Food for Thought, Food for the Spirit

In a letter written to Christina Amri last summer, a longtime registered nurse talks about the effect of an Amri Donor Wall on patients and staff at his hospital.

Dear Christina and Team,

I saw your work for the first time last February at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, when you were just finishing up the installation of a crystal Donor Wall.

Stephen looking at CHOMP I was on duty that day as a registered nurse specializing in palliative care, and stopped by the lobby to see what was going on.  As the glass was revealed, it literally took my breath away.

In the weeks to come, as I walked by the Donor Wall each day, I saw people pause, bow their heads or sit in reverence before the panel, even cry.  Passersby touched it in wonderment, in memory of a loved one, or as a way of bringing them back to their bigger purpose as health care workers or members of a community.

Chomp0457 The Donor Wall is 6 feet high by 18 feet wide and lit by programmed LEDs

The theme of giving leapt off the glass to remind me of the importance of my work as a nurse and its true reward.  I have moved since that day, but before I left Community Hospital I took a man facing a terminal diagnosis to see the Donor Wall. He cried at the beauty of it. Then he asked if I would bring him back to see it again. The spiritual nourishment that this piece of art provided him replaced the food he was no longer able digest. It gave him the courage to get out of bed the next day despite his dying body.

Viewers enjoying the wall This brief story speaks to the power of your inspired work. I cannot say eloquently enough how important your exquisite pieces are out there in the world.

In its highest form, art reminds us of the sacred and binds us to life itself. If there was nothing of beauty, I would find it difficult to make sense of the often day-to-day grind of life, especially when working with the ill and dying.

CHOMP egret

                                                All photos by Gabriel Harber

You and your team turn out striking work that touches the hearts and minds of thousands of people, as I have seen myself. Your beautiful wall in Monterey continues to touch people deeply. As a nurse, I thank all of you for the sake of the many patients and their families who are fed by your work.

Steven Price, R.N.
Sebastopol, CA

Note: I wrote in depth about the Donor Wall at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in an earlier post entitled "Designing Deep Meaning Into Donor Art."  Also, the hospital magazine has written an article about their new Donor Wall. You can read it here.