(today was my grandfather’s birthday. he passed 5 years ago. love you grandpa!)
when my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer at 84, she declined chemo or radiation. the spot was on her left side, right over her heart, a very dangerous place to be applying radiation and chemo. we all talked about it, and she looked at me and said, “i don’t think i want to do this, but what do you think?” i said, “nanny, it is your choice, what feels right to you. and based on what all of the possible side effects could be, i think you are making the right decision.”
i could see her take that in and feel a glimmer of confidence in herself. my grandfather had passed not quite a year before, and my grandmother had deferred every conceivable decison to him. i cannot imagine how frightening it was for her to have these kinds of decisions to make by herself.
we spoke of alternative methods, and i set her up with a doctor to call and she began down a trail of diet change and nutrition.
a year earlier, nanny and my grandfather were both in the hospital with pnemonia. then grandpa recovered and nanny ended up being there for 3 weeks. during her time in the hosptial, i brought my tribe to do some group reiki on her. my friend linda, who attuned all of us in the circle, was there and she attuned my mother, aunt and grandmother during that visit. the room was so blasted with spirit.
when i came back to the hospital to visit a couple of days later, it was just my grandmother and i in the room for a moment. as we were talking there was the this breeze that moved thru the room and fluttered the curtains in front of the door. i had just been thinking of my tribe and was about to say something, but before i could, my grandmother looked at me with big eyes and said, “did you feel that? there are all kinds of people in this room right now! can you feel them?”
i shared that i had just been thinking about everybody and i could feel them all join us as well. it was the beginning of some very magical awareness for her, that would intensify for the next couple of years.
my friends made medicine bags for her with stones and crystals, explaining the healing properties. some of these crystals were very large and she would make time every day to hold them, to work with them, and always exclaimed over the the power she felt come from them and how calm it made her. how much better she always felt. she did reiki on herself everyday.
i started a group reiki session with my tribe and as often as we could, we would meet on mondays. i would pick her up and we would drive to linda’s house and we would put her on the warm table in the healing room. it was always a joyous and laugh filled. anywhere from 3-8 of us, sipping tea, lighting candles and juicing her up with light. she would hold beautiful amythst crystals in her hands. she was always like a little kid when we finished. she would just be on fire and say, “ i could just run home from here i have so much energy!”
one day as we left she looked so thoughtful and far away and suddenly she said, “you know when my mom lived with me for those last 7 years? she would make me help her out of her chair and lay her on the ground and she would do these crazy hand gestures and movements all over her body. breathing, with her eyes closed and just keep moving her hand positions. i just thought she was kind of off, maybe a bit demented, but it seems like what you girls all do when you are with me. maybe she was doing healing work on herself.”
i loved this recollection of nannys. my great grandmother was a sweet, strong woman. quite funny, but very quiet. raised 7 kids, on a farm, made all of her own ointments, salves, teas and tinctures. her husband died 40 years before she did. she makes me think of crocheted doileys, house dresses, aprons and sensible black shoes and heavy stockings. stories of her ringing the necks of chickens with one hand. orphaned barn cats, tea and horehound candy.
from that moment on, i felt my great grandmother around us a great deal. felt her in our reiki circle when we worked on nanny. i started to see her through this lens of a quiet, un assuming healer woman, soothing herself. seems i was part of a healing lineage and didn’t even know it. now i not only know it, i feel it and carry them with me every day.