Small Things

After relating a story the other day, a friend said to me that it amazed her how I find importance in the smallest things.  I wasn’t sure if I should take that as a compliment or not.   But she’s right.   I do.  I am hyper-sensitive in that way.  It could be a double-edged sword I suppose.  But I can’t help it; the smallest things go right to my heart.

This weekend I begin my training to provide Reiki treatments to in-home hospice patients.  The online training, which I must complete before in-person orientation, includes modules on communication, HIPPA regulations, home visit safety, signs and symptoms of death and the trajectory of illness/the stages of dying.

Another friend said “Why do you want to do this?  Why involve yourself with the dying?”

I had no immediate answer.  Nothing was on the tip of my tongue.  It frustrated me and I wondered why do I want to do this? 

I am no stranger to death having experienced the loss of friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, my father and my brother.  The hardest funeral was that of a two year old cousin, the oldest person was my great grandfather who lived into his nineties.  All felt equally tragic.

Earlier this year I worked with a gentleman, Bob, who was near death.  In fact, a week after our session he passed away.  Even though I had only met him once, even though we spent little more than an hour together, I cried for him. 

When I walked into Bob’s home and met his family I could see the pain and stress of caring for him lining their faces.  They looked at me with hope.   I sat with them for a time, telling them the most I could do through Reiki would be to give him a few moments of peace and rest. 

I entered his small room, shelving and furniture pushed to the walls to accommodate the large hospital bed that dominated the center.  The air was antiseptic and the lights were low.  Once this had been a large robust man, now thin and wasted.  Bob was weak but his voice rattled a response when I said his name in greeting.  I explained Reiki to him and asked his permission before proceeding.  His moist blue eyes blinked and he nodded his head yes. 

I turned on some gentle music, flute over breaking waves.   His family hovered, uncertain if they should stay in the room or go.  I told them they could take a break for an hour, or if they wished to stay and hold space they were more than welcome to do so.  They wandered out of the room but remained close by, curious and protective.

I set intention and offered my prayers as I placed my hands on Bob, cupping his head.  Within seconds, he took a deep breath and as he exhaled, tension drained from his body.  Drawn to his heart, I moved to the side of the bed and knelt down.  Taking his hand in my right hand, I placed my left over his heart.  Like soft wax, my hand melted into his heart, it pulled me in flowering under my touch.  Compassion flowed and he seemed to shimmer in a soft light. 

He spoke softly and his daughter came into the room.  She leaned close and heard him whispering greetings to loved ones who no longer were part of the earthly plane.  She apologized for her tears, but I told her they were welcome and together we sent energy and compassion to Bob.  Finally he fell asleep, his formerly ragged breath even and deep.  The next day I called to follow up.  His family told me that later when Bob awoke, he asked for me.  He felt relaxed and peaceful.

After the session, I refused the money they offered.  It wasn’t generosity on my part but rather thanks.  The small moment, that brief time I had with Bob may have provided him some relief but it provided me so much more.  The tears I shed at his passing expressed both loss and gratitude.  As his heart opened, so did mine.  The compassion I felt that day from Spirit was compassion for us both.  I had a glimpse of a man who had lived a happy, productive life.  And I had a glimpse of the loving person within me.  I felt honored that Bob had allowed me to share a small part of this most important time.    

So I guess I do take the small things to heart.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Susan Kozem

    Posted on August 24, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Great, as usual.
    When you first told me about “working with the dying” it never occurred to me “why would you do this?” What I thought was “everyone should do this.” And yet, only a few people have the courage. What a wonderful gift you are giving to these people and their families.

  2. Comment by Susan Kozem

    Posted on August 24, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Great, as usual.
    When you first told me about “working with the dying” it never occurred to me “why would you do this?” What I thought was “everyone should do this.” And yet, only a few people have the courage. What a wonderful gift you are giving to these people and their families.

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