Cindy Baumann- The Ultimate Grief Warrior

Cindy has endured more trauma in this life than many of us will in several lifetimes. While there were times she wanted to give up, she never did. Today, she is an example of what we can become if we just keep showing up. At the end, she delivers a message of inspiration for us all.

Details: Cindy is the Author of Grief Warrior: A Journey of Hope and Courage to the Other Side of Traumatic Loss. She is a Grief to Gratitude Coach. And she is a Now What Coaching Program Facilitator – career transition coach

Cindy’s website is:

Her book is: Grief Warrior: A Journey of Hope and Courage to the Other Side of Traumatic Loss Some of the questions I ask Cindy:

  • Tell me about the loss of your son?
  • How did you deal with the Should’ves, Would’ves and Could’ves?
  • Tell me about your experience with EMDR
  • How did you personally accept and move forward in your grief?
  • What tools and tips helped most in your healing journey?


Brian Smith 0:01
Now that you’re here at Grief 2 Growth, I like to ask you to do three things. The first thing is to make sure that you like click Notifications, and subscribe to make sure you get updates for my YouTube channel. Also, if you’d like to support me financially, you can support me through my tip jar at grief to That’s grief, the number two jar or look for tip jar at the very top of the page, or buy me a coffee at the very bottom of the page and you can make a small financial contribution. The third thing I’d like to ask is to make sure you share this with a friend through all your social media, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Thanks for being here. Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me Cindy Bauman and Cindy is a fellow shining light parent. And if this is your first time listening, you know what that is? shine light parent is a parent who has a child that’s passed on in the Spirit. So we do have that in common. Cindy, is the author of a book called grief warrior journey of hope and courage to the other side of traumatic loss. She’s also a grief gratitude coach. She’s a life coach. And she’s a careers in Trent transition coach. So Cindy has done quite a bit in her life. And I’ve read her book. It’s a fantastic book, a great story of courage, and overcoming very difficult circumstances that we’re going to be talking about today. So that like the Welcome to grief to grow. Cindy Baumann?

Cindy Baumann 2:11
Thank you, Brian. It’s an honor to be a guest on your podcast. I’ve listened to several. And like I said, it’s an honor to be on your show today. So thank you. And I noticed when I read your book, which was fantastic that we have many similarities in our journey, which I’m sure we will be talking a little bit about

Brian Smith 2:34
today. Yeah, absolutely. I would love to talk about that. And so everybody knows I Sunday. I do have I got her book. And it took me a while to get through it. Because I was telling her I don’t I don’t get a chance to read very often. But I am so glad that I did read your book. It’s a really well told story about your life. And we do have a lot in common. And I think we all of us have things that we have to overcome in life and all of us are warriors in a certain sense. So what I’d like for you to do Sunday starters, offices, tell us your story quickly, like in your own words, and then take as much time as you like.

Cindy Baumann 3:07
Sure. Well, I like to refer to it as I thought my life or my life was perfect. And I didn’t even take the time to realize it at the time. And then one day, my life stopped and everyone else’s around me kept going. My son Shawn was accidentally shot in a hunting accident in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving weekend. He had just gotten married in August of that year. So he had been married three months. They had lived in Madison, Wisconsin, which was just a couple hours away from us. And we were lucky that they were home to visit us almost every weekend. So thinking this was a normal weekend for them to come home. We you know, we did our normal Thanksgiving festivities. And he decided I went shopping with my sisters that next day. It was the typical Black Friday in Wisconsin and I went shopping and I talked to him a couple times throughout the day he called me because we communicated a lot. And our last conversation I’ll never forget where it was I was actually shopping for boots. And we had just a routine little conversation and if I would have known that was going to be our last conversation. Obviously it would have gone differently. And then my day continued to, you know, continued shopping expected that he would be home when I got there. And when I got home, my other son said you had just missed Shawn. And I’m like, Miss John, where where did he go? And he said, Well he decided last minute to go hunting with a couple other people, his brother would be one of them and his father, which at the time was, which is my ex husband. So they went hunting up in northern Wisconsin, and I didn’t realize he was going he was not much of a gun hunter. He was more of a bow hunter. So that night, we you know, it was just a normal, we went out to dinner with my sisters. It was just kind of a normal night I woke up the next morning, I made every one Sean’s favorite breakfast which was, which if you haven’t had this, it’s awesome. waffles with peanut butter and bananas and maple syrup. Amazing. And then they left to go to my parents house and retreat their children. And I jumped in the shower. So as soon as I got to the shower, my phone rang. And it was my daughter in law, not Sean’s wife, but my son, my other son’s wife called me and said, there has been a terrible accident. And my heart just sank. And I didn’t even want to know what it was. And I just knew that both of my boys were hunting. And she said, it’s Shawn. And I just, I didn’t want to know, anymore. I just said, Call Julia, which was his wife. And she was at her parents like to hour or two minutes, two miles, excuse me two miles away from us. So my poor little 16 year old son who just got his license, drove and we picked her up and her mom and her dad and brother followed us. And my husband was out hunting in a different party. So he had no idea this happened. So they picked us up, and my daughter in law had told us that they were going to airlift him to this hospital. So we headed to this hospital, which was about 45 minutes away. And on the way to the hospital, I was curled up in the front seat, Julia was with her mom in the back. And all of a sudden, it was one of these normal Wisconsin gray days, we have a lot of those in something pulled my attention

