I called her this time just to catch up. Because over the years she has become my friend as much as my healer. Someone I respect, admire, and love. Slightly ethereal, slightly sassy, slightly elusive, and profoundly gifted.
Usually we check in about my health. Some faint nagging symptom that through her incredible and at first unbelievable sensitivity, she could diagnose by scanning my body and asking it silent questions. Over the phone. From her office. Thousands of miles away in Seattle.
Of course I was skeptical at first. Not as skeptical as a science major, and not as trusting as a massage therapist, but somewhere as I am, in between the two. But then she helped me get rid of years of parasites, through months of right diet and right bitter herbs decocted in the right way, catered specifically to my unique set of pests. And so I believed.
Through time and from a distance, we went on to tackle candida, environmental mold, even HPV, and various other viruses I would pick up on my travels, which took advantage of my tense, unsettled nervous system.
I called her from Panama, from Ireland, from Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I visited every time I passed through Seattle, so she could work on me in person, as I lay still and tranquil in her dim office, cramped by shelves of Chinese herbs and tinctures. If I was ever ready to point my nose down one track, to commit to healing and little else, and if I could ever stomach Seattle winters, I would stay, beg her to mentor me, learn to heal like her.
But for now, I’m good. I’m settled. Through her guidance I’ve learned my system and my symptoms. Often I know what I need, I try it first, and call her if it doesn’t work. I’ve got my diet dialed, and I’m less inclined to infection with my set, steady routines.
I called her because I missed her, and because through our texts she alluded to being busy with Covid patients and with Covid herself. I wanted to check in, and I wanted to hear what this time has been like for an energy healer.
She told me to call around 5:00pm her time, 8:00 Puerto Rico. She wasn’t sure how she would be feeling, as she was getting her first vaccine that morning. I was surprised and intrigued that she’d get vaccinated, with her arsenal of herbal knowledge and her intimate experience with the virus. Couldn’t she just heal herself?
“Hiiiii,” we sang into the phone, a harmony of young and old delighted to hear each others’ voices. How voices can elicit love.
“How do you feel?” I asked immediately.
“I’m good now!” she laughed, the familiar crackle in her soft, witchy voice.
“Did you have Covid?”
“Yeah!” she said. “Like six, no, seven times!”
“What?” I was shocked. “How?”
“I just don’t seem to have an immune system. Every time I went out and was around people, I would pick it up. Or a variant,” she said. “There were variants before they were talking about variants. Eventually I just had to stop going out.”
“But you healed yourself?” I asked, ever hopeful for alternative miracles. Even in checking in on her I sought reassurance. Was it that I wanted to believe we could heal ourselves, or that I already knew and needed someone to confirm.
“Yes,” she crackled. “And I learned so much about this virus experiencing it first-hand.”
‘Of course,’ I thought, ‘she “feels” illness.” She needs to know what she is looking for, how it responds to treatments.”
“And it was such a blessing that I got to experience it,” she went on, delighted almost. “Because I’ve been able to keep working this whole time over the phone, and I’ve been able to help other people through it, because I felt it in myself.”
I smiled, thinking of my own week of work. Of my back pain and the countless Youtube chiropractors I watched, learning all about discs and sciatica and the SI joint. How I slowly healed myself and then carried the knowledge to my massage clients. We heal what we feel.
“And how did this virus compare to other viruses you’ve worked with,” I asked, my head reeling with popular conspiracies.
“Well,” she paused. “It’s pretty similar in that it responds to a lot of the same treatments I use for other viruses. I’ve used Usnea, and other herbs, even Lemonbalm. But what is different is how fast this one mutates, and that it usual needs a combination of a few treatments, where other viruses you can kick with just one. And the combination is different for each person depending on the variant that they have.”
She tested the tincture against my body’s muscle response and explained that it wasn’t strong enough for the kind of parasites I had. That each type was different…and I had several types. So she went plucking bottles and boxes from her shelves, placing them in my hands, and working at my ankles, until she found the combination that clicked. Then she deciphered my diet, twitching and tilting my feet like a magician cracking a sacred lock, testing for each food, decoding decades of eating habits and intolerances. Tofu, yes. Gluten, a hard no. Dairy, no. Corn, a soft no.
“And what about peanut butter?” I asked nervously. Click, twitch, unbearable pause…no. I shouldn’t have asked. But was it a soft no? I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to know.
“So, you must be relieved to have the vaccine,” I said into the phone.
She laughed. “Well, by now I’ve gotten so good at getting rid of the virus!”
“Then why did you get it?”
“My family wanted me to. They started saying I couldn’t visit unless I did.” Hew voice still twinkled. She did not sound bitter, she sounded like she felt loved. “Before this, they never checked in on how I was doing, but lately they’ve been checking in. My son called me finally and said, ‘Mom, I want you to get the vaccine because I don’t want you to die.’” We paused to honor the gravity. Some things we do for the people we love, most things maybe.
I broke the silence. “But you didn’t tell him you’ve already had it six times!”
“I know!” she laughed. “No, I didn’t tell any of them. If I was going to die, I would have already! I’m just ready for it to be over. I’m ready to stop hearing about it, to stop working with it. I’d like to work with people on other things!”
She paused. “Anyways, I would like to live a lot longer. My family tends to live well into their 90’s, barring things like pandemics! My second daughter is about to have her first baby. My other daughter just had her second. There’s a lot of growing up I would like to see.”
We had never talked about her mortality, although it had been on my mind since I met her. Since I felt her thin Seattle skin on my tough beach feet. Since those first months that her guidance pulled my body steadily back from the brink of irreparable illness. Through those years of checking in, hearing about her career bringing babies into the world, and escorting the dying out.
Each time I listened to her fiery spirit pumping out through her time-worn voice, I wondered and worried how old she was, but never asked. Not sure I wanted to know, or scared she would sense that I was selfishly so scared to lose her. Not sure what I would do without our one-hour phone calls, equal to weeks of doctors appointments and lab tests. Not sure if I would ever find another healer like her. The world needs more healers like her.
So I was happy to hear that she planned to live a while longer. I don’t need her as much now, because of what I’ve learned from her. But maybe there is still time to learn a little more, maybe there is time to carry on her legacy. Or at least time to be more of an admiring witness to her incredible life.