Cindy Baumann is an Author, a Grief Coach, and a Life Transition Coach with four adult sons, one of whom is on the Other Side. During the 25 years Cindy co-owned and grew a multi-million-dollar marketing firm, she received numerous professional and volunteer awards and a nomination for The Athena Award, which celebrates leaders for their professional excellence, community service, and actively assisting women in attaining their highest potential. Cindy is also the author of a recently released, poignant memoir titled Grief Warrior: A Journey of Hope and Courage to the Other Side of Traumatic Loss. In it, she describes her many life challenges, including her gut-wrenching grief after losing her son Shaun, the incredibly courageous healing path she chose, and the inspiring transformation, rebirth, hope, and peace that ensued.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- Cindy’s memoir, Grief Warrior
- The multiple traumas Cindy went through that taught her resilience
- How Cindy lost her son, Shaun, and the heavenly signs she received from him
- What motivated Cindy to start her healing path
- The different therapies and techniques Cindy used to heal her new coaching career
- Cindy’s tip for finding joy in life
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS CINDY:
- How did all of these challenges strengthened you and taught you about resilience?
- What motivated you to start your healing path?
- Why were you inspired to write your book and what would you like to tell us all about it?
- Why is it important for a person to heal?
Listen to the podcast here
Cindy Baumann: Grief Is A Journey That None Of Us Wants To Be On, And Yet There’s No Turning Back. The Only Way Out Is Forward And Through.
I am very happy to be welcoming the author, grief coach, and life transition coach Cindy Baumann, who has 4 adult sons and 1 of whom is on the other side. Cindy is married and will be speaking to us from Tomahawk, Wisconsin. During the 25 years, Cindy co-owned and grew a multimillion-dollar marketing firm. She received numerous professional and volunteer awards and a nomination for the Athena Award, which celebrates leaders for their professional excellence, community service, and for actively assisting women in the attainment of their highest potential.
Cindy is also the author of the released poignant memoir titled Grief Warrior: A Journey Of Hope And Courage To The Other Side Of Traumatic Loss. In it, she describes her gut-wrenching grief at the loss of her son, Shaun, the incredibly courageous healing path she chose, and the inspiring transformation, rebirth, hope, and peace that ensued. I’m looking forward to talking with Cindy about how her memoir, Grief Warrior, the multiple traumas she went through that taught her resilience, the different therapies and techniques she used to heal her new coaching career, and more for what is surely going to be an inspiring and unforgettable interview. Cindy, a warm welcome to the show.
Thank you. I have tuned in to many of your episodes and it’s such an honor to be a guest on your show. Thank you much for having me.
That means much. Let’s get everybody to know you the way I know you now. How about starting with your journey from Midwest farm girl with four siblings to a rising executive, to a fast-track life, to a screeching halt in 2007 when Shaun passed?
I grew up in this little tiny town in North Central Wisconsin. The population never was over 300, even during a Baby Boom. I had 3 sisters and 1 brother. We had one bathroom in our house. Getting ready for school was always fun, fighting for the bathroom. We grew up Catholic, a very traditional religion. We went to church every Sunday. We had a CCD class every Wednesday. It was a fun area to grow up in because we were a close-knit family and we did a lot of our outside activities a little different from now. We played softball on the field. We had horses and rode horses. We went to the lake in the summer.
We were a busy family. My parents worked very hard. That instilled in me from a very young age, a good work ethic but I knew that there might be something more for me outside that little town. When my parents decided to remodel their house, I fell in love with one of the contractors. He was a good-looking guy from our area. He was in college, which was intriguing to me. We started to date. My parents weren’t crazy about it because I was young.
How old were you at the time? About 17 or 18?
We got married at seventeen, right out of high school. Our plans changed. We were going to move away to this college town, and he was going to finish school. I was going to go to college. Our plans changed and his family wanted him to take the family farm. He felt that it was his duty to do so. My little glimmer of leaving that little town went away for a while. I thought, “We’ll make the best of it.” We had multiple things in our relationship that we had to deal with. The hardest was the illness of our second son, who ended up having cancer at three months.
