Updated: Sep 17
Over the eleven years the four walls of my treatment room have seen everything. Literally everything. A 40 weeks pregnant lady in labour on my couch, a doggy man who jumped off my table wearing nothing. Happy laughs and sad tears. Every person who came to Relax-therapy had a reason. Some of them became very close to me. So when I lose them it makes me very sad and heartbroken.
Since 2023 started two of my regular clients passed away. It is very hard to explain how I felt on those days and my February break just came on time because I was on the edge. Emotionally.
But today's blog is all about a wonderful soul, Andrew.
I met Andrew through one of my ex-clients who was a colleague of his. They both worked at Croydon Council. The reason he recommended my treatments to Andrew is because he had a massage previously somewhere else in Croydon, but because he has a learning disability and autism they couldn't understand he really in need of a genuine back massage not some blow job. (yep, that happened).
Andrew was friendly and chatty. Always liked after the massage sitting at the front and drinking his coffee from his own mug ( he asked me to bring him a mug from Hungary so I did and we kept it for his coffee). Liked chatting with the girls in the salon and loved my massages. We started with half an hour but just before Covid he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease so upgraded to an hour to ease the tremors and stiffness in his back, neck, shoulders and arms.
He always asked me about my parents, my sisters because he remembered. He loved Christmas and he was always very excited about his birthday in August. They often went on holiday to Scotland for his special day.
Then in March 2020 Covid happened and lock downs. I remember he was the first one who called me to book an appointment when we were able to go back to work. He was desperate and his back was rock solid. Over the Covid redundancies he lost his part time job which in my opinion was a big mistake as his mental health and physical health started to decline and his Parkison's started getting worse.
In the last 12 months his condition worsened and his Mum and Dad ( who are both in their 80s) started to drop him off and pick him up from massage.
I witnessed every month how we lost friendly and chatty Andrew. His memory worsened, I had to help him to dress down and up, give him water and explain to him what was going to happen because he forgot everything.
Last week when I called his Mum to confirm our appointment she said: "We won't make a new appointment for April".
I knew this day would come but I wasn't ready for it to come this soon.
On the 30th of March we had our last hot stones back massage session . When I asked Mum about next month she just said: "Don't make me cry" and left the salon but tears came to her eyes and those eyes and face told me how heartbroken she is to see his son in this condition. So when I saw her being tearful I just lost it. Poor Andrew had no idea why we were all crying so I took his hand and we went to his last treatment. In the treatment room he turned to me and said: "Why do you cry? I don't like when you cry". And he hugged me.
During his massage he said I am from Norway and I said no, Oh no, you are from Poland, No, said with a smile on my face, you know I am from Hungary. "Ah Hungary." and he went back to deep relaxation.
Writing this blog post helped me to work through the grief of losing him. Because I lost him and his sassy, chatty, friendly himself when this horrible disease started.
I ran my 5th Half Marathon on Sunday. I never had my emotions this high during a race and I totally lost it when I saw the Parkinson's UK charity cheer point.
My eyes got full of tears because every memory with Andrew came back to me like a flashback and cried.
Yes, yes Relax-therapy is a business which pays my bills and feeds my cat but Relax-therapy is not just a business. It is me, Beata/Bea, the person who loves, has emotions, builds very strong and deep relationships with clients and LOVEs what she does.
I made a pledge when I crossed the finish line on Sunday: my next race will be for Andrew.
And to answer the question at the beginning: I've learned how to be happy in the simplest way and cherish every moment and memory.
Thank you dear Andrew.
Update: I had a letter from Andrew's Mum in June, saying he settled very well at the assisted living home. She said that he is enjoying himself and it was the best decision for him.
Back in April I made a pledge to dedicate races for him and raise fund and awareness for Parkinson's UK.
So I did a 21K cycle ride at Ride Reigate in July, a 10K run at Run Reigate on 17th September and one more race for them Vitality London.
Please sponsor my effort to find the cure for this horrible diseases: www.justgiving.com/page/puk