At the Center for Advanced Energy Medicine, as with everyone else, we’ve had several losses over the years. 11 clients have passed during my 15 years of working there, which isn’t a bad attrition rate in the big scheme of things. But each loss is hard, as we ALL know, being that we each experience daily death, in ways big and small.
There’s so much more history to someone than we can ever know. I often sadly find, that not all aspects of a person are revealed until after they die, when you see the depth and breadth of their life-stories. This is true even if that person was a parent, or sibling. There is always a common thread that runs through, like their humor or stubbornness, etc. I often am amazed when I find that the special bond I shared with that person was also shared by many others. This is a testament to that person’s authenticity, if they can make everyone feel as though they are special in such a sincere way.
The following list is my tribute to our 11. I will name each previous patient, our clients passed (with the dates they frequented our office). I want to share a bit of the Spirit that they shared with me. Each of them touched me. I don’t want to forget, because they too are part of my legacy for having known them, and they helped me hone my skills as a practitioner. I learned from each one of them. Every one except Leonard and Jack (who were both very long-lived), had chronic or terminal illness. Aside from one of those ill folks, Nancy, I only made their acquaintance after they had been sick for awhile, seeking the aid of Dr. Metz as their last resort.
- Jeffrey (1993-2000) = a retired dentist who relished his volunteer service at the Bouverie Preserve, Audubon Canyon Ranch. He had a brain tumor & thus commuted to our office by bus from Glen Ellen. From him & his then wife, I also learned about the Zen Hospice in San Francisco, CA, who helped him in his transition.
- Jimbo (1995-2003) = a free spirited hippie-type whose memorial was a fun & moving pot-luck full of dancing, music & poetry. My last encounter with him at the office, about a month before he died, he gave me a big hug & was so compassionate, knowing I was in the midst of a divorce. He was a young man, who had been coexisting with a brain tumor for over a decade. It seemed his death was rather sudden. He was committed to alternatives (including cannabis) & it served him well with quality of life till the end.
- Leonard (1990-2003) = a discerning & spiritual ‘wise old man’ for as long as I knew him! He was committed to the business he founded, Sonoma Surgical Supply, & went to work well into his elder years. His daughter now runs the place, & we still refer them patients, as needed. Leonard was a fine, soft-spoken, but clear role model in many ways.
- Jack (1996 -2006) = Jack was a veteran of WWII who late in life wrote a book chronicling his experience in the war, One Angel Left. He was in his 80′s taking computer courses, driving himself around statewide, peddling his story right up to the end. His zest for life & always looking forward was inspiring to me. If I remember right, he was a retired college art professor.
- Bri (2007-2008) = I met Bri after a reoccurrence of breast cancer & surgery. Back then I wasn’t yet online myself, but I remember her telling me of the online friendships she had made from her blog, Figs with Bri. In fact, it was so touching that those same people, most of which had never met her in person, started an online donation for her medical care. She too was a young woman, who fought hard. She died at home. Dr. Metz & my house calls helped keep her as lucid & comfortable as possible till the end. It was from her death, & her husband & his parents, that I was reminded about the alternative choices that we now have. As opposed to funeral homes; they chose an inexpensive, in-home, family-directed funeral service. The one they used was called, Final Passages. They were very pleased.
- Maria (2000-2010) = a classy elegant woman was she. And, she didn’t like me to mess up her hair. Spoke her mind, sweetly. No matter how frail she became, she was always so beautifully & naturally put-together. She was a dear woman. What struck me most was the mutual dedication & devotion with her husband James, who was taking care & always by her side. He was absolutely crushed at her passing. They always agreed that they had found their soul mate in one another. They made a witty, sophisticated & art-filled pair. (Speaking of which, The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships is a book I highly recommend).
- Julie (1995-2011) = a woman who I actually never met, & didn’t even know what she looked like till I found the link to her name. She was a phone consultation patient of Dr. Metz who lived several hours away. I was surprised when I heard of her passing, as I had not been at the front desk for awhile. A friend brought some clothing of hers to the office to share. I now have a lovely purple silk mandarin jacket of Julie’s.