I was visiting my family and my mom looked into his eyes and said, “Do you know that Sean’s pupil on one eye is only half the size of the other?” I’m like, “No.” We took him in and they were checking for fluid on the brain. To make a long story short, they sent me to this hospital where I was like, “Only sick people go to this hospital.” I had no clue what they were looking for. They did a chest X-ray and said there was a growth in his chest.
I’m like, “Remove it.” They still didn’t say anything to me. We went through like two weeks of testing, all kinds of different scans, and everything. It wasn’t until they did a bone marrow biopsy that I was like, “That sounds to me like cancer.” The doctor said, “Yes, we are suspecting this to be a malignant tumor.” I couldn’t get my arms around that. I didn’t know any children that had had cancer and any adult that I knew had died. It was the start of our journey of this challenging illness, which isolated us from the world for a very long time.
How heart-wrenching for you.
It was hard for both of us. We did the best we could. Back then, the treatments were different from nowadays. We went through almost three years of treatments and multiple surgeries. It was one heartbreak after another there, but he was such an amazing kid. Even growing up afterward, he never had the, “Woe is me. Why did I have to go through this in my life?” attitude. We ended up beating the odds, which I talked about in the book. I go through more detail in my book about this. We beat all the odds. He grew up to be an amazing young man who wanted to become a doctor.
it’s because he’d been surrounded by doctors who helped him. While you were doing all of this, you had this amazing, vibrant career.
Not at that time. At that point, I was trying to take care of my child and we had a farm. I had to learn how to farm. On my grandparent’s farm when we were little, that’s a life I didn’t want. I jumped in. I figured it out, helped, and did what I could, but it was after the illness was over that our marriage from the illness crumbled. Honestly, back then, I wish they had offered professional help because we needed help.
You were babies and then you had a baby who was sick.
We didn’t know how to navigate that illness. We didn’t know how to live with each other. Every waking moment was on that sick child. We were drowning in the finances of the farm. It was too much. When we got through the illness, our marriage crumbled, divorced. I moved to this bigger city and thought, “I’m going to go to school now. I’m going to go to college. I’m going to try to figure this life out for my family.” It was hard on both of us. When I drove away from our home, I can still feel it in my heart. It still breaks my heart because those little kids didn’t know what was going on. Their whole world got interrupted by this divorce. It was heartbreaking.
You endured house fires.
We had a house fire then we lost our home.
This was before the divorce?
Yes. I was pregnant with our first child. I woke up in the middle of the night because I have to go to the bathroom. I’m like, “What’s that noise?” There’s a cracking noise. I woke up my husband. He ran downstairs because we had burned wood. He checked the wood stove and everything was fine. He came back upstairs. He got back in bed. I’m like, “I still hear it. It’s coming from upstairs.” We had a staircase up above our room. Thank goodness that this was his home growing up and his family had moved out, or there would’ve been little kids sleeping up there. He opened the door and smoke billowed out.
I tried to call the fire department and our phone was dead. I ran to the barn to try to call. I couldn’t get through. I called my mom, and then on the way back, I fell on my back on the ice. I was pregnant and they thought I was going to lose the baby. I didn’t lose the baby. It was one thing after the other that happened to us. You don’t even take time to deal with all these things that you’re suffering from. You stuff them. Each trauma was stuffed. I would learn later in my life that those had to be dealt with.
Before we even get to what happened with Shaun, later in your life, you had cancer yourself.
After we lost Shaun, it was about two years in and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I believed that I willed it to myself because after losing him, I wanted to die. I couldn’t handle the pain in my heart and I wanted to die.
Body and mind connection.
I thought, “This is my ticket out. This is it.” After going through all the tests, I found out that it was caught early. Now I was a little angry because it was something that I had to deal with and it was getting in the way of my grief. We went through a variety of different options there. Finally, I made a choice that would be right for me at the time because I couldn’t deal with grief and breast cancer. I had to check one of them off my list. The grief wasn’t going anywhere. I had gone through a double mastectomy to rid the cancer from my body.
