Irene Smith, CMP, an educator and developer of hospice massage and touch for HIV/AIDS patients, died the evening of April 4 at the age of 75.
The case of death was cancer. Her death was announced by assistant Trish Crawley on Smith’s Facebook page.
Smith founded Everflowing in 2001, an organization dedicated to educational outreach and teaching skillful touching as an integral component to palliative care. She also ran Service Through Touch from 1982 until 1999, through which she created massage programs for people living with HIV-AIDS worldwide.
Smith was born in Texas in 1946. She graduated from the Los Angeles School of Massage and began her massage career in 1974. Smith’s bio notes that she taught health care providers and bodyworkers “tactile support skills for caring for ill and dying persons and create[d] resource materials utilized by institutions worldwide.” She authored the book, “Massage in Hospice Care: An Everflowing Approach.” She worked as an assistant to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, for 10 years.
During her final days, in hospice herself and surrounded by caregivers. Smith wrote the following message on her Facebook page on March 10:
“Dear beloved friends … so many thoughts with me, however the primary thought is about the love and kindness you have shown me through this time of great suffering. I’m held and soothed with your acts of kindness, and cradled in your love. Although I cannot respond to you each [individually] , my hope is that you find yourself with this community message. Words escape me but the feeling is that of being lifted out of the darkness into the light on the wing of angels of which each of you are a feather. I would not change one moment of my life for it has brought me to this moment of being so deeply cared for and loved. With all of my heart forever, Irene.”
Massage therapist Rhonda Steger, who learned about hospice massage via Smith’s webinars, articles and website, wrote this statement on Facebook, reprinted here by permission, upon hearing of Smith’s passing, “Oh Irene … You’ve meant so much to so many people. You’ve touched countless lives, including mine. You were my inspiration, my education and my muse. I could never have had the passion for hospice care without you. God speed on your Heavenly journey.”