author atherton drenth

Atherton Drenth

23 July 2018

In Part One of Jacob’s journey we uncovered the story of what his life was like as a little boy of six who willingly took on a man’s responsibility of keeping his family alive while his father worked with the Dutch resistance. Jacob had courage, guts and determination and yet, in every session for the remainder of his journey in his sessions with me, there was that smell of gunpowder. Jacob would always respond with anger whenever I broached the subject.

Jacob had come a long way over the last year. Over the course of his sessions we had settled into a familiar routine. At the beginning of each new distance session we would always start off the same way. I would ask Jacob if he felt better, worse or if there was no change in his condition. His responses were always delivered in the same way. Direct to the point, no holds barred. Sometimes he would be so angry and at other times quiet and introspective. Any improvement was treated with the same level of skepticism. He was quite honest about being afraid to get his hopes up too much. Overall, he felt he was sleeping better. He felt it was because he had to finally concede to sleeping in an easy chair in order to keep his head and chest elevated. He had very little pain otherwise. He still expected a miracle and sometimes got very impatient with me. He would always ask me why he wasn’t better yet.

It was a question I couldn’t answer. I would explain to him all I could do was walk beside him on his journey. Each piece of the story we uncovered was an important part of what his body showing us it needed. I could not promise or predict healing. I could only be of assistance. That was my role. To listen, find the blocks, and release them. The rest of the journey was up to him, his body and his soul path. We both understood that neither one of us could predict or understand what a soul was looking to learn in his lifetime. Being a religious man, he understood that. He didn’t like it, but he accepted it. I could tell he was frustrated with me, the work and the progress he had made. He expected more. He wanted a miracle and it was taking too long to get there. So, it was no surprise on my part when I felt that after his last session I doubted very much I would ever hear from him again. His anger was that deep.

Much to my surprise a few days later Jacob’s name appeared on my day sheet. “Well, this will be interesting,” I thought to myself. “He is either going to continue or he is going to give me the benefit of his opinion and tell me we are done.” That didn’t stop me, however, from wondering what he was so afraid of and what was it about that smell of gunpowder that had him so angry and frightened. I was curious but didn’t push. I honoured his journey and did as I was trained to do, which was to listen and follow.

At the appointed time Jacob called. At first, he acted like nothing had happened in our last session and I didn’t ask. He gave me permission to connect to his energy field and we continued to work with his lung cancer and follow where the body led. The body indicated that it needed to do more work around at the age of eight. After his near drowning in the ditch, Jacob had suffered from repeated lung infections during the war.

This, I explained to him was probably the result of his falling into the ditch and getting pneumonia. His body never had a chance to fully recover. It was the war and there were no antibiotics to help a little kid recover from reoccurring lung infections. He agreed that it made sense to him.  We continued to work with his body clearing this old, deeply seated memory of the infection in his lung tissue.

I have found that the body never forgets and sometimes it holds onto the memory of an infection a little too much, so we help it to release that memory and let it go. Otherwise the body continues to look for a way to fight an infection that isn’t really there anymore.

Jacob said later that he didn’t think his cough was improving at all, but he did notice that he was sleeping more and feeling more rested. What that indicated to me was that he was able to fall asleep because his cough wasn’t waking him up. This meant he was getting the rest he needed to help with the healing. He didn’t think much of my explanation, but at the same time, it didn’t matter. He was glad he could feel more rested. He told me that he had seen the oncologist and they had done another scan. He hoped to find out in a week or two what the results were.

By this time, we had been working together, over the phone, for a month and we were both quite curious to see what the scan would show. When Jacob called in for his next session a week later he told me that he had gotten the results back from his scan. He told me, “Well the scan said the tumour is still there. My brain is clear, so the cancer hasn’t spread, and the doctor says that the tumour is not curable.”

“Ok,” I said. “Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.”

Jacob kind of huffed on the phone and said, “Well, I feel about the same and there is no change in my cough.” He sounded irritated and impatient.

“Do you want to continue, Jacob?” I asked.

There was a pause. Finally, he said, “Yeah, let’s keep going.”

