The essential oils can be such powerful catalysts for change and comfort at the end of life, and any time in our lives, really. This story tells of one of the most powerful experiences I had one day while doing my “routine” hospice work.
Douglas, my hospice patient, had been struggling to breathe all night long. In fact, breathing had become the major issue in his life during the last week. He was now wearing an oxygen mask. His daughter Marcia was on one side of his hospital bed, his granddaughter Jenn on the other. They had just tucked him back into bed after a sleepless night on the Hospice Unit.
Later I found out they’d both been giving him permission to let go all night long, for they knew that he was suffering too much.
It was a Monday morning, and I had just listened to my voice mails. One of our palliative care specialist nurses had left me a message saying that Douglas wanted me to come and anoint him with the essential oils as I had done for him last week. As I drove toward the Hospice house on the east side of Puget Sound, I had no idea that I was about to witness one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had with the essential oils as a spiritual counselor.
Having revamped my schedule for the day, I entered Douglas’s room with my essential oils and a favorite CD of East/West Chants in hand. I felt some power beyond my own guiding me.
Upon entering Douglas’s room, I knew what needed to be done. First, I anointed him with some oils.
Marcia and Jenn made room for me to bless their father and grandfather with the oils. I got out Myrtle, the Believe Blend, and Frankincense. I lifted the oxygen mask and placed some of the Believe Blend around Douglas’s nose. After anointing the area around lungs with the Believe oil, too, I rubbed some Myrtle on his right ribcage and some on his feet. Then I anointed his forehead with Frankincense, my favorite oil. Frankincense, meaning “real incense,” I’ve discovered is also considered the favorite incense of the spirit realm.
The oils almost immediately had an effect. Douglas’s breathing slowed and his whole body began to relax. Next, I went over to the CD player and got the beautiful chants by Cynthia Snodgrass filling the room with their special harmony (Ubi caritas et amor — “Where charity and love are, God is there”). Douglas’s oxygen mask had been removed, and it was Marcia who noticed that Douglas had opened his eyes to look straight up, above his bed.
“He’s going, he’s going!” she exclaimed.
“Well, maybe,” I thought to myself, as one never really knows when and how the dying process will happen, not unlike a birth.
I also found myself praying hard at this point. I recall offering a prayer out loud, too, around Douglas’s bed with his two beloved ones. Before long, Douglas’s breathing had slowed down even more, and it became clear that he was in the final stages of letting go. The three of us witnessing this turn of events were so amazed, it did not even occur to us to leave the room. Within 20 minutes of my entering his room and administering the oils, Douglas had taken his last breath.
After a few minutes of experiencing this sacred time together, one of us finally left the room to go find a nurse. Two hospice staff came into Douglas’s room to help us begin to digest what had just happened. After confirming that Douglas had died, they checked his limbs, noting that there had been none of the mottling that usually happens before a person dies.
In hindsight, I believe Douglas realized that the relaxation offered him by the essential oils gave him an opportunity to let go and make his way over to the next realm. This meant that he could forego the usual process of the body’s slowing down gradually.
Needless to say, this experience with essential oils opened me up to the subtle yet tremendous power that they can have in the end-of-life and dying process. On some level, I have known that the oils possess this kind of magic, since I’ve heard about how they were used in ancient times around death and burial. And Frankincense was what the Three Wise Men brought to Jesus as a gift for him at the time of his birth.
However, one doesn’t have to be dying or experiencing a transition to enjoy the benefits of these oils. I use them on a regular basis, to lift my mood and raise my vibration and mood.
Frankincense is known for its anti-depressant quality and for its ability to connect a person with the spiritual realm; it is also a wonderful tonic for the skin and has anti-tumoral qualities, as well.
I heard about a mother who had a son with a brain tumor. She kept her son’s head wet with Frankincense. Over time, the son was healed by the power of this powerful healing oil that was once considered more valuable than gold. Frankincense has also been known to work its magic with people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
If ever you happen to be with an obstinate person who suffers from Alzheimer’s, simply apply some of this wonderful oil to your own hands and then run your hands through their aura – energy field – in some way. This process will very soon have a calming effect on the headstrong individual.
If you are interested in learning more about the essential oils and transitions, Maria will be leading a class on this on Thursday, April 14 at the Brilliant Moon. Please call them to register: (360) 868-2190.