Healing Support for Suicide Loss

This group is for adults who have lost someone to suicide.

Meeting with others who have experienced suicide grief is powerful. Spending this time together provides a safe, respectful space to truly acknowledge your feelings and experiences… and to begin healing.

You are not alone! Sandy and many others have walked this path, and continue to do so. Healing can and does happen. It’s a very natural part of this journey, made much easier with the support of others.

Join with Sandy, to walk that path, through grief, into healing.

Questions? Contact Sandy
E: Serenity@SandyWalden.com
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June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3
7-8:30 PM
CATHE Center – Gray House
Free of charge

Grief – Changed but Still Beautiful

Somehow I doubt that any of us would choose to be walking the path through grief and into healing. Still, life happens. More correctly, I should say that death happens. And there we are, smack dab in the middle of that path. Knowing that no matter how much we might want to, it’s simply impossible to take steps back to the time that the one we love was with us. And so we must move forward.

Today I was looking at one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry. A gift from my son Mike, quite a long time after he moved to The Other Side. It’s a fun story and I’ll be sure to share it with you another time. For now, I ask you to notice the necklace that I’m wearing in the picture. That’s the one! It’s not an expensive piece of jewelry, but because it is something tangible from one of my sons, it’s very precious to me. Each and every time I wear it, I feel as though Mike is smiling.

As I said, today I was looking at the necklace. I noticed that the color was changing and despite my efforts to clean it, there was no discernable improvement. So, off I went to the jewelry in downtown Burlington. The kind man behind the counter took a look at it and then smiled at me. He certainly knew that it wasn’t a piece of ‘fine jewelry’ by most standards but after a few words he realized it was something I prized very highly.

After a few moments of friendly chit-chat, he told the original color and shine simply could not be restored. This was a piece made of copper with a thin coat of plating. That plating was wearing off and could not be replaced. At first, I was disappointed, feeling a sense of loss. But then he said something that was just what I needed to hear. He said that in time, most likely a very short time because I wear this necklace quite a lot, all of the silver colored plating will be gone and it will be beautiful with the copper showing. He called it evolution. I loved that!

As I left the store I thought about how well this symbolizes our journey. The necklace has been something I prized as a tangible connection to my boy. It doesn’t look the same as it did several years ago – but the looks are all that is changed. The necklace is still a connection of love. It always was. It always will be.

And so we continue to take our steps, walking this path. No, it doesn’t look quite the same as it did when I took those first steps. It’s not what I expected so many years ago before I even imagined what grieving or healing might be like. It’s changing, but then again, so am I. It’s okay to notice, acknowledge and even to celebrate those changes because they are healthy and they are mine.

As I write this post, I find that I am really quite pleased with the look of that special necklace now. Like me, it’s lost some of its original shine. It’s now a much more interesting piece, as some color is wearing off and new ones are showing up, I feel as though it is really deep resilience that is showing through. A new sort of beautiful and I am so grateful.

Namaste,
Sandy

Grief – What is it Anyway?


What is grief? Grief is the feeling that we experience when we have a loss. Deep sorrow and hurt. It may be accompanied by shock, lack of focus, loss of energy, feelings of overwhelm. We quite naturally think about feelings of grief when we experience loss of a loved one to death. It’s important to be aware that many other experiences in our lives can bring on the feeling of grief.

  • Divorce
  • Loss of job/career
  • Loss of home
  • End of a friendship or other caring relationship
  • Saying goodbye to a beloved pet
  • Financial or economic loss

There are of course many other experiences which can bring about feelings of grief, I think you get the idea.

All of these experiences matter and deserve our attention. At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience grief in one form or another. While grief due to loss can deeply hurt, it is absolutely possible to grieve or mourn in safe healthy ways which support your healing.

This is important, so I’m going to repeat it.

Feeling deep sorrow and pain after loss results in grief, but that grief CAN evolve, transition and heal. You do not need to feel deep pain every day, all day long for the rest of your life. Healing is possible. And I believe that healing is quite natural.

As I focus on coaching clients through grief, I am particularly focused on those who are grieving the death of a loved one. Grief is NOT a life sentence. Our relationship with our loved one can continue, in a new way to be sure, but it does not need to end with that last breath.

I’ve heard it said many times that we don’t get over a loss. I simply disagree, I believe it is possible. I believe that I have healed from several losses. Each and every one of these people remains in my heart today and always will. However, I no longer feel the deep pain when I think of them. Today I feel love and appreciation for having them in my life.

This didn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but it did happen. And I am deeply grateful.

