a story about life and the supernatural

The Lame Old Woman – A Story of Life and Healing

This is a story about life and supernatural healing, as recounted by my grandmother

I was both inspired and freaked out by the crazy stories I used to hear from my grandmother. She lived in a time when “spirits” and “energy” were common language and health issues could be addressed through draining “bad” or “evil” influences.

My late grandmother – who I shall refer to as “Pau pau” as that is what I called her – recounted one such story to me when I was a little girl. A story I want to share with you.

Having forgotten some of the details my Auntie has helped me fill them in.

Pau pau lived in a small village in the outskirts of the Guangzhou region in China.

As a young girl doing her errands she used to see a woman sitting on her veranda knitting or reading every single day in the same spot.

Curious, Pau pau approached the lady and asked her why she was always there in the same spot each day.

The old lady recounted to her the following story…

She said that one day while her husband was away she had become very sick suddenly and had died. The villagers had then placed her body in a coffin awaiting her husband’s return.

[I am told that traditionally in China coffins were filled with ashes. I am not sure why. Maybe it helped to reduce smell or absorb some of the body fluids until burial time as there wasn’t refrigeration in those days.]

The old lady said that while she was dead (although she did not know she was) she had the sensation of walking down a dark tunnel. When the tunnel finally opened out she could see her husband’s parents who had both already passed.

When they saw her they asked her what she was doing there as it was not her time yet. They told her to return to where she had come from.

She then suddenly awoke and struggled to breathe due to the ashes around her in the coffin. Frantic she tried to get out but she could hardly move and felt quite paralysed.

The villagers noticed that something was happening within the coffin. There were movements and muffled sounds. Fearing a ghost or a vampire had taken over the body they left the old woman in the coffin and did not dare to open the lid.

When her husband finally returned home he got her out of the coffin but she was gravely ill.

Back in those days there wasn’t Emergency Services or hospitals. He took her to a renowned Chinese herbalist.

After looking at the old lady he told them that he could heal her but there was a cost. She would either have to lose her sight or her ability to walk. She chose her ability to walk.

After she was healed she could not walk again. She had to be carried everywhere. Each day her family would take her outside to sit on the veranda and at the end of the day she would be carried back in.

I am sure that there is some Western medical diagnosis for the old lady’s death and resuscitation, however, this story does inspire me towards greater hope that there is Spirit in Medicine. Perhaps we are all blind and looking at an elephant from different angles.

For me the story is a reminder that we don’t know everything about life and should be open to new knowledge or different ways of looking at things. Isn’t that where all the fun is?

Contact Pure Alchemy for information about Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Anissa Au

View posts by Anissa Au
I am all about life, and how we can live as well as we can on this earth! I’ve always had a passion for natural health, after all, why not make use of its abundant resources. When I’m not at my acupuncture clinic in Cronulla, you’ll find me practising my Qigong, meditating, hiking in the wilderness or wild swimming. I also love spending time with a good book or enjoying hearty soul food with good company.
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