We haven’t even started with the main event that happened to Cindy. You talk about in the book how all of these challenges strengthened you and taught you about resilience. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
First of all, back to the breast cancer, I wanted to check out, but I believe God also wanted me to realize that I did want to live. The resilience in me came from little on and going through all the different things in my life. I was always taught to, “You’re going to make the best of it. Be optimistic. Glass is half full.” I was able to do that with everything. I cried myself to sleep every single night, begging to keep my child. I was able to keep him, and the fire was devastating, but we all had our lives.
We were all living. We all had each other after the fire, going through breast cancer and then another house fire. I lost another house. It was going through all these different setbacks in my life that I developed resilience until I lost my son. My counselor even said that resilience is a word that he described to me. When I lost my son, I described it as having this box stuffed with all these traumas and high up on a shelf in my closet.
Haven’t you dealt with them yet?
They’re all up there. I thought I had dealt with them. They’re all up there then. When I lost my son, they came down and hit me in the head, I had to unpack that box and deal with every little thing inside from my failed marriage, the cancer of my son that I kept marching forward through, even though I cried myself to sleep, from the house fires, from the things that we lost in those fires, the security that I lost, the fear that I gained, to the loss of my son, which more fear, anxiety, and PTSD. I had to deal with all of those things before I could start to heal from that loss.
It’s such a great example for people if you compartmentalize all your issues, problems, and challenges, eventually, one day, “Surprise. We are here.” They trip you up in ways that you don’t even have any idea about, which is why what you’re doing now as a coach to help people is wonderful. I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through my grief without a life transition coach too, but we are ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about Shaun. Tell us about this beautiful person, your son and your relationship with him, and the way you bonded with him, the night God visited you with a message about him, and then move into his tragic death that left you with PTSD.
Sometimes it’s hard, but I love talking about him.
When I read the book, he sounded like a beautiful human being.
He was a beautiful soul. I thought about that a lot even more after I lost him. He was kind, compassionate and was always there to help somebody. He would come home from college and he would help his brothers with whatever they had.
This is your second marriage.
I had 2 more boys, with a total of 4 boys. My older 2, Ryan and Shaun, were 11 years older than my younger 2. There was quite an age difference but those older boys loved the little boys. He would come home from college and they all looked up to him. He was that glue. He would be the one they would go to for help because he would never say, “Go figure that out. I’m too busy for you.” If I needed to do something like pick out a new comfort or something even silly, he would never make fun of me or say, “You can do that yourself.” He would come with me. I loved the relationship we had.
It had had its roots and how close you were when he was sick.
I remember when he was ill. To calm him, I would sleep in the crib with him at the hospital. When they would come every morning to draw blood, I remember a couple of times them saying, “Which one is it?” because we were entwined and tucked into each other. That closeness was the only thing that would comfort him. It started way back then. We had this bond that continued to grow as he was an adult. He married this wonderful girl named Julia. His father read at the funeral and the wake and said, “You know how a man is going to treat his wife by the way he treats his mother. Shaun and Cindy had an incredible relationship.”
We did. He would stop at my office at work. I knew he loved spending time with me and I loved spending time with him. He would call me almost every day. He would call my husband, which would be his stepfather, and they had an incredible relationship. He would call him almost every other day. He had to place those calls either during my husband’s lunch hour or break because my husband punched a clock. He only had a break from 9:30 to 9:45. His lunch break was from 12:00 to 12:30. Several times a week, he would call Kevin.
When we lost Shaun, it was this instant no communication. I didn’t get a text message to pick up milk on my way home. I didn’t get any phone calls anymore at work. Everything stopped. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I did think back to when Shaun was ill and back to me crying myself to sleep every night. In the middle of the night one night, as I was crying myself to sleep like I did every night, and my poor husband did not know what to say or do, something woke me. I will never forget this feeling. I’ve prayed for this to happen again to me.