After I received permission to connect to his field and he came into the room energetically I could sense the body drawing my attention to the cough. It was deep and constant. You could see intuitively how irritated the lungs were. In my mind’s eye the tissues looked red, raw and sore. Focusing on the cough, the body shifted my attention to an emotional overlay. An emotional overlay is like wearing somebody else’s energy like a coat. Sometimes we don’t realize that we have taken on a coat of energy from someone else because we love and care for them. This overlay was from his dad.

When I connected energetically to the overlay from his dad I heard the words, “Oh my God!” It was said with a sense of panic and then I saw the year 1953 flash in front of my eyes.

I relayed this information to Jacob and asked him if he knew what it was in reference to.

Jacob said, “Yeah, my dad got really sick. He developed an infection behind his ear. It almost killed him.”

“It really scared me. I thought here we get through the war and my dad almost dies from an infection,” he said.

At this point I found another overlay from his mother in relation to the same incident. This overlay from his mother was also fear of losing her husband. I cleared this overlay as well and after it had lifted, his body settled and closed down. This meant that his energy field needed time to incorporate the shifts now that those blocks had been removed. In other words, it needed time to rest. Honouring the body’s need to rest we closed the session. This session was very short as it only lasted a few minutes, but by this time Jacob was comfortable with the process. He said he would talk to me later as he had booked two sessions that day.

Clients can book more than one session in a day, to a maximum of four. The body only needs an hour between sessions to rest and then be ready for the next session. Jacob rarely did two sessions a week. I was surprised he had booked another session that day especially after the prior emotional reaction he had with regards to the session involving the smell of gunpowder.

A few hours later Jacob called in again at his appointment time. Again, when he arrived energetically for his session his body presented with the same image of lungs inflamed, raw, red and the constant cough. We again went into the session focused on “coughing.” At that moment I felt this overwhelming rush of grief and emotion wash over me like a huge wave in the ocean. It almost knocked me over. I could sense his body gasping for air and was directed to infuse him with an herbal essence to help with the release the blockage.

As I infused the essence I suddenly heard, “I am so sorry!” It was said with such deep grief and sobbing. “I am SO SORRY!!!!” it was said again with great emotional emphasis to the point of almost screaming. I had to pause for a moment. The grief I was sensing from his body was absolutely gut wrenching. I needed a moment to allow this wave of grief pass over, so I could remain grounded and clear about what was happening in his field.

After I regained my composure and I explained to Jacob what I was sensing and feeling, he got really quiet on the phone. I could barely hear him breathe. Just this dead silence, no hint of a cough. After this long silence that seemed to last forever I asked Jacob, “Are you ok?”

“Yep,” he said.

“Are you ok to continue? I asked.

“Yep,” he said.

Energetically I reconnected to the wave of deep grief and asked the body for more detail. The age eleven came forward intuitively. Then a movie opened up in my mind’s eye. In this movie I “saw” a very skinny little boy standing in a village square with a bunch of men. You could smell the fear and sense the anxiety.  It was nauseating. The movie closed.

I asked Jacob, “Do you know what that is about?”

“No, I don’t remember” he said curtly.

“Ok, but there is a lot of grief over this and it is choking you energetically. If you don’t remember or it is too painful to remember, what I can do is give you some homework to help you deal with the energy of it. Are you ok with that?” I asked.

“Yeah, I am ok with that,” he said.

I asked Jacob to spend a little time every day just remembering that story of being that skinny little boy standing in a village square and imagine looking at him with love and say to him, “I am sorry. I love you.”

Are you ok with that?” I asked again.

“Yeah, ok,” Jacob replied.

He was silent for awhile. You could sense the emotional struggle he was having. Jacob then said he didn’t know if he could continue the sessions. I told him I understood, and he was under no obligation to continue. It was whatever he chose to do. “Ok,” was all he said, yet his breathing eased up a little on the other end of the phone.

I was keenly aware of the fact that a very deep emotional wound had come to the surface and Jacob was struggling with the memory of it. Jacob couldn’t get off the phone fast enough after that. He abruptly said good bye and hung up.

The next day his daughter emailed me to express her concern that maybe her Dad wasn’t going to continue. It worried her and her family because they could see the positive effects that the sessions were having on him. She said that the sessions seem to make it easier for him to cope. He was also more relaxed and peaceful.

