Eddie. He came to me in the fall of 2002, diagnosed with lung cancer.
His lawyer, a patient of mine, suggested he consult with me, as a clinical endocrine advisor in a research project using natural progesterone to treat cancer at the Sansum Medical Clinic.
Cancer is not my specialty. I specialize in neuro-immune-endocrinology which I believe is at the core of most dis-ease. So I spent two hours going over his history, looking for signs of age-related decline that could be at the root of his illness, trying to understand why this brilliant man’s body was failing him at 52, and explaining the biochemistry of cancer as related to the complicated system of hormonal miscommunication with DNA.
Exuding enthusiasm, Eddie asked, “So you have something to balance my ligands?” He was brilliant, one of the only patients who understood the scientific lingo of my theories. He was even open to the psycho-spiritual roots of dis-ease, including the irony of being afflicted with cancer after inventing thermal implants to treat brain tumors.
In fact, I did have something for him—my Genesis Gold® formula to balance the hypothalamic orchestration of the neuro-immune-endocrine system—but,* in theory only. After completing pilot studies the year before, my personal funds ran out and I struggled to find a manufacturer to mix even a small batch. Eddie took my hand and offered to help.
“No,” I protested, “you came here for me to help you.”
“Perhaps I came to help you. My cancer was a fortuitous portal for our meeting.”
Thus began our journey to manufacture my formula so he might partake of it. He truly believed he would be cured by my invention. In the meantime, I recommended a natural treatment regime, since he was opposed to traditional therapies, and spent much time counseling him and sharing many spiritual portals. He treated me as a beloved daughter, introducing me to colleagues who would forge the path to the birth my nutraceutical product. Becoming attached, I searched for cures for his cancer.
The day I brought the first bottle of Genesis Gold® to him, he smiled, beckoned me closer and whispered, “I knew you could do it.”
It was his last lucid moment. At the request of his family I had been coming to his lovely villa in the hills of Santa Barbara to help him die. As a nurse practitioner, I treated the walking well. Some patients had passed over the years, usually of old age, occasionally untimely, but not since being a neophyte nurse had I witnessed death.
After graduating nursing school in 1983, I worked on a surgical floor at UCLA Medical Center. We saw the sickest of patients—heart transplants, complete surgical resections of the bowels, lung resections.
My first encounter with death was a young woman, my age, dying of pancreatic cancer. When I arrived on the night shift and saw her Do Not Resuscitate order, I knew her family and physicians had given up. Not me! I was not going to let her drown in her own secretions and stayed by her bedside suctioning her tracheostomy. Her intern refused to give me a permanent suction order so that I would take care of my other three patients, so I handed him the suction catheter and called the chief resident. My colleagues were appalled. No one called the chief in the middle of the night, especially not a nurse.
Amazingly, he wasn’t upset, but asked if I saw the DNR order. “Doctor, I’m not resuscitating her. I just don’t want her to be alone. I…” Seeing the intern escape down the hall, I tried to hang up on the chief.
“Oh, no, you don’t. We’re going to discuss why you can’t let her die.” I resisted, but he kept me on the phone until it was too late.
The charge nurse helped me prepare the young woman’s body for the morgue. And with tears, I was forced to let my patient go.
Twenty years later, I was not so resistant. Eddie’s family left me alone with him. I sat at his bedside and meditated on how I could help him pass. I had already counseled with each of his family members. When I thought of his recalcitrant son who had finally agreed to see his father after our phone conversation that morning, I felt a wave of gratitude. And it wasn’t mine, it was from Eddie. I opened my eyes.
His diminished energy, faded to non-existent in his limbs, now concentrated in his heart chakra, shimmered, and I gasped to see a funnel of light connect to him. He appeared to lift from his form—pure white light not the fiery red of his life force—and enter the conical shaped energy. Other light forms greeted him, ancestors and guides, passing him along to the end. And at the infinite end of this brilliant white light was pure Love. He was enveloped, embraced like long lost lovers, the encounter so intimate; I was torn between turning away in deference to such a private moment and watching in awe.
Suddenly, Eddie’s essence turned away from the Light and I was swept up to see from his perspective. It appeared as if the room where his body lay, even me at his bedside, existed in a fishbowl. The reality was the Light, the physical existence, an illusion. So peaceful, so blissful, the light was very familiar to me.
I remember calling in the White Light to protect my little sisters while I was away at kindergarten and invoking the same White Light to surround my own children whenever I dropped them off for school. If I would forget, my daughter would remind me, “Mommy, do the White Light,” and I would swaddle her and her sibling in the protection of the Light that had always comforted me. In that eternal moment, I recalled how the same White Light seemed to bathe my patients and me during a healing and was the one I used to calm injured animals before treating them.
I’ve never been afraid of dying, although letting others go was difficult. My fear lay in being alone, separated from those I love by death. As a healer, I had taken a very long time to release my savior complex, to understand that I was not responsible for my patients’ illnesses, nor could I take credit for their cures. I was a midwife to their healing, holding the space in which they recovered or not—it’s always their choice.
That night after his son came to his bedside to say goodbye, Eddie finally died.
Two months later, I received one of my greatest openings and began writing my life’s work. Never a moment of writer’s block, it all just flowed in. The synchronicity of events, from the creative process, to publishing LoveDance©, to going out in the world to market has been amazing. Still, I am learning to ask for help and whenever I feel resistant, I hear Eddie, “Perhaps I am here to help you,” and open to receive another’s assistance.
Witnessing the precursor to his death was Eddie’s final gift to me. Death is a passing through the veil of illusion and into the truth. There is nothing to fear.
Love and Light,
Deborah Maragopoulos MN FNP
Intuitive Integrative Health