to the sky, which I couldn’t even focus. And all of a sudden out of this gray day was this beam of sun coming through the clouds. And my I have this feeling that that was my son leaving. And I didn’t want to believe that. But this feeling this just why would I even look. So we get to the hospital. And he didn’t show he didn’t show the chaplain there was it was kind of rude to us. And they put us in this tiny room and in a little bit she came she told me to calm down. Like okay, calm down. So then she came into this room a little bit later and she said, Your son won’t be coming. Like what do you mean he won’t be coming. She said he didn’t make it. In we just fell to the floor. And sobbed we could not even move. And we had really no idea what we were what journey we were about to embark on. As you understand this brand. It was just one day everything was good. And then the next day it wasn’t. So we headed home back to our on our 45 minute drive home and we just got home and I got a call from my sister. And she said you have to come to the hospital where where Sean is at where they took him because they knew he was shot in this little desolate area in Wisconsin. So I knew he went to the small hospital. So I guess the whole time when I heard of the accident, I was nervous because I knew he was along with from health care. So anyway, now we started on this journey and our journey to this other hospital. My poor son again had to drive in again, and my eyes were drawn to the sky and I saw the most vibrant sunset to this day I have seen and we have some beautiful sunsets in Wisconsin but this one was just unbelievable. And as much it was beautiful, it was painful. And then we get to the hospital and the minute we got there I knew I was there. And I said I am not walking in. I am not walking in those doors and in the They started to kind of pull me and I got to the door and I braced myself on the edge and, and you know, his wife was with it was crying uncontrollably. And I said, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t walk in, if I walk in, I have to admit this is true. And basically, They drugged me in and you know, that’s when the nightmare continued. And, you know, the feeling of feeling your child when the life was completely out of them, you know, seeing him feeling that, that coldness, um, tracing his, you know, fingers looking at every little piece of him, was just so painful. And he and I remember looking at him thinking, you know, he had these beautiful, long, thin hands and his he was going to actually when he was killed, he was studying for med school to become a doctor. So he wanted to help others. So that, you know, that kind of that was just, there was just so many things in my mind. And after going through this is just, I had suffered multiple traumas in the past. And I was really good. I talked about this in my book, but I was really good at putting them in this box, stuffing them nice and tight and putting them on the shelf. And I was always optimistic, positive. And when this happened, that box came down, it hit me in the head. And I had to unpack all of those different years of trauma before I could deal with the loss of my son. So that was the start of my journey.

Brian Smith 11:53
Yeah, I, I’m sorry for your loss. And I can say that, as you’re telling us I can, I can so relate. For me, I remember the moment for you as a mum walking into the hospital, where Sean’s body was, for me, it was a moment leaving the hospital after they told us Seamus wouldn’t be wouldn’t be coming with us. And that that feeling of turning your back and walking out the door, I will never forget it. And so for anyone who hasn’t experienced that, it’s you like you said, it’s like your life is one way one moment. And then the next moment, it’s completely different.

Cindy Baumann 12:31
And it’ll never go back. Same again.