Something woke me and there was something in my room that I couldn’t see or hear, but I could feel. Yet there was this telepathic message that I received and I believe it was God. I should back up a minute and explain where we were at in the treatment because Shaun had finished his chemotherapy. Now that the chemotherapy was gone, I was afraid that nothing was keeping the monster of cancer away.
Now my fears turned into, “What are we going to do to keep this away?” I cried and could not find peace in my heart anywhere. That night when God visited me, He said, “Everything is going to be okay,” and He repeated it. It was soft and from that day forward, I had peace in my heart. I knew I wasn’t going to lose him to that disease.
Tell us about how you lost him. It is such a tragic way for that to happen.
He had been in college and was studying for medical school. He had gotten married in August to Julia. We loved Julia and her family. They came home a lot, but they were home for Thanksgiving weekend, which was a big weekend in Wisconsin. Shaun liked to bow hunt, but he was not a big gun hunter. He was home. I was shopping with my sisters on this Black Friday, which was a tradition. We talked a couple of times that day. He hadn’t even planned on going hunting. I got home that night from shopping. My one son said, “You missed Shaun.” I’m like, “Where did he go?” He says, “He decided last minute to go hunting with the group.”
I tried to call him. He was out of cell service. I missed him. I tried him again that night and missed him again. The next morning, I get this call at about 11:30 in the morning. It was my daughter-in-law, not his wife, but my other son’s wife. She was crying uncontrollably. I felt that there was something horrible. She said, “It’s Shaun. There’s been a horrible accident.” I didn’t even want to know because inside, I had this horrible feeling. She told me that they were airlifting him to this hospital, and this was the hospital that saved his life as a child.
All of these years later, when he’s completely healthy, he has beat all the odds. He was going to med school and was married to this beautiful girl. Inside and out, she was a beautiful girl. We head to the hospital and my one son who just got his driver’s license, drove us. I was in the front seat. Julia and her mother were in the backseat. There were more family members following in the car. This was another profound experience, but on the way there, I was sobbing hard. It was a great dreary day in Wisconsin. We have a lot of those up here. We lived in Wausau, Wisconsin. It was about a 45-minute drive.
All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I catch this beam of sun breaking through the clouds. It was bright that it caught my attention. I immediately felt that I was losing my son, even though I had no idea what had happened. I knew there was an accident, but he could have been shot in the leg or arm. We get to the hospital and we’re waiting. They’re supposed to airlift him.
He doesn’t arrive. I am breaking down. The chaplain is telling me to calm down. I’m like, “How can I calm down? Call. He’s supposed to be coming.” All of a sudden, they direct us to this tiny little room. The chaplain walks in and says, “Your son’s not coming. He didn’t make it.” She blurted it out. We fell to the floor and could not believe what we heard.
We started to drive back to Wausau, our home. We got back to town and we got another call that we needed to come to the hospital where they took him. They took him to this little hospital first before they were going to airlift him and he didn’t make it. They said, “You need to come here.” We take this drive and now it’s another hour’s drive in the other direction and again, the sky grabs my attention. It’s the most vivid, bright, beautiful sunset that I have ever seen and have yet seen to this day.
I knew that there was more to this. We get to the hospital. The minute we got there, I knew why we were there. I’m like, “No way. I am not going in because if I go in, I have to accept this.” I will not accept this.” They literally had to drag both of us in. I could still feel my hands holding onto the doorframe as they held me through because I did not want to go in there.
You went through that. You felt his spirit through the whole thing. There was a wake and someone came in who you thought was an angel and received other heavenly signs from Shaun. Tell us that amazing part of your story.
