Embracing the End-of-Life Journey is a sensitive and inspiring personal account of learning how to be fully present and comfortable with the time we have left with our loved ones as they approach the end of their lives. Author and spiritual teacher Wendy Jordan shares how she learned Reiki energy healing techniques for her own personal healing and comfort after her father?s death, then discovered ways to spiritually journey with her hospice patients, clients, friends and even her beloved dog ? creating lasting soul connections.
A heart-opening ?must read? for family members, caregivers and Reiki practitioners dedicated to supporting the end-of-life journey
?This book shows us how to expand our hearts and minds to the remarkable gift of intuitive connection, especially at the end of life.?
?Denys Cope, RN, BSN, author of Dying: A Natural Passage
?Wendy is a very gifted and spiritual soul who profoundly helped my sister in her transition to the next world. She showed us how to spiritually journey... I now know I can visit with my sister at any time.?
?Barbara Ann Savini, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.29(d)|
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Embracing the End-of-Life Journey
A beautiful story of learning to share the gifts of compassion, spiritual connection and peace
By Wendy Jordan
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Wendy Jordan
All rights reserved.
Mrs. O'Reilly's Garden
It was a perfect day for a drive ... warm breezes, cloudless blue skies, the forest preserves filling the air with moist, green smells and summer flowers in full bloom. I was driving north through one of the loveliest neighborhoods in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Mature trees lined the road and the sunlight flickered through the leaves.
I often drove through these winding streets to admire the beautiful mansions with their extravagant gardens, lush landscaping and magnificent architecture. Sometimes, I'd turn and drive eastward towards Lake Michigan to gaze out at the miles of shoreline and soak in the serenity of the swaying blue water. Often I'd stop, take off my shoes and feel the warm sand, breathe in the moisture and get lost in thought as I peered out into the horizon.
But on this day there was no time to stop. I had an appointment to facilitate a spiritual healing session in a private home, and so I was taking this slow, beautiful route to calm myself and feel connected to nature and spirit as I approached an experience that I knew would be different from any I'd had before.
I had become a practitioner of the hands-on energy healing modality called Reiki. Many believe that Reiki is the oldest form of energy healing, and was re-discovered and reintroduced in the 1920s, by a Japanese man named Mikao Usui. I had taken all the classes to become a Reiki Master and teacher. This meant several years of studying the different levels of hands-on energy healing, along with some other courses in healing and spirituality, starting my own practice to do private sessions, lecturing around the Chicago area to raise awareness of complementary and holistic healing techniques, and eventually teaching Reiki to others. I had also spent time "practicing" Reiki by volunteering to work in hospice.
Previously, hospice had sent me to nursing homes, hospitals and some private homes. But today was going to be different. I could feel it. And the main reason was because I was not going on a visit assigned by hospice. I had been called directly by a family that was looking for an energy healer to be with their mother in her final weeks of life, perhaps providing some spiritual insights as well as physical comfort. This was going to be much more than a Reiki session, and I was preparing myself.
Mrs. O'Reilly had round-the-clock nursing care, and a personal assistant who had been with her for many years. She was in her eighties and her husband was in his nineties. They had several grown children and many grandchildren. Mrs. O'Reilly was now in her bed in a guest bedroom, not the bedroom she had shared with her husband for so many years. As her illness progressed, her daughter Alice, who now lived in New Orleans, came to help her through her final days.
Alice convinced her family that although hospice was coming in once a week, they needed someone to add a different level of comfort and healing for their mother. She wasn't ready for a priest, and had said she didn't really want anyone "religious" coming to visit. She had asked her holistic practitioner if he knew anyone who could do some kind of "spiritual healing session" with her mother. He referred me.
I was prepared. I had packed calming essential oils, an assortment of crystals, beautiful flute and harp music, and a candle. I had meditated and called on my guides and the angels to be with me. But as I was getting close to the house, I found myself a little anxious, so I turned on the radio, turned off the air conditioning and rolled down the window to feel the warm summer air in my face. Solsbury Hill, a song by Peter Gabriel was playing. I've always loved that song — it has such a joyful and spiritual feeling to it, although I never really knew all the words.
"Climbing up on Solsbury Hill I could see the city lights Wind was blowing time stood still Eagle flew out of the night ..."
Hawks and eagles have always had a very mystical meaning for me, they seem to appear at very significant times. Could this also be one of them? I started to pay even more attention to the song lyrics as I hummed along with the music. I was relaxed and peaceful.
But suddenly, I was hearing the song in a different way and it seemed to be talking to me about death. Could that be? I listened more closely to the lyrics.
"... My heart going boom boom boom. 'Son,' he said, 'grab your things, I've come to take you home."
Suddenly my heart pounded too! "Oh my God, it's a sign." I thought to myself. And I was consumed with the thought that this was Spirit's way of telling me that Mrs. O'Reilly would die while I was there with her. Perhaps this was her day to "go home!"
