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Saying goodbye to a friend

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Last week Hemma lost a very dear soul.  Aaron Banfield passed in the company of his family in Nelson BC.  I was lucky enough to spend several years with Aaron as he worked in the clinic and taught interesting and intriguing workshops at Hemma. He will be in the hearts of many for many years to come, his embodied spirit will be greatly missed in the community.  

I first met Aaron as a student – he was attending my class on acupuncture techniques that I was teaching at the Canadian College of Acupuncture. He was a very bright student who kept me on my toes with his thoughtful questions, curious mind, and in-depth  knowledge. I noticed right away how gifted and adept he was with an acupuncture needle. Aaron seemed like he was born to be an acupuncturist. Years later I hired him to work in our clinic where I learned that my hunches about him were correct. 

Aaron would work in such a focused and intent manner during his filled four-hour clinic shifts. The rest of us often puzzled over his treatment plans, he had a way of discerning his treatment path that was difficult to describe, as if he was inwardly conferring with the acupuncture Gods. All his patients loved him. He was a true creative spirit deeply connected to his craft. Aaron also loved teaching Qi-Gong and was a long-time student of the practice. He believed that the practice was deeply rooted in his ability to do his work. Many people benefited from his teaching. 

He also had a community spirit and would often host our hemma staff community potlucks at his home where he would serve freshly baked bread along with other delightful dishes – he loved to cook. Aaron and I were not close friends but we did admire and respect one another a great deal and over the years taught each other many things – sometimes I was his teacher and sometimes he was mine.  

His last 7 months on the planet were a testament to his wise and thoughtful spirit. During that time Aaron captured his remaining time in a series of video posts where he described his process of slowly leaving his body and welcoming death. Throughout that time Aaron exhibited his usual grace and thoughtfulness as he described his learnings, sufferings, longings, and losses. At one point in that documentation process he and I did an interview where we talked about the process of practicing acupuncture. I wanted to hear his thoughts on the art of practice so that future practitioners might benefit from his wisdom and knowledge. 

Aaron we will miss your playful and thoughtful spirit but you will live on in our hearts and minds and in our memories. Thank you for all the care you provided over the years and for teaching us about the preciousness of life and being alive.  Rest in Peace. 

If you’re interested in seeing any of the videos Aaron produced over the last 8 months you can check out his You Tube Channel