I didn't blog about this, but my grandfather was in the hospital recently for cancer surgery. When he came out, he had to go into a nursing facility for physical therapy before he could go home. He's 93 years old, and he didn't face this idea very well. He very nearly gave up hope, thinking he would be stuck in the nursing facility for the rest of his life.
I went up to New Jerey in early July to visit him in the nursing facility, while my parents were there visiting from Minnesota as well. He wasn't looking so great, I barely recognized him when I first saw him. He was complaining that whole day about having to sit up all day rather than being allowed to take a nap. The staff were trying to build his endurance, and that was the first day he was being asked to stay up so long. But it was really his attitude that was the problem. He didn't think he was going to get well. He was dealing with depression. And from what I was told, he had been for weeks.
My parents know about my metaphysical practices to some degree, and my mother at least believed in them enough to ask me to do what I could. Direct reiki work at the nursing facility didn't seem to be helping much. So, when we got back to my grandfather's house that evening, I decided to approach the matter from a different direction. I did a ritual for him, asking his departed wife and other departed friends and relatives to do whatever they could to help him. And more importantly, I invited my parents to join me in that ritual. My mother did join in, my father chose not to but did sit and observe. I went through things point by point, making accomodations for their beliefs, my grandfather's beliefs, and the likely beliefs of the departed in question. I also explained things to my parents as I went along. In the end, it was a very interesting evening, and my father did comment that he felt like he understood my practices a bit more after seeing some of what I do and having it explained that way.
But it wasn't until the next day that I think he really started to believe there was something to my practices. See, when we went back to the nursing facility, my grandfather was in a far better mood. He'd gotten a great night's sleep. And, without prompting, he started talking about a dream he'd had... involving his wife, and his departed friend Sam Shore, and a bunch of his other old friends. Many of whom we'd explicitly invoked the night before. Then out of nowhere he started singing an Irish drinking song and talking about an Irish relative we'd also very explicitly invoked the night before. My father's mouth simply hung open in shock. My grandfather's recovery progressed much more rapidly after that.
Which brings us to now, and why I'm writing this post. Now my own father is the one in the hospital. He just had another toe amputated due to diabetes-related complications, as well as some bone removed from the site of the first amputation. He's doing fairly well, expected to be home soon. And I just got the most interesting email from him. Seems that, last night, my father attended a native american ceremony in the VA Hospital Chapel, all on his own. He went through smudging, listened to native drumming and chanting, possibly smoking a sacred pipe but I'm not sure if he did that part or simply observed, and telling about himself and why he had come to heal while holding a sacred eagle feather. All in all, it lasted two hours, but he says the time "flew by". He seemed very impressed, and retained a good bit of what he had been told about the function of smudging, which he accurately related in the email. According to his email, he was the only non-native participant but they allowed him to participate fully.
To say I'm shocked would be an understatement. This is not even remotely like my father. My father has a tendency to roll his eyes when my mother starts talking about metaphysical things. Less so when I do, since he knows damn well I've done my homework on them, but it's still never been a belief he's shared. I think seeing the effect that my metaphysical practices had on his father in law, my grandfather, must have affected him more deeply than I realized. I don't know if, ultimately, this will lead anywhere... but I can't help but think getting smudged and taking part in a healing ceremony like that one will be good for him. He certainly seems excited about it.