What is grief and how do we work with energy to transform it?
In this powerful story of transforming grief through the power of energy medicine, Lou interviews one of the Council of Elders, Katrena Friel, who shares with you: 1. What happened 2. What it was like before energy medicine 3. What is it like now after energy medicine? This is an excerpt from the book ‘The Power of Energy Medicine.’
Lou: Katrena I would love for you to share a significant life experience where you worked with energy medicine to transform your life?
Katrena: I walked into the hospital room with my mum lying there with tubes and bottles of draining blood coming out of her, after having a breast removed. It was a horrible and terrifying thing to see, that has never left me. There are some things you can never un-seen. These are the things that stay with you. Stay in you. Plant themselves in your cells. My mother battled breast cancer and long story short, beat it and got clean of cancer. Only to be made a paraplegic due to a mismeasurement in her radiation therapy by the hospital. When my mother became a paraplegic, due to negligence at the Royal North Shore Hospital,
I lost hope in the world and its systems.
My mother had battled cancer and won, but the radiation therapy left her a paraplegic. She was bedridden for eight years until she died of further neglect from another hospital (but that’s another story). She said she didn’t want to spend the rest of the time she had, chasing the legal system for a few dollars. That they would starve her out and delay proceedings until you die. She knew the legal process after working in it for over twenty years and didn’t want to tie herself up with paperwork, court, and phone calls. So, the decision was made not to pursue and we had to support that decision. To this day, I agree with that decision.
My lifelong friend died at fifty the other day after spending six years chasing a few dollars after a domestic violence situation turned bad and on the day of the court’s decision after three different cases, she dropped dead of stress the following day. The man who pleaded guilty got a three-month good behaviour bond. She got life.
After mum became a paraplegic she would often discuss ending her life.
It was our little secret. I held all her other secrets, why not this one? I believed in euthanasia, since doing a debate in high school, but never thought I’d be faced with it, in real life. As it turned out, she never got the chance to control her destiny, someone else did it for her. My mother had dedicated her life to her four daughters. I am number two. Our mother was the glue that held our family together. When she went down, I questioned life and its meaning.
My mum liked control, and the control had been taken from her. I didn’t want that for her. I knew she would have been surprised by her death. She had been through near-death experiences lots of times, but the emergency department had always saved her. Turns out, being a paraplegic is hard with lots of risks of infection, falls, she even accidentally burnt herself, because she couldn’t feel the boiling water from her hot water bottle one day after the top had not been screwed on properly.
We learned as we went, how to care for her as best as possible.
When she went to the hospital, her bedsores were always worse, than when she was looked after at home. We were all good at feeding her, turning her, cleaning her, dressing her. Dressing her bedsores got down to a fine art, with the introduction of Manuka Honey Silver dressings. They were amazing and very expensive, but worth every cent. Clearing up poo and changing the urine bag, cleaning her tube into her stomach, all became part of our lives.
The tube into her stomach, could get bacteria in it or come out altogether and this is ultimately what killed her. A tube. A plastic tube. She knows something is wrong if she starts to feel her temperature rising. Her cheeks go red. If left, she will just fade out. She had faded out a few times over the years. What was different this time? Why now? We needed one more day and she would still be here. Perhaps it is better to be a surprise? Maybe she would never have gone willingly. Her will to survive had got her this far. Why now? Why? It is hard to let go.
It is hard to let go of a parent for a child.
Doesn’t matter how old you get. Losing a parent sucks. It feels like you can’t survive without them. They have always kept you safe, up till this point. How will you keep yourself alive without your mother? It must be some sort of survival mechanism, deep inside our souls. We need our mum. We want our mum to be there for us. We want to comfort them and we most certainly want to be comforted by them.
I’ll never forget the day I miscarried. That day, I definitely needed my mother. I went straight from the ultrasound and that picture of the dead baby inside of me in black and white seared into my memory. I drove an hour straight to my mum’s house. Falling straight into her arms. Lying beside her on her bed. Snuggled up like a child, weeping, crying uncontrollably. Knowing that she knew. She knew the pain. She knew the loss. She understood. Like only a mother can. You will always need your mum. So when she dies, you wonder. You wonder, how am I going to live without her?
Lou: Katrena what was it like physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually before energy medicine?
