Moments of Impact
By Cyndi Wilkins
(6 min read)
Writing has always been my chosen avenue of expression. Journaling my way through life has created countless opportunities for me to get to know myself, and others, on a much deeper level.
I write with the intention of sharing little snippets of my experience as a means of bringing these ‘snap shots’ of experience to life.
In every instance, it is my intention to provide insight not only for myself, but also to strike a deep chord within the reader. Often, it is the reader who reaches back to me with a little nugget of wisdom of their own as a gesture of friendship and guidance.
In my work as a manual therapist, I am fully present with everyone I have the distinct honor to work with. There is no greater connection than the ‘human touch.’
At times, these connections have served as a catalyst for the most incredible ‘moments of impact’ in this crazy thing we call life. Both for myself and my clients as well.
As my acupuncture therapist always says, in her practice, the conduit is the needle. In my practice, I AM THE NEEDLE.
One of my most joyful moments came to me through Ginny. She was one of my favorite people of all time! I say ‘was’ because I just learned of her passing. I have not seen her for years. After her husband passed, her daughter moved her to an assisted living facility.
When Ginny began to struggle with dementia, I would pick her up at her home, bring her to my office for treatment, and then return her back home to help take the additional stress off her husband.
Dementia, in addition to her auto-immune condition of MS (multiple sclerosis), is what connected us so profoundly. My mother struggled with severe debilitating MS throughout my childhood and passed away early in life.
My dad, who cared for my mother at home for twenty plus years before he had to make the gut-wrenching decision to put her in a nursing home, also was struggling with Dementia at this time.
I watched Ginny’s husband grapple with the difficulty of having an ill spouse he knew would need a memory care facility soon, as he was elderly and quite ill himself. He died long before having to make that agonizing decision.
When I learned of Ginny’s passing, it brought me back to a memory of one of our last visits together. At the time, I was overwhelmed with caring for my father.
He was in the later stages of his Dementia, so his care eventually became a 24/7 responsibility. I was exhausted, and quite frankly, becoming increasingly depressed. I, too, knew, a care facility was imminent.
“I felt numb. It was like an internal switch fell into the “off” position. I hardly recognized myself, let alone the fact that I may have been depressed.”
Every day, I could not wait for the sun to go down so I could go back to bed. I saw clients to the best of my ability and took care of my family simply because I had to. Other than that, I had no energy for anyone or anything. Looking back, I see the sure-fire signs of depression.
Early one morning, I had been feeling particularly drained while preparing to see a client. Normally, I might have rescheduled, but this client was Ginny, and I knew she would completely understand if I had to bail halfway through the session.
About fifteen minutes in, while resting comfortably, Ginny whispered softly, “There is a woman with beautiful black hair standing right behind you. She says she is your mother. “
I paused momentarily to catch my breath. But I did not speak, so as not to break the spell she was under. It is the first time since my mother passed away that she has entered one of my sessions.
“You are struggling, and she is here to help you.”
I was desperately trying to hold back tears. “Sooo unprofessional,” mocks my internal critic. Sometimes I hate her. She is so ‘judgy!’
Ginny continues in her peaceful trance, “Your mom is well and incredibly happy. She loves you and is so proud of you. It is okay to let go now…Everyone will be okay.”
Okay…Now, I am bawling. Suddenly, Ginny bursts into hysterical laughter, “She is so funny, Cyndi! She is dancing all around you, singing that song from ‘The Sound of Music!’
“So long, fair well, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…I’m glad to go, I cannot tell a lie…I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly!”
I am speechless! This was such a ‘Ginny’ thing to do! She was big in the theater and absolutely loved to sing those old show tunes!
As for my mother, The Sound of Music was her all-time favorite! Another hit Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel, came in a close second. Personally, I was convinced she had the ‘hotties’ for Gordon MacRae!
But it was the beautiful true-life story of Maria Von Trapp and the Trapp family singers that was especially poignant for mom. My dad had taken her to see it on their very first date, so it held special meaning.
It was the ‘true love’ of such an unlikely and extraordinary couple that intrigued her most. Every girl loves a good Cinderella story!
Ginny had no way of knowing any of that. So, for me, it made this ‘trance-like’ experience even more believable.
I finished the session with what felt like boundless energy. I was laughing for the first time in a long while…really laughing…and incredibly happy;-)
Afterward, I immediately visit with my dad. I am tempted to tell him of my encounter, but I did not want to upset him. If he heard Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer break into song in his head with, ‘Something Good,’ he would immediately dissolve into tears!
So instead, I suggested we go up north to the family cabin for the weekend. It was my parents’ sanctuary throughout the years my mom struggled with illness.
Getting away from the chaos of home, even with four kids in tow, was how my folks managed to survive such a difficult set of circumstances. They were always happiest there.
In summers past, Dad had no interest in traveling as it was difficult for him due to his failing health. But this time he jumped at the chance. Somehow, I knew that was exactly what we were supposed to do.
However, shortly after we hit the highway, we sat for hours in brutal bumper-to-bumper traffic. It was sweltering hot, the car wreaked with exhaust fumes, and the dog was breathing down my neck. The Beagle that is, not my dad.
I knew we all would need a bathroom break soon, but I could not get off the highway. I was pinned in.
My head was pounding by this time, and I began questioning my decision to attempt taking him on this trip at all. My dad reached over and placed his hand gently on mine, “Are you okay dear?” He said so very sweetly.
“Yeah dad, I’m fine…I just hate traffic.”
He cocked his head awkwardly to one side and said with a gruff voice, “I know right…It’s enough to frost the balls off a brass monkey!”
I snorted with laughter, spewing the little pieces of the granola bar I was snacking on all over the windshield!
“Christ Dad! What archive did you pull that one out of?”
We were laughing so hard I thought we would both wet ourselves. Good thing the dog missed the joke.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally hit the home stretch to the cabin. As we pass the community theater along the way, I see ‘the sign.’
Now playing: The Sound of Music. I knew it! Mom sent us here to spend the weekend together. In an instant, I noticed that my headache had completely disappeared, too! Sharing a big belly laugh with my father was just what ‘doctor-mom’ had ordered.
Somehow, in that one precious ‘moment of impact,’ I knew everything was going to be all right…
“At any given moment, act upon whatever brings you joy.”