Losing Luna

| October 29, 2013 | 0 Comments


Rose takes with her a lifetime of wisdom and experience.

Rose takes with her a lifetime of wisdom and experience.

Why is it that when an herbalist gets sick, he/she is expected to use only herbal remedies and to refuse conventional medicine options or treatments? Why is it that the event becomes cause for discrediting herbal healing? If a cardiologist suffers from gallstones or a gynecologist has a heart attack, you don’t hear anyone suggesting that their health problem reflects poorly on their professional specialty or expresses shock that these healthcare specialists sought medical care at an emergency room.

When an herbalist falls ill, there is a fantasy that, somehow, this person should resort to roots and berries alone. The truth is more mundane. Herbalists are prone to the same ravages of a stressful lifestyle and the same potential for aberrant genetic coding that can leave a person vulnerable to a body system break down. In fact, many herbalists got involved in plant medicine precisely because they had a health issue that was not being addressed successfully by conventional means. They often adopt an herbal lifestyle to compensate for inherent imbalances.

So, when my friend, Luna Rose, called to tell me that she had a been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, I was not surprised that she had gone to the emergency room, nor that she was discussing options of chemotherapy and radiation. She had called for support in coping with the emotional devastation that comes with the territory of cancer. She did not need a lecture about staying on a “purely herbal path.” We discussed what questions to ask the oncologists and how to build a complementary, personal treatment plan with soothing foods and anti-inflammatory supplements.

She never got a chance to find out if the chemo, radiation or Turmeric root were going to work for her. She died six weeks after diagnosis, on October 7, leaving her friends and family breathless with the shock of how fast it happened. Did the herbs fail her? No. The plant medicines offered her family a way to express their love for her in the language that she spoke fluently; ginger tea, lavender aroma therapy, and rice cooked with immune-building Astragalus root.

Rose takes with her a lifetime of wisdom and experience. She has been an educator, sharing her understanding of essential oils for aroma therapy, healing herbs in food and women’s health through classes at Palomar College, the Herb Festivals at San Diego Botanic Gardens and monthly workshops at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate. She was a mother who raised two children who grew up to be accomplished and wonderful human beings. Rose was one of the few Californians who never learned to drive a car, even after moving to the remote village of Morongo Valley north of Palm Springs. Her friends valued her enough to take her where she needed to go. She was a good friend, generous with her time, attention and resources. I was privileged to know her.

Losing Rose brings many things to mind, puts things into a different perspective, and gives pause for reflection. As I go through the stages of grief, I want to deny that she is gone. I am angry at the world for not appreciating her and treating her more gently. I am sad that I did not choose to spend more time with her. We are all mortal. What legacy will we leave? What will we be most remembered for? How can we start to live a life that will be worthy of remembering? These thoughts are a last gift that Rose has left for me.

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Category: Health & Fitness, Local News

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