Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deep Loss

I'd like to officially introduce you to someone. The picture above is my dad, Ed Putnam, who died this past Tuesday morning, August 12. He died at home (in the house he built) with his family around him. Some of you know about my dad's struggle with kidney cancer--a struggle which began in January of this year. It's been a tumultuous ride these past 7 months, and I find it hard to contain or even encapsulate the events of this year.

I will say, though, that my relationship with my father deepened during this time, and that my healing work kept me afloat in ways I am just starting to grasp. One dear client who knew of my struggles asked me during a session, "How do you care for other people and hear other people's problems when you have such big stuff going on in your own life?" It was such a good question. I surprised myself when I heard myself replying, "I find it very grounding and centering to give bodywork. I can tune into the relaxed breath of my clients and the sacred space I have created for healing." I also heard myself say something about the universal nature of suffering--that I can connect to the suffering of others (even small moments of suffering or discontent) while holding my own sadness about my father because it all comes from the same source. Suffering is suffering. Grief is grief. Loss is loss. The specific circumstances and degrees of intensity may differ, but I have a hard time ranking or categorizing these things. Until my client asked me her question, I hadn't realized that I truly felt this way.

So while I may be taking some time off right now to attend to my sadness and that of my family (I'll be back giving sessions again during the week of August 25), please know that when you come to see me it's okay to mention my loss (I know, it's hard to know what to say when someone has lost a loved one) and it's okay to focus on YOU during your session. Prior to each session I give, I create a safe space for you to relax, find relief, and heal. Rest assured that I will find my own time for my own healing (Olympus Spa here I come!). This time is for you and I am honored to witness whatever it is that you bring to your sessions.

I also want to mention that my posts here may be few and far between or very frequent with many philosophical musings about the nature of life and death, of healing and illness, and of finding inner peace. Right now I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh's No Death, No Fear, and I imagine many of his words will make their way to this blog as well.

peace and healing,



1,000 Faces of MotherHenna said...

Courtney, my heart to you. Just sending you lots of supportive vibes. Though she is often writing about parental bereavement after death of a child, Dr. Jo's blog has amazing articles -- and great quotes/leads to other writers who are writing about death, dying, living after death of a loved one, nature of caring for soul. Her blog is at:


B and T said...

Oh Courtney, I am so sorry for your loss. My dad died of bile duct cancer (8 months from diagnosis to death) in 2001 and I was so unprepared. I couldn't talk about him or his death without tearing up for a long, long time, and I felt scared that people would mention my loss to me. It sounds like you're already in a much healthier mental place than I was then. And I promise you, it does get easier. Not for a long time, but it does.


Ned said...

That is a beautiful picture to go with your beautiful words. All my love and support to you, sweetie. I am here if you need me.

Maggie said...

Oh Courtney,
There are no word as I know I'm sorry just will never be enough. Know my heart is with you.
Much love