Is it real?
Who has it?
Should it be trusted?
By Dianne Kemp
Webster’s dictionary defines intuition as: “an ability to understand or know something without needing to think about it or use reason to discover it, or a feeling that shows that ability.
(u) you should use your intuition to make that decision.
I have always believed in intuition and felt that I have it. My first sense of intuition was when I was very young and really did not realize what it was – I just felt it.
I was four years old and lived with my father, mother and older brother in a small home in Detroit. My mom was a stay at home mother who did some bookkeeping on the side to make a little extra income for the family. My father was a factory worker – tool and die repair. He worked seven to three, Monday thru Friday. He never missed a day. And my mother got up every morning at six o’clock to prepare his breakfast – eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. She also packed his lunch in his metal lunch box with hot coffee in the thermos.
Just before Dad was to return from a day at work, mom put on lipstick and combed her hair and my brother, and I were instructed to clean up and leave dad alone, so he could relax. Mom placed six saltine crackers, a slice of cellophane wrapped Kraft cheese and a bottle of Stroh’s beer on the dining room table. That was the start of an evening of beer drinking for dad. Ending with him “sleeping” on the couch.
This is where my intuition kicked in. I “felt” that it was my job to take care of my parents. I did not know why, I just did. I covered dad with a green and red blanket, even tucked in his feet (Dad died in 2010, I sleep with that blanket under my pillow). And for mom, I got up every night at two in the morning and super cleaned the kitchen – I mean it was sparkling when I went back to bed at three. Neither mom or dad ever said anything about what I did – but my intuition told me it was my duty.
This continued during the weekends when dad went golfing and often came home after I went to bed. I would sometimes find him sleeping on the front lawn in the morning. I watched mom wake him and direct him to bed. I did not understand any of this – I just knew it was my duty to make them feel better.
Was this intuition? I believe it was.
The feeling continued when I planned my first wedding, even though I knew I should wait because I was too young (19) and not ready. Intuition told me to call off the wedding, but I did not listen. That marriage ended in divorce. And before my second wedding, when I felt this rebound relationship was so wrong, but I just went ahead despite my feelings. Unfortunately, I tended to ignore my intuitions.
I always thought I would be a teacher, but I was influenced by my first in-laws to become a registered nurse. I knew that was not what I wanted but I did it to please them – pleasing people was my strongest character flaw. I worked as an R.N. but never really enjoyed it. In 1982 I started teaching Childbirth and Parenting classes. It became a passion that continued until my retirement (due to a medical issue) in 2011.
Also, in 1982, I gave birth to my third child, a son. The pregnancy was healthy and normal, but as I approached the birth, I had that “feeling” – something was wrong. I turned to my husband and said, “say a prayer, something awful is going to happen”. My son was born with multiple congenital anomalies, spent his first nine months at Children’s hospital, had 47 surgeries in his life and passed away in 2007.
As I taught Expectant Parent classes, I was often able to predict who would have a Cesarean Section. I don’t know how or why – again, just a feeling. Intuition??
When I worked with women in labor, I just seemed to know when they needed a kind word or stern encouragement, when they needed their whole audience to encourage them or when they needed to be alone. And after they gave birth, I knew when to talk and when to listen.
In 2010, my father was in a nursing home at age 89. He had suffered from poor circulation, developed sepsis and had been unresponsive for several days. I sat with him every day. One night, I felt I just could not leave him. Finally, at one AM, I felt I should leave. I whispered to dad that I loved him and that I was going home. I told him it was alright to let go. I drove the five minutes home. When I opened the door, the phone was ringing. Dad had died as soon as I left.
My mom was a spry 92 years old when she began to deteriorate. She was admitted to the hospital for a week and then it was decided to send her to a nursing home for physical rehabilitation. I tried to delay the move as I had a “feeling” she would not survive the stress and exertion the move would cause. But it was Memorial Day weekend and the hospital was trying to discharge patients. Mom slept all day and then was transferred to the nursing home at 5PM. She was alert in the evening and we watched her beloved Detroit Tigers on TV. She had always had an excellent memory and she insisted that I take out pen and paper as she dictated things that she felt were important that I know. After the game was over – the Tigers won! – mom told me to leave. I wanted to stay for the night – again that feeling – but she insisted I go home. I reluctantly kissed her good night and walked to the door. She called me back for another hug and kiss and I left. I did not sleep well that night and I received a call at 6:30 the next morning telling me that mom had been up to use the restroom at 5 AM, alert and talkative. She returned to bed for “a few more minutes rest” and they found her deceased at 6. I was not surprised.
After I was forced to retire in 2011 due to a detached retina which left me blind in my left eye, I sought volunteer opportunities. I investigated many options, but nothing felt right – until November of 2017. I called River District Hospital six times with no response. But, for some reason it felt right to be persistent. I had been ordained as a chaplain to officiate at my daughter’s wedding, so I called again and offered to volunteer as spiritual support. This time I received a response and started seeing patients. It felt like going home again. All the experiences I have had in my life – supporting my patients, having a disabled son who passed away, caring for my parents – allow me to offer unique care to the people I see as volunteer chaplain. Was it intuition that I waited for just the right volunteer opportunity?
So, is intuition real and, if so, should it be trusted.
I believe the answer is yes and I believe intuition has carried me through many good times and difficult experiences in my life.
Dianne Kemp was born in Detroit and moved to Lexington at age 9. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing Science in 1972 from SC4. And a Bachelors in Healthcare Psychology from Graceland College (Iowa) on 1996.
Dianne’s career developed from her love of babies. She was a Maternal Child nurse for 45 years – developing and teaching childbirth and parenting education classes, working as an RN in Mother Baby Care and was the first lactation consultant in the county. She is now volunteering as a chaplain at River District Hospital since losing her vision in her left eye due to a retinal detachment in 2010.
Dianne is the proud mother of three children (one who was disabled and passed away in 2007) and two grandchildren.
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