It has been a very challenging and emotional month. Not only did we enter 2018 with the usual societal fanfare of optimism, high hopes and big dreams, but in my family, we were coping with bereavement whilst preparing for a seventh birthday. Oh, and the date is looming for my father-in-law to return home following four years in a rehabilitation centre – but that’s a whole other story.
It occurred to me that this month, my husband and I have been grieving for many different things. The main focus was the loss of my paternal grandad, who died shortly before Christmas and whose funeral we attended just three weeks ago. That in itself was difficult. I kept telling myself that he lived a long and happy life, that we were lucky to have him with us until well into our thirties, that we were prepared for his death. But you can never truly prepare to lose someone you love, can you? And I’m not just talking about physical death.
Back to the story of my in-laws: four years ago my strong-minded and forceful father-in-law collided with a horse box while cycling in the Staffordshire countryside. We never did establish exactly what happened. The police say it was his fault, but we will never know as the only witnesses were himself and the driver of the car and trailer. He almost died, spent a month in the hospital’s critical care department, and then made his way from ward to psychiatric unit, to a rehabilitation centre some fifty miles from home. Since then my mother-in-law has visited him regularly, taken him home for weekends, taken him away on holiday, and tried very hard to bring him back.
We have to accept that we have lost him. Yes, he is alive. The medical professionals literally performed miracles in saving his life. But he sustained severe brain trauma and now has an acquired brain injury. He cannot care for himself, and he cannot be left alone at all. He will need full-time care, which is expected to come from his wife and from self-funded private carers. So much for the relaxed retirement they had planned! My mother-in-law must continue to battle her own complex mental health issues while trying to care for my father-in-law, and I am left to offer support from a distance and try to help my husband work through the trauma of losing (and yet not losing) his dad.
Which is where my reiki healing therapy becomes a necessity. During the past month or so, I have given regular reiki healing treatments to my mother-in-law, in an effort to help calm her turbulent mind. We tried to do a little reiki on my father-in-law on a few occasions recently, but he didn’t like it and found the experience quite scary. I know that his old self would call it a load of “airy-fairy nonsense” so I won’t try and force it on him. He was always quick to joke and have a laugh, and he was the driving force behind so many of our previous adventures. I now focus my reiki healing on myself, on my husband, and on whichever family members request a treatment. It is essential to help us remain calm and able to care for those who need it.
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