I responded, “Yes, your father sounded disappointed after his last session. There is a lot of emotional stuff coming up and he doesn’t think it is really that important. Unfortunately, it is. When we start to get to the core of what is happening with the cancer, it can be really emotional. If your father isn’t used to that, or feels he shouldn’t have to do it, it will be really, really hard for him. He will probably say “forget it”.

“Energy work, especially around cancer is not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, a lot of people, who have been told they are terminal, believe their doctors and as a result that have a hard time believing anything else that comes along. They see alternatives as a waste of time and money.

He has got some thinking to do. I gave him homework. I don’t think he understands how to do it and won’t ask for help, although I did try to explain how to do it. I can only walk beside him. Energetically his lungs look like there is more flow. But then again, I can only see what the body will allow me to see. You could tell your Dad about the musician Ronny Hawkins and how a young healer by the name of Adam[1]helped Ronnie to heal of cancer. I use a lot of the same techniques.

 I explained to her that I could only walk beside him and that I couldn’t make any promises. I can’t make your father want to live. There are only two ways this will turn out. He will die peacefully, or he will get better. It has to be his choice.”

At his next session Jacob told me that there wasn’t any change in his coughing and that he had started on morphine which really helped. He also told me that he had decided to try radiation treatments again, and they would start in a few days. The radiologist had found more tumours on his lungs and in his lymphatic system. He told me that he was scheduled for fourteen radiation treatments.

I worked with Jacob after each radiation session for the next month. Overall Jacob did quite well with the radiation treatments and he found that they were really helping to reduce the coughing. He also noted that he wasn’t having any reactions to radiation like he did the first time he tried it the previous year. That pleased him.

In my experience after conducting thousands of healing sessions, I have found that energy work helps to minimize the side effects of radiation or chemotherapy. Jacob was another example of that.

Six weeks later he happily reported that he had a lot more energy and the cough was pretty much gone. He was feeling pretty positive and was looking forward to his follow up session with the oncologist next month now that the radiation treatments were over. He did have an episode earlier that week where he had a dizzy spell that lasted most of the day and that concerned him because he was afraid of cancer spreading to his brain. I told him to be sure to talk to his oncologist about this and maybe it would be a good idea to call his doctor’s office to get an earlier appointment to discuss his concerns.

“Better to address your concerns sooner than later,” I said. He agreed.

After his meeting with the oncologist Jacob reported that the doctor had showed him his scans before and after the radiation treatments. The scan showed that the tumour was 80% gone. Jacob was very pleased. He also told me that he had been listening to a Dutch radio program and they were discussing the work the Russians were doing with auras and energy work using a technique called Gas Distribution Visualization or GDV[2]. That made him feel a little more comfortable about the work he was doing with me. He liked the fact that it gave him some context and that what we were doing wasn’t so weird after all.

I just smiled to myself at the other end of the phone.

As a result, Jacob decided he wanted to continue his weekly sessions. A month later Jacob reported at the beginning of his session that he was feeling out of breath again and he was worried. He also told me that the doctor did a bone scan to see how he was doing and other than a little arthritis his bones were clear. He further added, “I asked my cancer doctor what we do now? And you know what he said to me? He said we do nothing. We wait till the cancer gets worse again.”

Jacob said, “That made me so mad. Nothing he says to me – NOTHING. That’s it. I am done with them. They only want to do more chemo or radiation. I am supposed to sit here and wait for everything to get worse.”

“I give up with doctors,” he said.

“Now I only work with you,” he added.

I didn’t say anything. I had been here before, many times, with clients. They get frustrated and angry with the medical system. They begin to feel that any options they are offered only make them feel sicker. I knew that eventually Jacob would have to continue to see his doctor because I am not a doctor. I can only walk beside a person on their healing journey. I always remain cognizant of the fact that I can only help where I am directed, and I can only go as deep as a client is willing to go. In a situation such as this, I know energy work offers relief from symptoms and makes the illness more tolerable and easier to manage. It was obvious to me that this wouldn’t be the last time we had this conversation and that eventually Jacob would go back to his doctor. This wasn’t the right time to bring it up. He needed some time to process all the information and calm down.