Brian Smith 12:35
And your book, and I know you touched on it briefly. But in your book you talked about you did have some traumas before this happened was Shawn you that’s no other things in your life that had happened. And then so you know that those things kind of accumulated you said, and then we have to, we have to deal with them at some point, I guess is what you discovered. Is that correct?

Cindy Baumann 12:56
Right. Now you can’t stuff, the grief in your life, you have to deal with it, you think you can stop it. But at some point, it comes to the surface and it must be dealt with. And I had multiple traumas when Shawn was a baby, he had cancer. And he went through years of hell, and chemotherapy, radiation, major surgeries, didn’t think he was going to live. And he beat all the odds. He grew up to be you know, he was only three months old when he was diagnosed. So he fought that till he was three years old. And once he you know, beat that, I was just so grateful that God allowed me to keep him. So when he was was taken, it was just so hard because I couldn’t understand why. So you know, I had that trauma. I lost my first house in our first marriage to fire. So the complete loss, we ended up after all the different hardships we went through in life, we ended up divorced, another loss. And then, you know, I moved to a new city kind of started over a few years later, got remarried, had a couple children. Life was going pretty good. And then we had a brand new home last set to fire again. I mean, how can this happen twice? And I you know, I just lived with I remember after the first one I couldn’t even fall asleep at night because I was so afraid. So then after this one, you know, it was just another another thing to deal with. And I remember thinking after all of these incidences in my life, you know, it’s still it was stuff it was things I had to go through. But We have each other, I didn’t lose any of my family. And then when we lost Shawn, I couldn’t get past that. I couldn’t get past that. And then, you know, two years later, I ended up with breast cancer. And I believe it’s because I willed myself to die. I did not want to live any longer in this this world, I wanted to be wish on, escape the pain that was in my heart every day. So that brings us to a long journey of counseling. I read so many things, I was on a spiritual and religious search. I wanted answers. So I read so much. And I prayed, even though I was angry at God for the longest time. And finally, when I got to a low of a big low in my life where I was ready to end it, I, God spoke to me that day, and he said, You are not done. You can not end it this way. You know, there is so much to learn, and people to heal. And this is not your time and not you. You’re not done. Yeah. So at that point, I thought, You know what, I have to figure this out. So which led me down the road of EMDR therapy, which is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing? So that’s how I started that.

Brian Smith 16:44
Yeah, I want to, you know, you know, so the, so we all go through through traumas in life, and seems like some of us, I don’t know how you’re feeling as about whether God puts us on it, or we choose it. And I’ll leave that I’m gonna do get back around to that question. But, you know, you, you see, you’re such a strong person and you you bounce back and I’m, as I’m reading your book, I’m like, Okay, now she’s going through this. Now she’s going through this. So with Shawn, that was kind of like, and you talk about it in your book, you said, you were ready to take your life, you you actually started to take your life at one point. But then you said you, you felt like God stopped you? Is that right?

Cindy Baumann 17:24
Yes. Yes, I do. I do feel like he stopped me. And I, I had to realize what I had in my life. And I just, I just felt him telling me it wasn’t done. And I realized, how can I do this to my other children? Will they think I love them less? You know, I can’t do that. And I have to figure this, this out this mystery? Because I think life and death are both a mystery.

Brian Smith 18:00
Yeah, and I can I’ve so appreciate you being so honest and raw with your, with your journey. Because I think again, as a parent, I think it’s almost universal. When our child leaves before we do, we our instinct is to go with and I think especially for mothers, I’m not a mother, but you know, very close to my daughters, and you know, your your instinct is to protect them and to be with them. And when when you have multiple children that complicates that, right, like just you just said, you can’t you can’t be with both at the same time. At least not in, in a physical sense.

Cindy Baumann 18:37
Right, right. True. I was living with one foot on Earth, and one in heaven. Yeah, I had to make a choice on where I wanted to, you know, to plant myself, where did I want to live? And along with that choice, I had to embrace life again. Yeah. You know, Brian, that’s a tough, that’s tough. There are days you don’t want to do that.

Brian Smith 19:03
Yes, yes, absolutely true. So you you found EMDR. So tell me how that went with with EMDR.

