My visit with you this month was a hard one, wasn’t it? The previous week you’d taken a fall, and your left wrist was still swollen. A dark bruise remained on your arm, and just raising your hand gave you a stab of pain all the way to your shoulder. If you rolled over during the night, the pain woke you up. You didn’t remember falling, and everything was confusing.
The doctor had taken x-rays and assured your nurse and caregivers that nothing was broken. This wound required patience, mild pain relievers–and time–to heal. Based on that plan, I propped your wounded hand across a small pillow placed on your chest and tucked a blanket around you to hold everything in place. I settled in the chair next to your recliner and began to read a book. It was brutally cold outside that afternoon, but your apartment was toasty warm and quiet.
I heard a soft humming.
Your eyes were closed, and your good hand began patting your wounded hand beneath the cover. You no longer grimaced in pain, and after awhile you fell asleep.
Research has been done about cats purring even during stressful or painful situations, when they are hurt or frightened or unhappy. The vibrations of their purrs have a healing effect on their bodies (based on information from THE FELINE PURR: A Bio Mechanical Healing Mechanism).
If you think about it, it’s a fair assumption that cats and humans might have similar healing strategies. When we’re in pain or sad, if we need to rest and heal, for many of us the strategy is to hum along with soft music, or hum tunes we remember as comforting. We also rock and soothe fussy or ill children, sharing the sound of our heartbeats, comforting them with human “purring” rhythms.
You did not hum and soothe an ill child that day, Mom; you soothed your own wounds. As I watched you and listened, I remembered the tender way you held your grandbabies and the babies in the church nursery or anywhere a teething or fretful young child needed a dose of gentle humming attention. You and Grandma (your mother) were the “baby whisperers” whose open arms and soft comforts and humming worked wonders.
As you heal the wounds from your fall, Mom, I remembered many times you offered your healing touch to others. In so many ways, you have always been a healer, Mom. Thank you.