Shannon came into our lives at UMC, in the ICU. Arriving at the hospital before 7am, she was the only massage therapist able to get past the security guards and up to the floor where the families were gathered, overwhelmed and under-prepared, struggling with surgeries and breathing tubes and fear. She set up her table in The Zen Room, a quiet place for families to escape the hubub of the machinery which was saving the lives of someone they loved. It was dimly lit and silent.
TBG found his way there sometime between my first and second surgeries. I imagine he'd had a meal or two in between doctors telling him what else they were going to do to me. He and Little Cuter and SIR never left me alone, and the strain was taking its toll. Walking down the hallway, spying Shannon and her table, he went into the room and began to heal.
For a brief moment, it was all about him. How was he doing? What parts hurt him right now... or, the shorter list, which parts were fine? A few probing questions, a gentle invitation to get comfortable, and my husband was connected to therapeutic touch and his own grief.
It was a magical moment. For both of them.
Shannon Leigh Haskie hasn't had an easy life. She knows what it took to get to where she is. She feels your struggles and your worries and knows just what your body does with them. Her strong hands tackled the sorrow in TBG's heart as she manipulated his tendons and ligaments.
Providing a safe place - to relax, to let go, to submit to another's touch - that is, for me, the essence of a great massage. Shannon's got it down. Just ask my husband.
Weeks after I was discharged, when my family allowed me unfettered access to Facebook once more, I groaned aloud at another unknown-to-me-person friended me. I had gotten used to rejecting these requests - which arrived in alarming numbers as my public persona grew and grew - but this time I said the name out loud: "Who the hell is Shannon Leigh Haskie?" as I groaned and went to reject the request.
TBG's voice interrupted my pattern. "Friend her right now!" said he. The delight on his face was mesmerizing; I couldn't tear my eyes away from the absolute joy he felt upon reconnecting with the woman who had given him his first moments of peace. It was magical.
I friended her and we chatted and then TBG talked as I typed his words of welcome-to-our-lives and we set up a time for her to bring her healing hands to our home.... for the friends and family rate because that was all I could get her to agree to accept .... she, wanting to heal us for free.... her compensation being the renewed strength and lightness we felt after her hands left our bodies.
And, denizens, let me tell you that after her massages I glide across the living room floor, carrying heavy plates and sloppy glasses, and I feel no pain. She puts her fingers in-between the layer of stickiness and stuckness and pressing-on-itself-ness and I breathe deeply and suddenly there's a release and I am moving like an unperforated person once again.
Though she's the mother of a (pretty remarkable) teenager, I still feel like she's a kid; I offer advice freely. And she listens. I have rarely encountered a person who is so willing to accept a challenge to what she thinks is right. She has a strong inner compass, and never shies away from the hard work that needs to be done to get to the place that she wants to go.
Can you tell that I think she's really special?
Today is the grand opening of her studio - Precision Touch Therapy - and she's offering $40/60 minute massages to introduce herself and her two (totally fabulous, Cortiva trained) colleagues. This is not your usual massage, Tucsonans. This is therapy. These hands are intelligent, thoughtful, precise and helpful. They work with you to figure out what is needed and how best to approach it - another Goldilocks moment, it's neither too hard nor too soft.... it's just right.
The studio - created by her landlord, IKEA and her lady electrician - has Meisha at the receptionist's desk and all the toys and bells and whistles you'll find at La Paloma and The Ritz.... for a much more reasonable price. Heated towels and neck rests, scented oils, heat packs and candle light and it's all included in the price of the massage. It's an intimate space. You're not given a number, you're escorted to your room or the totally comfy couch, offered water... and anything else you might need.
Nestled between a coffee shop and a Subway, you can fuel yourself on either end of your treatment. The coffee shop is having its grand opening tonight, Friday the 20th. Shannon will be in her studio if you stop in to say Hi. Tell her I sent you.... I guarantee you'll get a great big hug.
*friended - sent a message asking for access to my on-line Facebook life