Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel

Lauralee, Balls of Sliver, Nerves of Steel
Judy Takács
I'm writing from the safety of my home and studio, during this Corona Spring where so many are on the front lines making sure we have food, medical supplies, healthcare, transportation, all the things that make our world livable. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you.
Just over a month ago, it was all celebration and girls weekend fun, with the opening of my Chicks with Balls show at the Zanesville Museum of Art.
Now, because of corona, and Ohio's "stay at home" order (that's Midwest for "lockdown") the museum is closed, and my paintings are in suspended animation; can't pick them up, can't see them.
Last fall, however, was when Lauralee contacted me about posing for Chicks with Balls, little did I know how inspiring her story of tragedy and recovery was, and how much more poignant it would be in the months to come.
When she posed, her story was still mostly private…an incredibly difficult one to tell…even hearing it gives me heart palpitations. Because of this, I held off on writing the blog about Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel.
But, just this morning, Lauralee made the incredibly difficult and courageous move to come forward with the telling of her story. I respect and admire her immensely for this.
To me, the takeaway is that humans can go through the most horrible times imaginable, keep moving towards the light and come out of it…often with more wisdom, empathy and a sense of connectedness to the world than ever before.
Her story points to a message that the world needs to hear. And no one says it better than Lauralee herself.
Lauralee writes,
“I have been reluctant to share my story until this year, the 25th anniversary of the life trauma that qualified me to be one of Judy Takács' Chicks With Balls. Some of you know some of my story. Some who sat with us in the hospital day after day know it really, really well. Some of you will be learning it for the first time.

With Corona Virus suppressing all of us, it seemed no longer so necessary to hold our story so privately, as it is a story of survival and loss.
At 9:30PM on August 19, 1994 as we were returning from vacation at my parents' and Epcott in Florida we were hit head-on by an epileptic having a seizure behind the wheel of his car just north of Marietta, Ohio on I77. He and my husband died instantly and my three children and I were critically injured. Life flights eventually ensued for my older two that same night. My youngest and I spent five days in a Marietta hospital before it became obvious, I too, needed a life flight to University Hospital, Cleveland. Intensive care was home for over a week and my 14 year old daughter was on life support initially. Eventually my older two were transferred to Metro Hospital closed head trauma unit and that began a year's worth of cognitive, physical and occupational therapies for them. My youngest, 11, was furthest from impact and released from hospital first with no home to go to. A classmate's family took him in. Three of us spent a full year in physical therapy. My oldest spent 6 months in a body cast and should be a paraplegic, but isn't (miracle). My daughter survived massive injuries with no surgery because she was too fragile for surgery (miracle). Eventually I was diagnosed with PTSD, go figure. I'd fought unconsciousness to keep my daughter trying to breathe with the firm knowledge I was the only surviving parent in that van.
It took years of therapy and hard work to piece myself and children back together and we are always a work in progress with so, so many success stories we could tell. We can all prove what it means to be a good human specimen and humane so do it!
I think our nation and the world has this kind of fight ahead of us but I am convinced we can get it done. So in the spirit of the survivor's journey hang on, hold tight, laugh and cry and keep going.”

Yes, Lauralee definitely has nerves of steel.

The Balls of Silver she is holding are her own creation. She is a metal work and jewelry artist and sculpture and she is holding a beautiful sculptural work she has forged from Silver…Balls of Silver.

2022 Addendum: Thrilled to announce that Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel was accepted to the Portrait Society of America International Exhibition as part of the Select Fifty category. This is the best my work has ever done in this prestigious exhibition that I have been entering since 2010, so, needless to say…yet again…that I am thrilled!

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