In the award-winning sequel Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening: A Journey of Healing and Spirituality with a Remote Australian Tribe, Robbie Holz continues the amazing story of her husband Gary Holz and interweaves it with her own inspiring memoir to create a beautiful and heart-warming love story.
Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening by Robbie Holz with Christiann Howard is available in paperback, audiobook and eBook. Learn more or order your copy now.
Here's an excerpt from Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening:
I watched as Kevin held up one tiny Gummy Bear for his grandfather to see. Kevin’s grandfather was a round, open-faced man named Fred. “What color is this one?” Kevin asked.
Kevin—three years old, blonde, voluble—had just returned from a trip down the hall with me to buy Gummy Bears from the vending machine. I had emptied the Gummy Bears into a paper cup so that the boy could reach in and get them without showering them all over the room.
“Red,” his grandfather replied. “Red’s the color of the fire engines that make the siren sounds.”
“Oh. How ‘bout this one?”
“Orange, like the orange we eat.”
Kevin held up a green Gummy Bear and waited.
Right on cue, his grandfather said, “That one’s green. Like grass.”
Kevin’s eyes were opened to slits, and you could see the irises rolling in all directions, completely independent of each other, because Kevin had been born blind. I could tell Kevin and his grandfather were repeating a ritual they practiced often. A ritual for seeing the world. Most grandfathers love their grandchildren and are proud of them, but Fred raised the bar.
Fred was a short-order cook. His wife had died some years earlier. Looking a bit weathered in his late 50s, Fred worked the breakfast shift, then hurried home to care for his grandson Kevin so his daughter, Kevin’s mother, who was also a single parent, could go to work.
Fred spent his afternoons being Kevin’s eyes, and he told us how blessed he was to have such a beautiful grandson who ‘saw’ life differently than the rest of us. For example, grandfather and grandson would sit together at the base of a tree and explore its bark, branches and leaves, while Fred explained what the tree looked like and how it moved as you looked up through its branches into the sky. Kevin was a bright, inquisitive fellow, and his questions created a special awareness for Fred of the world—a world most of us forget to be amazed and awed by.
Somehow Fred heard about Gary’s healing abilities. They arrived together one day, hand-in-hand, grandfather and grandson. Kevin, with his toy truck and security blanket. And Fred, with guarded hope in his eyes.
Gary immediately did what he always did with each patient—he silently asked if he was supposed to help.
I held my breath, my heart rate steadily rising. I carefully watched Gary’s face, searching for a clue to the answer he was getting.
The answer was apparent on Gary’s face when Gary reached across and shook Kevin’s little hand. “Hi, Kevin, I’m Gary. It’s nice to meet you and your grandpa.” Evidently, he would be able to help somehow.
While Kevin and I made our Gummy Bear run, Fred explained Kevin’s condition to Gary. Kevin had been born prematurely before his eyes had fully developed. He barely survived at birth, having had only a 24-week gestation and weighing only 20 oz. One of the lasting effects had been that Kevin’s retinas had not had time to grow to the back of the eye—retinal detachment. They were unable to sense light and relay it on to the brain.
Although Kevin wasn’t aware of it, his eyes were always rolling around in their sockets. Since he couldn’t see, there was no reason for his eyes to track together. It was initially slightly disturbing but quickly forgotten in the charm of little Kevin.
Kevin gamely crawled into his grandpa’s lap for a treatment. Gary’s hand was too large to comfortably fit Kevin’s neck. So he curled his fingers into a loose fist and placed the knuckles against the boy’s skinny neck. Kevin sat peacefully, swinging his knobby knees and thoughtfully fetching and chewing Gummy Bears out of his cup. It was one of the sweetest sights I have ever seen.
After that first session, Gary had a feeling it would require quite a few sessions to heal Kevin’s eyes. We were scheduled to fly back home in another two weeks, but Gary was determined to help as much as he could. Although his schedule was already packed, he made time to include Kevin every day.
Kevin became more talkative as he got used to us. I especially enjoyed watching Gary’s heart melt as he patiently answered Kevin’s steady stream of questions. You don’t know questions till you’ve been exposed to the curious mind of a highly intelligent, outgoing three-year-old without physical sight.
One particular morning, before Gary started his healing treatment on Kevin, he leaned over to me and whispered, “Pay attention and watch this.”
Kevin was patiently waiting on his grandpa’s lap. He knew the routine well. Gary placed his hand on Kevin’s neck and Kevin turned his face toward Gary and me. As usual, his soft brown eyes rolled in random directions.
Suddenly, both of Kevin’s eyes stopped and quickly rolled to the front and looked straight ahead.
Gary took his hand away, leaned back and with some excitement watched for what Kevin would do next. Kevin reached into his cup for another Gummy Bear, unaware of the dramatic change in his facial appearance. A big smile spread across Gary’s face as he turned to me and said, “Did you see that?”
I was speechless and kept watching Kevin to see what his eyes would do next.
Kevin’s eyes started to shift and appeared to intentionally look around the room. He made no sign that he had gained his sight, but his eyes were clearly working in tandem. By outward appearances, Kevin now looked like a normal little boy.
Gary quietly explained to Fred that he had attached the retinas. The next step would be to try to restore vision through this new connection. It was great progress and we were all encouraged, but time was not on our side. Gary and I were scheduled to return to Seattle in a few days. We had to go home. We had patients waiting for us.