One sunny day, on August 27th 2017, I received a slightly unusual social media message from a man I’d never met. Turns out he had read some stuff I’d written and posted in a group that we are both a member of.
Bob: Hi, I’m a Vietnam Vet and full blooded American Indian. I am divorced and live in Florida. If age is a problem please tell me.
Not wanting to be disrespectful to a serviceman and Native American Elder, but not knowing his intentions, I replied. Our conversation went like this;
Me: Thank you for your service and it’s nice to meet you.
Bob: Very nice to meet you at last and I thank you, for Nam Vets don’t hear that much.
Me: Yes, sadly I know that. Granted that was just before I was born(or as I was born) I’ve heard the stories and seen the tv shows about it.
Bob: I’ve been mentored since I was 7. My mom was Cherokee and dad Ojibwa. I’ve danced with the rattlesnakes and took their venom. I’ve done both Sundances and hold the Eagle Medicine Stick.
I admit, I was rather excited to meet another Native American who was raised in the traditional way.
Me: I live near the Seneca reservation and, to my knowledge I have no Native blood in me.
I then told him about my affinity for Native American culture, how I was first exposed to it and ceremonies I have had the pleasure of being a part of. Again, not knowing his intentions, I didn’t go into specific or personal details. He completely surprised me when he said:
Bob: I would be honored to give you a name for I have the status to do so. It would honor me if you took my Mothers name for it holds great medicine. So from this day you’ll be know as Eagle Warrior Woman if you wish?
Now, I admit, there are very few times that I am speechless and this was one of those times. Not knowing what to say but trying to control my excitement without being disrespectful I said:
Me: I would be absolutely honored to accept your mother’s name, Eagle Warrior Woman. I humbly and gratefully thank you! I am always in awe when I see Eagles in my area flying. I’m not sure how recently but they’ve recently returned to our area.
Bob: You’re very welcome and I know my mom would be too…It’s now known in the Nation you’re Eagle Warrior Woman, I’m known by many names but I prefer Healer.
We chatted briefly about how we both work with crystals, herbs and aromatherapy.
Bob: …you will do fine, for now I’ll watch over you and truly help you with your path. Call on me anytime. I’m always here to help you and protect you and your family for this is who I am. Have a great day. It’s truly been my honor to find you. If you ever need me, just ask and I’ll be there. For you may the Great Spirit guide your path.
Me: A’ho. May the Great Spirit guide your path too.
A short time later…
Bob: This is truly done of my business, Are you married. Sorry no disrespect meant
Again, not knowing his intentions nor wanting to be disrespectful I said:
Me: No, I am divorced and single. I was married to a soldier who I considered my hero and had gone to Iraq and Afghanistan. He broke my heart and my healing has been slow.
He offered to work with me to heal my heart. I apologized and told him that unfortunately I had a list a mile long of things I needed to do. He told me he would light some sage and blow it my way and that he meant no disrespect. I said I felt no disrespect and I appreciated it.
Over the days and weeks since then, Healer praised my work and continued to encourage me to put my musings into a book. I had only told a small handful of people about my goal of doing just that. I hadn’t gotten around to telling him yet. He also said that maybe someday I could write his story.
I found myself speechless again. A man I barely know wanting me to write his story. Again I felt humbled by this stranger only it wasn’t so much because he said my writing helped him. This time it was because a Native American and a Vietnam vet(both of which I highly admire) wanted me to tell his story.
***Please be sure to read more of my posts
Come back tomorrow to read the very personal story that Bob has never told anyone in nearly 50 years.