Featured, Grief and Loss, Reflective Journal
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Healing a broken heart: a daughter’s story

This is by far the most personal story I have written for my blog, and I feel quite vulnerable sharing it. But I write as a way of understanding the world and myself – and there may be some of you who can relate to this story too. And that’s what life is about isn’t it? Connecting with others through shared experiences x


Lying face down on the table, covered with a light sarong for modesty, my therapist lays her hands on my body. I am no stranger to massage, but this is different. This is Ka Huna.

I have never had this type of bodywork therapy before, but after a few google searches my brain is screaming at me to book an appointment. Practitioners use their hands, forearms and elbows to apply pressure in a rhythmic ‘dance’ around the table.

I think the most appealing aspect is the belief Ka Huna can help to relieve emotional ‘blockages’ in the body, such as grief and exhaustion. Who can argue with something based on the practices of the ancient Hawaiian Kahunas? As an open-minded sort of person I decide to say ‘Aloha’ to a new experience.

On the massage table, I expect to be able to go with the flow a bit more, but I am tense and seem incapable of allowing myself to relax. But then my arm is lifted and taken gently behind my body and I begin to weep.

My tears continue to flow and I cannot stop them even if I wanted to. My face is wet and my nose runs with salty mucus. I ask for tissues and blow my nose through the hole in the table. Nothing about this feels wrong and I continue to let guilt, sadness, anger and hopelessness pour out of me.

When I look back at all the moments prior to this experience, I know it was my heart that led me to make an appointment on that cool May day last year. I was burnt out, listless, unhappy at work. I just wanted to be nurtured. Subconsciously, I was looking for a mother’s touch, something I had not felt in almost eight years.

It dawned on me only recently, but the day my mum died was the day my heart broke. To replace all the shattered pieces, I began to fill the hole in my heart with flotsam and jetsam, with things that didn’t quite belong there.

I was mean to myself. I beat myself up for not being a better daughter. I was ashamed of myself for not knowing how to look after my dying mother properly and for not being there enough. In 26 years, there really weren’t that many times when we rubbed each other the wrong way, but those memories began to consume me. I began to believe a version of history that wasn’t true.

And then my heart, exhausted and grieving, reached out for a nurturing touch. The parts of me which had set like concrete began to crumble and the light started to filter through once again.

This is my experience of Ka Huna. It was the first step I took in forgiving myself for something I had no control over. For some, talking to a counsellor or psychologist allows them to heal and move forward. In my case, it was a gentle hand that brought me back to myself.

1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Douglas says

    You were the best daughter a mother could possibly have. I know mum loved you beyond belief and wanted no one else to be with her at the end. Your caring nature and loving heart made lifes journey’s end for her more bearable. Be kind to yourself my dearest Mel.


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