contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ring the Bell for Barry

Untitled as of yet, 6 inch by 6 inch collage by Leslie Avon Miller.

Sometimes I am drawn to different blogs for a variety of reasons. One blog I love is An Explorers View of Life, the blog of Barry Fraser. Barry and I both look at the world from the point of view of an explorer.

Barry writes beautifully and tells a good story. So I’ve been following Barry for a good while now. Then one day Barry and my husband had the very same medical procedure on the very same day, but clear across the North American continent from each other.

My husband Kurt’s results were fine, he just needed some treatment. Barry’s results were, frankly, shocking. Barry was diagnosed with cancer. But Barry is a special guy. Throughout all of his treatment, the ups and downs, and life style changes (would you call it a life style change Barry?) Barry has shared on his blog.

Not only have we read about the progress of his medical treatment and the new things he has explored and learned such as meditation and vegetarianism, we have laughed and cried with Barry and his family. And beyond that, I have learned from Barry how to really, really live in the face of cancer. How to embrace the days. And it’s a gift I shall always cherish. Live today, live it fully. Stay curious. See the humor. Cry. Love.

This is what Barry plans:

High on the wall next to the exit from the Chemo Day Care Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital a bell is waiting for me. As I mentioned in my post a week ago Friday, there is a ritual at PMH that those patients completing their last treatment of chemotherapy, ring the bell as they leave.

And whenever it rings the nurses and volunteers and other chemo patients pause for a moment and applaud.

When I finish my last injection of chemo, on Thursday February 18th at about 2pm Eastern Standard Time, I'm also ringing that damn bell!

As loud and as long as I can!

My cancer may not be cured. I may find myself back there again sometime, but for now, at least, I'm declaring victory. After all, you don't have to win the whole war before celebrating victory in battle.

Today Barry completes his chemotherapy. And on his way out the door of the hospital he is ringing the bell. And in his honor, I am ringing my bell for him. God speed my friend. Thank you Barry, for being you.


  1. courageness, living and putting one foot in front of the other...and today that foot walks to the bell and lets it ROAR, ring!
    i read about this on willow's page last night.
    i shall ring a bell as well! for the celebration of all

  2. A beautifully expressed recognition of Barry and what he and his blog have meant to you ... and me. :)

  3. The manor bell will be ringing out over the frozen Scioto.

    Love and hope to dear Barry.

    (is that the bell from your Christmas stocking? love it)

  4. love your new piece..there is a diversity about it that keeps it genuine and distinct.

  5. beautiful post Leslie. let us all ring our bells for all who courageously face the obstacles life presents us with.

  6. Rang my bell and played my video of St Peter's ring proclaiming the joys of life.

  7. Everyone is asleep right now but first thing in the morning I'll be ringing a bell in honor of Barry too.
    I love your new collage Leslie. especially all the tendrils.

  8. Leslie -- a bell is such a hopeful sound, tolling out over spaces, private and public. Bravo for Barry and for the staff of that hospital -- what a great idea.

    Your new work has a sense of the lower, lighter region pushing back the heavier, darker section -- maybe this is symbolic of Barry's battle?

  9. I too rang my bell for Barry today.
    What a truly optimistic and uplifting gesture of hope and victory!
    Your new collage is now my new favorite. Such power in this work; and yet such grace.
    Just stunning!

  10. Thank you Leslie. I am completely overwhelmed!

  11. Thoughtful and kind post...I rang my bell too...!
    This new piece is Robin, I like the tendrils!

  12. Glad you shared his story,

    he sounds like a courageous man. And another gentle reminder to live life in the moment, fully.

  13. Love the collage, Leslie!

    And I am humbled by the calm wisdom of Barry's writing. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. Great great collage and great story too !

  15. I've just discovered your wonderful blog. I'll be back again, for sure.

    I wish Barry health and a hale and hearty new beginning, and in my head at least, I'm also ringing a bell for him.

  16. "Live today and live it fully" I'll ring a bell to that one!!!

  17. Lovely post, Leslie. Makes me want to ring a bell for Barry also. Happy to have come for this visit.
    Blessings all.

  18. I think there are many bells ringing for Barry. A heartfelt post. And a sensational collage as well.

  19. I can tell you have made a good blogging friend and this is a lovely tribute to your friendship, to Barry and to living life one day at a time with grace.

  20. Another reminder that each day is a gift, and we should continue to let people know that we love them and care about them. It's our connections with people that's what warms our hearts.

  21. I really like your new collage. I like the black lines, in contrast with soft natural colors.


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