Kathleen is a woman in her mid forties. She runs a nursery focusing on perennial plants and shrubs. She lives with her husband in a modest home surrounded by woodland. Kathleen came to me several months after the death of her teenage son.
When Kathleen first came to my office she was frazzled and pale. She could communicate well, however she was rather tired. Kathleen expressed her bewilderment, her inability to follow or name the many different emotions that accompany such a tragic moment. She needed a safe space to unravel and some tools for making sense. Most of all she just needed to be witnessed and held in a place of pure compassion. Kathleen couldn’t get back to work, couldn’t face people yet. Her body was wearing down from the grief.
In our first couple of sessions we spoke a good deal. I listened without judgement or expectation. Just a witness of love. And this allowed Kathleen to slowly begin to trust. As she witnessed herself unravel, and felt the space of being held, her body began to relax. Slowly our sessions moved from mostly talking to exercises and talking, and later on to some really beautiful sessions on the table.
Our work on the massage table began with an unwinding and quieting of the nervous system. Deep tensions began to unfold, deeper emotions began to flow, connection to older grief began to open. As the grief slowly moved from personal to universal, vast spiritual planes began to open for Kathleen. As this shift occurred our table sessions transitioned to restoration of the physical and energetic bodies. A softening which precedes surrender began to unfold. The body became capable once again of rest, of receiving the energy of love. Slowly Kathleen’s spirit began to strengthen, visibly present in her more stable footing, the even spaces between her words and sentences, a little light that returned to her eyes.
Kathleen and I worked together for just over a year and a half. During that time her awareness of herself grew into that of a profoundly spiritual being, deeply connected to the spirit of her son. The weight on her shoulders lifted and she began to stand tall again. In the following spring, she re-opened the nursery. She chose to attend to her existing stock, dividing it and nursing it back to health, rather than buy new stock in. As her customers began to return, they spent time speaking with her. She was happy to share her process through the plants. Many of them were replanted right on the nursery grounds and Kathleen got to watch them flower. Two years after his passing, Kathleen was able to celebrate the holidays with a space for her son at the table.
I will be forever touched by the courage and trust engendered by Kathleen. The beauty that opened in our sessions together will always stand out to me as brilliantly coloured, richly textured and humble to its core.