During the wake, one of the visitors who came through said he was a teacher of Shaun’s when he was in school. He said, “I was going through his artwork the other day. I’ll send it to you.” I looked into his eyes and I thought, “There was something magical about his eyes.” I felt that there was an angel visiting me to say, “He’s okay.” I never got that artwork, but I didn’t expect that artwork because I felt that it was not his teacher. It was a heavenly angel visiting me. There were numerous things that happened right after I explained this in the book and I can feel like my heart is shaking. It was a vibration like it was shaking.
From my husband, sometimes I get a vibration.
It’s hard to explain that. Not everybody gets that. People are like, “What?” It felt like he was shaking me, saying, “It’s okay. I’m here.” I had these little blue angels that somebody gifted me and they were turned on in my room. I was having such a hard time. I was crying. Those angels kept getting brighter. The harder I cried, the brighter those angels got until my whole room was covered in this beautiful blue light. For weeks after that, those angels would appear.
They would light up in the middle of the day. I thought the kids were doing it, but they weren’t. I would look at those and go, “He’s trying to tell me that, ‘I’m here.’” I had these pennies in strange places. The biggest thing that happens to this day with the pennies is the numbers. Before we started our interview, I had 1:11 on my phone and 11:11. Those are the two things. I always know when I get that, that it is my son and I thank him. The angels are with us.
He sounds like he’s such a stellar, gorgeous, beautiful soul. I fall in love with him after reading your book. I know this interview is about you, but to add a touch of levity, when my husband first passed, he was an avid Monday Night football fan. Every night for the first 3 or 4 months after he died, Monday Night Football would magically click on my TV, stay on for about 15 or 20 minutes and then click off. I didn’t touch it. I didn’t go near it. I knew like with Shaun, but it’s all in his cheeky way of saying, “I’m still here. I’m still watching Monday Night Football.”
They do come through with the flavor of who they are with things you can recognize. I also want to go to how this horribly sad time you went through, which I completely understand. You weren’t able to function. You had suicidal thoughts, and you even attempted suicide. Could you tell us about that wrenching time in your life? How much into the grieving was that when that happened to you? How long had it been gone?
The first time was within that first year, and that’s when I was sitting at work. Everybody was gone. I looked over and had scissors and a letter opener by my desk. I looked down at my wrist and I thought, “It wouldn’t take long. This would be the best place because my kids wouldn’t find me.” That was my concern. It was hard to find a reason to go on living, even though I had a family. People think this is selfish, and they don’t understand. You can’t understand until you feel this pain in your heart. I loved all of my children, but the pain was great in my heart.
It was unbearable.
I wanted to run away from it. I had this big bathtub at home. I thought about, “Could I hold myself under long enough to drown?” These were all things in my mind. The other attempt was several years. I hate to admit that it was several years later, but it was.
In a way, it’s good that you admit it because people know it’s a process and it takes time. It got you into healing. We’re going to talk about that.
It is a process. Everybody’s journey is different. My husband and my kids were gone on this fishing trip. I was alone. I was having a hard day. I looked out the window and I thought, “I don’t know if I can keep doing this. I’m not good for my family right now because I live with much fear and anxiety. I make everybody’s life around me miserable. I’m not happy with myself and I want to escape this pain.” I still wear lots of bracelets. I wore more than on my wrist. I looked down and the pain was great in my heart. I grabbed a knife. I had a hard time reading about this. I wrote about it. I took it out.
It’s very heart-wrenching but it’s important because it shows how you were at the bottom. You couldn’t go further, but what did you do with all of that? You didn’t stay stuck. What motivated you to start your healing path?
I started cutting right on my wrist. First of all, I understand how you read about people who do that. I wanted the pain to come from my heart down here on my wrist. I wanted it to hurt someplace else, then I wanted to end it. I was cutting and finally, the blood was starting to drip onto the floor. I had this feeling that God must have spoken to me. It was different. It wasn’t this telepathic, but God stopped me and said, “This is not the way it ends for you. This is not your time.” I realized then, “How would my kids feel, that I loved them less?”
