Thank You, Kaethe!
October 13, 2013
“I don't know how to do this,” she said shyly. “I never had anybody work for me before. My kitchen was always mine.”
I felt sorry for her standing in front of me so uncomfortably. It made me want to apologize for intruding on her privacy.
“It still is,” I answered. “How about you tell me how you like things done?” trying to give her a lead.
She shrugged with her feeble shoulders. So I suggested preparing lunch together, since it was past eleven already. That seemed to be acceptable to her, and she shuffled to the fridge to start piling huge carrots and potatoes onto the counter top.
I asked for the whereabouts of the peeler and Kaethe pointed to the drawer closest to the sink. Logical, I thought to myself, then selected one of the many different models that were hiding in there. Just to find out, that, that was not the right one.
For carrots we used the red skinny one with the double blade and you had to peel them away from your body. Potatoes, on the contrary, were peeled with the wide metal one and towards the body and, there was another one for asparagus and a fine segregated one for tomatoes and soft fruits and a few more. I never figured out what they were for.
The peelings were nicely wrapped into a clear (reused) plastic bag and thrown over the back balcony. There were quite a few more there, waiting for a nice day, to be buried in the vegetable garden beds. Because, Red Wigglers love them, I learned later, and the worm castings are excellent plant food.
Everything in the kitchen had its spot, and there were plenty of dishes placed on the counter and in the fridge, covered with saucers (Kaethe avoided cling wrap, so as to not produce even more garbage) where herbs and flowers were soaking in various substances.
I am sure in medieval times she would have been burned as a witch.
Her library was full with plant knowledge books: massage therapies, trigger point therapy, breathing techniques, yoga, Tibetan, acupuncture, energy flow and, surprisingly, regular medical journals too.
Kaethe had a remedy for every ailment -- if only her own daughter had listened to her. Nicole had died of the same cancer that Kaethe had survived for so many years. This burdened her heavily.
When Kaethe first was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1960s, she went for surgery. In those days they took not only your breast but also, a lot of surrounding flesh and the closest lymph nodes. The following chemo and radiation were very aggressive as-well. What was left of her flesh had turned purplish-blue and felt raw. At this point she decided to go alternative.
First, she changed her diet: no refined products like white sugar or flour anymore, lots of greens and fish and nothing that came out of a box or package. Slowly she regained some strength, which she used, to start her own vegetable garden. Then she got into energy work and alternative medicines, and her recovery rate was amazing.
She lived another 45 years, a full and active life until she took a bad fall and broke her hips. After a slow recovery and the loss of 25 pounds she needed assistance. That's when I came into her life.
After a short adjustment period, she treated me like a granddaughter, teaching me all her garden secrets, passing on favourite recipes and letting me help with her alternative healing techniques.
One day at the breakfast table she announced, “My kidney is out of balance, we need to move it.”
“All right, let's do that” I replied surprised, not knowing what I was called to do.
She had her usual morning nap with moistened camomile teabags on her eyelids, to calm the Rosacea down. Then we did some dry brushing (using a soft brush, stroking the skin towards the heart) to get the circulation going.
Lying comfortably on her back on the chaise lounge now, she pointed out several pressure points to be activated, and then I was to put my right hand on her left kidney, and we waited.
A warm cozy feeling started to spread in my hand and, all of a sudden, the kidney started to wiggle. The wiggle turned into a violent movement; it felt like a fish on a fishing rod trying to escape. And then my hand started to act. It was slightly cupped now and my fingers were persuading the kidney to move upwards. It was the weirdest sensation; it scared me immensely. Some adjustments to the left and right and then it settled right back into my hand and felt heavy and warm.
Kaethe looked at me, grabbed my left hand and stroked it softly. “I am sorry, I should have told you. I did not mean to frighten you.” When I noticed her wide bewildered eyes, I asked if I had the same look on my face. She nodded and we both started to giggle.
Kaethe was my employer, a great mentor, a wonderful teacher and one of the best friends I have ever had. Her healthy and balanced life style was a great example for me to follow. And most of all, she made me pay attention and respect to someone who takes the time to teach me something.
Thank you, Kaethe!