Grace


There is a lot of my life I don’t discuss on line, with good reason.  I have outside-of-mainstream religious beliefs, my lifestyle is “odd” by definition of the society in which I live.  There are also things I don’t talk about in this blog on principle – mainly other people’s lives, except where they intersect with mine and then, I only write if I have their approval to do so or I obfuscate their identity enough so that they are unrecognisable.

The exception probably is M, as people who know me well in “real life” are easily able to identify her.

I also tend not to write about “the stuff that we do” because (a) it generally involves other people and (b) “healing” has been sullied by a lot of charlatans, past and present.

However, I am prompted to write tonight as something has touched me in a very fundamental way. You see, for years and years, M and I have done what we refer to as “our stuff”. It is very difficult to explain without sounding esoteric so here is my definition, for what it is worth.

Have you ever worked with people who are on a permanent downer?  Nothing goes right in their lives, they always see the worst in others and situations?  They trudge into work, hating every minute, and making life miserable for everyone around them.  Now think for a moment how that sort of person made you feel.  Did you feel dragged down and as if they were sucking the life out of you?

If yes, let’s take it a little further.  On a basic level, their emotions affected yours.  Sometimes it is their actions that affect those around them but often, all they have to do to bring someone down is to walk into the room.  Their emotions and “energy” is of the sucking, grasping, poor-me kind.  Now, if negative energy can affect people, then so can positive energy.  And some people have a vibrant, positive energy that projects around them.  When they walk into a room, people perk up.

Energy never dies – it moves into things and changes them.  And this is healing in its most basic form – it is a channelling of positive energy for good.

I have to admit that I never believed in it.  Until my back was against the wall with Arthur – when there was literally no hope that he was going to make it out of kittenhood despite everyone’s best efforts – he was just too sick and allergic to too many things.

In my frantic researching, I stumbled on a book about energy healing, tried it, felt it work (the only way to describe it is the feeling that you are tapping into a universal source of abundant and loving energy and it then flowing into your solar plexus before coming out through your hands – it is the weirdest feeling) and then watched my kitten as he took it in (I felt him take it which was odd on a scale I had not experienced before) and recovered.

Since then, I have done it whenever and wherever it was needed including being part of a distance healing network, worked on both people and animals and had mostly good results.  The times when the healing didn’t “take”, I could feel it not taking and knew that it wasn’t going to work, before the results were apparent.

However, the last six years have been difficult.  I have lost three people who were central to my life, whom I adored, including both parents, had a marriage break up, struggled to remain in my house, become unemployed and had a further year’s struggle and it is not over yet.

I have on occasion felt very stressed, very frightened and unable to tap into that source for myself.  Despite the way I have at times felt, I have been able to still produce it, apart from for my loved ones when they were dying.  And it is a funny old thing, being able to do this – because when you need it most for those you love most, it does not work.  And with the exception of my cats, when I have had loved ones who have been in dire need, I have had to get someone else to work for them.

M works better at distance healing, I work better hands on.  Both of us together compliment each other and I once had the unique experience of sending someone healing and feeling M there as I did it.  Checking later, it was the exact time she had sent healing.

I am a very rational, practical person so I have trouble getting my head round it sometimes. But it is there, despite my misgivings and it works, despite my innate disbelief.

Healing is not about curing.  Because of this, it has to be done very carefully and thoughtfully.  Who, for instance, would want to send a request for a long life for someone in the last stages of cancer?  If it worked, it might mean a long, painful death for the very person you were trying to help. So, in those circumstances, the healing you do is for an absence of pain, for the person to reconcile any areas of their life they need to and for them to have a painless death.

There are only two occasions where I have done anything different.  And this blog post with all of its long-winded background, is about one of those occasions.

To make sense of this, you need to know that M ran a petshop (which you probably know already if you have read any of the archives on this blog). You need to know that she suffers from severe, stage 4 kidney failure which she has managed to keep stable for 3 years and she has a manageable cancer which requires regular checks and bouts of chemo to keep under control.

She is also the person closest to me in my life.  There are times when I am not sure where she starts and I end.  There is very little I couldn’t say to her and nothing in my current life that I would not share with her.

When M was forced to close the petshop, she took the animals with her. Mostly small animals, there were also three kittens.  They were gorgeous and healthy – tabby and tortie mixes, friendly, sweet kittens.  M noticed over the period of a few days that all three had ears which were bending over.  Concerned, she took them to the vet but he could see nothing wrong and assumed that it was a type of ringworm. Treatment continued for months as the kittens grew older.  In the meantime, a home for one was secured, with two more to be found.  Suddenly and tragically, one died and then another. The cause of death was never ascertained but assumed to be a virus.

M faced an anxious few weeks but the remaining cat continued to thrive.  M decided to keep her and Pepper grew up to be a sweet cat, not particularly cuddly, very self-contained but calm with a silly sense of humour, happy to play for hours on her own and who, over time, became particularly attached to my brother-in-law, who works for M’s husband and lives with them.