Although I had been trained in hospice, spent six months with one patient, a few weeks each with several others, and then visited with some friends' parents after strokes and heart attacks, I had never witnessed the moment of death. Not even after being at my own father's bedside for weeks, did I share that moment when he drew his last breath and his spirit left his body. I had always been sad that I didn't witness that special moment with him. Now I wondered if it was my time to be with and help "birth" someone from this physical realm back to spirit.
Was I prepared? Why was I so nervous when I had always felt this was part of my path? I had to gather myself and found myself pleading to my spirit helpers, the angels, the Almighty ... anyone who was listening.
"I really want to be there for comfort and healing, but do you really think I'm ready for this?" I asked out loud. "Are you sure I can handle this properly?" We wouldn't be in the hospital. I didn't have a caseworker to ask if I had any questions. And I didn't know this family at all. Oh, how I hoped this would just be a simple, calming, uneventful Reiki treatment!
Then I relaxed. Maybe I was ready. Maybe I needed to let myself be led by Spirit and just do what I had learned to do and trust that I had been brought to this family at the right time for the right reason. I took a deep breath and headed to the door.
I found myself at the double doors of an exquisite home where I was greeted by a man in his sixties. Joseph was the dying woman's son. He was trying to look cheerful but I could see sadness all around him. We walked up a beautiful open staircase to the second floor, and I was brought in to Mrs. O'Reilly's bedroom.
It was beautifully decorated in yellows and white and was very cheerful. There were fresh flowers and pictures of loved ones on her dresser, with a comfortable wing chair at the bedside. A balcony door and many windows all trimmed in lace, gave a stunning view of the yard below. Her electric bed, or "comfort bed" as I like to call it, was in the center of the room so that medical equipment could easily reach her.
I spoke with Joseph as I prepared ... learning a little about the family and his mother's condition. Mrs. O'Reilly was awake. She was a lovely woman who extended her hand when I was introduced. I asked if she wanted to hear some soft music and explained that I would be doing energy work to help her feel calm and alleviate any pain she might be feeling.
I always begin my work with a silent prayer, and then have a particular way of scanning the body to get information about what is going on and where I need to work. I also use the Reiki symbols to put love and emotional healing into her auric field and do some balancing of the energy system before I sit down and start sending the healing energy to the body. When I was seated at her head, I began doing a traditional Reiki treatment while she asked a few questions and we talked.
After about twenty minutes, I noticed that her son was lingering near the door and it seemed as if he really wanted to come in. I asked if he would like to sit with us, and I had him sit next to his mother and invited him to hold her hand.
Mrs. O'Reilly had closed her eyes and dozed off into what I call a Reiki slumber ... a sleep that remains very close to consciousness, so that I can still feel reaction to what I am doing. I had planned on continuing my "full body treatment" with some explanation and conversation with Joseph along the way.
Then suddenly everything changed. Instead of "feeling" the energy of Mrs. O'Reilly, all I could feel was the deep sadness in Joseph and I knew he wanted so much to "connect" with his mother. I knew that feeling. I had felt that very thing at my own father's bedside. During my father's final days, it was my biggest frustration that I was losing my ability to connect with and really be there with my dad.
I remember putting the Reiki "love" symbol in the air between Joseph and his mother and wishing I had the right words to comfort him. And that's when the lesson came. The inspiration. A gift.
The energy in the room shifted, I became very still and quiet. I allowed the guidance to come through and I heard myself say, "Joseph, would you like to spend a little time connecting with your mother ... being able to say to her exactly what's in your heart without having to speak any words?"
Did I really say that? Why? How? What was I going to do?
I heard him say, "Yes, I'd really like that" and he looked at me with moist eyes. I then relaxed back into one of the most beautiful spiritual journeys I've ever taken. A Reiki journey into the timeless place of the heart where we can connect with, feel and communicate with our loved ones ... anytime, anywhere, always. And I listened to myself speak the words that were being put there for me say. They were coming not from my head, but directly from my heart.
Mrs. O'Reilly was still asleep so I guided Joseph through the journey. "I want you to think of the most comforting, wonderful, nurturing and safe place that your mother would like to be. Somewhere that she could sit and enjoy being with you and others she loves." I told him it could be a real place or imagined. Someplace they've been together, or somewhere she always wanted to go.
I knew that by allowing their minds and spirits to flow out of the room and go somewhere else that was created energetically rather than physically, they would begin a communication through thought, instead of words. It's a meditation technique used often to connect with our guides or do other healing work. But I'd never used the technique in this way before.
He knew where to go right away. He told me that she loved the big gardens right down below her bedroom window. She loved to sit there alone or with family, do some gardening or reading or just quietly enjoying a cup of tea. She hadn't been able to get up to look down at the garden for a while.
We began. Although Mrs. O'Reilly was asleep, I spoke to both of them and asked them to visualize being in the garden, sitting next to each other. I told them to really look around and see the beauty, feel the warm air, notice the birds, flowers or any other comforting thing that might be there in their perfect garden. And then I told them to feel each other's energy. To feel the warmth around each other and to try to settle into just "being" with each other without any words or thoughts.
