Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

How can we stand to look in a mirror? When do we get over losing our breasts?

I recently read an excellent post from Beth Gainer (Calling the Shots) and it inspired me to write this little series about Breast Cancer and Body Image. (I had my left breast removed in May 1990 and my right breast in July 1991. I was not able to have reconstruction.)

Goodbye, Beloved Breast
Goodbye, beloved breast
I shall never forget you—
Shall I ever come to the end of grieving?

When first you developed in sweet innocence
I was dismayed—
I was afraid of emerging sexuality…

But you became beautiful
My lover treasured you
My children nuzzled you and were nourished
I cradled you in my hands to cherish your softness…

Now a dark menace has invaded you
And somehow I must bear our parting…

Goodbye, beloved breast
Goodbye, beloved part of me
Goodbye, symbol of my femininity…

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Facing Breast Cancer )

Stay tuned.

3 Responses

  1. Lois, I love the idea of this body image topic as a series. I love this poem, and I am lucky enough to own a signed copy of your book Fine Black Lines: Facing Breast Cancer. The poems in it are terrific, and the one on this posting is incredible and really hits home with me — and I’m sure resonates with many others.

    And thank you so much for mentioning my blog; I am so glad I was able to inspire and am honored!

    The link to my posting on body image, Lost in Translation, is http://bethlgainer.blogspot.com/2012/01/lost-in-translation.html.

    Thank you again,


    (PS) You are now on my blogroll.

  2. Lois,
    I am only now discovering your blog. Not sure why I’m so slow in getting here… I look forward to reading your book soon, too, by the way. As for the poem, well, it’s perfect. It expresses so beautifully why we grieve for our breasts when we lose them to cancer. Thank you.

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