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May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This blog post is dedicated to my father who was a war veteran from World War Two. He was shipped to Europe in March of 1945 and traveled with Patton's 3rd Army through France and Germany. In June, they pulled him out of Europe and sent him to the Pacific arena. He was on ship in the Philippine Bay when Japan surrendered in August, 1945. He was part of the occupying troops in Japan until he was honorably discharged in March, 1946.

Talking with my mother recently, she believed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for most of his life. Occasionally he would report to her a nightmare where he was drafted into the army again. Luckily for our soldiers today, services are improved for identifying and treating post traumatic stress disorder and massage is part of treatment.

My father actually helped me become a better massage therapist in ways he never knew. With his feedback, I changed the way I administered my effleurage, alway stroking up the back toward the head because he said it felt better that way. Several years ago he came down with shingles. After about three months when they were almost healed, he had to have open heart bypass surgery. The stress of the procedure caused a relapse in the shingles and he had to go on Neurontin to manage the pain. He agreed to let me give him a massage. Though he never said that it helped, my mother noticed that on the days I gave him massage, he went longer without his medication.

My father passed away seven years ago from lung cancer. I felt helpless in the face of his illness with little to offer. He allowed me to give him "back rubs" saying that they felt nice. I think the massages made me feel better than they did him. It was the only thing I had to offer to ease the scourge that was taking over his body. My fathers ashes remain at my parents' home to one day to be buried with my mother.

Thanks for letting me practice on you, Dad.

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Posted by linda at May 26, 2008 12:00 PM

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