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  • Writer's pictureclairemariemiller1

Life Shows Up

Sometimes when you are doing your life’s work you do not realize that your life will show up.

It happens to all of us.

Life tends to bring us these serendipitous moments where healing begins.

This is a story of when my life showed up, and healing in the process.


My mother had just died. She had spent the last four years in a facility due to her Alzheimer’s. I had just returned home from teaching a class in Milwaukee, my mother’s birthplace. In a few days I was heading out to teach again, in Baltimore, my birthplace. The classes, to my surprise, were full, at 24 students each in Nurturing the Mother® Pregnancy and Postpartum Massage and Nurturing the Mother® Fertility Massage.


Mom passed on Wednesday, and I left on Thursday to teach. My sadness was set aside, I had to go.


I arrived at the Pregnancy Massage class. It was a full class, full of energy, in a small classroom. As we shared the tight classroom we also shared the chaos of birth and our own birth stories. 


The Fertility Massage class followed. Another full class, with students open to learning this important work to share with their clients. As the class progressed to the final day, a student asked an important question, “Claire, what do you do if your client has had sexual trauma?”


My reply came from a deep place within me, “You treat all your clients as if they may have a history of sexual abuse. You never know and they may not know as well. You ask permission first. You tell them what you are going to do. And you let them know that you will stop at any moment should they be uncomfortable with this deep pelvic work.”


From that deep place, I did not know I would continue to share, “…and it happened to me right down the street at GBMC (Greater Baltimore Medical Center). I was drugged and raped by a physician, a radiologist.” I was stunned when it came out of my mouth. What I do know is that from my wounding, and with the skills I have, I have strength and passion to help women through their pelvic traumas. 


At the end of the class, one of my students came up to me and said, “I know who it is (I had never said his name) it is Dr. H (I will not write his name). He did it to me too.” I was shaken to the core. 


This story in my life was held in for many years. It first surfaced as a vague memory that I had shared only briefly at times. When you are drugged, it is a very weird and uncertain feeling of what happened. I had spent over a decade pondering what these images were about. I knew in my gut I had been raped, but I couldn't explain it. I now knew, fully in my being, this was real.

I learned from my student that he did this to her seven years after my event. He was a serial rapist involved with others who were doing the same thing. The people at the hospital did not know. I actually called my former instructor at the x-ray school I attended, and she knew nothing of this. (Dr H specialized in mammographs. How many did he abuse?) I had already learned from one of my last friends in the x-ray department at GBMC that Dr H had drowned off the coast of NC soon after I had moved back from the west coast, years before this workshop event.

Another part of the story my student shared with me was betrayal by my friend from x-ray school. Apparently, she would bring the women to Dr. H and knew all that was going on. I thought we were friends back then - I had traveled to Europe with her and I was in her first wedding. Learning of this betrayal was another shock to me. I had no idea that she was involved in this way. It turns out she married Dr. H and was his seventh wife.

At the same time as this was unfolding for me at the workshop, my sister Cathy was watching her apartment, her home of thirty years, burn to the ground in a six-alarm fire in DC. She was now homeless. Her story was on national news when, as a devotee of Amma, a painting she had done of Amma survived the fire. She told the reporter she forgives the young man who, in anger, started the fire. 


Cathy was helped through this trauma by friends and family and eventually deepened her path with Amma by traveling to India and later moving into Amma's Ashram in DC. 


For both of us, having these traumatic experiences six days after our mother passed, we felt her hand in guiding us to healing and growing.


When I arrived home, for the first time in my life, I called the Rape Crisis Hotline. I got into therapy immediately. My therapist used EMDR, a way of reprograming the brain from trauma.


I no longer carry this trauma. I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me. I have deep compassion for all who have been abused by those in power.

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