Cindy Baumann 19:12
Well, EMDR, my counselor had talked about it before. And I honestly felt at the time we it was a couple years in a few years into my counseling before we did it, which I think was good. Because we process so many other things in my life, that I had this, this trust built up with my counselor. And EMDR can be very painful. I mean, it’s healing but it’s painful. And it basically got to the point where my PTSD in my life was unmanageable. I lived with heightened fear and anxiety all the time. I was afraid of the world. It got to the point where sometimes I was afraid to leave my house. And you know, I would hear an Ambien. Let’s hear a fire truck. And I could just feel my body just shaking. So I knew it was time to do something, if I was going to choose to embrace this, this life I had left to live and be a parent to my children and a spouse to my husband, I was driving him crazy. So we embarked on this process, and it took several months. And my counselor said, what he really wanted to do was start with one of the traumas, and not the loss, but one of the fires, he said, first, we have to kind of poke a hole on the balloon, we can’t start with a major loss right away. So we started with one of the fires. And what EMDR really does is it takes you back to that event, and you’re kind of reliving the event, and you’re walking through that pain. And in that pain, when when they feel that you’re kind of at a point where you can’t really handle it. They start with this bar of lights, and your eyes kind of track this bar of lights back and forth, you know, back and forth. And, and then you get, I remember experiencing my very first ever panic attack the first of many during a session. And then when he feels that you’re, you know, you really added out a spot where you like I couldn’t breathe, I could not breathe, well, then he brings you to a happy place. And to me a happy place was walking on the beach. So that’s where I went back to and tried to, you know, he tried to call me because I felt like I was hyperventilating. And I wanted like a paper bag to put over my mouth. And I remember sitting in the chair, during the first session in My counselor was on the third floor, and I looked out his window and wanted to jump. I wanted to jump out of that window I want because I could feel the grief crawling out of my body. I could just literally feel it crawling out of my body, my skin. I was rubbing my my arms, I was rubbing my legs, my foot on my leg, I was getting sick. Everything was just coming out of me and I was a mess. So after I left that first session, I thought I can’t do this. I can’t go back and deal with the worst loss. So that next day, my counselor called me to check in and asked how I was. I’m like, I can’t come back. I can’t. And he said, Cindy, I know this is really, really hard. But I believe if you stick with me, it will help you. It will help your PTSD. And I guess I needed to see what did that really mean? So I said, well, on a scale of one to 10 Where do you see my PTSD? And where do you think you can get me? He said, Well, on a scale of one to 10 I see you at a nine.

And if you work hard and stick with me, he goes, I think I can get you to a four. He goes, I can’t make it all go away. Life has been, you know, has thrown these different things in your path. And I can’t take them all away from you, but I can help you get better. So that night, I went to bed and I just prayed for some guidance on what to do. And the next morning I decided, okay, I either live like this. And I’m driving my family crazy. And I don’t like myself. Or, like, I take this, this journey through EMDR and see if it helps my life. What do I have to lose? So I continued, you know, I continued and we spent a lot of time walking through the last several sessions on the loss because I had to go to the hospital and I did you know, I was touching my son and I could interesting session I had is when I was dealing with the loss of my son and I was at the hospital. I could like feel his I could almost feel his spirit, like leaving. And I remember reaching for it. I was reaching for it with my hand and I could feel him holding my hand and I could feel the grip, letting go as he was leaving me. And it was just completely I mean it was horrible. But yet it was healing. And it just brings me to tears. Oh, when I when I think about that, because I could just like I could I was reaching for him in this therapies off, you know, the counselor’s office during therapy. And it was just, oh.

Brian Smith 25:13
So, you mentioned that you were you were a nine on the PTSD scale when you started and your cows without hitting gets you to toe for where do you what would you say you are now?

Cindy Baumann 25:23
I think he got me to a four. I mean, yes, I still deal with anxiety and certain things, but it doesn’t control me. And when I get in that state, I don’t stay there for a long time. Yeah. Because it you know, it makes dealing with the other things you go through grief. Worse, like, for example, dealing with regret, you know that that’s a big one. This should have could have whatevs. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Let’s

Brian Smith 25:51
talk about those. That should

Cindy Baumann 25:53
have could have whatevs. Oh, my goodness. So this should have could have would have occupied me way longer than they should have. And you know, we all have these. After I lost my son, this this regret this. I can’t make it right anymore. I can’t say all the things I wanted to say to him, I can’t do the things I wanted to do for him. Was I a good enough? Mother? Why didn’t I come home early and stop him from going hunting? You know, did I help him enough? I felt so bad. He had to go through a divorce. And the horrible cancer he went through. I mean, I wish I could have taken that all away. You know, and as a mother, the day he died, even though he was 100 miles away from me, a part of me felt like I should have protected him. So I had so much to deal with. And I remember just getting stuck on this hamster wheel. And I would go round and round and round and process and reprocess this stuff over and over and over again, beating myself up constantly. Forgetting I was human. And, you know, everybody has regrets in their life. And I also had to be I had to read, it took research and people who I’ve reached out to but then I realized I could still make things right. He was not here physically. But I could still make things right. And I know, Brian, you understand that?

