Earlier today I danced with Handsome Husband for the first time since he died a year ago April.
No, I haven’t gone off the deep end but thank you for your concern.
I went for my first acupuncture treatment today in an attempt to find relief from this heart-slicing grief. Most of the time it feels like concrete weighs down my chest. Panic is right around the corner at any moment. I’m surprised, quite honestly, that I’m functioning at all.
The practitioner spoke to me quietly of my grief and my anxiety about needles as she very efficiently slid the needles under my skin and I felt them not at all. Some in my left foot, some in my right hand, some in my chest, one in my crown chakra in the middle of my forehead. She said we should focus on my chest /lungs area with my breathing so compromised.
I had no preconceived notions, no expectations of acupuncture. I didn’t try to clear my mind. I didn’t try to sleep. I resolved that I was just going to BE, with no judgement.
About 20 minutes in, I felt pain gather in my chest. Not in an I’m having a heart attack way but in a wow I really feel a clump of pain in the middle of my chest way. Almost immediately upon recognizing the feeling, I also felt it dissipate, as if sliding away from the center. Immediate warmth spread through my veins and I took a breath. A normal breath, not a forced yoga breath that required intense concentration. No. I instinctively took a breath that came from way down in my diaphragm and filled my lungs. The first one I’ve taken since the oncologist said the words tumors everywhere and we knew we were facing the end of our lives together.
And then zap! Behind my closed eyes I was spinning and spiraling and circling in a midnight blue sky, stars glittering in every direction, Handsome Husband’s arms around me as he danced me through the galaxies. And I use the word galaxy very deliberately because that’s the word that came to mind. We spun slowly together and there was a searing sense of forever felt in my heart.
And then I stood in that same galaxy, only on a precipice, the desert below me, and I raised my arms to the shimmering skies and opened them wide as if offering something and he was there again and we once more swayed together in dance.
Handsome Husband came to this very clinic in 2012 to receive acupuncture to ease what we thought was his systemic fungal infection. Of course, it was cancer and nothing could have stopped its’ growth. But what I took away from today, in addition to dancing through the skies with my beloved husband, was comfort that he had, in his time there, had ease from his pain. He would tell me when he returned to our rental that he’d fall deeply asleep during treatments and I was able to see it today from his perspective. For me today it was as if the music that played attached itself to the cells of my body and coursed along with the blood in my veins. I was able to have his experience and ease my heart.
Today wasn’t easy. Tears were a constant as words and images played through my mind. Grief was continually present but also present was ease and full breathing. I’m not certain how those two can co-exist as simply as they did and I won’t over think it. It just was. I felt easy with the grief.
I’m an acupuncture convert and could easily become addicted to it. And I intend to fill that addiction with regular treatments until I return to the road. The possibility to breathe fully again? To ease this grief a bit? And maybe, to dance with Handsome Husband again through the filled with shimmering stars skies?
Sign me up.
*Phoenix Community Acupuncture*