Guest post by Amy Anderson, Cancer Community Center
When his husband of sixteen years became ill, author and composer Eliott Cherry cared for him at home. He also recorded their conversations in his diary. After Chris Chenard died in 2007, Eliott wrote poetry, prose, and music to express his loss and combined these with his journal entries to create A Finished Heart.
In recognition of National Hospice Palliative Care Month, Cancer Community Center, Center for Grieving Children, Hospice of Southern Maine, and University of New England will present a free performance and discussion of A Finished Heart. The event ismade possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.
Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 6:00 PM
University of New England Portland Campus
716 Stevens Avenue, Portland, Maine
Cherry’s solo narrative is accompanied by a musical score, with Martin Perry at the piano. The audience is invited to attend a post-performance discussion with the author, facilitated by Jani Darak-Druck, M. Div., and Valerie Jones, LMSW. Participants’ thoughts, feelings, questions and stories will be most welcome.
Cherry hopes that A Finished Heart will stimulate participants to discover compassionate ways to be with dying individuals and their loved ones, and to broaden their perspective on dying, care-giving, and grief by sharing the intimacy of two men who have committed their lives to each other. The piece expresses an experience of losing one’s spouse and the complexity of end-of-life experience. Cherry writes:
“Being with Chris as he died and losing him focused me on how vulnerable we are in critical situations. Our last days together spurred us to reach pinnacles of devotion and care.”
A Finished Heart has been performed at the University of Maine/Orono, the University of New England, the University of Southern Maine, and the Cambridge, MA Public Library as well as for many faith congregations. The work has also been presented at the New England Consortium on Life Stories. Performances have received support from the JSL Foundation. Cherry, a composer and performer, is working to bring A Finished Heart to diverse audiences. Martin Perry, a freelance pianist and recording artist, specializes in music of the 20th century.
For more information about Thursday’s FREE presentation call 207-221-4491