The first intake happened to be in a place where I had nothing to write with. The young mother of three daughters had experienced a stillbirth between her second and third child, about three years ago. Since the unexpected death of her baby boy, David*, she was grieving. She told me her emotional state had worsened recently, because she was writing a chapter for a book about her stillbirth and about her grief. She also mentioned that she was not able to cry about her lost baby any more and that her husband had noticed; that she was lately grinding her teeth during sleep.
A few days later, I had an e-mail from the patient. She asked me for a remedy for her youngest daughter, a 12 month-old baby, which she was nursing:
>>Can you help me with a remedy for Nora*? During the day she has a runny nose (clear) but is hardly sneezing. At night it seems her nose is stuffed from what I hear, but her nose seems to stop running. She has a fever about 99oF but otherwise is smiling, active, and still has an appetite. I am really starting to get concerned because she has had a cold so often during the past two months. …I should add that she sleeps very fitfully at night and sometimes coughs (unproductive).< <
I wished that the patient had been able to come to a Homeopathic Consultation, but the baby’s cough symptoms worsened and she needed a remedy quickly. I explained to the patient that I would not give a remedy directly to the baby, but instead I would treat her, the mother, and through her the baby would automatically be treated, too. I gave the remedy Natrum Muriaticum 30C, diluted in water. She took the remedy 6 times. During the time of the remedy intake and afterwards, the patient was in e-mail contact with me. I will share some important parts of these e-mails:
On the first morning after she had taken the remedy for the first time, she wrote:
>> Here is the interesting part. I felt a soreness in my throat since last night and this morning my two older girls also told me their throats hurt.
For a moment I thought, “Not again! Not another round of sickness!” but I was able to deal with it calmly (giving them immune booster, making them tea with honey.)< <
The second day, she wrote:
>>My sore throat seems to have disappeared by itself.< <
This was a surprise for me. I thought I was just treating the mother and the baby indirectly, but with this remark, I noticed there was actually more going on. By giving a remedy to the mother it seemed that also the older daughters, who were in close relationship to the mother, developed symptoms.
On the third day, the patient wrote:
>>Right now, I feel ok, as the manuscript is being printed. Before, as I had to wait to get to the printer, I feel a huge weight on my heart. I feel scared, and extremely sad. I wonder how I can get through this for the rest of my life, never forgetting. I know at some point it has to just become a part of me, something I internalized. But I’ve been trying to do this for almost 3 years now, and it seems almost impossible. Just when I feel incredibly joyful, it comes back. < <
The patient started to explain her grief experiences more in depth and how much it affected her life.
I asked the patient to further define a few words she had used to me.
>>This is very good for me to work it through, thank you for taking the time. I am so deeply appreciative. I think the heavy weight is sadness, big, heavy, black, maybe it is something like iron. It just feels that way, big, heavy and black. It feels ominous< <
>>Today I feel melancholic and tired. It is everything, the overcast skies, the story weighing on me, Nora refusing to eat and being fussy, the house looking crazy. I feel exasperated, how do I deal with EVERYTHING, and nothing seems able to wait?< <
>>Wanting to throw something and scream – it is about the pain of losing my baby. I don’t know how to show others how painful this is. All I’ve had was tears and words, lots of words. I wrote a lot on my blog and people read it. But I feel it is always the same thing and keeps me in the same place, even if sometimes I’ve come to some form of “enlightenment”.< <
From one e-mail to the next, the patient’s explorations of feelings were getting more intense.
“The pain of loosing her baby”. This part came back later. This pain seemed to contain energy.
>>I also feel I need and want to move a lot. Do a big cleaning, wash and vacuum and mop and throw things. A way of cleansing, I suppose.< <
A lot of emotions came out on that day. I asked myself, was this an aggravation?
I think these emotions had to come out at some point. The remedy helped her to open and explore her feelings in depth. The patient was still in the middle of writing this chapter. She needed to express her feelings in order to get over it. The patient started cleaning her house and I think she might have cleaned something inside of her, too.
