The last 2000 clients can tell you about Chelsea the Wonder Cat (a name that some of them gave her). This apparently very ordinary striped ginger cat took her role of therapist very seriously…she sat and sang a typical pussycat song to many of them; she even appeared to some when they were out-of-body; and, she even traveled as far as Florida and the Yukon to appear to astonished (but comforted) people who reported back to me.
After Office Hours, Chelsea had as little patience as I, for my aging mother. You’d think that the cat too had had nearly 70 years of a severely strained relationship.
My mother did not approve of hypnotism and she certainly did not approve of past-life “messing about.” I have to admit that she did not cross her fingers when I walked into the room…but you get the idea!
It seemed ironic that I was useful to so many people who needed a bit of understanding, while my mother was, at the same time, declaring to her lawyer that Diana couldn’t be her Executrix because Di wasn’t a relative…she was “just someone who worked here.” (And I thought this was my house!)
When December 1997 came, Chelsea the Wonder Cat had some seizures and needed to leave us. (In short, she died.) Then, less than a month later, I finally came to my senses and realized that I was carrying this childhood stuff too far…it was long passed time for me to give in and let professionals take over the care of my mother. One can carry this “kid” stuff too far…I can now cringe when I think of my pompous declaration that I would ”care for my mother to the end”…I would never leave her to “strangers.”
For three long months the care professionals taught my mother to “breathe” when she felt the “Sun Downers Syndrome” begin. So many of the Elderly suffer from this panic attack as the “sun goes down” that this feeling even has a name. Her attacks were so disruptive that they asked me to hire a competent soul to sit with her for 3 hours a day.
April came and brought daffodils and my mother’s ninetieth birthday. A week later, the nurses were worried about her uneven breathing. (They could now notice her health since she was no longer yelling for the Press, the police, and a lawyer with which to sue everyone who was molesting her with bath water, nonalcoholic drinks, and other nefarious goings-on.)
The nurses were doing their best to persuade her to die….”Let go,” they all said, “just let go.” while she held onto the bedding (or anyone’s wrist) with white knuckles. And we tried (without success) to encourage her to see any of her late family and friends. Yes, her breathing was awful….so when I spoke to her that afternoon, I began to embed suggestions of being comfortable, and breathing easily, and feeling so very relaxed on this sunny afternoon. And as you know, it wasn’t long before her breathing changed into a rhythmic pattern. I still half-expected her to sit up in bed and cross her fingers and hiss…(well, you know only too well how childhood patterns hang in there!) And there she was in a full hypnotic trance with all its benefits. I truly don’t know what hit me…but I found myself saying “What a beautiful sunny day this is…oh look, here’s Chelsea jumping up on your bed!…oh goodness, how the sunlight makes her stripes shine.” (The therapist in me immediately weighed the benefits of a “Positive Hallucination”….I knew that my mother was psychic, and could probably “see” Chelsea. However, I couldn’t. But I really understand and use hallucinations. As all hypnotists know, “positive” ones are not about “good” things, they are simply about seeing something that isn’t there.)
And so I began my “patter”: “What a beautiful pussycat you are…how the sun makes your stripes sparkle…And your little white boots, how soft they are…Your whiskers are so handsome…” and all the other ridiculous things that one says to a pet….”Oh look,” I said to my mother as I began to include her in the hallucination, “her tail is all wiry…can you feel that? Can you feel her tail against your legs? What a handsome pussycat…..Oh look! (By this time, my mother who had daily unrelentingly turned her eyes away from me, turned her eyes to the “cat”) Chelsea wants to take you somewhere…I wonder where that is? You do feel her wiry tail on your legs, do you not?”
My mother’s eyes are fixed on the “cat”. My patter continues in the same vein for the next 2 or 3 minutes. Then I invite: “I wonder where she wants you to go?…Why don’t you go with her? You could find out where she is going! “
And my mother died, totally unafraid, as she followed the cat…..