Katrena: Emotionally it was up and down and subject to her mental and emotional states. If she was happy, I was happy, if she wanted to die, I would discuss it with her, so she felt she had some control over her own life. She couldn’t shower herself, she couldn’t go downstairs, she had to be fed every meal. My youngest sister, her fourth child, dedicated her life and went to her side every day to tend to her needs. She had a nurse in the morning during the week, but on weekends, we took it in turns.
Her husband was starting to show signs of some sort of dementia.
He had previously looked after his first wife, till her death from cancer. I used to call him, ‘our angel on earth’. However, mum was being slowly poisoned by his cooking, we didn’t want him anywhere near her meals. He would feed her undercooked chicken, or over blasted microwave reheated food. Mum luckily tried not to eat it and would just wait it out, till her daughters would come and make her a safe meal.
He used to have his ‘turns’ as we called them. He would rage and my mum couldn’t leave. She couldn’t leave the bed; she couldn’t leave the room. She just had to lie there listening to his every awful performance. There was no getting away from him. Mum wanted a divorce, but couldn’t get one in her situation, she needed to stay in the home. A divorce would mean selling the house and splitting the asset. Leaving mum to probably go into some sort of home. That was not going to happen.
She loved her home for many reasons, but for a paraplegic, she had a view from her bed. A view of the ocean far away in the distance. It was fantastic because it changed every day, every hour. A moving changing artwork. She loved it and talked about her view and what was happening every day. The view helped her get through the day. She could see the world. The changing seasons. The weather, the birds breeding, the nests in the trees. She loved it all and she felt connected to life. She also liked her daughters visiting and to be fair, she loved her food. She loved a fresh cup of tea, made in the pot of course. She loved mangos, camembert cheese, prawns, champagne, olives, smoked salmon and the list goes on. She loved her food and food gave her joy and excitement.
When you are a paraplegic, life’s simple pleasures become the big pleasures in life.
You should see her face if you brought her sushi and sashimi. Surprise presents were always food-oriented. The reward was getting her eyes to light up. It wasn’t hard. It was the thought that count and she loved being thought of. She loved visits, especially from her daughters and her few very close friends. Having time alone with her was some of my favourite times. She was an amazing woman, sharp, witty, funny, cute, one of the most interesting people I know. Great conversationalist, never boring. Always interested in what was going on in the world and always researching through magazines a variety of topics that she would share with us through all her clippings. She loved cutting out articles, saving cards, and profound sayings from magazines and newspapers.
As it turned out, her husband had a girlfriend he had picked up at the local club. I remember mum ringing her and saying, “leave my husband alone”. His dementia got worst and worst until one day he had a turn and was taken to the hospital. Because he was so difficult, they sent him home and said mum can look after him and that there is nothing wrong with him. While he was away in hospital, it was the best Christmas ever. Without his behaviour to interrupt our last month with our mum. He returned home in late January. One night she called out. He laid next to her, ignoring her cries for help, as her body slowly got infected and her temperature started to rise.
She had been here before, she knew the signs, she knew what was happening. She knew she could survive it, if she got help in time. By the morning, my sister had arrived and found her near death. Called the ambulance immediately as mum began her journey home. The emergency staff tried and tried to revive her, but this time it was too late. I had been called during the morning and left work with an hour’s drive in front of me from Sydney to Umina Beach. I was hoping to get there before she died, but I was too late.
There she was, no life left in her body.
The trauma of what my sister had seen was clearly in her eyes. The horror of watching your mother’s ribs being broken to revive, tubes being shoved down her throat, but to no avail. They gave us time to say our goodbyes and try to process what had happened. We started to realise, that he had done nothing, essentially killing her with in-action. Was it on purpose? We thought so. He was always crazy, but what he did at the end was unnecessary. If only, they had kept him in the hospital with dementia. She would have lived.
The irony was my sister was moving in the next day with her husband to be her full-time carer. We were one day too late. Interesting how the universe works. We were all born in January. The eldest daughter is the 31st of January, I am number two on the 22nd, the third daughter is 24th and the youngest is the 8th. Mum died nestled in there on the 29th January 2009, sixty-six years of age, eight of those years as a paraplegic. No-fault of her own. I’ll never forget being told to leave the room by the ambulance team. They didn’t want us to see the body being moved. We went outside and stood on the deck, as we watched them struggle to remove the body in a stretcher down the narrow steep steps. I could see her being jostled. She hated being moved and jostled.
