FROM THE BENCH

Glimmer of Hope…

Glimmer of Hope…

We were very proud to support Kate LaCroix during her kidney donation.  Read more about this wonderful collaboration between artist and donor in the following publications:

BOULDER LIFESTYLE ARTICLE

NATIONAL JEWELER “Feel Good Friday”

And some words from Kate herself:

My therapist once lassoed me in her office. This isn’t a metaphor, she actually tossed a white cotton-woven rope over my torso and pulled tight. Her hazel eyes burning into me, she asked “how does that feel?”  As a young coed at the University of Colorado by day and a Denver-dive bar cocktail waitress by night, I can tell you it felt a little strange.

Later in that session, after being loosely hogtied for about half the time, I learned this was an exercise in understanding boundaries. As it turns out, I didn’t have very strong ones. But each week I’d work with her–and that damned rope—until I eventually gave myself permission to loosen her bounds once and for all and reclaim the grip on my own personal space.

It wasn’t always like this. Oftentimes we’d do talk therapy and she would teach me about things like fragmentation, which if you don’t know is when your mind turns on you and you start compiling all of your misdeeds and inefficiencies on top of one another until you collapse under the weight of them. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about.

“Invite your problems in for tea,” she’d say. “They’ll leave when they are ready.”

Turns out, knowing how to create both physical and psychic space as I hurtle through time is a valuable thing. And so when I found myself combing Facebook late night two years ago, only to come across this very therapist, who was now in severe decline and waiting for a kidney donor, I knew that time, this strange and bendy thing, was about to be on her side.

We found out quickly we weren’t a match. But I was committed to getting her a kidney so I agreed to be part of something called, Paired Exchange. This means I agree to have my kidney go to a stranger and then she gets her match. We waited patiently for about six months. And on December 1st, I gave to someone in Ohio who had been waiting for eight years, and my therapist got a barely used kidney from a 19 year-old an altruistic donor in Maryland. In total, we were part of a eight person chain across the country. As far as I know everyone is alive and well.

On the morning of the surgery, I found myself wondering if I would need to wear a medical bracelet. Under anesthesia, this question buried itself deep into my creative subconscious and after surgery and a brief celebration with my family, I asked for my phone so I could talk to Todd Reed about this wild idea I had for a medical bracelet. Of course he was game.

We met up at a nearby coffee shop for sketch sessions and we turned my drug-induced dream and his silver wrapped “raw emerald cakes” (also my birthstone) into a thing of beauty and function. The green stones represent the major organs I am prepared to donate, alive and not. The gold section is a homage to the Japanese notion of Kintsukuori, the use of gold to repair something broken (my therapist) and the emergence of the object (me) being more beautiful once it has been broken. The cuff is patinated brushed sterling silver.

I never planned to give my kidney to a stranger so my former therapist could live, but that’s just what the gifts of time and space afforded me. Does this make me special? I don’t think so. We all have the ability to create and fulfill each other’s destinies in any way we see fit. We just have to be up to the task.

Todd says the cuff is both sensual and bad ass. His commitment to custom work is fierce and his collaborative process is unmatched. Every day I take this cuff and put it on my wrist and feel both beautiful and fortified. So of course, once again, he nails it.