Some of you know that my father, Steve Derbenwick, has been extremely ill for many years. In Summer 2011, an unrelated health emergency led to the discovery of a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with a very high, very short mortality rate. Through an incredible combination of synchronicities, answered prayers, Reiki, major lifestyle changes, an experimental cancer drug, and miracles that led to a vast opening of his heart and spiritual awareness, my dad has outlived his expected time by over four years. He has also modeled one of the most powerful and generous healing experiences that I’ve ever witnessed — and in my line of work, I witness a lot of healing journeys.
My dad and I have had our ups and downs over the years, especially as my 1998 brain injury led me away from his beloved academia and into realms he did not understand or — initially — value. More than anyone else, I think my brain injury devastated him, as his intellectual daughter with a full scholarship and stipend towards a PhD in English Literature became “permanently disabled,” cashed out her IRA to pay for alternative treatments, gradually became a professional medical intuitive and energy healer, and then married a gypsy with unstable finances and a knack for poking familial wounds.
My dad and I had some rough years, but a strong, often painful, love always remained. I will be forever grateful for the additional time my dad and I received to heal our relationship. A combination of my completion of three books with excellent reviews, ongoing proof (to me and to my dad) that a lot of people really do value the unusual gifts I offer through my work — and especially, my 2010 divorce and resulting reclamation of my family — have all rebuilt bridges that my sudden TBI and its long aftermath nearly destroyed.
My relationship with David has also provided great understanding and massive respect for how much my dad did when we were growing up. Recognizing how much energy, responsibility and caregiver burnout David endures caring for his parents with my support has given me major insights into the level of service and sacrifice my dad offered his own mother for four decades, while raising three children and supporting my mom, who had her own health crises during my teenage years, followed by my disabling brain injury right before I turned 25. We had our differences, but wow. I get it now.
On my dad’s end, he read my books, and became one of my biggest fans again. A potentially near death experience in 2011 resulted in him changing the ways he expresses love, and what he calls “chemo brain” resulted in him finally understanding how I must have felt with my brain injury. Instead of a gulf between our experiences, I’ve become one of the few people he knows who totally gets what it’s like to go from the need for rational, logical proof to having regular mystical experiences, inspired action, and inner knowing. Seeing and honoring the many miracles in my dad’s life has shifted him into someone who lives from a place of wonder and gratitude — looking for and finding ways he can to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Shortly after my brain injury, I received a vision of my dad living from this incredibly inspiring space, but he has far exceeded that vision. I’m so proud to call him my father!
My dad’s health began a rapid decline right around this past Christmas, and if we had not already committed to attending David’s daughter’s college graduation and those extremely important and deeply healing festivities, we would have gone to Pennsylvania for the holidays. Instead, we planned a trip for early March, and it looked like that anticipation and some other exciting developments might buoy my dad’s health for awhile. He and my mom recently purchased a new home in a 55+ community, and I already planned to help them pack during our time there.
This morning I received word from my dad that his health has taken a major turn for the worse, and we’re not sure what to expect right now. Although bone broth had been a miracle cure for his declining platelets, his platelets have recently declined so much that he can no longer remain on the experimental drug he credits with keeping his cancer at bay. In the past, he has responded well to prayer and especially to Reiki, so if any of you feel led to send healing my dad’s way, I would deeply appreciate it. I would so love to see him again and have a good visit this March. I’ve seen my family numerous times since moving to Goshen, but David’s familial responsibilities have only allowed him a short visit with my parents when they came to Goshen in July 2013. It would mean a lot for us all to get together again, and my dad, the man of many miracles … well … it would be nice for him to have a little more time with those he loves.
Thank you to anyone who feels led to offer healing energy and prayers for my dad and our family at this time. I have a very different attitude towards healing, living, dying and death than most people, but yes, in case you wondered, I’m totally crying as I type. Mostly with gratitude. I love my dad, and I’m so grateful for all of the extra time we’ve had together, for all the healing, all the heartfelt conversations, the increased understanding, deep changes, growth of both of us, and for all the mutual support both ways. But I’d love to give him another hug in person, and I’d love to see him smile again.
I pulled one of Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of Avalon Oracle Cards “for my dad” this morning and picked:
“#9 The Eagle:
spirit, integrity, connection to the angelic realm
When the Eagle appears, it is a true signal of your connection to the angelic realm. With the angels’ help and guidance, you can soar above life to see the larger vista. The Eagle helps you make your choices accordingly, with integrity.
When you pray to your angels, they will always answer, for they patiently wait for you to call upon them for assistance. The angels reside beside you, always hoping to aid humankind in finding peace and manifesting abundance and prosperity.
The Eagle asks you to remember to soar high above life and look at the big picture. Don’t get too caught up in the tiny, unimportant aspects of life. The spiritual world is the real one — your physical life is the dream.
When the Eagle appears, it’s also a signal for prayer. It’s time for a moment of conscious contact with the Divine. Remember that you’re always protected and Divinely directed if you follow the guidance of Spirit as it appears in the form of the Eagle.”
I love you, Dad!