When Silvia Berti stepped foot in Carma House last July, she got an unexpected rush of delight.
“The volunteer who gave me the tour of the house was so kind and so passionate about the programs that when I left the building I just broke down and cried – overwhelmed by how much love and affection I had received.”
It’s no surprised that after surgery for thyroid cancer, Silvia was searching for ways to rebuild her life, and Wellspring Calgary gave her a smorgasbord of options.
“I filled out the membership form that day. I signed up for Creative Journaling, and Visualization and Meditation, but my real love is art – the art classes here are amazing!” she exclaimed.
A native of Argentina, Silvia immigrated to Canada with her husband and son in 2005 and was busy working full-time in the supply chain end of oil and gas when she received her cancer diagnosis.
“My son was just 11 at the time and he was really quite vulnerable – I felt I needed to shelter him so I just told him I was sick, I didn’t want to scare him by saying it was cancer,” she says, welling up with tears.
To Silvia, coming face to face with the prospect that she could die and leave her son without a mother was terrifying. “I almost couldn’t breathe at the thought of it,” she said.
A few months later, when tests indicated that she was cancer-free Silvia tried to regain her footing, but she was caught off guard when she and her husband were both laid off within one day of each other. This unsettling change compounded with all that she had just come through plunged Silvia into depression, which she sought help for. “When you face your mortality, it changes how you live. You realize anything can happen. We don’t have infinite time,” she said.
It was a counsellor that directed Silvia to Wellspring Calgary – where she found support and friendship and where she reignited her passion for art. Today, with renewed health and her creative juices flowing, she feels back in balance and hopeful about her future – maybe even a job that includes art.
“Thursdays Open Studio at Wellspring… this is where I soar! Where my art can be free! Where I feel like I can dream again!”