That was far from the truth. I loved all of my children. I wasn’t done with my journey here. I had to figure this life out. My son’s mission on this earth was done. Mine was not. I had to figure out how to do this. I had been going to counseling, but I admitted to my counselor how dark I got. That was the turning point where we decided, “Now it’s time for EMDR to be honest,” which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was a perfect time. Earlier, it would’ve not been right for me because there was so much I had to process. I also had to develop trust with my therapist. When we went into EMDR, the therapist didn’t want to start me with the loss of my son. He wanted to start me with one of the fires.
The minor challenges that would’ve killed anyone else. He wanted to start you there before we went to the major.
He said, “Let’s poke a hole in the balloon.” That’s how he described it. We started with the fire. We started with the most recent fire first. That kept bringing Shaun up because he was in that situation. During that, I went into shock during that fire. They brought me away from the house. They wanted to take me to the hospital and I did not want to leave my family. They brought me further away from the house. Shaun looked at me. He held me and looked into my eyes again, caring for somebody else. He says, “You can do this. You’ve been through worse.” I knew he could tell me that because he knew I’d been through his illness with him.
How old was he at that time?
This was a few years before he died. He was in his twenties. It brought me back to him again. I found out later that I processed EMDR like a creative, not like an engineer, because I jumped all over the place. My counselor would bring me to this low point, where I developed or had my very first panic attack, and then he would have me focus on this bar of lights with my eyes. I would follow these lights back and forth. I would try to stay with that memory throughout the process. Sometimes it would get a little too overwhelming, then he would stop me and bring me back to a happy thought and calm me down. I’m not going to get into what it all does to you and how it feels because I talk about that in my book.
It’s worth getting Cindy’s book because you can learn a lot about these different modalities by reading her book. It’s very educational that way. It’s very helpful.
I go through all of my different EMDR therapies, what it was like, felt like, and the physical experience I had, but I wanted to give up on it. After that first one, I was sick to my stomach. It’s intense. I had no idea it was like that exhausting. I felt like I did a huge workout, ran a marathon, and every part of my body hurt. It was like the grief and the trauma is like trying to crawl out of your body. The next day, my counselor called me to check on me. I’m like, “I am not coming back. I can’t do this because I know what’s ahead of me. We’re going to have to deal with my son and I can’t go there.”
He tried to encourage me. He acknowledged how hard it was. I said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is my PTSD, and where do you think you can get me if I stick this out?” He says, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, I believe you’re at a 9. If you stick this out and work with me, and we go through this process, I can get you to a 4. I can’t make it go away. Certain things in your life have affected you which is normal, and I can’t change that.” That night I went to bed and prayed for guidance. The next day, I woke up and said, “I can’t live the way I’m living.”
“I can’t live in a nine. I’m going to try to go for the four.”
We continued that process. I believe I’m totally out of four. He helped me find my life again and start the healing. I could start healing deep inside by healing all those other traumas.
Look at what he did. He got you to the point with the floor where you were able to start to write your book about what you went through. Why were you inspired to write your book and what would you like to tell us all about it? I’m telling everybody as we’re going, what a wonderful book it is. It’s poignant and you share what Cindy went through, but it also ends on a hopeful note and you can learn a lot from it. Tell everyone about your books. She is a grief warrior.
Grief can come in many forms. I experienced many different forms of grief and many people experience grief. The one thing I do want to say is that every journey is unique and has its own timeline. You process grief based on what you’ve gone through, how you grew up, your different life experiences, and your relationship with the one you lost or the situation. I’ve always had this feeling after going through the different things in my life that I wanted to write a book. People commented, “You need to write a book.”
After I lost my son, I started to journal. The writing was healing for me. I thought, “Maybe I will write this book.” It is not as easy as I thought. I started writing it. I wrote the whole thing, and then I changed it. I started over. I wanted the reader to understand, first of all, that there are different griefs in life. There are different traumas. It also accumulates. I figured if they understood me, who I was, and what I went through that they could relate better to my story. I got into all the different aspects of my grief through the final, ultimate loss of my son, which is what brought me to my knees and how I moved through that healing, the different tools that I used in my book, and where I got stuck.
