness, because the light will soon follow. 

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