Brian Smith 27:38
I do. And I really wanted you to talk about that. Because I think that’s, that’s pretty much a universal thing for a parent that that has had a child pass. I have worked with lots of parents, and I don’t, I haven’t worked with one yet that hasn’t found some way to blame, blame themselves. It’s just, it’s a natural human thing. And I want people to understand that when you’re going through that, you think you’re unique. We’re all that’s one way we’re all pretty much the same. And, you know, as I read your book, and as I hear you talk about your relationship with Shawn, obviously, you’re a fantastic mother, and you’re very, you know, you’ve made him waffles with peanut butter and bananas and maple syrup, you know, for breakfast. But we find a way to say it’s my fault. You know, my grown son went on a hunting trip, but I should have protected him. And for us outside, we realized that sounds silly, we would say, you know, your friend told us that we would say no, obviously it’s not your fault. But we say that to ourselves. Yes. You know, and then as I, as I read that your book, and as I hear you saying that I’m like, Yeah, everybody does that.

Cindy Baumann 28:42
Yes, yes. Yes. And, and once I realized that I could still you know, make these wrongs right with him in some way. I started out by, well, I journaled a lot. But journaling was a way of me putting my thoughts on paper. And then I get I got to a, a different version of that later, but I journaled a lot. I wrote him a letter. I remember sitting across from him putting two chairs and pretending he was sitting there, holding my hands out, and just pouring my heart out, and telling him how sorry I was. And there was a sense of peace that kind of came with that, like, okay, he hears me, he understands. He knows, I believe there was a part of him that thought losing him, would almost kill me because he knew how much I loved him and how close we were. But then I finally learned a technique called Soul writing. And I started where I would go through a short meditation. And meditation was not an easy thing for me. I still struggle with it. So when I say short I would start with a short meditation and just kind of clear my mind. And, you know, ask for whether I was writing to God or to Shawn. Because I did both, I would ask Shawn to come in and help me. And then I would just write a question. And without really thinking about it, without analyzing it, I would just write the responses, everything that came to me I would write, I wouldn’t worry about Spelling Grammar, I would just kind of let it go. And I would write until things stopped. And then maybe I would write another question. And then I would put it away. And then if I pulled it out the next day and read it, I’m like, Oh, my goodness. That was definitely him communicating with me. He was, he was communicating with me, I believe it, you know, it’s kind of a form of automatic writing, where he was talking to me through the pen. And I was able to get a lot of peace from that, that so that really, really helped me on my journey. And it gave me a chance to let go of some of those things that that were holding me and hold many people back. Are the regrets.

Brian Smith 31:18
Yeah, I think that’s almost universal. I’ve talked to so many people that have gone through that. And you know what, I love what you said though, that it’s it’s never too late. You know, sometimes people say well, I can’t say the things that I want to say because he can’t hear me but these techniques, you talk about the automatic writing in the sitting with the with him in the chair across me and the separate attendings in the chair and across them and I kind of smiled when you said that because I believe he he hasn’t a chair across from you. I’ve had many mediums that have told me and people that aren’t mediums I’ll walk in the room and people that are that are psychic will say who’s a little girl that’s following you around. And it’s like, and I’ve been hearing this for the last six years. And so I know that Shana is still with me, you know all the time. Which is why she’s in my picture, you know, behind me because it’s just a reminder when I when I’m doing this that you know, Shane is still here. And Shawn is still with you and all of our kids are still with us. And they want us to be happy.

Cindy Baumann 32:17
Yes, yeah. I love I love that. Every time you walk in a room she’s she’s with you. So true. Beautiful girl.

Announcer 32:27
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach. If you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to IE F the number two g Or text growth grow T H 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast visit to growth F the number two g r o wth to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.