After a few minutes, I knew that Joseph really wanted to say something to his mother. I invited him to talk to her, to say whatever he needed to, or wanted to. I told him to ask her questions, to express his feelings, and then to wait for her response. But I asked him to do this without any words, to just visualize or imagine all these things happening in the garden.
I sat. It was silent. I put the Reiki symbol for emotional healing over them and then used the symbol for compassionate love. I sat some more.
And then the most beautiful thing happened. My heart opened and I could feel what they were feeling. It wanted to burst it was so full of love. I could feel them communicating. I realized my eyes had been closed and when I opened them I saw Joseph crying, but with a beautiful smile on his face. And his mother was smiling too.
"That's your heart connection," I said. "That's the connection that has always been there and will never be lost." I allowed them more time to silently communicate.
And then I spoke words that seemed to have come from somewhere else than my own mind ... words that I will never forget. "You can come to the garden to talk to your mother whenever you need to. You can come back tomorrow, you can come back when she's not conscious, and you can come back here in two months, or in two years ... forever."
I was being shown how a spiritual connection could be maintained though intention, with or without the physical body. Could it really be that after someone dies, you can still communicate by focusing thoughts and intention through guided meditation? And was it the presence of Reiki energy that helped facilitate it? I knew I still had much to learn.
I stayed quiet after that. I still felt the Reiki energy flowing out of my hands into her physical body. But Spiritual healing was also taking place, a much more profound healing.
This was also the beginning of a new way for me to practice my energy healing. I realized that the experience I had just witnessed was the experience I wished I had had with my own father. Maybe now, I could help others to avoid the frustrating feeling of losing the connection with someone as they journey on to the next realm after their death.
After awhile Joseph left the room and I finished my treatment. Mrs. O'Reilly awoke and I told her that Joseph had been there for some of the treatment. She said she knew and very lightheartedly questioned why it is always so hard for sons to tell their mothers how they feel. She also told me that she had already known everything he felt he needed to say.
I couldn't believe it. She had experienced "the Garden" with her son. And yet I believe at that point that the biggest healing happened for Joseph.
When I left her room Joseph was waiting for me and he looked so much more vibrant and happy. He told me that at first he felt like he was saying goodbye, and then he realized he was saying hello to his mother in a new way. He was allowing himself to now know his mother through a heart connection, not the physical human way of communicating that they had known for over sixty years. So he didn't say goodbye. He just said he loved her.
As I was leaving, Joseph and his sister Alice asked if I would return in a few days when their other sister, Susan, would be arriving from Italy. Susan hadn't seen her mother for quite a few years and was feeling guilty about having moved her family out of the country. I said I would.
Once I was back in my car I knew that something very special had happened. Could it be repeated? I knew I didn't need to think about or plan my next session. My guidance would be there for me, giving me the next lesson and using me as a facilitator for more healing. So although I could identify with Peter Gabriel's words, "I did not believe the information, I just had to trust imagination, my heart going boom boom boom ..." I was very grateful that it wasn't Mrs. O'Reilly's time to "go home." I had a lot more to learn.CHAPTER 2
Return to the Garden
I returned to the O'Reilly house several days later. I began her treatment the same way I usually do, with some silent Reiki prayer, some energy balancing and aligning, and then flowing the energy for fifteen or twenty minutes, just to get Mrs. O'Reilly to relax and to let go of any stresses or pains in her body. This also gave me time to talk with Mrs. O'Reilly for a while. She was so lovely as she gave me little insights into her life. By now I knew they were a very well known family that had created a legacy in business as well as a family fortune. I was honored to be working with them at this time, and very much aware that their privacy must always be protected.
As always, we discussed any physical discomfort she might be having and then I let her relax into the treatment. After about twenty minutes, I asked if her daughter would like to join us, knowing that Susan really wanted to have some healing time with her mother.
Susan entered the room. She was nervous. This was a whole different energy. But I decided not to ask any questions about her apprehensions, and just let her join in the treatment.
Excerpted from Embracing the End-of-Life Journey by Wendy Jordan. Copyright © 2014 Wendy Jordan. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Mrs. O'Reilly's Garden, 1,
Chapter 2 Return to the Garden, 11,
Chapter 3 Angela Goes to Disneyland, 15,
Chapter 4 My Goodbye Gift, 21,
Chapter 5 My Personal Experience with Death, 27,
Chapter 6 My Father's Gift, 33,
Chapter 7 A Change of Spiritual Perception, 45,
Chapter 8 My Reiki Journey Begins, 49,
Chapter 9 My First Hospice Patient, 55,
Chapter 10 Silent Lessons, 65,
Chapter 11 What Next?, 71,
Chapter 12 "I Want to Go Home!", 75,
Chapter 13 Gabriel, Child of Light, 81,
Chapter 14 The Journey into My Heart, 93,
Chapter 15 No Longer Afraid to Say Good-bye, 105,
For More Information, 111,
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