I got stuck on regrets. That was a big one for me, the shoulda, coulda, and would’ves. Everybody has those, “Was I a good enough mother? Did I help him enough? If I had been home that night a few minutes sooner, I would’ve said, ‘Don’t go hunting.’ Would he still be here?” All my mistakes in my life, I was hung up on him. I would jump on this hamster wheel, process those things over and over, beat myself up and I couldn’t get off that wheel for a long time. I found different tools.
What type of tools? I know you mentioned them in the book.
Journaling was good. I tried meditation. Meditation is good, but I couldn’t calm this little busy monkey mind of mine long enough so I started to write. One of the things that helped me, which I talk about and I give an example is soul writing or automatic writing. I felt when I got to that point that he was communicating with me. I was able to ask for forgiveness, guidance and spill my heart. Go through all of my shortcomings and ask forgiveness from him. That was healing for me. That helped. There were many different things that I did, but that was like big, and being grateful.
I remember reading about that and going, “How can I be grateful right now?” As I got further in my path, I wanted to help others. I would hear of a loss and reach out to someone. To this day, there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that I helped someone because I feel that all these things weren’t placed in my path. There was a reason even though I don’t like to believe there was a reason for my son’s loss. I still struggle with that one. I believe I was supposed to learn something from all the different traumas and share it with others. That was my reason for writing the book. I hope that when people go through the book and they get to the other side when they cross the river of grief, they will have found inspiration and many tools to help them on their journey.
They’ll find hope that no matter what they’re going through, they can move through it. If you were able to move through what you moved through, they can too. It’s uplifting when you see what you did. Since you know what it’s like to hit rock bottom, we’re talking to people who of them have hit rock bottom. You’re deeply passionate about sharing all these tools you discovered for coping and thriving in life. You talk about them in your book.
Could you describe your individual and group grief support sessions that help people navigate their pain, explore helpful coping tools, and find ways to heal? What a great coach you would be for somebody who’s going through this because you’ve already tried it all yourself. You know what works and the possibilities. What would you like to tell us about all of this? Do you do it online or in person?
I do it mainly over the phone. I would offer Zoom, but most people are comfortable at least starting with a phone call because some people aren’t comfortable with allowing their emotions to flow, which we talk about. That is hugely important for people to heal. They have to completely feel and allow themselves to feel to heal. They have to cry. The most important thing I can do is to walk beside somebody in their grief, listen to them, hear their story, and help them discover things that will help them move forward. Everybody has things within them. A coach helps pull things out and finds these little nuggets to help someone move forward in their journey. It’s completely different from a counselor.
If you’re struggling with grief, I’m all for, “You need professional help.” I needed it. A lot of people, when they get stuck, they need it. I can help you move forward once you get to that point where you’re, “I need to get a grip on this and move forward in my life.” Going through the grief to gratitude coaching. I learned many different tools that I have my clients do. It helps them see and understand where they’re at and how they can get to that next step.
Do you have an example of someone you’ve helped through your coaching programs? We don’t want to embarrass her and give her name, but is there anybody’s story you’d like to give us as an example?
Out of the people that have helped, one lady that stands out who lost her husband. They did everything together. They were in retirement. It was a sudden loss. She reached out to me. I did certain tools with her. I had asked her what she wanted her life to look like and we talked about how we get there and had her visualize that.
A lot of times, I will ask if I can see something, “May I make a suggestion?” and then I will make a suggestion. She sent me many great emails afterward on how I helped her immensely move forward and find that joy again in her life. That melted my heart to be able to help her. Every situation is a little bit different, but ultimately, you want to have them see that their life can be full of joy again.
You and I are perfect examples of that, with all that I went through and how much I’m enjoying my grandchildren now and all of that. The other part about it is that when you do your healing work and you move through it. It’s not about you. It’s all the people in your life who it helps. You are the role model for them. You’re inspiring them also. Everyone would like to know how to get ahold of you. Give us all your contact information. If you have any special offers for our audience, please share.
