Well, yes, Lois Hjelmstad had written an occasional poem when life got intense, but she planned to continue teaching piano until she was 96. And she definitely planned to reach 96.

Life changed her plans. The night before her first mastectomy, Lois wept as she wrote the poem, "Goodbye, Beloved Breast." She did not know, of course, that the poem would lead to an award-winning book, Fine Black Lines, or that the book would lead to a national and international speaking career and to three other award-winning books:

Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, is the account of her battle with breast cancer. Martha Smith wrote in the Providence Journal (RI), “Hjelmstad’s Fine Black Lines stands out like a shining star. It is compelling reading…the author’s style is spare and elegant.”

The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother is the moving story of her journey from grief and regret to inner peace.

This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage is unusual in that few couples make it to 60 years, fewer would have the desire or ability to write about their marriage, and fewer still have the intestinal fortitude to lay it all out there.

Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability chronicles five years of the Hjelmstad marriage while they entered the Land of the Old-Old, faced the challenges, and fought to stay crazy-in-love.

Hjelmstad has spoken to more than 600 organizations of healthcare professionals, cancer support groups, book clubs, women’s groups, hospices, and college classes in all fifty of the United States and in England and Canada. She was featured in the October 2001 issue of Rosie Magazine and appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.

Lois and her husband, Les, have been married over seventy years. They have four grown children, thirteen grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Lois taught piano, music theory, and composition for many years in Englewood, CO.


Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad
2710 South Washington Street
Englewood, CO 80113
Website: www.loishjelmstad.com

Professional Profile
Author of Fine Black Lines, The Last Violet,
This Path We Share,
and Abidance
National/International Speaker
President/CEO Mulberry Hill Press

Professional Experience

Public Speaking

  • Presenter in 50 states, DC, Canada and England to such groups as: physicians' grand rounds, tumor boards, nurses' in-services, women's groups, cancer support groups, poetry readings, conferences
  • Radio and television speaker on breast cancer and related issues, more than 600 times
  • Member of the National Cancer Survivors Day Speakers Bureau, Komen Foundation Speakers Bureau, Day of Caring
  • Breast Cancer Journey ©1998, Journey Productions
  • Living with Cancer—A Message of Hope, Silverman Communications, Inc.


  • Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer,
  • Fear and Loneliness, The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, and
  • This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage
  • Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability
  • Director of marketing and production
  • Developer of marketing strategies


  • Presenter of workshops on Writing as a Way of Healing (World Conference on Breast Cancer), Musical Creativity (Colorado State Music Teachers Association), as well as various seminars providing CEU and CME
  • Music teacher for 40 years; developed nine-year curriculum
  • Co-teacher, self-publishing classes at Colorado Free University
  • Certified Pace Teacher (International Piano Teaching Foundation)
  • Certified Teacher of Music (Colorado State Music Teachers Association)

Publications (partial list)

  • American Medical News, April 1994
  • Administrative Radiology Journal, September 1994
  • Health Progress Magazine, May 1995
  • Your Health, October 1995
  • PARENTGUIDE, October 1997
  • Art.Rage.Us, 1998
  • Living in Balance, 2002


  • 2010 Living Now Book Award, Relationships/Marriage
  • 2010 Mom's Choice Award, Relationships/Marriage
  • 2010 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award, Inspirational 
  • 2005 Recipient of the Sue Miller Award, Day of Caring, Denver, Colorado
  • Colorado Independent Publishers Association 2003 Spiritual/Inspiration Award
  • Natural Death Centre, London, 1996 Best Book Award
  • Colorado Independent Publishers Association 1994 Best Non-fiction
  • Mother of the Year, Englewood Independent (1979)

Other Affiliations, Past and Present 

  • Colorado Music Teachers Association, First Mennonite Church, Colorado Independent Publishers Association, IBPA, Author U, Wellshire Presbyterian Church