Review by Bridgette A. Wimberly, playwright, poet, librettist; Founding Director, From Breast Cancer to Broadway
As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Wilhelmina Grant’s book, A Feeling of Fullness: Insights of a Divinely Guided Journey Beyond Breast Cancer, is an engaging, informative, inspirational cool drink of some of the best lemonade around.
Shouting survival by any means necessary, this is an honest and thorough account of conquering the fear, pain, and uncertainty of fighting and living a full life beyond breast cancer. Her personal journey, accompanied by photos of her engaging artwork, leads us through this warrior’s fight to live, as it inspires us all to follow her lead. Like letters from an old friend you’ve been longing to hear from, she welcomes us to experience her journey, stating, “I recognize that everything that I have ever done has prepared me for everything that I will ever do, and that absolutely nothing has transpired by accident.” Indeed, as cancer is that taboo word no one wants to hear, particularly in the African-American community where breast cancer deaths remain higher, Wilhelmina warns that not acknowledging it does not make it go away. While this is about her journey, it is also, and more importantly, an informative road guide for improving your own personal health, and living fully, knowing you have done all you could to remain healthy.
I first met this tall, stately, beautiful warrior at an October breast cancer awareness event shortly after she started SISTAAH. In this huge auditorium in Harlem, I was looking for women with stories to tell about their breast cancer journeys. Wilhelmina sat surrounded by her determination and her art. She was immediately engaging, explaining the array of collages of paper and objects, drawing me in with a specific purpose. I remember her proclaiming that as a breast cancer survivor, her art is activism. Indeed, you will marvel at her artwork displayed in this book, many made of discarded everyday objects, testimonies in themselves. She repurposes the once-useless trash from someone’s past, making it anew. She writes, “I discovered that I could express anything that needed to be said using art.” An amazing piece in this book is a perfect testament to the power of her art. Many Woman is a woman created from kitchen objects: a vegetable grater for her body, forks giving her legs, and the wooden handles of steel knives forming her open arms. But it is the blades of these knives defining her upper body that moved me most. On top of the steel blades rest two perfect looking breasts. Her face displays a huge smile. She lives — and that’s the point!
A Feeling of Fullness: Insights of a Divinely Guided Journey Beyond Breast Cancer will leave you filled with empowerment!