Once again, I feel compelled to blog about a recent client I had a massage session with. I received a call last week by a woman who was dealing with her aging parents, one of whom was under hospice care at home. She asked if I would be available to travel to thier home, as both parent were immobile, and relied heavily on a home care nurse to help them move about, as well as the normal daily functions most of us are fortunate enough to take care of ourselves. I agreed to visit them at a convenient time in the morning just after breakfast, and just before nap time. I arrived at the house just a few minutes early to greet the couple and talk to them about why I was there, and then prepared some light emollients for the massage. There was no need for a massage table, nor linens, or talk of problem areas and amounts of pressure. Joe and his wife were both nearing 90 years old, and they simply needed some healing therapeutic touch. When I say healing, I do mean mentally and spiritually…. their bodies were frail, their skin nearly translucent and quite fragile, and there was not much more I could do, than to try and comfort them while they sat back in recliner chairs. Joe was my first client, as the hospice nurse told me he was soon to take a nap, and so I began. I started with a nice soothing hand massage, and never have I had to be more delicate with a client than I had been with Joe. Due to age, as well as medicines he was on, his skin was so thin it was obvious too much friction or pressure were to have injured him. I carefully massaged his palms, as well as some light circumduction on his joints to help ease the discomfort of the rheumatoid arthritis entangled in his fingers. I finished with the hand massage, and then stood behind him as I lightly worked his shoulders and neck area. When I worked on Joe, I simply opened my heart as I did light compressions on his back and neck. I could only think of one thing, what if this were my father in his last days, and how much healing love I would want to gift him. The session was quite silent except for the faint sounds of relief coming from Joe as I continued the massage. A couple of times during the session Joe and I bantered a bit about women, where our families were from, just simple conversation, but enough of a connection to have made a friend. I finished the massage, and left Joe to relax while he watched his sermons on TV with some random pastor, but I imagine if we wonder about God and if there is anything after this life, it surely would be while under hospice care and on the way out of this world. Joes wife, Dotty, was next for her massage session. Just a couple of years younger than Joe, and suffering from a bit of dementia, there Dotty sat with a big smile on her face. I could not help but mirror her smile. To be in their position and to smile through it all, I can only imagine how much inner strength and heart this couple had in order to deal with their situation, but I imagine dementia helps you to forget the misery you might be enduring with as well…. life is sometimes so comical and cruel at the same time. I finished my session with the lovely couple, and then kneeled down beside Joe just for a moment to talk to him and say goodbye. “I hope I helped you relax a bit Joe, it was a pleasure to meet you, and I wish you well on your journey.” Joe softly nodded his head, and his eyes told me he felt a little better. I thanked the hospice nurse for her help, and gathered my gear and left, a bit saddened at what that couple and their family was going through, as well as being in deep thought that one day, my family, myself and loved ones, may very well be in this same position. And then the call came the next day… it was Joe’s daughter who called me for the sessions… she sounded a bit distraught, and said something that still makes my heart sink to think about. “I think you were an Angel Michael, and I thank you for helping my dad pass away peacefully. My dad took a nap right after the massage and passed away shortly after you left.” And then she began to cry, and as much as I tried to keep my composure, I felt an apple in my throat, and a tear down my face. I think I am supposed to feel fortunate to have a gift of touch that can help someone let go of their pain, to relax and give up the ghost so to speak if it is their time, but I became a massage therapist to help heal people, and slowly learning over time I’ve become much more than that. Rest in peace Joe… rest in peace my friend.