Are you ready to transition your relationship with the one you have lost? Are you ready to begin healing your pain and grief?

I’m ready when you are. Let’s begin today.

Namaste, Sandy

The Acorn Journal: Messages from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time…

Hello, my friends,

Today’s message is incredibly personal. I’m sharing because this is something that I imagine all of us have dealt with or will deal with at some point in our lives. At the very least, it’s probably a point of curiosity and discussion. I’m talking about communication of some sort with someone who has died.

No, I’m not asking you to set aside your belief’s whatever they may be. I am simply asking you to consider having an open mind. To consider that perhaps, just perhaps someone who has left the planet earth is as close to us as our own heartbeats. Because I believe this is true.

My youngest son died seven years ago. Such a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, even now. I remember so very clearly having conversations with people almost immediately, about feeling confident that Mike was still around, in a very different way of course.

So, I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me when we began finding acorns at our lake home. It soon became very clear that these acorns were in fact, messages from Mike. I began keeping a journal of these occurrences and my thoughts and feelings when they were discovered. I needed to be sure that I wasn’t imagining things.

Time went on and these experiences have continued. This was both an intensely personal experience and something that I wanted to share with the world. When the time was right. Well, it feels as though the time is right and so The Acorn Journal: Messages of Connection from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time… has now been published and is available on Amazon.

https://smile.amazon.com/Acorn-Journal-Messages-Connection-Other/dp/1544750749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514493082&sr=8-1&keywords=the+acorn+journal+sandy+walden

This is my story and yes, it continues. Because life does not end when we take our last breath, it simply transforms. I hope that reading my story reminds you that those you love are with you. Always. I hope that you share your own story of connection with me. I would love to hear it.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Prosperity Blessing

This was sent to me by a friend. It’s now saved on my Desktop and the first thing that I read when I open my computer. It feels very good, and so I wanted to share with you.

Namaste,
Sandy


A Prosperity Blessing

May you be blessed with an amazingly abundant day today!

May the clouds break and the heavens pour down upon you more joy, more love, more laughter and more money than you could have ever dreamed of.

May the sun shine its golden light of prosperity through every cell of your extraordinary body.

May you be cleansed today of any resistance or feelings of unworthiness that you may still be holding onto.

May your false illusions of doubt, fear and scarcity gently fall away like soft white feathers on a gentle breeze.

May you be willing, simply willing to allow the Universe to shower you with miracles today.

May the Angels wrap you in their shining wings of opulence.

May the fairies deliver you to their pot of gold at the end of a majestic rainbow.

May your eyes shine with the glorious truth of who you really are and may that truth uplift others in your presence to their own inner knowing.

May your ears hear the sound of perfection ringing in your soul. May you taste the deliciousness of every precious bite of life as your day unfolds moment by moment with amazing grace, heartfelt love and a bounty of magnificent money.

As this day ends, may you slumber wrapped in an exquisite blanket of enduring peace and profound gratitude.

And may the last words you speak today be Thank You.

Anonymous author

Are You Listening?

We all have guidance. Some call it intuition, others say it is our angels, guides or higher self. Of course, there are those who say it is our subconscious. Perhaps all of these things come into play, but what I want to know is this;  are you listening to that guidance?

Perfect example. I can be a wee bit hard-headed. I’m working on it but facts remain facts. Last week I got in the car and headed into town with the intention of getting new eyeglasses. As I drove, something kept telling me to check in my wallet to be sure that my prescription was there. But I resisted. Actually, I did more than resist. It was as though there was an internal argument going on.

Guidance – Check the wallet, you will not find the prescription.

Me – I don’t need to check, where else would I have put it?

Guidance – Sigh, just check. Pleeeeeeeease. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the location and no prescription will be found. Hint, you might want to look in your computer case though…

Me – Nope. I don’t need to. Although I feel twinges about this and I sort of want to give in and check that wallet, I can’t think where else the prescription might be. Besides, I would need to turn around! That’s not gonna happen. I’m going to stick to my first intention.

Guidance – Okay, have it your way. But the prescription is not in your wallet. Might be in your computer case, but who am I to tell you?

As you have no doubt cleverly discerned by now, I got to the desk and after completely emptying out my wallet on the desktop, realized the prescription was not there. So, I got back into my car and began going home.

You guessed it, when I got in I found myself checking my computer case. Where of course, I immediately found the prescription.

Guidance – See, I told you so!

Yes, it seems that my inner voice is a bit of a smart Aleck at times. On the other hand, I absolutely had it coming.

