Life and Deaf
Turning Point – Chapter 1
By Jill Green
We sit across from each other in comfortable lounge chairs at the back of the Books A Million just before closing. It’s our time to catch up, just the two of us, gourmet coffees in hand: me with decaf, Scooter (Ray) drinking a full bore double, priming him for the graveyard shift – his most productive work time in cyberspace. My son designed and now manages a popular sports website. On the side he studies Reiki to satisfy his newly developed spiritual leanings. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (i.e., reiki) in the form of ki through the palms, which allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium. At master level he’s begun to work on a client under his mentor’s supervision.
He’s describing a vision that came to him while practicing on her:
“As my hands moved over her right leg I could feel an icy coldness emanating from around her knee. My body began to vibrate with heat neutralizing the chill that seized me. I slipped abruptly into another realm and time– flat boulders covered with green moss plunged from a mountainous peak down into a valley of old forest trees strewn with the remnants of war: spearheads, rusting blades, musket handles. I knew it had been a Civil War battleground.
I was accessing one of the woman’s past lives. This was a first. Stunned, not knowing what to do, I internalized, I’ll tell the client about this later so she can do Reiki on herself to heal that area. That thought was replaced by an insight nudging me forward, telling me to dive in, do it myself. I relaxed enough to trust my intuition and knew what to do. I had tapped into an infinite source of knowledge and strength.
I entered into a swirling black energy, its vaguely human-shape, drawn to me somehow, linked to the woman and desiring release. It penetrated me. I spun around, dragged myself up the precipice with my burden and back into the room. My arms rose, hands forward to ‘push out’ whatever remnants of the energy remained. I kindly blessed and released it. As it faded, the chills ebbed pleasantly through my entire body leaving me with a feeling of total peace.”
“Wow!” is my inadequate response echoing over my thoughts: the intense story, the emotion I see in his face, as he falters for words to describe the indescribable. His eyes follow the scene as he talks, evoking in me a vague memory of one of his childhood dreams.
I return home and go back through my volumes of journals. A needle in a haystack? I pick up the first one, flip through until I find a dog-ear. Just like that! There it is.
I read, ‘I’m drawn to my three-year-old’s room by a cry in the night. He’s sitting up in bed trembling and making strange noises as he watches something twirl across the room. I grab and hold him, shake him, talk to him. He won’t wake up, but his eyes are wide open, tracking some fearful entity. He points. I see nothing. I cuddle him until he calms and eventually returns to a restful sleep.
Intensively for a couple of weeks and for several months intermittently, Ray has the same nightmare. During that time he calls me to lie down with him until he falls asleep. Through the years he continues to be visited sporadically by what he calls ‘The Hand-Grabbing Tornado’. He describes it to me, miming when he has no words, as an undulating transparent cloud of light, vibrating with many colors, silent and swift as it twists through his room. It has never hurt him. He has learned to accept the mysterious apparition and the older he gets the more comfortable and intriguing it becomes.
I observe the date in my journal. 1980. At that time I’d been married 15 years. Now 30 years later, my son has also been married for 15 years. I turn the page and continue, ‘don’t think I can stay with this controlling man much longer. But it’s better for the children.’ Wrong, but I stayed. Another 15 years.
Now, I begin to put things together. My son and I have wild and wondrous dreams that we like to share. For me they are an alternate reality as important to me as this world I live in. I travel in time, feel my body morph into liquid vibrations, watch without fear as the world comes to an end around me.
Ray sees ghosts who become his friends, envisions storms with personalities, and when ill, can leave his body behind. And now these dreams have manifested into a new life for him.
On the heels of his lifetime of successful living as a deaf person in a hearing world, he has been struck with another challenge – Menieres Disease. The best way to describe it is in my son’s own words, found on his website.
“I’ll never forget the day my world literally turned upside down, sideways, and then some. It was my first vertigo attack and even to this day — more than ten years ago — I can vividly remember being thrown into an emotional and physical tornado. I remember the violent spinning as if on a carnival ride gone awry in the worst way possible, the seemingly endless vomiting, and my bewildered mind crying for the spinning to please just stop. Over the next few years I would be plagued with the Pandora’s box of aliments that came with it – violent vertigo attacks, further loss of hearing and balance, loud ringing in the ears, heavy brain fog, and the ensuing emotional trauma resulting from dealing with it.”
Being an astute webmaster and a caring individual he started the website to inform the public of this idiopathic disease and provide a forum for other Menieres sufferers.
After almost losing his business because the vertigo and nausea put him to bed on and off for almost two years, he has learned to cope, deal and heal. Studying intensively about this disease he has begun step by step to change his life physically, mentally and emotionally.
Guided by intensive research on the internet, changing his diet and exercising, he has lost 100 lbs. He takes daily walks that lead him farther and farther afield, out into the countryside he’s always loved, through swamps and forests surrounding his Florida town. He’s discovered that meditation balances him and keeps him from going into a vertigo attack. It has opened new worlds for him to explore, and has become the catalyst that’s catapulted his life into a totally new direction. Now he dreams awake, meditates into extraordinary worlds and uncommon realities. He’s practicing with a Reiki master and is studying Shamanism. I have no idea where he’s going, but I’d like to hold onto his shirttails.
Ray texts to say he’s coming down to see me about some personal stuff.
“About 3 hrs. Leaving now.”
My heart constricts. This is serious. He’s so busy he rarely has time to come see me, especially spur-of-the-moment. “Be careful, see you soon, love you,” I text back. Thoughts surface: Money–maybe the company comeback has had a relapse. Love–Ray and his wife Nicki have few common interests. Health–he’s relapsed. In that order.
He arrives with a stroke of lightning: “Nicki and I are getting a divorce.”
He’s calm. “We’ve been contemplating it for eight months and have been living like brother and sister for a lot longer.” His life has become so esoteric that his down-to-earth practical wife has been left behind. Their relationship is the part neither of them shares with me. Guess that’s better than hearing dissension and disagreements.
I’m shocked, but not devastated. “Divorce? I know you two don’t have much in common, but that’s drastic. Have you tried a counselor?”
“No. We’ve both agreed.”
I shrug my doubt.
I’ve had time to assimilate that first adrenaline clutch. They’ve been leading separate lives for years. Though mostly civil and pleasant with each other, I’ve seen little affection or interest in each other’s lives, except for their daughter. “What about Alyssa? It’s going to be hard on her.”
“Yes, but better to divorce now and both of us have custody rather than live many more discontented years together until she graduates,” he puts his arms around me, “like you and Dad did.”
“You’re right, and I’m so sorry for that. We should have split up years earlier. All of us would have benefited.” I cringe.
“You know I’ve always wanted to live in the woods. The perfect cabin became available right on the Suwannee River. It’s out in the country, cheap rent, in good shape, up on stilts. It even has a detached Mother-in-Law cabin for you. I’m moving in next week.”
“Wow. When the spirit moves you, you move.”
My memory retreats even farther, back to my first child’s beginnings. Let me begin.