As she was put in the back of the ambulance and the doors closed, a very strong wind went through and passed us. It was amazing. My sister and I looked at each other and I said, “did you feel that?” A clear sign my mum was free. Free of her broken body now. She was letting us know she was everywhere. She could fly. She was spirit. She had passed. A moment I will never forget. It is one thing to die when it is your time. When it is natural. But when you know it was preventable and unnecessary it makes it harder to grieve properly.
It keeps you in the anger phase much longer than is healthy.
Mum’s husband’s adopted daughter supervised us over the next day while we were allowed to remove all of our mum’s stuff. We had one day to pack up and get out. Before we were locked out for good. She warned off her dad’s girlfriend and in her words, “she’s not getting half of this house”. Neither were we. She got her dad into a home soon after and sold the house from underneath us. Took the funds after her dad died within the year, in the dementia unit from a fall. We were never informed of his death. I didn’t know he had died for years until someone asked if I knew.
His daughter died a year after that of cancer. But by then she had secured the money from the house and made sure her two sons had a trust fund of cash. She was an ex-police officer on worker’s compensation for over a decade. Ruthlessness, like I had never experienced. In fact, she was the bully in primary school. I was scared of her then and I was scared of her now. It was not what we would have done if the situation was reversed. We would have given her and her adopted brother half and we would have split the other half into four parts for each daughter. But without the will, the law provides no protection and none of us were in any position emotionally to fight it. Remembering the law has nothing to do with justice. We didn’t chase it.
It wasn’t worth wasting our time fighting over a few dollars.
She can have it. Or at least her kids did, as we know what it feels like to lose your mother. My mum had worked hard for that house. Every day for fifteen years through mastectomy surgery, chemo, and radiation therapy, she went to work. Every day getting up at 5 am to catch the 6 am train into Milsons Point. Every day she went in. Her husband did not contribute much after the initial purchase of the home.
Mum’s dad instead worked up until he died, every day to give her what she needed. His only child, he died a bit before her at one hundred and one weeks. I was there as he passed, as his only witness. Mum couldn’t be by his side. I went to see him off in her place. He had worked for nearly one hundred years and in the last eight years of mum’s life helped her a lot physically, financially, and emotionally. They loved each other very much. She was an only child and he would do anything for her.
Putting in a lift when she originally came home as a paraplegic. The lift was hardly used because she couldn’t sit in a wheelchair for long, otherwise, her bedsores would be worse than normal. The lift was one of his gestures of love for his daughter. My mother had been working in a legal firm for over twenty years. I had even been shown the will by her and where it was in the files. But of course, they removed it, and we never found it. Doesn’t matter anyway. What is done is done.
Emotionally it was difficult because there is no fixing it.
No improvement, nothing to do but support her and provide sunshine in her day, Mentally it was lonely, each daughter having their own experience with it, but for me, I found it lonely as no one else knew she wanted to die and not live like this forever. Physically, we all helped as regularly as possible with her bedsores, the lifter to get her into the shower. Primarily she had a nurse, but on the weekends we would take turns to rub her legs, turn her each hour, make her meals, give her company, wash the sheets, change the sheets and ensure she had a nice cuppa and chat.
Spiritually I felt abandoned by the forces of the universe, lacking control over our lives. My spirit hurt from watching my mother battle every day. My soul ached for her as I knew that this is no way to live as a strong, independent woman relying on others. But she surrendered to that and got over that soon enough. She knew she had to rely on others if she was going to survive the years ahead.
She certainly had been the force of nature within our family, we had to step up and protect her. Trying to make her life as beautiful, fun, and relaxing as possible. No stress was the key to her healing each day. She literally grew skin every day. She was officially a miracle. Her doctor couldn’t believe her health. Apart from being a paraplegic, she was healthy, vibrant, and strong. With a good attitude and focused on friends and family. All this kept her in good stead and allowed her to have the best life possible.
Our time alone fed my soul.
The deep conversations I still miss to this day. The silver lining was no more rushing around entertaining, cooking, cleaning, helping everyone. She now had only what was in front of her, present to each and every moment. She simply surrendered and accepted her fate. We tried to pamper her as much as possible. She loved beautiful creams for her skin. A good hand cream and she’d be in heaven. Her hands and nails were always beautifully done by herself or one of her daughters. Again the simple things in life are what she treasured. She loved to write. In fact, she was an incredible writer. I have all her writings. I love reading her travel stories. I must publish her breast cancer story one day. She’d like that.
Lou: Katrena what is it like now physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually after energy medicine?
