My friend Matt Urmy brought the Maori healers to Knoxville, to "Gypsy Hands" dance and massage studios. He had studied with them in New Zealand, had spoken of them so often that I was intrigued, and I signed up for a session. "Papa," the tribal elder was there, and his wife, and several sons. Massage and healing sessions were held in a common room. Some people being were screaming. I was told they were having a "release." Luckily I didn't need one of those!
When I was asked to state my problem, I responded, "I feel mild sadness from time to time." Then, to my great fortune, Papa worked on me. He placed one hand in mine, firmly, and with the other probed my belly. He chanted and chanted, for a half hour at least. When he was done, I asked, "What did you sing?" And he said, "I made the ghosts go away."
"Good!" I said. And then I thought, "No, no! I'm Jewish. We hold onto our ghosts." But it was too late. My mother, who had been shutting the lights out in my house when I practiced poetry--my mother would now stop censoring me. But did that mean that my mother was gone? A haunting was better than not having her at all...
Some time afterward, when I was explaining all of this to my daughter, the oven light started blinking off and on. "Stop it, Ma!" Heather cried. She got scared.
I understood then what I had known all along--that if my mother had a message for me, she would get it to me, no matter what. A Maori healer is no match for a Jewish mother!
Papa has since passed away, too. I know that his courage, honesty, and spirit endure.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.