You can reach me through my website. It’s CindyBaumann.com. You can email me there and visit my site. If you want to email me, it’s Cindy@CindyBaumann.com. You can find my book here Grief Warrior. I would love to help somebody. I will offer a 15% discount. There will be a link in this where you can receive a 15% discount on coaching services. The code would be Grief and Rebirth.
Thanks to all your healing work. You’ll be very stronger, wiser, and more grateful than you ever thought possible. You say something that I found fascinating. You believe that having control of your life is an illusion. Why do you feel that? Why is it important for a person to heal?
I remember a client of mine told me, “You’re a control freak.” If I worried enough about things or planned enough, I could control it. When I lost my son, I found out I had zero control. I have no control. I have to have faith and believe.
The only thing you control is your reactions to things.
You control your reactions and choose your outcome. You can be stuck in that grief and that pain forever because it’s easy to do that or you can make the choice to heal. I had to choose to quit living with one foot on earth and one in heaven because that’s what I was doing. I had to plant both of my feet on earth. I had to make that choice. I had to choose to embrace life again. It wasn’t easy, but I had to make that choice. Once I made that choice because I am determined and I fought hard enough through my journey, I got there. I was able to heal and find joy again.
Readers, grief is a battlefield. You have to keep fighting the fight. Some days I always said, “I didn’t give my complete self. Maybe it was the incomplete me.” I got up and I fought the fight every single day because there will be joy if you keep fighting. At some point, you will smell that magnolia again or feel the sun on your face and you’ll catch yourself smiling. You have to do your work.
I was a happy person, but when I first lost my son, I thought, “I will never be happy again ever.” Now I am happy. I laugh, smile, and have joy again. I miss my son every single minute of every day. He will always own a piece of my heart, but that love and connection live forever. Heaven will be our gift together. I will embrace him again. Everybody has different beliefs, but I believe that I will see him again and that love will be greater than it ever was.
Do you have a tip for finding joy in life? Does it have to do with healing, other things, or being grateful? What is your tip for finding joy in life?
First, you have to heal. You’re not going to find joy if you don’t heal. You have to feel it. Don’t distract yourself from it. Feel to heal. Help others. You will find joy in helping others. Everybody says this, and I didn’t believe it, but it’s that gratitude in your life. In the beginning, I tried to focus on three things because that’s all I could focus on that I was grateful for. I said the same three things for a very long time. I started to expand my list. Now I pray at night, during the day, and I am grateful. I thank God for the blessings in my life, little and big because they’re there. I’m blessed with many things in my life. I would not give up. The relationship I had with my son, I know I hurt deeply because I loved him much. I wouldn’t give that up.
You have your other three beautiful sons and it reminds me of when I did all my healing work and all my son said to me one day, “There’s been nothing worse than seeing you in total despair and nothing better than seeing you being able to have joy again.” You’re experiencing the same thing.
The other thing I should have pointed out is in my book, there’s a chapter called In The Words Of Others. There are other tips in there from what others went through on their grief journey, which was a good chapter. It’s nice to see what other people learned and how they healed as well.
It’s very uplifting. If people are going through a hard time, it is inspiring for them to read your book and know, “I can get through this too.” It’s wonderful. Your memoir Grief Warrior is remarkable. You shared such an inspiring journey through intense gut-wrenching grief to healing, transformation, and rebirth. Where you once saw courage as being fearless in the face of big business deals, you now find it in helping others battle through the darkness after losing a loved one or helping them transition through the confusing and sometimes frightening crossroads in their lives. Thank you for guiding people on these challenging journeys through life so that they can embrace wonderful new possibilities in their lives. Thank you from my heart for this truly meaningful and touching interview.
Here’s a loving reminder to everyone to make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and especially on YouTube like, subscribe, and hit notified. Make sure you’ll get inspiring new interviews like this one with Cindy coming your way. Thank you. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.
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