Are you listening to your guidance? Those nudges that suggest you turn left rather than right. That fleeting thought that hints at calling someone. That imperceptible something, often indefinable that propels you to say or do something that you might not have otherwise. This is guidance.

We all have access. Most of us are quite aware that there is something helping us to make decisions. When we choose to ignore this guidance, we are often able to see how we might have benefited from making other choices.

Each and every time we do listen, we reinforce our connection, our trust. We further develop a relationship that benefits us.

So, do you want to be the person standing that the desk searching for your eyeglass prescription? Or, would you like to take a few deep breaths and consider that maybe, just maybe, there is guidance coming to you that is helpful? It’s really up to you.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

 

 

Are you Judging Your Bloom?

I spent some time walking around the gardens this morning. The early spring flowers are showing off their color and it’s fabulous.
When planted, many of these flowers were the smallest cuttings, some were planted as seeds or bulbs. Often so small as to be barely there.
They began to grow, nurtured by the sun, soil and rain. In the beginning, some may have said they didn’t have much to add to the garden. They needed time to mature. But they had promise, they existed and their presence was enough.
As time has gone on, each began to display their own unique beauty. Greenery that was shaped and colored differently from other plants. Even their short-lived blooms change from day to day. They are evolving as they mature.
It made me wonder if these plants ever doubted themselves… did they compare themselves to their more mature neighbors and find themselves lacking in some way? Were they ‘less than’ because they were still growing into their own magnificence?
As they bloom today, are they able to recognize and acknowledge the contribution they make to the gardens? Because each of these plants makes the gardens more complete.
A daffodil cannot be a lungwort, nor should it try! The phlox that is beginning to break ground has no need to compete with Asian iris, each has its own gifts that does not need to be compared to those of its neighbors.
None of these plants are ‘fakers’ or ‘impostors’ just because they are different than the other plants.  Each has it’s placed in the garden and is valued greatly for what it brings.
So, on this blooming day in spring. it’s my hope that you smile and acknowledge that you are really quite perfect just as you are.
Namaste,
Sandy

A Life Well Lived

He completed his earthly journey 5 years ago. But this isn’t about his death, this is about the life that he lived so very well. 

My dad, or as you may have known him, Art Raith entered the world in November of 1942. I’ve heard an awful lot of stories of his exploits as he was growing up, mostly good, always enthusiastic. I think if I had to use one word to describe him, that might be it. My dad had enthusiasm about just about everything.

Many memories have been surfacing recently, mostly silly or fun times. Like when he would come home from work with a fist full of kites early March. Determined that whether or not there was snow on the ground, March was the time of year for flying kites. So, he would put them together, my mom could always be counted on to find fabric to make the perfect tail. Then we would all head over to the neighborhood park to get these things in the air. So funny to watch this big man run across the grass holding on to the kite while yelling at one of us to ‘give it more line!’. Oh my gosh, it was fabulous! Inevitably at least one kite would wind up in a tree, but that too was part of the fun.

Remembering him setting up a bale of hay in the basement when we got bows and arrows for Christmas so that we wouldn’t have to go outside in the cold right away. Watching him with my own boys years later. Oh my gosh, it made me crazy sometimes! My boys could come in the house carrying a partially eaten sandwich and their Grandpa would simply pretend there was nothing in their hand. He would begin by asking them if their mom had fed the anything that day, or would they like for him to make them something special? You can guess what their enthusiastic response was each time.

We argued just like all families. He scolded or yelled, and boy, he knew the most impressive curse words. He controlled the television, sports were on endlessly. We talked about books, he was always interested in what each of us was thinking, doing, planning and he was more than happy to share his opinions. He loved to cook and was amazing. I bet all of us have a favorite or two. I easily recall the endlessly long games of Monopoly… what I wouldn’t give to play another game today. The long hours spent in the yard, doing nothing at all. Long and short, we all knew that we were loved. Without question. You knew you were loved.

So today, my heart is full. Gratitude and love have filled in all of the corners. And I’m remembering Pop. The picture that most often comes to mind for me is the one that I have shared. I swear he looks like a 6’1″ leprechaun. Pretty much perfect.

Today, I’m hoping that you take a few moments to think about someone you love, whether they are still with you on this planet or in spirit. Feel that love, go ahead and share it.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

Divine Intervention

Do you pray? Do you believe in God, The Divine, Spirit, Universe…whatever name or word you use to refer to that which I consider the Supreme Being. Me too. Do you also believe that this Creator also has beings called angels who are sent to help us? Yep, I’m with you there too.

