Healing Through Death 12/19/2005

Transitional Healing -- a Case Study

Eric Pearl

Death is sometimes a healing for both the departing one and the one left behind. It is time of great opportunity, if it is used wisely.

What determines a successful healing? Is it someone who gets up out of a wheelchair and walks? Is it the disappearance of disease? Is it the restructuring and transformation of our DNA?

           Or maybe life's the disease and death is the healing.

           One day I received a call from an oncologist who asked if I would be able to see one of his patients. I said, "Of course." This woman wasn't able to leave the hospital, so I met her and her husband there, late in the evening. When I arrived, she was asleep, so I spoke with her husband for a little while, then began the session. Within a few moments, she opened her eyes. He introduced us, and throughout the duration of the session, the couple carried on a very animated and fun conversation. You could see the effects that the chemo and other long-term treatments had taken on her, yet you could also see the sparkle of beauty in her smile and in her eyes.

           They were a young couple, probably in their late 30s. When they spoke to one another, their eyes locked like two lovers who had just been reunited after a long separation. It was readily apparent that they enjoyed each other and that they were very much in love. She spoke, he listened; he spoke, she listened. They laughed and brought me into their conversation as if I were a long-time friend. They shared stories of different things they'd done together, and told me about their trips and of people in their lives.

           All of a sudden, the woman was craving ice cream--three different kinds! I had already been at the hospital far longer than I had planned, but I offered to stay longer while her husband went for food. As he was about to leave, she decided that cheesecake would also be nice. It was 11:00 P.M., yet nothing could have made the man happier than to find all these items and bring them back to his wife. He promised he'd return quickly, although we all knew that by the time he made it out of the hospital complex, found someplace that was open, and returned with everything, it would be a good 45 minutes. And it was. It was also one of the longest 45 minutes I'd experienced because, as the door closed behind him, she turned toward me and said, "I'm going to leave now."

           I said, "You're what?" I knew what she meant, yet I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

           "I'm going to leave now," she repeated.

           "Now?" I asked.

           She nodded.

           I was somewhat in shock. The woman's demeanor and expression left no room for misinterpretation. She was telling me that she was planning to die right then. She had sent her husband on the food-run to assure that he wouldn't be present when she passed.

           "Oh no, you're not," I told her.

           I had no intention of his coming back with arms full of ice cream and cheesecake and finding me sitting next to his dead wife.

           "I'm going to leave now," she repeated.

           "You're going to stay right here until your husband gets back," I informed her in response to this third and most recent threat, glancing at the clock and noticing how slowly time seemed to be moving. The point was, I had no doubt that she could have "left" at that very moment. The only way to prevent this from happening was to keep her in conversation. I knew that once I let her stop talking, she was going to let go and cross over.

           I told the woman that if she was making this decision to go, her husband would want the opportunity to say good-bye. I was keeping her thought processes engaged, and that was good. At this point, I'd have grabbed a ukelele and played Tiptoe Through the Tulips if I thought it would keep her alive until he came back. We talked. She "stayed."

           About 45 minutes later, her husband returned. There was no mention of her "leaving." They resumed normal conversation as if nothing had occurred. My heart was still pounding as the woman ate her ice cream. They offered me some. I wasn't very hungry. I said my good-nights and made a quick departure.

           The husband called the next day to let me know that she had passed. I already knew. He told me then that she had been asleep and/or mostly incoherent for close to two months prior to our visit. This was the first time that she had been lucid for more than a minute or so. He thanked me for giving him back his wife for that one final evening.

           Who had the healing, and what was it? Well, they each had a healing. He needed, after two months, to see his wife one last time, to say good-bye and let go. She needed to see him again and know that he would be okay if she left. They each received their gift.

           People die. We move on. It's part of our cosmic experience to recycle.

           When someone does cross over, it doesn't mean that they didn't have a healing. Their healing may very well have been the ease with which you allowed them to have their transition, the peace they received through your visit to accept and let go--and that chance to smile and say "I love you" to someone who needed to hear it--one last time.

           So don't interpret, don't analyze. Just be. And know that you carry the gift of healing--in whatever form that may take.

           Source: The Reconnection

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