How shocking to receive the news of a dear friend’s death on the screen of one’s BlackBerry, but that’s what happened this afternoon as I was retrieving messages after a haircut. I knew Pauline had been ill and had recently spoken to her sister Lucie. But I thought that trying new treatments was an optimistic move and that there was still hope. The message explained how shocked they all were at the suddenness of her death, so I was not alone.
I had been planning to write a letter to Pauline for her to read as she was going through her treatments. I wanted to let her know how much she had meant to me over the years. I’ll share some of it to let you know what an extraordinary woman Pauline was, but also to encourage you (and, note to self here) not to wait until it’s too late to share gratitude and love.
I started seeing Pauline for shiatsu treatments over 20 years ago when I was in tremendous physical pain and nothing else seemed to be working. She came highly recommended and I soon began to see improvements after experiencing her touch.
“At my second or third session I had overbooked my day and asked you if you could do the session in a compressed amount of time. Of course, this was way before I knew what an influence you would come to have on me. You simply and politely informed me that you did not vary your treatments, and I would need to schedule accordingly. I never asked for that special consideration again and began to be more mindful in my own planning behavior.
“When I first came to you I was in intolerable pain. Those early sessions were excruciating because you were working to get energy to flow in meridians that were blocked by years of stress, poor nutrition, willfulness and lack of self-care. Slowly, deliberately and with your special skill and sensitivity, you released the blockages and restored me not only to full health, but to a better state of being than I had ever experienced.”
Pauline and I became friends over the years. The last half dozen or so we would enjoy an annual December dinner together at a restaurant. Pauline gave her long-time clients a complimentary session as a gift each holiday season. For years I’d give her a piece of my handmade jewelry, but once I let go of my art form, I began to take her out for an annual celebration instead. I loved being in her company and received more than I gave.
I cherished each appointment I ever had with Pauline. When I would pull into her driveway I could feel my body relax and begin the process of her healing. It was an hour I knew I’d be fully taken care of, and I was.
I love Pauline. Always will. It’s a huge loss for all of us.