As many of you might remember, from time to time I have done tributes to folks I considered my heroes. I like to do them while the person is still here and not wait until they are not around to read it. Sometimes I like to do these posts with the person’s blessing. Jackie, while not being exactly uncooperative, basically ignored my begging for a picture to use on one such post. I could not find any picture where she was not one of a large group, and I did not want to use that group on a blog. Sadly, I had to wait until Jackie was no longer walking among us to get her picture… from the funeral home’s obituary.
I don’t remember when I first met Jackie… it just seems like she was always there… somewhere. I think actually the very first meeting was about a real estate transaction, trying to find a place for a friend to live… and there was just something about Jackie that made me remember her some years later when I began to run into her again and again. I think working with her in Hospice was the time I got to know her better. We shared a very difficult patient, I became frustrated and ready to walk away, Jackie became MY rock and mentor. This was back in the 70s. It was the beginning of a long mentorship.
Since Jackie is gone and can’t read this, I will speak more freely. Jackie was married for 53 years. After her husband passed, Jackie was like a reborn spirit. Free at last to pursue her own interests, she blossomed. (From the obituary: After her husband's death, Jackie moved to Accomac, VA, where she was known for changing the spiritual life of the shore through healing touch.) That special part of Jackie that had been mostly hidden for so many years by an extremely dominating man burst forth and the healer came thru. If you read the tributes on the funeral home’s tribute page, you will see that I was by far not her only admirer. She was a mentor to so many. Under Jackie’s teaching and others, I studied various forms of Healing Touch, eventually becoming certified, also. At the same time, I taught her healing practices used by one of my family members. I am so honored to say that when Jackie got sick, she would call me to come and “work” on her. Likewise, one Mother’s Day, maybe 15 years ago (?) I was taken to the hospital ER doubled over with abdominal pain that just did not want to go away. After 13 hours in the ER, they admitted me to the hospital. The next day, the anesthesiologist came to my room to give me my pre-surgery pep talk. I could not get a definite answer as to what they were going to do when they opened me up… “Oh, just look around a bit, see what is going on…” and the usual no dinner, no food, going to surgery at 8 AM… WHAT? Just to have a little look around?
He left the room. I had a friend call Jackie. When we had her on the phone, I told her to get down there immediately, told her what was going on, what the doc said, and we agreed no one was cutting me open if we could prevent it. It took Jackie a half an hour to drive those 25 miles. Jackie was about 80 years old at the time. She worked and worked, shifting my energies around, and the pain started to leave. After a couple hours, Jackie sat down to take a break, drink some water, catch her breath… I did mention she was 80 at the time?… and she started over again. Healing Touch is a very physically demanding activity. After a couple more hours, I was able to sit up with no pain, stand up with no pain, got myself dressed and checked myself out of the hospital. No knife for Jan!
Jackie was the first to go to the Monroe Institute. I soon followed. If you want to know more about Monroe, check their website. http://www.monroeinstitute.org/. It is an amazing place with some amazing programs. If you have the skills to do this, it will change your life. It is not for everyone.
Jackie and I became partners in drumming, especially for healing. I gave her her first healing drum. Its name was Luke. I still have Luke, Jr. and use him only for special occasions. One of my favorite memories of Jackie drumming was one night when I had about 8 or 9 drummers here in my living room, we had been going at it for a good hour when Jackie’s drum went silent. Most of us drummed with our eyes closed, almost going into a trance like state of meditation, but yet with awareness to every other drum in the room… Luke was quiet. I opened my eyes and there was Jackie peeling off her sweat-shirt… and then she resumed drumming. I glanced around the room. A few others had noticed Luke was missing for a minute, we finished drumming with smiles on our faces as Jackie happily drummed away in her Playtex. I was reminded of the old Maidenform commercials – “I dreamt I was drumming in my Maidenform bra!” When we took a break, she looked around the room – we were all women – and said, “What? I got hot!” Drumming is a very physical as well as spiritual activity.
After Jackie moved to Iowa to work on her sister who had cancer, our drumming group seemed to have much less power. The spiritual chemistry had changed and all of us together could not begin to make up for that loss. It was just not the same. Funny how one or two people can make or break a group. When all of our own little group of like-minded folks drummed together, magic seemed to happen.
One belief (among many) that Jackie and I held in common was that it was important to give healing (or help of most any kind) away. Jackie set up a healing institute here on the shore. It basically made no money. Those who could pay did. If you couldn’t, you didn’t. The universe has a way of evening those things out. There Jackie practiced her Healing Touch and Reiki (she was a Reiki Master) much of it pro-bono. She brought in a wonderful acupuncturist who also did a lot of pro-bono work. He drove down from Salisbury to treat people at Jackie’s place a couple days a week. Some days the trip cost him far more than he made for his efforts. But Max realized, like Jackie, the more you give, the more you receive – and cash is not always the answer. Then Max remarried. His wife, also an acupuncturist, was more mercenary, and Max’s trips south came to an end. There is a long story there, but this is not the space for it. Suffice it to say, the more you give of yourself in compassionate ways, the happier you will be. That is the Law of the Universe.
In Iowa, Jackie’s energies were spent getting her sister well again. Once that was accomplished, Jackie looked for a space to teach and practice her Healing skills. She continued to teach and practice well into her 90s, still doing as many as 100 treatments a week, most pro-bono, up to the age of 95. Sadly Jackie fell, and that put a serious crimp in her career as body movement became a bit more limited. I guess one is allowed to slow down a bit once they are into their 90s. I get aggravated with myself that I have slowed down so early… my best role models kept going long after 70! In fact, some of them just got going when they reached their 70s, reaching their peak of productivity while in their 80’s.
I am often asking people to do Gratitude lists, that is Gratitude with a capital G… sometimes I also do a list of people that I feel blessed to have known. Now it is true, everyone is your teacher – even your worst enemy – they are there to teach you something. But not everyone is your mentor. Not everyone is a good role model. And I know it sounds dumb to be past the mid-point of one’s life and still look for and have role models, but we all probably do. Choose wisely. I have had some awesome people in my life. Think of your list, who is in your top 5 or 10? Besides your family members, who has been there for you – I mean really there… not some hero in a movie or jock smashing his brains out on some distant field. Who has taught you to heal, not hurt? Who has taught you about saving lives, giving selflessly rather than trying to get all you can get, have stuff to show off to the world. Who has been your model for compassion, forgiveness, kindness? How many people can you even put on this list? I am so blessed because I have a good list, and Jackie is at the top of it. I do miss her.