MINDING THE BODY
How does a mother survive watching cancer sweep her adult child from this world and into the next?
Not easily. Fortunately, I had an inner drawer full of tools learned long ago, which helped me through—meditation, stress management, positive visualizations and affirmations all gleaned from my certification in Mind/Body Medicine with Dr. Herbert Benson (The Relaxation Response, et al) at the Benson-Henry Institute at Mass Gen Hospital in Boston. Life coach certification and a career in Human Resources helped with the more practical aspects of self-care. And then there was my Reiki training.
I was fortunate to participate in an experience where the success of hands-on healing was measured in a dramatic way. After major surgery in which his cancerous stomach was removed, my son, Rob, was moved to intensive care. Eight family members joined him in the room, feeling helpless as his cardiac monitor emitted disturbing high-speed beeps and was in the red zone, an indication his heart was beating dangerously fast.
I organized everyone to spread out around him. “We can do something to help. Hold your hands, palms down, about ten inches above Rob.” I demonstrated because we didn’t want to risk infection by touching him.. “Now you’re going to send love from your heart, through your hands, and into his body. If your mind wanders, just bring it back and focus on sending love.” They nodded, somewhat skeptical, and got ready. “Rob, your job is to receive the healing power of love coming your way. Everyone start now.”
What happened next was astounding. Within one minute, Rob’s heart rate dropped from the dangerous red zone to near-normal so quickly, it set off an alarm. The nurse came in, agitated. “What’s going on in here?” She ushered us out to the waiting room where no one spoke, but everyone looked at their hands, amazed.
I document the ups and downs of my journey through loss in my memoir, Grateful for the Color Blue / Surviving the Loss of an Adult Child, a compassionate outreach to anyone who has lived through loss and needs to know they are not alone.
I’m now in the process of writing a companion booklet to Grateful that focuses on the alternative as well as practical survival tips and techniques I described in detail in the memoir that helped me get through and heal.