- Betty (2004-2012) = a soul sister to me. We were very much alike, in our interests, sensitivities, & Catholic past. She was a grade school teacher who had since received training in Jin shin, which she used mostly on herself, & loved ones. We had many a conversation on the subject of ‘energy’, that we both could relate to, & found helpful during my treatment time with her. She was also a faithful weekly client that I grew to know very well. I met her just after she got her breast cancer diagnosis & surgery. Betty’s family supported & cared for her at home throughout. She was only in assisted living for a short time before she again returned home. It was then, when I was making house calls that I encountered Ceres Meal Delivery, a fabulous network of volunteers (including teenagers) that learn to prepare & then deliver organic, healthy meals to the homebound. I also found out from her that there is a place in Sonoma County that gives & receives medical supplies freely. They keep those crutches, wheelchairs & diapers out of the attics & landfills, putting them back into active circulation. You know how I love to see ‘reuse & recycle’ in action (especially free medical supplies). I miss you my Betty-Boo!
- Nancy (1991-2012) = a kind, conscientious & gentle woman who I had known 10 of those 20 years. She found out she had made an appointment on my birthday & she wanted to acknowledge so by bringing me a small gift. That was the last thing on my mind for her to have to do! I could tell she was close to dying (ovarian cancer), but I don’t know if she had accepted it yet. Regardless, she took the time & energy to gift me. She had decided to go the full western medical route, was away for awhile & eventually came back to us toward the end. She often told me she “felt alive again” after one of my treatments. She was really suffering from the full doses of chemo, etc. She said our treatments helped her with ‘chemo brain’ & other toxic effects of chemo.
- Dee Dee (6-7, 2012) = a very open, supportive, nurturing soul who enjoyed artful whimsy (as I relished during a house call to her apt.). I only knew her for her last month of her life, but I felt an immediate affinity with her, like I had known her a long time. She was a therapist at massage envy & came down with sudden cancer-related symptoms that disabled her swiftly. She liked when Dr. Metz & I came to give treatments. I think our presence somehow soothed her…So fast Dee Dee…God Bless.
- Deborah (1993-2013) = a lass, so slow. DebDol, as I called her, suffered for 30 years before her transition. She was a faithful weekly client of mine for 8 years (up to daily with Dr. Metz for 20). I learned a lot about life: her life, my life, life in general. I always called her ‘the canary in the coal mine’. Because of her chemical sensitivities (do watch this video). I joked that she could make some good money by offering her services as a bomb- or pot- sniffing sort of dog. No matter how serious, we always managed to get a laugh in. Her chronic lyme disease was a piece of the puzzle that started shutting her system down, & therefore couldn’t detox the plethora chemicals with which we are ALL bombarded. For her, it got to where she couldn’t even tolerate air, food, or water…the very basics! I took it upon myself to become ‘fragrance-free’ not only in her honor, but because not doing so would set her off an intensified pain sequence that lasted for days. My cancer clients also have gotten sensitive to smells, etc., when going through chemo & what not. So I made a decision to ‘do no harm’, including choosing fragrance-free shampoo, mousse, gel, deodorant, laundry & dish soap, & cleaning products for myself, my home & workplace. Someday I may be a canary, you may also… So give it some thought. Deb said the cheapest place to get that stuff was Target, but also any Health Food store has at least one un-scented product in each category. Deb taught me that I could do all I needed to do with Hydrogen Peroxide, housekeeping-wise. Here are some other ideas for a natural clean. Finally, leave it to Canada to tackle such subjects from a broader point of view, for the health of their citizens.
We just lost Deborah a few weeks ago, thus prompting this post. “Break on Through to the Other Side” is the song Dr. Metz serenaded Deborah with on our last house call before she died. Dr. Metz and she were the same age. We each tried to maintain a sense of humor. As usual, Deb appreciated our levity. I’m sure she, and the other clients we lost before her, would all endorse my closing thought and video in their honor:
‘Capital D’, I say!!! ‘D’ for Dancing!!!
Not ‘d’ for ‘death’. Not ‘d’ for ‘down-hearted’. Rather ‘D’ for Dancing!!!
Once one has been through a life/death emergency, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, why not make them Dancing Shoes?!
R.I.P. Dear Ones. We celebrate you, your life and freedom from pain. May you Dance with wild abandon …on the Other Side!
With Love, Maggie