Within a few months Jacob’ health began to deteriorate again. And as I predicted Jacob reluctantly went back to the doctor, who again offered more chemo. Jacob said, “Why should I do more chemo! It didn’t help. The cancer is back.” We discussed his options with various complementary and integrative health care which works in harmony with what the medical system has to offer. However, Jacob was adamant about staying with the energy work, so I dropped it and we continued with the session.

One thing I noticed with his sessions was when Jacob was really angry how quickly the body would go back to that movie like image of the little boy standing in a square, looking terrified and lost. The smell of gunpowder would hang in the air every time the image came up. Again, Jacob wouldn’t discuss it when I brought it up. However, this time in his session, when it came up he didn’t shut the session down energetically either, which I found interesting.

As I worked with his energy field in relation to this memory he wouldn’t discuss, I was shown an image in my mind’s eye of a little boy about the age of six.  This little boy looked out over the fields and then slowly turned towards me, looked at me and said, “I have to keep their secrets. Be careful what you say.”

I asked Jacob if he knew what those statements meant.

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

“What is it in reference to?” I asked.

Jacob replied, “I was a courier for the resistance sometimes. I never told anyone. I had to keep the information safe. I had to keep them safe. I had to keep my family safe. If you don’t talk nobody gets hurt.”

As this information was revealed I could intuitively see his lungs open up energetically and began to flow and drain fear. As this occurred I explained to Jacob what was happening inside his lungs. Jacob remained silent on the phone. He said nothing, but he didn’t shut down energetically either. I just continued to assist his energy field with the drainage of fear energy from his lungs.

“We were making some progress, I thought to myself, a little bit at a time.”

After the session was over I asked Jacob if he had any questions.

“No,” was the terse reply and he hung up the phone.

I wasn’t the least surprised when I didn’t hear from Jacob again for over a month. He always got very testy whenever I touched on the story of the little boy in the square.

When Jacob did contact me, he told me he had been sick and that the doctors had to put a drain in his lungs. They took off three litres of fluid from his lungs he told me. Then he said, “My blood pressure dropped so they kept me overnight.” “Later,” he said, “they told me they had taken too much fluid off too fast and that is why my blood pressure dropped.” He made it quite clear that he wasn’t in the least impressed with what happened at the hospital.

A few weeks later he developed an infection as a result of the drainage tube in his chest.

“They had to take the tube out early,” he said with some disgust in his voice.

We continued to work with his lungs as before and again in this session the emotional statement of “having to keep secrets” came up. At this point he was willing to work with this emotional statement. I asked for and received permission from his body’s energy field to assist with the healing from the infection. The following week he happily reported that he was feeling much better and he seemed to be in much better spirits emotionally even joking around with me a little bit.

This whole process was a roller coaster for him and his family and I knew that. Every session held a different emotional charge for him. He was really struggling with his cancer and all the emotional issues that were surfacing as a result of his journey.

A short time later I received this email from his daughter explaining what was happening with her Dad.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve (his daughter) been in contact. I just wanted to get some feedback from you on my dad’s health. He seems to be doing a lot better than last week when they think he might have had pneumonia. He still sleeps a lot, but his spirit seems a bit better this week. It has been an emotional roller coaster. Just looking for your insight/perspective if you have a chance to drop me a note.”

I explained to her again that I could only follow her Dad on his healing journey and that he was having a really hard time dealing with the underlying emotions regarding his lung cancer. “He is on an emotional roller coaster and he doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions,” I explained. I was aware of how tough it was on him because of his health issues. And I understood how hard it was on his family because he was telling them little of what was going on with him emotionally. (I knew this because of the discrepancy between what he told me and what his daughter told me.) He would just get grumpy with me if I asked too many questions and shut sessions down if it got to close to the truth. There was little I could do about it but honour his process, I explained to her.

His daughter wrote back to say she understood.

Jacob and I continued our weekly sessions and almost a year to the day from our first meeting Jacob told me about a follow up appointment he had with this oncologist just the other day. He said, “The doctor is quite surprised that I am doing so well, and that the tumour isn’t really getting any bigger.” Jacob just chuckled.

