Some of the most striking stories from the hearts we have received are concerned with illness and trauma- coming to terms with the shocking news that you or someone you love has a life-changing disease or condition. Many of the stories have a surprisingly positive tone, where the individual has found their own personal way to cope with their private tragedy.
“The white heart represents the day my heart seemed to stop, on being told that I had inoperable terminal cancer. The red heart represents the joy of being able to lead a ‘normal’ life thanks to the amazing skill of the medical staff, the loving care of my family and the encouraging support of my friends.”
One of the major themes of the hearts we have received so far has been childbirth, with many of the hearts focussing on the overwhelming love and joy at seeing their child for the first time.
The Jessie May Trust
“This heart symbolises the life-changing breath-holding pulse-racing heart-pumping first breath moment of my granddaughter Pella. There are 3 hearts here; mine, my daughter Millie’s and Pella’s- a bit like russian dolls. Late in labour, exhausted, I lay beside Millie reassuring her with one of our prepared affirmations…’you’re very safe…trust your body…you know what to do…return to the breath.’ And so it was that Millie breathed her baby out like a yogic ‘master’ without drugs or medical intervention. There were 3 other hearts in the room- Sam (Pella’s dad) and Sally and Jo- two midwives. Pella was born naturally in water at home in candle-light to soft ambient music. She swam through the water to greet her parents looking for one moment as old and as wise as the universe. Something happened- she didn’t breathe. Sally gestured for Millie to leave the pool and in one quick fluid movement lay Pella gently on the resuscitation mat with her cord still attached. Inhaled deeply and held my breath. Five adults intimately attuned to one baby…all holding our breath. Sally blew softly into Pella’s face and said ‘Can everyone please start breathing again.’ We all breathed out and then breathed in and this time Pella joined us.”
ASCO- the African Street Children Organisation- is a charity working in Uganda to take street children out of the dangerous world they live in, and to give them safety, shelter, food, warmth, education and love: all the things children need and want.
Thanks to Jennifer Mitchell (read about her adventures in Uganda here), 22 boys of various ages took part in the Heartfelt project, drawing detailed pictures of their memorable moments or favourite things. Due to the fact that they couldn’t write in English, they didn’t attach a description- just a signature and a photograph. The results are beautiful.
Welcome to the Heartfelt blog! Here you will be able to see the development of this exciting project, see some of the hearts we have already recieved, and share some of the best, most shocking, saddest or most uplifting stories.
Firstly, let me personally invite you to join in with the project. I invite you to create a heart, large or small, from any material you want, and attach to it a postcard-size label, which describes a heartfelt moment from your life- a moment which truely meant something to you, for the best reasons or the worst.
This is a project of human experiences, shared grief and elation. The finished hearts will be displayed in an exhibition at the Bristol gallery Centrespace in Novemeber, where the stories will be shared, remembered and reflected upon.
Any questions, or for the address to send your finished heart, please send an email to Jan, at firstname.lastname@example.org
So create a heart, and share your heartfelt moment with the world.