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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quotable Thursday and Apologies for no Guest Author

I thought we would have a guest author today, but that has not happened yet. So since this is Quotable Thursday I will leave a quote for Pam from Teratali Reiki and Counseling here. My quote for the day is from Salmon Rushdie:

"A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."
- Salmon Rushdie

I am sorry that we don't have the guest author as planned. It is a matter of internet kris-cross. I sent her the questions, but unfortunately though she returned the answers, they got lost somewhere in the outer reaches of the internet where email goes to die.:) I have no idea where it went, but we are planning for next Thursday. So please come back for the interview. In the meantime I will be giving you more information about Cynthia Polansky and her writings.

In the meantime I am a member of a group called acewriters and today I was sent an email from one of the group, Betty Butler, who is an extraordinarily good poet and has actually been doing an angel's work for awhile. She has allowed me to post her poem and the story that goes with it. She had me in tears by the end of the story. Here it is:

A TheraHarpist's Prayer
by Betty Butler

As I dedicate my life this day

To the service of all those who come my way

Let my music, my words, my voice be a start

To touch each one with healing of their heart.

When at last the day is done,

If I've helped someone, just one,

Let wisdom, joy and peace fill me,

And rejoice that it was done as if to thee

(c)2000 Betty Butler
Healers Of the Heart Theraharpist (TM

Now here's the story. Warning: Read it with tissues close to you. You will need them.

Betty Butler on Inkwell, Inc.

A Fragile Life

My regular station is Friday afternoons from Noon to 3 at the Hospice here. I had just finished my "shift" and was just finishing my last song when the Firemen noisely brought in a comotose patient on a stretcher and her social worker followed close behind. The social worker ordered me to follow them to the patients' room to "help the transition go better." I complied. I played several songs while they transferred her to the bed and they left the room. The social worker motioned for me to follow her into the hall.

The social worker said she was going out of town for the weekend and that I was now "it." I told her I was a grief counselor, not the case worker, and that I left at 3. She said, "well you can't now, you have to stay and be with her until the end. It will only be an hour or so."

I explained I had a school age child getting off the bus in 20 minutes and I had to be there to meet her. The charge nurse came to mediate and confirmed my situation and that if anyone was in charge it would be her. I went back into the room to get my harp and said out loud, "I have to go home for a little while, but I will be back to play more music for you."

When I got home I found my front door wide open, the dining room table had jewelry box drawers upside down, and the den double french doors swaying in the wind pulled off their frames. I ran to my harp room, my other harps were safe. Then I ran out the back door to my neighbors to call police and then wait for my daughters. The next four hours were consumed with police, house searches, drama, and my guys having to board up doors until the next day. After dinner my husband had both girls under his wing and he asked why I was acting so agitated since the house was barricaded. I told him I wasn't frustrated about the robbery and our wedding rings being stolen so much as I felt I was breaking a promise to my comotose patient. He said, "She doesn't know you aren't there, but if it will make YOU feel better, go."

I got to the hospice at 9PM. The charge nurse smiled and said, "She hasn't died yet. She's waited ALL this time just for you. She should have been gone hours ago." This woman was ancient, only 80 pounds and had already outlived family and two of her lawyers!

I went into the dimly lit room, sat next to her bed and bedside table. I whispered, "Lizel, I am back. I will play some music for you and you can relax and breathe easy now." I played for ten minutes and there was no change. Then I noticed the bedside light was burning hot on my right arm but I didn't want to shift away from her. As I brought my gaze back to her, she had rolled over on her side in fetal position facing me, not laying out straight. I continued to play every song I knew, some improv. At ten till ten she straightened out on her back and let out a big sigh. Intuitively I began to play 'Till we meet again.' She sighed again and there was a smile on her skeletal face, showing huge teeth! Then her mouth closed, her face muscles relaxed and tears were coming down the sides of her eyes. (I've learned in my hypnotherapy work, this is a natural relaxation state for tears to release, this was not tears of joy or sorrow.

I matched my chords with her breath. I started watching the clock, the inhales were a minute apart. About ten o'clock the inhales were 2 minutes apart. I sycronized with her, and pulled long resonating chords (G) at each intake breath. Then at 12 minutes after ten I noticed it had been 3 minutes since the last one, I turned to look at her face and she was indeed gone. The room was now very cool, the lamp didn't seem hot at all, my arm was very cool as was I, there seemed to be a light breeze like the air conditioner but this was winter. I continued to play for another 20 minutes. Used Healers' of the Heart(tm) naturally .. most often..thanks Cyndi.

When I walked out to the hall with my harp and case the two nurses at the charge station were crying. They said, "thank you for playing for her. We don't get time off to go to patients' funeral and there won't be one for her since she leaves no one behind. So you actually played her funeral service here for her. We loved her so much and you gave her that gift."

The charge nurse came down the hall with her arms wide open. She took me in a hug and said, "Thank you for coming back. She waited for you. You did the right thing all along. God bless you for k eeping your promise, for her and for us."

If ever that was pay back, that far exceeds any hard cash... this was heart cashing in.

{Copyright Betty Butler, MA, NCC, CMP, CHt Healers' of the Heart(tm) Outreach Grief Counselor, Hypnotherapist, EPEC trainer (Educating Physicians On End Of Life Care) 2006}

Check out this article about Betty in "Latter-Day Woman". You will see why I call her an angel.:)
If you are in need of grief counseling, please email Betty:

That's about it for now. Thank you to my readers and any new readers who happened to visit here. Again, no guest author today due to the irregularities of email and the internet. Sucks doesn't it?:)


  1. Thought-provoking quote and heart-warming poem and story. Thanks for sharing all these, Barbara.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Pam. I thought everyone should see that story. It reminds me of a poem I wrote about my own experience I'll share soon.:)

  3. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for posting Betty's work here, she's a doll! I've never met her, but I've grown to love her though our connection on the internet and our mutual admiration for a couple of dear friends (known to the world as Mr. & Mrs. George) and I wanted to offer the link for ACE Writers - at for those interested in visiting us. If you'd like to join an active online writing group, just scroll down the right side of the site.

    Thanks again for the post, Barbara.

    Jan Verhoeff

  4. OOps, I thought those were click-able.


    ACE Writers


    Jan's Blog

  5. This one is a good read. I have written something similar with a different aspect towards life in my blog.


  6. Thanks Jan for visiting. I only know Betty a few days and already I can see how you can grow to love her. She is very generous and her stories are so heartwarming.:)

  7. Hi Shankha,
    Thank you for visiting. I'd love to read your blog, but you didn't post a link.:) If you see this, please give your link.

  8. A beautiful story that truly warms my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Beautiful and I did need a tissue. Thank you for sharing this !


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