For the next year Jacob and I continued to work together over the phone energetically doing distance work. Sometimes the sessions were short and sometimes they were long. All of the work we did together focused on his lung cancer and helping him keep things under control. The energy work managed the coughing, kept his energy levels up, and was helping him stay pretty much pain free. He had good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes he would be very short with me and demand to know why this or that didn’t help. Other times he could be quite gentle and sweet.

Slowly we made progress releasing submerged childhood traumas from World War II.  Every once in a while, that gentle man buried deep down inside would peep its head up out of that tough, survivor, exterior. Sometimes he would be a little chatty when he called in and other times he would only give me one-word answers and we would get to work right away. He always ended every call with a thank you and “yeah, I will talk to you next week.”

The smell of gunpowder filled the room whenever we worked together. It became the norm just as every few weeks the movie of that skinny little boy standing in the village square at the age of eleven would open up in my minds eye. Sometimes Jacob would say he didn’t remember or he would abruptly change the subject. Other times his energy field would shut down completely energetically. It was like watching a turtle suddenly pull in tight. When that happened, the session would be over, and we would close. After a while, because we had developed a certain rapport of understanding, I would gently, on a rare occasion jokingly say, “Oh, there he is again Jacob. Do you think you can remember today?”

Jacob always said the same thing, “Nope, don’t remember,” and we would move on. I didn’t push it, but that little boy was always there somewhere in the outer reaches of his energy field, waiting to be heard. I was grateful that we had reached the point where he wasn’t shutting down so quickly when I brought it up. It was a small step but a critical one, I felt.

He told me one day everybody was surprised he was doing so well, including his doctors. During this time period his daughter would often write and ask for clarity around this or that. Sometimes I would make some suggestions regarding his diet, possible supplements or gentle breathing exercises he could try. Jacob approved of the correspondence and had given his consent. He knew he was stubborn and he knew that sometimes it would take his wife or daughter a little time to convince him that a little change here and there wasn’t going to be so bad. Jacob was very set in his ways and I honoured that, but it didn’t mean that I or his family didn’t try to find other subtle ways to help him either.

Then one day I received an email from his daughter telling me that Jacob had passed away peacefully. She said, “I just wanted to let you know that dad passed away this morning. We were all with him. He was very peaceful. Thank you so much for the gentle care you have given my dad over the last three years. I know you were a comfort to him.”

I sat down and cried.

I know I am not supposed to be attached to outcome but when you work with someone like this, over a long period of time, you start to have a window into that person’s soul journey. Deep down, under that tough, crusty exterior was a man who really cared about his family, his community and doing what was right. He was a survivor. He had a lot of love buried deep down in his soul and it burned with determination and courage. He was fiercely proud of his children. I had a deep respect for him and wished him safe passage into God’s loving embrace.

A few months later his daughter got in touch and asked me if I would be open to meeting with her and her mom to talk about dad. I had never met Jacob’s wife and was concerned that maybe sharing what had happened in his sessions might be too much for her. I was concerned that it was too soon after his passing to have this conversation with her.  I sat in prayer and received reassurance that was important to meet with them. We agreed to meet for coffee at a local bistro.

As I walked into the room I could see Jacob’s daughter, who I knew personally, sitting with her mother at a small table by the window. I paused for a moment to feel them out energetically. I wanted to be sure that they were both ready to hear what happened in his sessions. I was again reassurance that it would be ok.

After introductions we ordered coffee and I waited. Jacob’s daughter told me that their dad had never really told them anything about the work he was doing with me. That didn’t surprise me. Jacob was a man of few words. She went on to say that they noticed he always did so well after each session. “He was always so much more peaceful, after he talked to you,” she said.

I laughed. I said, “Well, that is good to hear because sometimes he had absolutely no problem telling me what he thought about the work.” We all laughed knowingly. Jacob was just being Jacob.

I told them about the work we did around his childhood and the effect the war had on him. Most of it they did not know anything about, they said, which didn’t really surprise. I often find in the work that I do that people who have been through a war experience just can’t bear to talk about what they witnessed or survived. We are now aware that is part of what is termed “post-traumatic stress” syndrome.

