I first met Lizel when I moved to Maryland in 2008.
Often times we need some kind of crisis to give ourselves permission to take the time and the space to look within and decide what we truly want and discover who we really are. To be self-centered because we are not conditioned to honor ourselves in this way. Particularly we women who are mothers. We learn to make our needs secondary to those of our children, our husbands, our patients, our friends…
Lizel accepted the opportunity that her diagnosis gave her.
Together we went on a healing journey to uncover and release internal toxins in the form of hidden resentments and unexpressed truths.
She bravely explored new ways of thinking and being.
Honored the internal conflict between the accomplished professional with a brilliant, well educated mind, conditioned to “tow the line” and “follow the rules” – and the free spirit with a big, loving heart that at times wanted nothing more than to live a simple life by the sea.
This is truly a Hero’s Journey.
To face ones deepest fears and truths.
To be willing to change our perspective on situations and experiences.
To let go of old hurts and misunderstandings and create peace within.
She took leaps of faith into uncomfortable and unknown places, including attending my ‘Weekend Soul Retreat’ in Jamaica on her birthday weekend in 2012 – despite feeling terrified and having no idea what she was in for! 🙂
As a result, she built her muscles of courage, faith and trust.
She opened up and allowed herself to connect with strangers to have new adventures.
She practiced releasing judgement, criticism, shame and blame.
She learned that safety is a feeling created inside yourself.
She got better at loving and accepting herself on new levels. Well, except her weight. Lol! I remember us laughing together as she lamented that she must be the only cancer patient who DIDN’T lose weight!
Our last round of work together was much shorter than either of us had anticipated.
It began with a text message late one night early in November:
“Hi Helen, thinking of you. Much love. Lizel” .
Hmmm. My curiosity was piqued. It seemed a little “warm and fuzzy” for the usually practical and pragmatic Lizel. We exchanged a few texts and planned to meet for tea and a chat when I got back from a scheduled trip in a few weeks.
But God had a different plan.
The next morning I had an unusual experience in my morning meditation.
Lizel was strongly present with me in spirit. I felt so many emotions, fear, bliss, gratitude, confusion – I was weeping as I heard very clearly at the end of it all “You are to help Lizel die with dignity”.
I had been given a Divine instruction.
I spoke with her the next day – with no intention of sharing that last piece…until she happened to mention that the previous day she had been reading a book where the author was talking about “dying with dignity” and that she had had the thought, “I would love someone to do that for me.”
We worked together a few more precious times to help her get clear on what she wanted now.
To help her release the guilt she felt for not wanting to “fight” anymore and to overcome the fear that her loved ones would think that – by not “fighting” – she was giving up on them – and that she didn’t want to be here with them – and for them.
Her lifelong struggle was also her final struggle:
Giving herself permission to choose for herself.
I was honored to be by her side when she took her last breath in January. Releasing her physical body (one she had never quite made peace with).
She died on her terms. At home in her bed, surrounded by love …and with dignity
Her hero’s journey was now complete.