Offerings

“Offerings began just after I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer during the summer of 1999, and while I was undergoing multiple treatments and efforts to heal. A friend, Ellen Johnson, asked me to give her something to carry to inspire her during her climb to the summit of Mt. Ranier: a hand-delivered gift to the gods. There were two requirements: it must be biodegradable and very light.

Offering 1 documents what was successfully brought to the icy top of Mt. Ranier: a Jackson Square banana leaf turned pocket, full of tiny locks of hair (mine, my husband’s, and Peggy and Charlie Bishop’s) and equally tiny portions of cremains of my friend, Jamie Burks, and of Peggy’s mother, Mary Jane Benefield, and Charlie’s mother, Betty Bishop.

Offering 2 was again borne by Ellen on my behalf to a slope in Equador. These crotons from my garden contained my hair from the day it ‘died’ and the Thanksgiving turkey wishbone my husband, Kevin McCaffrey, and I brought with us to our medical pilgrimage to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York upon completion of chemo and radiation in mid-December of 1999.

Offerings is a work in progress.”

Jan Gilbert

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