She is the most unassuming cat, picky about her food but otherwise very low maintenance (especially compared to my lot).  Recently, she went for her annual checkup and shots and the vet who saw her remarked as to how well-behaved and calm she was.  They gave her a clean bill of health, said she was in remarkably good shape and off home she went.

M and I toddled off to our wicked weekend in Brighton and when we came back, she mentioned to me that she thought Pepper had lost weight.  Over the course of a month, Pepper ate less and less and over the space of latter days, shrank from a well-covered, healthy cat to a very thin one. So quickly in fact that I could see very little wrong with her until the day Marion took her to the vet and the weight loss was too apparent not to be noticed.

The vet, Ian (who is excellent and who was the same guy who saved Merlin when he was savaged by a dog three years ago) could not find anything at all wrong with her, apart from her thinness but knows Marion well enough to know that she doesn’t do vet visits on a whim.  Pepper was completely compliant, allowing him to take a blood and urine sample.  Ian remarked on what a special, calm and lovely cat she was.

The next day, we had the awful news that Pepper was dying.  She was in complete renal failure.    Ian thought that the virus that had seen off her siblings had affected her too, by attacking her kidneys.  It was a bitter irony on a number of levels.

Firstly, Pepper is much loved and is looked after exceptionally well.  She is an “inside” cat as M’s road like mine has got busier as the years have gone by.  She gets the best food, the best love and the best care.  Secondly, she has ended up with the same condition as her owner which is a nasty little turn of fate, especially as she is in the last, last stages.  As Ian put it – it is going to be upsetting for Marion to watch her cat die from the very illness that will end up killing her.

Thirdly, M has done more than her fair share of caring for animals, educating their owners and saving and rehoming animals who would otherwise have faced uncertain and probably abusive futures.

For her beloved cat to be dying was therefore an injustice on so many levels, it made me cry.  The next day, Pepper was placed on dialysis and then sent home.  I went round to M’s as soon as I could.  Pepper was not eating much, so I went and got as many different types of luscious (but not too rich) fish as I could get my hands on in Croydon as well as some organic chicken.  I came back to M’s.

Pepper was on the stairs, curled up and calm.  I offered her some trout.  She sniffed and amazingly, ate some.  Not a lot – we are talking a tablespoon full here, but it was enough for us to feel some hope that she had some time left still.  M and I threw some chicken in a pot and I showed her how to make a broth (my Queen of the kitchen who has been feeding me her lovely dinners for months had never made chicken soup before!).

M and I stood at the bottom of the stairs, watching her eat.  We both started to cry.  M said, this is a moment we are going to remember forever and I agreed.  There is little difference between watching a beloved animal die and watching a beloved human die.  Except that it’s worse in one way – an animal cannot tell you how it is feeling

We went back into the kitchen, I packed my bag and hugged Marion goodbye, my heart in my boots.  As I was doing so, I looked up at Pepper and with all of my heart wished her an easy passing.  She did something she had never done before.  She reached out from the stairs with her paw, as if to say, “don’t go yet”.  Bearing in mind her aversion to being cuddled and coddled, I walked up a few stairs and then lay across them, my hand stretched out to touch her paw.

And then it happened.  For the first time in years, I felt my entire body open up and towards Pepper and through it I sent the biggest burst of healing energy I could.  I had no faith that it would work, in fact it was sent with the thought that it would help her pass, quietly, in her own home, with her loved ones around her.  She equally opened up to me and we stayed there, Pepper with her paw out and me stretched across the stairs.  I am not sure how long I lay there, but I got the message.  Pepper knew she was dying, she was content and happy to be home, knew she was loved, loved back equally in return and did not have long.  This was not a message I wanted to relay.

M asked me what I picked up.  I dithered.  Eventually, I told her exactly as I had received the message and what I had received.  It so shook me so much that I had to sit down again.  I made sure I had related the message correctly, told M again exactly what I had been told and in the order I had been told it and then left, after catching my breath, with a last hug and a kiss and a “thank you” to the calm, dying cat on her stairs.

I walked home berating myself for not being able to do more but also amazed at how much power I had felt flow through me.  To be very straight, when I heal, it is not me that is doing the healing, I am simply the vehicle through which the healing passes.  And for so long, it had felt like I was partially blocked, that although it was getting through, my stuff was getting in the way and it was an effort.  Sending healing to Pepper had been both utterly instinctive and completely effortless.

At night, I have a routine which involves quiet time spent at my altar, normally thankful, reflective time.  But that night, I was mad. Because kidneys are very susceptible to stress, the stress and grief of losing Pepper could well tip M’s own kidneys into oblivion.  So in losing Pepper, I had to face the possibility that I could once again be faced with a major personal loss.  I was angry for Pepper, angry for M and self-indulgently, angry for me.

I reached no level of calm.  I was angry, stayed angry and was honest about just how angry I was.  I poured it all out.  I was so angry, I was precise and concise.  I laid out all the reasons why this was brutally, completely unfair.  I asked for something very specific.  I remember virtually every word I said.  Response was … nothing.  I felt none of the open connection I had felt when lying across  those steps reaching out to Pepper.

