By Karen Mehringer
Driving to the emergency room it dawned on me…”Today is the seven-year anniversary of my father’s death.” I thought, “How odd that my sister and I had lunch today and didn’t even acknowledge his anniversary.” Soon after, I glimpsed a sign saying, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. I was struck by the coincidence as this is where my brother, Kyle, passed away. Sitting in the emergency room, I was further astonished that I had sat in the same exact room at Stanford Hospital ten years earlier, as Kyle was days away from dying in the adjacent building. Not only that, but a similar complaint brought me there…abdominal pain.
Puzzled, I wondered, “What is this all about?” Two days earlier, my family and I gathered to celebrate Kyle’s ten-year anniversary at an oak tree we planted in his memory. During the ceremony, per the suggestion of a friend, I set my intention to release all of the painful memories stored in my body related to watching Kyle suffer and die. I questioned, “Could my body be reliving the trauma of what I witnessed?” “Maybe the trauma is surfacing now to be released?” And, “What about the reoccurring pain in my abdomen?”
Both Kyle and dad had experienced severe abdominal distress before they died. I thought, “I must have taken on some of their pain in an attempt to ease their suffering.” Since their deaths, I have consistently experienced digestive problems. It was no coincidence that I was in the hospital during their anniversaries experiencing digestive/abdominal distress.
I spent ten hours in the emergency room that night while the doctors worked to diagnose my situation. Blood was drawn, IV fluids were administered and a CT scan was taken. The pain had diminished and the test results were inconclusive, so I was released the next morning. Later that day, I received a call from the hospital asking me to return. A specialist reviewed my CT scan and found my appendix to be enlarged. They were concerned I had acute appendicitis. (Later tests confirmed this diagnosis).
After hanging up the phone, a tidal wave of emotion overcame me including feelings of fear, grief and anger. I spent the next twenty minutes bawling as I thought of my father and what he endured in the hospital the eight weeks prior to his death. This tremendous emotional release was welcomed, but completely unexpected. Over the years, I had grieved the deaths of Kyle and dad, but had no idea how much the trauma of watching them suffer still affected me.
After returning to the hospital, more tests were administered and I was kept overnight for observation. It was finally decided the next day that I would undergo surgery to remove my appendix.
Two weeks later, I feel much lighter. Not because of the seven pounds I lost from not eating for four days, or from the weight of the appendix that was removed, J but because I have experienced a deep physical and emotional cleansing. By setting my intentions to release the painful memories stored in my body, my body’s wisdom took over and guided me along the quickest route to healing.
“A painful time in our life is what I call a “healing crisis.” We are letting go of something old and opening to something new.” – Shakti Gawain
“Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity to heal.”
– A Course in Miracles
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” -Rachel Naomi Remen