Inspiring Boomers: Scarlett Heinbuch, Witness to a Miracle CategoriesThis Boomer's Life

Inspiring Boomers: Scarlett Heinbuch, Witness to a Miracle

Scarlett Heinbuch wasn’t just a witness to a miracle, she helped make a miracle happen.

Scarlett and her husband David Schwartz have an amazing story to tell. It is recounted beautifully in her book Waking up to Love: Our Shared Near-Death Encounter Brought Miracles, Recovery, and Second Chances. It is a story both intriguing and inspiring, our favorite kind here at Boomer Connections. We love meeting people who make us think, and who open up doors to other possibilities and experiences.

Scarlett has led a life filled with both challenges and gifts. These, and the natural empathy she has towards others, guides her work as a healer, teacher, and writer. Love is the common theme in all that Scarlett believes, breathes, and works for.

More than 13 years ago, it was her healing work as a Reiki practitioner that brought Scarlett to the bedside of a dying man named David. Reiki is a non-religious system that uses the body’s energy field for healing. Scarlett had met David’s mother by chance as she was making her way to Richmond to say final goodbyes to her son, and when she heard about Scarlett’s work, she felt such a presence might ease his passing. What happened was a miracle, with love at its center.

Boomer Connections partner Camille LaCognata and I went to hear Scarlett and David speak as part of their book tour.  The venue was Alchemists at Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond VA, and the topic was: Finding Your Soulmate in Unusual Places. 

“Soulmates can show up in all kinds of ways, often unexpected. Time stands still when soulmates meet.” These were some of the opening words of her book Waking Up to Love. I was literally on the edge of my seat as they told their story.

The Story of a Miracle

At the point Scarlett met David, he was lying in a hospital bed on life support, unresponsive. He had been in a coma for nearly four weeks, after massive kidney failure due to a rare form of vasculitis. Scarlett offered to provide healing and comfort and prayers as he passed.

As she was pouring all her energy into helping a dying man, a man who was in fact a stranger to her, Scarlett herself was in a bad place. My life was ashes and dust, so many bad endings. As a divorced single mom, she struggled with two special-needs children, broke, in a job that provided little satisfaction. She had the added enormous stress of pursuing a PhD, as she sought to make a better life.

At the hospital, David was barely holding on. Even though he was comatose, Scarlett spoke to him and explained what she was doing and asked for his permission, offering the same respect as if he were awake and coherent. She told him that if he was not ready to go, if he had unfinished business, she would help him. She felt a small puff of air, of energy, which she took as a sign of permission. She told David: Don’t give up hope yet.

As she took his hand and offered a prayer for protection, and asked for only the holiest and highest and most sacred energy…

Immediately I felt his feelings, the sadness, sorrow and shame. I felt at that point there was soul recognition.

Scarlett spent 12 days doing energy healing with David, and day by day the life came back into his broken body. In those days they both experienced “the other side,” a Shared Near-Death Experience (SNDE), resulting in an unexplained medical recovery for David and an unexpected love story for them both.

Scarlett remembers that as she took his hand that day, she was in a different place. We were surrounded by a different kind of love.  I felt nothing but love. It transcended any experience or mistake that had gone before. I felt I knew David on a spiritual level, that I had always known him, always loved him.

Miraculous recovery started to happen.

David shares his side of the experience:

I fully believe the reason I got sick was because I had made such a wreck of my life. I had made bad choices. I had only wanted to find someone to share a life and share a love with, but I had destroyed all my relationships, with everyone. I had lost hope. Everything I did seemed to lead to heartache and trauma. I have no recollection of anything while I was in a coma. But when I woke up and saw Scarlett, I felt I knew her, I felt that this was it. It may sound ridiculous to an outsider, but I just knew. There was an immediate connection. There was no reason I should have survived. My body had shut down, no one expected me to live. Since then, I have made a complete recovery; my kidneys are fully functioning. Anyone with the condition I had who survives is permanently disabled. There is no medical explanation for this miracle. I have learned that there are things that happen in this world for which there is no logical explanation. I am the luckiest guy in the world. The fact that I got that second chance is a miracle. It is a miracle that I made a physical recovery, and also that I found this love.

The connection that they made in this process turned into romantic love. Theirs is a love story, but it isn’t a romance novel: Scarlett is clear that even soul mates have challenges. There are still life’s troubles to deal with, such as finances and family relationships. What keeps us going is the knowledge of the Divine in all of this, divine guidance in our lives that gave David and gave me a second chance.

As I have listened to so many personal stories, especially of people’s experiences with second chances, or at the Death Café’s I have attended, or in speaking with those who work with the very ill, it becomes clear that some experiences in life…what we think of as miracles…simply cannot be explained in rational terms. You have to assume a higher power is at work. Scarlett and David’s story is one of those.

As Scarlett describes the healing process she witnessed and helped bring about she notes:

We are trying to spread the message that there is love in this life, a level of love that is so enormous. No matter what you have done, there is love and there is forgiveness. In the practice of healing and in recovery, forgiveness is critical. We are all deserving of it.

A Meaningful Life’s Work

Scarlett talks about “transformational change,” of healing at the soul level. She describes the gift she has always had–even as a very young person–of seeing, of intuition, of a connection with the world beyond the one we experience every day.

In a follow-up conversation Scarlett and I had later on, we discussed the state of our country, our society, ourselves. She tried to put into words that illuminating moment, in the shared near-death experience (SNDE), where there was nothing but amazing love. In that moment, she gained insight. The knowledge that everyone is a child of the universe. The more we love one another the better this world will be. Her philosophy is so sound, and her insights are life affirming and life changing. Scarlett believes that in current climate of partisan politics and divisiveness, this message is more critical than ever.

What do politics have to do with love?

Differences are not what matters. We need to focus on what we have in common.  Love and caring for others are what needs to drive and impact policy. Politics have become destructive and cruel. What is needed is respect and awareness.

Largely because of her shared near-death experience with David, Scarlett’s life’s work has become increasingly geared toward healing and teaching. The experience changed her at a core level, and she feels it enhanced her ability to harness divine love in transformative ways for healing, growth, and recovery.

Scarlett obtained her Master’s degree in Public Health, as well as a PhD in Public Policy and Administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She has studied complementary and alternative medicine for more than 25 years and is a Certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She helps people by combining her heightened intuition with Reiki as a powerful energy healing technique, to balance the body, mind and spirit and reduce stress.

She is a Certified Hypnotist and Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner, and also formerly taught a Gender and Equality course at VCU, along with a Marriage and Family Sociology course. A testimonial on Scarlett’s website describes her as “a healer and an angel.”

The book and the conversation with Scarlett filled me with hope, and also curiosity. I want to know more about these healing gifts, I want to know more about miracles, and alternative medicine. Watch for more blogs on these subjects as we seek out more Interesting and Inspirational Boomers.

You can read more about the author and where to find her book at:

Another interesting resource:

International Association for Near Death Studies, Inc

Cherie R. Blazer

Cherie is a late bloomer Boomer, born at the tail end of the Boomer generation. She was playing with Barbies while her older sisters marched on Washington and fought for equal rights, but watched and learned. Now she is an empty nester with a whole new future to explore and share at! As “Philosopher in Chief” Cherie merely wants to change the world with this blog: to encourage those of us in the midst of our “second act” to look at life with new eyes, open to a life filled with new beginnings rather than endings, and to apply all we have learned to a way of living that is more meaningful and profound. There is SO much to live for, up until the very end.

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