As we chatted about Jacob and his sessions I told them that there was one curious little story that came up all the time and Jacob just wouldn’t go there. It didn’t matter how his body presented it or showed it to me. Jacob would always say he didn’t remember.

“But you know, deep down, I think he did.” I said. “He was just afraid to go there.”

His wife said, “Oh?” “What story was that?”

“Well,” I said, “It was always the same image. I see a little boy about maybe 10 or 11, skinny, not very tall, looking scared, and he is standing in a village square with a bunch of other men.”

“Whenever I would tell him what I saw in that mind movie, he always said, he didn’t remember.”

His wife became silent for a moment, looked down at her coffee and said very quietly:

“I know the story. He told me about it three days before he died. He kept it to himself all these years. He said he could never bear talking about it.”

She said, “During the war while his father was away fighting in the resistance there was an older man who was their neighbour and he took Jacob under his wing. Jacob adored him. He was like a second father to him. Towards the end of the war, a German soldier who was posted to the village was killed. The Germans always retaliated against a village when something like that happened.

On this particular day after this soldier was killed, the Germans rounded up all the men and boys in the village. They lined them up in the square in a straight line. The commander walked up and down the line demanding an answer. Everyone stayed silent. Everyone in village was involved in the resistance or the black market or they were hiding someone. Everyone, including the children, held those secrets.

Finally, the German commander had had enough so he stood in front of that line of men and boys all standing side by side and randomly shot a few of the men. Jacob’s second father was one of them. He dropped dead to the ground right at Jacob’s his feet.

Jacob had felt the bullet pass by him. He remembered the smell of the gunpowder and then looking down at ground and seeing the man he loved, relied on, crumpled at his feet. The one person who had been there for him all through the horror of war was lying there dead at his feet. He couldn’t believe it. Jacob told me he never felt the same after that.”

We just sat there for a moment, pondering that. I remember wondering about what would have happened with his lung cancer if he had been able to talk about that tragedy. I think we were all thinking the same thing.

“That explains a lot,” I said finally.

“What do you mean?” his daughter asked.

“Well, the lungs are all about grief. I knew he was grieving something deeply. We talked so much about his experiences during the war; the daily physical struggle of riding his father’s bike out into the countryside to get food for his family; having to endure the fear of getting caught. Then, there is the struggle of surviving when so many didn’t. It really explains why he was so black and white about so many things don’t you think? How do you see shades of grey when you spend some of the most formative years of your life having to face life or death every single day? Life becomes very black and white,” I said.

We all nodded our heads in agreement. It explained so much.

I am glad we met to talk about Jacob and share our experiences. I know it gave me context for what I was sensing and feeling in his sessions. It validated that the image of that little boy was real, and I wasn’t making it all up in my mind’s eye. That can be a problem for energy work practitioners. Trusting the images and stories that come up in your mind’s eye.

I believe that it also gave his wife and daughter the closure they were looking for. Energy work can be such a mystery for family members. They are often not in the room during a healing session with their loved one. It is quite common for the person who is on the receiving end of a healing session to have difficulty explaining what happened because the work was at such a deep emotional level for them. Despite all our communication skills, we all still have a tough time explaining our personal experiences to one another because we are always looking for context or concrete proof as validation. That is just not possible with energy work to be honest. The only proof you are going to get is anecdotal evidence or knowing that what you experienced was real for you. How do you explain the feeling of love to someone? How you feel a rainbow is not the way I will feel a rainbow and yet both experiences are valid. Some things just are.

Jacob’s journey with terminal lung cancer is a reminder that energy work can be of service, but it can’t predict outcomes. Jacob lived three years longer than expected. He covered a lot of emotional territory in that time. Time he and his family were grateful to have. We are all souls on a human journey. Energy work isn’t the be all and the end all, but it does help. I see that every day. Jacob was finally able to pass over in peace and maybe that was all his soul needed in the end.

[1]“Dreamhealer” Adam. Hampton Roads Publishing. 2003.

[2]Gas Distribution Visualization or GDV. http://www.kirlianresearch.com/ accessed July 2, 2018.