Depending on what statistics you are looking at, between 50 – 75% of folks in the United States believe in angels and their loving assistance. How about you?

I’m fascinated by the subject of Divine assistance and the way it is received among different groups. When I work with clients, it’s pretty normal for clients to share about their spiritual beliefs. I feel honored that they do so.

So it makes me wonder, what are your thoughts and beliefs? Do you find that your life experiences are shaped by your beliefs or is it perhaps the reverse? No right or wrong here, just your own experience. It’s all valid.

This is always a fascinating subject for me. If we believe that we are not alone, that we have Divine guidance and assistance all along the way, are we reaching out for assistance? If not, why not? What would happen if we did? Ohhhh, that’s the real question, isn’t it?

What if I reach out for guidance, assistance, love, and support – and it doesn’t arrive? What if I don’t hear or understand or what if I just don’t listen? Then again, what if I do?

Why not give it a whirl? Go ahead and ask your angels and guides for their assistance. Then allow yourself to be open to receiving. This is when the most wondrous things begin to happen. Big and small. Perhaps you will find that your computer is running faster than normal, you might find that you feel calmer than normal. These would be examples of interaction that we don’t notice. These shifts may well be Divine interaction. So, I encourage you to notice. What is happening? Emotionally, physically, mentally. Remember, the signs may be the absence of what we are used to. Perhaps anxiety or worry is gone.

What’s right for you? Are you open to taking a step? Just think about it, how does that feel? Opening your heart to even consider the connection with Spirit is often the very first step, the most important step you can take.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

The Heavy Coat of Suicide Grief

 

A very wise woman I once knew described the grief associated with losing someone to suicide as a heavy coat. It went something like this.

Imagine walking along on path on a bright sunny day. Wearing the lightest of clothing, each step is easy. You feel strong, nimble.

Now imagine if someone just dropped a great big, soaking wet coat onto your shoulders. The coat covers you from head to foot. The hood hangs over your face and obscures your view almost entirely.  The sleeves are so long and heavy that it’s difficult to even lift your arms.  Each time you try to take a step you find yourself tripping because this coat is so big and heavy.

This coat of suicide grief is overwhelmingly large, oppressive and just so very heavy. Along with the weight that most experience when losing one they love, there are additional weights in the pockets of this coat of grief. Making the grief even heavier.

There is the stigma. So much painful stigma associated with suicide and the loss of a loved one to suicide. It’s not unusual for those who have lost someone to be worried about sharing the cause of death with others. There is frequently shame, guilt and blame attached. Additional weights in the pockets. Adding to the weight of this coat of suicide grief.

New suicide grief can feel very much like this coat of grief. For some, it is not only too heavy to walk well, but it can be almost impossible to sit or even consider standing.

Still, the coat is not one that can be removed by simply unbuttoning and shrugging off of your shoulders. Instead, each person who wears this coat of suicide grief must understand that this is now a part of their reality.

Safe, healthy grieving takes work! And yes, it absolutely is exhausting. One of the many reasons why so often one who is grieving simply feels worn out. That coat of suicide grief is enormously heavy.

Over time, and with safe, healthy ways to express this grief, that coat can become lighter. It helps to begin considering those weights in the pockets. Is it really reasonable to accept and hold on to stigma? Who does that benefit? Letting go of that stigma, refusing to own it lightens the coat enormously. This is much easier for some than others. A process.

Each of these weights is a burden. Is guilt really fair or reasonable? Is blame helpful in any way? On and on, one at a time. As each of the weights is taken out and examined the coat begins to feel a bit lighter. Not as heavily saturated. And something else is happening at the same time. The person wearing the coat is becoming stronger. Again, a little at a time.

Over time, with work and hopefully with strong support from others, something rather miraculous begins to happen. Healing. It can be so subtle at first that it’s not recognized. The one experiencing this deep grief may shift their focus from the manner and moment that their loved one died to the lives that they shared together. The memories of smiles, hugs, and joy.

And slowly, the one who is wearing this coat of suicide grief is able to sit up. Stand up. Take steps and walk. Even to run.

Some say that they will wear the coat of grief their entire lives. Perhaps that is so, or not. For each person who has worn the coat of suicide grief the experience is unique,  very individual.

Many are eventually able to take to coat off. It may be folded and put on a shelf, perhaps it is worn from time to time. But it no longer drags them to the ground all of the time.

Once again, the one walking the path is able to move forward. Rejoining life.

Namaste,

Sandy