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How My Grief Journey Began

Last night I was talking with a friend and she said, “You should write a blog about your experiences.”

I said, “Why would anybody want to hear about that?”

And she responded, “Are you kidding? After everything you’ve been through? Plenty of people, women especially, would love to hear your story. You’d be helping them.”

So, I decided, in spite of my HUGE fears around being so transparent, to share my ongoing reinvention of myself with you. If I can help one person to feel a bit better, to find some joy in their life after tragedy, then I guess I should try. And maybe I’ll receive some healing from sharing too. Thanks for hearing me.

It started in January 2014 when my beloved husband showed me his blackened big toe. I had been out of town for a couple of weeks, getting our daughter settled at college. He thought he had cut himself, or been bitten by a spider, when he was crawling under the house, and he did nothing about it.

I should back-up here and say that both my husband and I were natural healers for years, and we shared a practice called Healing With Heart. We practiced cranial-sacral therapy, myofascial release and Quantum-Touch energy healing. For 7 years we traveled the Western states teaching Quantum-Touch.

With our natural healing modalities and our alternative health mindset, we never went to western medicine doctors. We raised our daughter in an alternative household – organic foods, herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies – and believed in the power of energy to heal anything. Richard Gordon wrote the book “Quantum Touch – The Power to Heal” and we were teachers of this belief. We practiced and witnessed many “miracles” of healing throughout our years of working with the practices laid out in Richard’s book.

My husband’s name was Hawk, and he was a very gifted healer. He could run his hands up and down the energy field of a person and find exactly where the problem was in their body. He felt a lack of energy and would focus on that area. But he didn’t have to even be in the same room with the person. He worked on people all over the world as a distance healer with “miraculous” results. I say the miracle word with quotes because after a while the healings we witnessed became common place and we taught people how to do it themselves. We didn’t really feel that we were doing anything special. We believed that we all have the power to heal.

It was with this attitude that we began to address the blackened toe. We ran energy on it and I used many essential oils to address what we thought was an infection. After a month, the toe didn’t seem to be getting any better so we decided to go to a local clinic. The doctor took one look at Hawk’s toe and said, “That’s gangrenous.”


Needless to say, we were shocked. How had Hawk’s toe become gangrenous so quickly?

Thus began the three and a half year journey to my husband’s death.

Many tests later we found out that Hawk had very bad atherosclerosis, which basically means that his arteries throughout his body were full of plaque. I should preface here that Hawk also had Type 2 Diabetes, which he had been diagnosed with 18 years before. He found out about his diabetes when he was 45 years old and made drastic lifestyle changes: taking the medication offered, changing his diet and walking 5 miles per day. He lost 35 lbs. and after a couple of years his sugar levels were normalized and he didn’t need the medication anymore.

Cut to 15 years later when a local naturopath suggested a blood test and the results showed very high sugar levels. He took the medication again, got it resolved and stopped taking it again. He was trim, healthy and handsome, a picture of health at 60 years old.

Have you ever heard of diabetes being referred to as “the silent killer”? Well, it was for my husband. Two years after this picture of health, he got the gangrenous toe. Looking back now I feel embarrassed for being so naïve about the disastrous health effects diabetes can have on a person. Perhaps if Hawk had stayed on the medication, he could have kept it under control. Maybe this, maybe that. There are a million ways now I can look back and say: Why didn’t we do this? How could I let that happen? And on and on. This can be a curse for grieving widows, especially those of us who watched our husbands dying slowly before our eyes, whether it’s diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or the myriad of other illnesses that take our loved ones.

The rest of this part of the story is a 3-1/2 year saga of paramedics, ambulances, hospital stays, sometimes intensive care for a month at a time. Hawk was a Code Blue twice and close to death a total of 5 times in three years. He had over 25 diagnoses and finally, the doctors could not figure out what to do with him. He was only 64. The cardiologist kept saying, "He's so young".

The doctors said he had a heart attack and put stents in, they said he was having multiple strokes, they said his brain looked like a brain with mad cow disease or syphilis, that he had kidney disease, atherosclerosis, possible Lyme disease, collapsed lung from multiple pneumonias, and on and on. Basically, he was dying in a hundred ways and we refused to see it. The paramedics came 4 times to our house. After the second time I asked them to please leave the sirens off. I didn’t want to alert my neighbors again.

Even while in the hospital or recovering at home, Hawk was still healing people. He just wasn’t happy unless he could provide some healing for someone. I remember a woman in her 70’s coming into the hospital one day – she was a volunteer from some church or other. Hawk noticed she seemed in pain and asked if he could work on her. I have photos of Hawk, in his hospital gown, IV in his arm, working on this woman in pain in his hospital room. Five minutes later, she felt much better. This was his nature and his gift.

Eventually, after hours and hours of research and trying everything we could think of, Hawk was a former shell of himself, living on oxygen and slowly losing brain cells. I was taking care of everything, including him, and caregiver burn out had set in. I didn’t realize at the time how the intense stress was killing me too. Something had to give and it did; on January 16, 2017, my incredibly gifted, beloved husband left the planet, and me, for good.

Living with whether I could have done anything differently has been the most painful part of my grief journey. The conclusion after 3 years? The two things I might have done differently: 1) talk about death with Hawk; and 2) not call the paramedics every time he was close to death. I should have let him go, but I couldn’t then.

I realize now that I had no control over Hawk's death experience. The morning he finally left the planet was cemented in my brain for 2 years like some horror movie that played over and over in my mind. It is still difficult to talk about, even here, with you.

I want to continue to write to you about my experience and hope that at least some of it will give you solace and hope, even if it’s just a droplet at first. I pray that if I can recover from the severe trauma I went through, you can too.

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