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  • Brenda Hershey

My Re-Awakening to Energy Healing; In Honor of my Sister Jana

One morning in July 2019 in Chicago:

I fluttered my eyes open and, rather than lying in bed for a few minutes as I usually did, I instinctively rose up from the bed and walked the five steps to my meditation cushion. Almost robotically, I sat down, let my hands rest on my thighs face up, and closed my eyes.


I hadn’t gotten up and done my morning meditation in a few weeks, but in this moment, I wasn’t thinking; I was just doing.


The visualization came to me almost immediately: It was my big sister, Jana, laying in her hospital bed… in great pain. She was suffering. I saw it, and I felt it.


Let’s rewind for a moment. I had visited her about 6 weeks earlier. My dad had died of a heart attack and, on the day of his viewing, I went to pick her up from Columbus, a few hours away. I knew she’d been sick, but I didn’t have any idea just how sick she was.


On my way, I gave her a call to let her know I had reached the half-way point.

She hesitated: “Oh, I’m not at home. I’m in hospice in Dayton.”


It took me a few seconds to comprehend what she’d said. She explained that her illness had worsened and she needed supervision, so they admitted her late last night.


We hung up and I remember saying aloud: “What the fuck!” And I felt it in my whole body.


I sped to the hospice center to find Jana only a skeleton of herself. She was only 39, but her face was hollowed out, some of her teeth rotting away, and her aura so painfully dim. This was my big sister? The one who’s spirit was always so lively; who was just so incredibly, naturally beautiful; who was full of fire and life! This was her!?


I sat next to her on her bed for hours… until I had to leave to attend the dreaded viewing of the greatest person in my life. We talked like sisters do, complained about the shitty hospital food, caught up on other life events, and it was beautiful. I realized then how bitter about life she had become. She had always been like our Dad in that she loved with her whole heart… But she’d been wronged in many ways, and she was holding onto a lot. My heart ached for her on so many levels.


I learned that day that the doctor had given her only 6 months to live due to the failing of her organs. Before I left her, I momentarily reverted to the 5-year-old version of myself (which I’d do more of while grieving the loss of my Dad) and, through sobs, “I’m not ready for this.”


A little backstory:

You see, Jana once lived what looked like a picture-perfect life. She had two beautiful boys, a seemingly supportive partner, a nice house in the suburbs of Columbus, and a job she loved as a cosmetologist. Then, about five years earlier, she began having major medical issues and painful episodes that went unexplained, until she was finally diagnosed severe pancreatitis. Doctors from around the U.S. came to her surgery at the University of Cincinnati to observe what was apparently only the second or third surgery of its kind, which involved operating on five organs in total.


Against all odds, she survived that surgery. However, the worst was still to come.


She was prescribed extremely addictive pain medications like oxytocin and (I think) fentanyl. After a year of recovery, she was addicted. Her then-husband sent her to rehab and divorced her upon completing the program. She stayed with me in my tiny apartment for a few weeks in Dayton, and I’ll be honest, those were trying times. Although glimmers of her familiar self shined through occasionally, she was otherwise a different person. She desperately wanted the pain killers, to the point where she “fell” down my stairs and we spent a night in the hospital.


It was one of the more confusing experiences in my short life. It wasn’t my first experience with an addict, but I hadn’t experienced it with someone so close to me… She was my blood. Ultimately, this experience served as one of my greatest lessons in setting boundaries with love, something I’m consciously continuing to work on.


Due to the years of abuse of prescription drugs, her organs began slowly failing her.

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Fast forwarding back to the present: Just 6 weeks after I’d sat by her side in disbelief and grief… still thinking she had another 4.5 months.


She immediately popped into my mind and, as I envisioned her so clearly, laying on her hospital bed, my heart burst open. I was overwhelmed by this tangible feeling – an expansion so strong - that first began (again) after my Dad passed away just 6 weeks prior, and the feeling I’ve become so familiar with and grateful for now.


My heart opened, my energy expanded, and I sent that love straight to Jana. I imagined her entire body lighting up – in a white light – slowly traveling from her feet to her head. I felt so full of love and gratitude to have her as my big sister. To know her, to love her and to be loved by her.


In my mind, I began repeatedly telling her: “I love you. You don’t have to suffer anymore. Soon, you’ll be free of any pain. I love you.”


This experience greatly resembled what I’d learned so far from shadowing an energy healer who I’d recently began working with, but this time was very different for me. I hadn’t connected at this depth. I went on like this for about 15 minutes – the longest I’d ever focused my energy in this way. And then I snapped out of it as if I’d snapped out of a trance… and I went about my day.


About three hours later, I received a call while at Starbucks. Jana’s mom let me know that she had passed away sooner than expected, and the time of death just so happened to be about five minutes after my meditation. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________


As I reflect on this experience in such detail, tears are falling from my eyes and my heart has grown in size.


While the death of my father just weeks before had shattered me wide open – literally leaving me feeling as if there was a hole in my Spirit, the sensations of which were intense -- Jana showed me my true power. It was the first time that I’d actually taken that energy and put it into action. By leveraging the powers of love and focus, I felt and saw the tangibility that was possible - it was no longer abstract. Our connection was so deep that only she – the one who loved with all her force; the fiery spirit who didn’t give a damn; the one who loved me as her little sister -- could open my heart and my eyes in such a way.


I will never be the same after that period of my life: losing my Dad, then Jana. Two monumental beings in this lifetime of mine, and all of the lifetimes, I have no doubt. This profound experience turned out to be the first of many, although it will always hold a very special place in my heart and Spirit.

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I’ve recently embarked on my Energy Healing Certification – two years after this life-changing experience. It truly lights me up inside to activate this part of my being, and to see the profound effects on myself, my circumstances and the people in my life. I am a Healer, as we all are at our core, and it’s my time to shine. I feel that in my bones.


Yesterday, I performed my first full Reiki session – I’m logging my hours to get my certification. It felt so right. I felt full of gratitude. And as I dive deeper into this practice, things have begun flowing with ease – I’m gaining momentum in other areas of my life that’ve been blocked up or stagnant. I am expanding, and everything around me is reflective of that.


Nearing the end of the day yesterday, I sat on my yoga mat peacefully with a smile on my face. I said a little prayer of gratitude: “Thank you thank you thank you.” And when I opened my eyes, they landed on a photo of Jana, smiling back at me.


I so strongly felt her presence, her embrace, her love.


Thank you, my sister, for your divine guidance. For having my back, as family does. Thank you for inspiring me to tap into your sense of spunk and boldness and zest, when I’m feeling a bit depleted. Thank you for continuing to opening my heart and my eyes. I love you.

My sisters and I on our last visit with Jana at her home outside of Columbus, OH. July 2019.

From left to right: Jessica, Jana, Brenda & Aleesha (+Baby Jayden!)

Sister stuff


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