Katrena: Since her death, I have gone on a journey to make sense of the world. I emotionally coped by talking about her and what she would say or do or recommend. I used this in humour and made up fun stuff any chance I got. I was channelling her. I knew it was her. I could hear her in my head. Mentally I processed my childhood, my love for my mother, and my father.
I did a lot of energy healing around anger, sadness, fear, and guilt.
I balanced the masculine energy and the feminine energy all the while coming to terms with my relationship with my mum, and my sisters. Another way I healed was to create a keynote presentation that I travelled around Australia with called, Designing your Philosophy of Life. In the talk, I mention my mother and the philosophy she adopted to live as a paraplegic. I then briefly got through each of her philosophies so that people can use them as learnings for themselves. Every time I presented or every time I watch the YouTube video, I healed even more. I wanted to keep my mother’s memory alive and this was my way of doing that, while at the same time healing myself.
My mum loves that I talk about her. She loves when I’m on the stage telling her story. She loves her daughter’s names on programs, photos in the paper. She loves to be a proud mum. She loved us doing bold things, on stage, or making her feel like we were her little superstars. She is going to love my chapter in the Power of Energy Medicine book. She made me a strong, determined, opinionated woman, just like her. Even though I never wanted children, she always knew that I would use my nurturing powers in a different way than how she did but never judged me for wanting something different than most women seem to want. I didn’t ever want to be tied down with children.
I wanted freedom above all else and built my life around that.
She understood who I was, she knew what I needed and she mothered me, in the exact way to ensure I had enough rope tethered to her for survival with enough length to make me feel like I was free and untethered to explore the world and all its dangers. Thanks, mum for being the perfect mum for me. I did survive and I thrive because of your commitment and dedication to motherhood. I knew I couldn’t live up to the level of dedication that you provided and bow out with grace and surrender to your perfection, never to compete in the same game as you.
Motherhood for me was not what my soul came down here to experience. The miscarriage gave me the experience of understanding what it feels like to be a mother for a moment, but I didn’t need to dedicate the rest of my life to that journey. I tip my hats to mothers, it is the hardest job on the planet to do what you do. I send love and gratitude to all those that do it willingly and with such grace and tenderness. I admire you. I promise one day as I did around the age of twenty-five, I suddenly realised all that my mother had done for me.
I finally thanked her and understood just how hard it was to bring me up and to turn me into the woman that I am today. I remember the tears in her eyes when I came to her humbled by the realisation and appreciation for what she had done. What she had sacrificed. We hugged, we cried together and I hope she forgave me for all the trauma I had caused as a kid, and worst still as a teenager. There were many moments in life, where I updated my appreciation and love for her. That was just the first big realisation. There were many and before she died we had talked long, hard, and deeply about most things and I feel we knew each other. We understood each other and I could heal and in the process of healing me, I heal the family around me.
There was so much to heal from. So much we all need to heal from.
For those of us who do the work of internally healing ourselves, I think in that process we earn the right to help heal others. You are here reading our stories of healing, I hope this gives you insights and articulation around your healing journey. We have wounds from our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents. The whole family constellation of healing needs to happen with us and when it does, it heals our lineage. Generations of pain and trauma have come to rest inside of us. Does it stop here with us or will it continue to the next line of DNA?
For me, it stops here. Literally stops here because I haven’t had children. But for those of you who have the responsibility of the next generation in your hands, I scream, thank you for doing the work. Thank you for digging deep and healing the scars of the past inside all our bodies. From the physical body to the emotional body and beyond. Well done and thank you. You make the world a better place, just by healing.
When we heal, the world heals.
When we heal the earth, the universe changes its frequency. Because we are healing, the frequency of our experience is being rewarded. Keep up the great work everyone, things are changing. You can see it all around you.
LOVE NOTE FROM LOU
Katrena, Co-Founder of Energy Medicine Business Institute, develops your business plan to Become the Expert in your Field of Excellence. Learn a step by step how to POSITION | PACKAGE | PRICE yourself correctly in your market, through 5 streams of income: 1. International keynote speaking, 2. Award-winning author (#1 best seller), 3. Practitioner, 4. Mentor, and/or 5. Group Trainer. This is energy business training for the conscious. Mentoring for the awakened through a customised, individual solution for you to build the energy business of your dreams.
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Lou Reed, Energy Shaman ❤️✨
Founder, Energy Medicine Institute