On the next day she wrote:
>>I would like to gather some thoughts and share them with you. Sunday evening I felt like a snake with new skin. All the writing, and answering the questions you had for me was like a process of sloughing skin. I felt new, reborn – like I wrote in my story. … I was calm and fine, open-hearted. I felt I am not Grief and Grief was not me. Grief, and any other feelings, only passes through me, like clouds in the sky. I also knew things are calm, but could get stormy again, it will be a repeated process, feeling hope, calm, strength, and then again fear, doubt, weakness, sadness. I accept. It will be an ongoing process.< <
I met the patient the same evening. The baby’s cough, which had been worse the day before with a lot of mucous, was almost gone. Mother and baby seemed to be calm and peaceful.
During our conversations, I mentioned several times that it would be good for her to have a constitutional remedy, which would help her more deeply and would be more lasting to get over her grief. I never got a reaction from the patient to my recommendation.
About two/three weeks later I received another e-mail from the patient:
>>I need some ideas here. Over the last few days I started to feel a soreness of a few of my teeth on my upper right jaw. It is the same place where I experienced teeth pain after David died. It is not painful, but feels very sore. I started to use my night-guard again. But the soreness continues and I am also experiencing waves of fear and anxiety. I know I am afraid of experiencing the horrible pain again. I am also thinking this is a new wave of grief. < <
The tooth pain was, in my opinion, a recurring symptom. The patient had suffered from severe tooth pain after the stillbirth. At that time the dentist was not able to find a cause for her pain.
>>I think the anxiety is about the pain. It is funny, but this tooth pain came after David died and it was brutal; worse than any pain I’ve ever had, and at that time I lost all will to live. I told (mentions name of her husband) several times to please just take a gun and shoot me. I felt humiliated that time, that I had to go through such pain so shortly after my baby had died. Didn’t I have enough pain already? So, I associate this teeth pain with David in some ways, because it was caused by irritated nerves, which were caused by grinding, which was caused by stress, which was caused by his death. Feeling the soreness in my teeth brings me back to that place, it makes me think I’ve never left that place of darkness. I don’t want to feel that pain again, because nothing could help it -not painkillers, not acupressure, not dental work. The night-guard helped it but I’ve been using it for several nights and every morning my teeth still feel sore. Teeth and grief are like two different things, but they are so related to me. The pain in the teeth seems like the pain of grief. Also, when the tooth pain was bad, I could not eat. It is not the case yet, but it makes me think of starving, not being able to eat, not being able to partake in life. Eating is about being involved in life, with life.< <
The patient needed a couple of days until the pain disappeared. She took no further remedy, just rinsed her mouth with a calendula dilution and switched to a homeopathic toothpaste. With the disappearance of the tooth pain, her emotional symptoms faded away, too. Since that time, the patient feels very well. She is able to work through problems herself, meets with friends and has started to be more outgoing and active. Just a couple of days ago, I asked her about her grief. She answered, that she was not feeling any grief since that time. She recently had to go over her book-manuscript again in order to get it published. She also had to negotiate with the publisher. She mentioned that for a brief moment she had a feeling of “wow, the whole wave is coming back!”, but she took a deep breath and right afterwards she was able to read her story without being emotionally affected. Even the negotiating part was not a big deal for her, which would have been a huge problem for her a few months ago.
Her baby has never had any infections since the treatment. Right before the time when her mother had the tooth pain, she was crying when the mother wanted to go out, even when she “disappeared” under the shower. These emotions disappeared, too. She is a very happy child, and likes to explore the world. She brings joy to the family, according to her mother.
This homeopathic experience is very rewarding for me. There were some difficult times during the joined journey between the patient and me. Being just a first year student I had some doubts: Was I really able to deal with these severe emotions? Was it the right remedy? Should she repeat the remedy? At one point, I asked a homeopathic practitioner for help. I needed reassurance. Was I still on the right track or not? I’m very thankful that there were open ears for my own concerns right away. During the e-mail writings, I was not able to dig deeper into the source words to find the constitutional remedy for the patient. I was not able to get further, because I could not observe her and see her gestures. But still, the remedy has helped to improve her life and had a long lasting effect.
I think I’ve learned a lot about these intense feelings of painful grief. I am much surprised at how huge the impact of a 30C potency can be. And I have learned that there are times when nothing else can be done than listening, staying with the words of the patient and having faith in a remedy.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the patient.