Every now and then, you meet unique souls who gently touch your heart. One minute you are complete strangers. The next, you are connected.
Haley first hobbled her way into The Peacock Dreaming Studio on Saturday, 23 October 2021, with the aid of her walker and her mum, medicated up to the eyeballs, sore and utterly exhausted. As Haley plonked herself in one of the chairs in the studio, I wondered whether she was going to stay awake during her reading.
While an absolute riddle, the guidance received reassured that whatever Haley was dealing with, things would work out. When it was time for her massage, we somehow managed to get Haley onto my table. I don’t know how we made that happen. However, Haley managed to curl up on her side and sleep as I massaged her back and feet.
At the end of the session, I had trouble rousing her. Haley was my last client for the day, so thankfully, we didn’t need to rush waking her up. Her mum, Sharon, arrived to collect her and had to help me get Haley into a sitting position. She groggily said, “Mum, you should have seen us trying to get me on the table. You would have cracked up.”
I learned that Haley had only a matter of days to live. And when they left, I locked the doors to the mall and sat in the studio, bawling my eyes out.
The Beginning of Something
Haley returned to the studio a few days later for a foot massage. I wasn’t game enough to get her on the table, so she sat in the chair and fell asleep as I worked on her feet.
It was two or three days later that I started visiting Haley at her home on pretty much a daily basis. The foot massages provided some sort of comfort as we moved the lymph fluid out of her ballooning feet so she could feel the bliss of being able to wiggle her bubble toes.
For me at that time, being able to help Haley gave me a sense of purpose and a way of distracting myself from the turmoil I was experiencing in my own life. I’d been quietly dealing with anxiety attacks, and I’d somehow managed to fracture my left patella by falling on concrete. Attending to Haley’s feet and spending time with her and Sharon helped me out of the jail of self-pity. I was reminded of blessings and gratitude and the strength of the human spirit. They gave me respite from my own psychological mouse wheel.
A Force To Be Reckoned With
Under the influence of steroids, Haley’s zest came back with a vengeance. I got to know this amazingly loud, feisty (and bossy) lady a bit and marveled at her big heart, strength and resilience and that of her family.
Arrangements were underway for her funeral. Haley’s coffin had arrived back from the painters and the pink coffin lid rested against the side of the fridge as if it were an ironing board. No big deal!
Plans continued in earnest for the tangi of a lifetime. The days were filled with reverent acts that had meaning for Haley, her family and friends. And the errands that many of us were sent on, ensuring memories for years to come of Haley’s passion for shopping.
To Know You Are Loved
As I sat at the end of her bed one morning, massaging her feet, Haley said, “I love you and I really appreciate you.” This was how she rolled.
Haley’s massage time was often filled with repetitive phone and video calls to friends and family. She let everyone know of her heartfelt love for them. Her world was filled with making other people feel appreciated and cared for.
It would seem that Haley, in her own way, has arranged for her friends and family to be cared for and nurtured. The bonds between old and new friends coming together in support and love for this amazing woman have deepened in recent months.
A Time To Remember
On Friday, 17 December 2021, Sharon told me Haley passed in her sleep. Family and friends were milling in the front yard, preparing to bring Haley to the hearse. The outpouring of grief and love was palpable.
The funeral, orchestrated by Haley, went off without a hitch. And it was almost as if she were there herself in person. You could feel her there.
Over the past week, I’ve been reflecting on the past few months. Haley’s biggest gift to me is the reminder of how potent massage and healing work is, and how so often it’s a mutual dynamic – both the healing facilitator and the client benefit on many levels.
Haley Thompson-Sparks will forever remain in my heart and the hearts of those of anyone who knew her. Her humour and sense of mischief and love of good food (particularly pumpkin soup and dumplings) will be remembered for decades to come, with new stories forever emerging of her antics.