by Leah Brenda Smith
February 2, 2001 - Ottawa
Through my work as a Reiki Master, I have had the honor of caring for
many people who have died from terminal illness. These situations have taught me so much about the immense gifts
of unconditional love and acceptance as a life path.
This past month I assisted a dear friend and client come to the acceptance of the completion of his
life-cycle on the Earth. I helped Leonard do his life review, create a living will, and ultimately have a
peaceful passage into Heaven.
In the early 90's, I started offering special Reiki Classes to people whose lives were affected by
the HIV virus. Through my treating practice, I have had the opportunity to treat many people who have since died
from complications related to HIV. In each situation, the individual has shared with me that they have been
healed. Even though they knew that they were not cured, there was an experience of healing. Those that I
have cared for have expressed gratitude for their disease. They report that the diagnosis of a terminal
illness helped them to appreciate and value the love shared with friends, family, and their
individual connection to Creation.
In my first experience of caring for a friend with HIV, we were able to sit together in a place
of "no disease". Norm said that this helped him to see HIV as one of the many vibrations in his body,
which allowed him to know himself as being much more than the disease.
My friend Dan came to me for regular Reiki Treatments. Dan was a yoga teacher and was well established
on his spiritual path. During our initial conversations, we talked about the essence of a spiritual path being one of
love and acceptance of self. Then we agreed that the ultimate gift a person could take with them when they leave
the Earth is a sense of love and acceptance of self for the contribution made to the world simply by having
lived. In an article that Dan wrote for his 3rd Degree Reiki Apprenticeship Program, he acknowledged that
what he received during Reiki treatments was the most tenderness he had known in his whole life.
A friend Josee said that she would miss watching her daughter grow up. She often said that she would
miss the love that we shared and teased about wanting to take me to Heaven with her. I assured her that the
experience of the love from Spirit was at least 100 fold more than what she had known on the Earth.
Some people come to Reiki to be healed so they can die peacefully, and others come to be healed so that
they can live fully. A dear friend Bradford, who came 10 years ago to learn Reiki, had been HIV for 6 years.
Bradford's daily spiritual practice of Reiki helped him to let go of worry and fear so that he could show
up for his life and not for his fear. He is indeed "positively positive", and lives a life of abundance
on all levels. He is a clear teacher of the continual assurance of love, and says that the success of
our lives comes from our sense of connectedness to all things. A few years ago he enrolled in a
medical drug trial study, and after 16 years of being HIV positive, the virus is now totally
undetectable in his body, mind, and spirit.
My most recent experience with Leonard prompts me to encourage all of us to open to the grace and
dignity that can be part of the dying process. People need to speak about dying, especially the dying. Through
our conversations, Leonard was able to refuse invasive treatment. He said, "My life has come full circle,
I don't want any heroics to keep me alive." Leonard was able to come to the acceptance of his own fate,
and make choices that allowed him to live his final days with dignity.
To openly participate in a life review, is a compassionate way to honor the organic cycles of living
and dying. It is so valuable to speak about end of life issues and help to heal the fear and morbid energy that
so often surrounds death. Without these conversations with our loved one's, and/or making our own transition
preferences known, we can find ourselves in a situation that we would not want. Being open about end of
life issues and supporting one another in creating a living will can make a huge difference.
Fortunately we live in a society where people can live and die with dignity. We have the
right to choose who will care for us and how we will be cared for in our dying days.
It is not everyone's calling to help people through their dying days; however, it is clear to me that we
have what we need inside of ourselves to live the life that we came to live. I encourage all of us to listen closely
within so that we can hear the inner prompting that calls us towards our life's purpose and the fulfillment of
our soul's journey on the Earth.