The next few days were painful.  Pepper ate something, she didn’t eat much.  I knew that no matter what she bloody ate or didn’t eat, there was little point.  Ian had been very clear – she was dying, it was simply a matter of time.  I exhorted M to be normal with her, talk encouragingly to her.  Pepper was resigned to her own death, it was up to M to take the lead and make her last days memorable.  M didn’t need me to tell her that.

Gradually, after turning her nose up at my trout for the second time, pulling a face at the chicken broth and various other treats, Pepper decided that she really liked the crappy pouch food from Tescos. M described it like this – it’s as if she is feeling horrible and wants the equivalent of a burger and coke. Pepper turned her nose up at the renal support food.  It went out of the window whilst we tried to get her to eat something, anything.  M was due to take her back a week after her dialysis.  Pepper started eating the junk and then more of it, then some of her biscuits and a bit more, now preferring the gravy based food to her previous jelly favourite.  We kept up the thoughts and the healing, joined by three others in our immediate circle

As it turned out, I wasn’t working on the Friday and went to the vet with M and Pepper.  Ian was very pleased at how she looked – she had put on weight – nearly half a kilogram, which is massive for a cat that weighed 2.2 kg (the average cat weighs 4 kg).  He said that she looked better than he expected.  He deftly took a urine sample from her, took her off to do a blood sample and predicted the results would be back that night.

They weren’t.  M and I spent anxious weekends and I did not dare call her on Monday.  I knew that no matter what we did, it was just a matter of time and I felt dull and sad and bitterly angry.

I got back from work and my phone rang.  It was Marion.  It took a while for the news to sink into my brain but the jist of it was this:

–                     Pepper’s tests had come back as normal

–                     She was no longer in kidney failure and in fact was showing normal kidney function.

–                     There had been no mistake on initial diagnosis or testing and in fact, Ian was so flumozzled, he had asked the vet who owned the practice to check his tests.  Neither of them had ever seen this before.

–                     Marion had mentioned in conversation that her healing circle was good and Ian wanted to know what we had done.  He then suggested that he employ us.

–                     He also stated that he now believed in miracles as he had seen one unfold right in front of him.

Ian wants to see Pepper in a couple of weeks for a checkup.   He is astounded.  And so are we.

Despite seeing good results time and time again, I was amazed.  I had asked for a miracle, knowing deep in my heart that it was a huge ask and been granted one.  I had also displayed the most amazing bout of temper, stamped my foot and (those who know me well will giggle at this, knowing just how cold I can be when angered beyond reason) I had been at my most direct, lucid and acid with every word I had said.  I fully expected the universe to tell me to bugger off, that it was too late and that fate was fate.

It didn’t.  It told me something completely different – it showed that at times of huge stress and failure and grief, there is still room for grace.  And the odd miracle.

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About titflasher

Writer, blogger, animal activist, people activist, dream-catcher maker, mommy to 9 cats and a roving band of foxes ... Blog name comes from my father's suggestion for the title of my autobiography ... after my mother's and my awful habit of flashing whenever the security police took our photo in the dark old days of apartheid South Africa. I love nature, including creepy crawlies and people, find life fascinating and frustrating and have two terrible weaknesses - nictotine and animals in distress ... can't abide the latter situation and can't give up the former. I'm Pagan but not anti-Christian, funny but quite serious, light-hearted but can be annoying. I am warm-hearted until someone p*sses on me too much, then I get soggy and even. Feel free to link me but all the words on these pages is copyrighted, so copy it and take the credit and I will find you and slap you upside the head, hard. The blog is probably best read via category as there is loads on here already, and I just got started :-)
This entry was posted in Animal antics, Hope, Londonish life, Loss, Wild Thing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Grace

  1. Phil Groom says:

    Like Ian, flumozzled … and like you, amazed by grace. Thank you for telling this story: so much of what you say ties in purrfectly (sorry, couldn’t resist it) with the Christian story, with the healings of Jesus … the woman whose bleeding wouldn’t stop, who crept up to J in a crowd, touched him, and he felt the power, the healing energy, drawn from him. A truly awesome gift… and there’s no logic, no sense to it: only grace, amazing grace.

    • titflasher says:

      I nearly didn’t write this one, it felt way too personal and whilst I wrote it easily enough, it took me a day or so to gather up the courage to post it. Purrfectly indeed :-D. 2,000 years later and it is still seen as something one doesn’t “talk about” or something that is either a sham or a con. If we could get everyone able to do this, how much more grace would there be in the world?

  2. Paula Ann Walker says:

    Thank you for sharing this truly wonderful story. Some things are amazing and cannot be rationalised. So sad, that so often, miracles are dismissed. I do believe in miracles and my throat was so tight in the reading of this one, beautifully and eloquently described. I had goose bumps at the end. I’ll always remember pepper. 🙂

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