Brian Smith 33:29
So how did you how did you get to the point? You know the EMDR sounds like it helps you with the trauma. But that that next step of like Shawn is still with me. Shawn can still hear me I can still communicate with him. How did you get to that point?

Cindy Baumann 33:44
Um, well, I guess. Oh, well. Okay. In my one of my darkest hours, I remember Are you familiar familiar with the old Hay House Radio Show?

Brian Smith 34:01
I’m not sure. Okay.

Cindy Baumann 34:03
They used to have it used to be a Hay House Radio used to have different guests. And, for example, a lot of different mediums were on there. A lot of different healing modalities were on there. Cheryl Richardson, Robert Holden. And I used to again, I was on this search. And so this was kind of like my spiritual search. So whatever I did, I would listen to Hay House. I remember ironing and I would listen to Hay House walking. I would listen to Hay House. Yeah, I used to iron way back. And I would listen to Hay House. And I used to love listening to Robert Holden. He wrote a lot of different books unhappiness and shift happens. And I just I guess just listening to him he gave me like, a good feeling he gave me hope. So. I emailed him. I reached out through his site once and I thought, oh, yeah, this is, you know, I’ve done this before. No, no, I don’t get a response. But I emailed Robert, and he’s responded to me. And it was just amazing, because he reminded me that, you know, love never does and, and our relationship, once we lose someone, our relationship is still there, it just changes. You know, it’s not it’s not physical, it’s spiritual. And it was just, you know, that our bonds are, our bonds are together forever. And it just really helped me to, to feel that he was really, really, there with me, it was just another, you know, I had a few things happen. But that was just one that kind of like, okay, I have to change the way I build this relationship with him. So Robert Holden was just a blessing to me. And I was grateful when he wrote the foreword to my book. So that was, you know, and he, I think he did a great job referring to the monopoly of life. So then, I also and I had many signs along the way. And at first, I just was like, you know, growing up the way I did, I was like, How do I believe this? Is this really happening? Is this right? But when I think back to early on when I lost him, this sounds crazy. And it’s really hard to describe. I had a hard time describing this in my book, but he literally, Shawn, I could feel shy. I’m literally shaking my heart. I could feel him inside shaking me my heart, almost like he was trying to keep it beating. And like he was telling me, I’m still here, Mom, I’m still here with you. And it was just an unbelievable feeling. And then I had these little blue angels, like just a few inches tall on my dresser. And I would cry in those angels, you know, head on, and those angels would get brighter. And the harder I cried, the brighter they would get in my light was like filled with this blue light. And in I just knew that it had to be him. And then of course, there were these pennies that showed up in unusual places that seemed to be my thing was the pennies. And the numbers 111 1111. I can’t tell you how many times I still to this day, I’ll look at the clock. It don’t ask me why I just you know, I’m nudge to look at the clock. There it is. Thank you, Shawn. Thanks for being with me today. I always thank him. And there were just you know, other things. Where he mentioned something to me and I talked about it in my book about thinking there was this, looking for this blue horse and it was not a blue horse. But it was clear as day that he had, you know, said this to me. And then that dream visit. And and I’m sure you can you can relate to this. There is a dream. And there’s a dream visit. And this dream I don’t I didn’t have to say I haven’t had many dream visits. But you never forget a dream visit.

And this one I had, I remember it was like a New Year’s Eve. And I had went to bed and it was probably New Year’s Day when the dream happened because I kind of woke up and then I went back to sleep. And it was just maybe a year or two after he left. He was gone the saw the first after the first full year. And all of a sudden, he was there and he was in his wedding talks. And he was holding my shoulders. And he goes, Mom, I know how hard this has been on you. I know how hard it is. And I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is. But we will be together again. And I said when when and the reason I know that this knowledge that he shared wasn’t from him is because he would never use these words. He said I don’t know when you are slated to come like we’re on a slate you know, like we’re slated to come and He hugged me and I could just feel him hugging me. And then I woke up and of course you don’t want to wake up you want to go back to but you know those words just slated to come hmm Oh, interesting.

Brian Smith 40:02
Yeah, well, yeah, just saying I got goosebumps as you were describing the dream visit. And you’re right when you have those, you know, I don’t have as much money as I used to have. But I would always get so excited when I would see Shayna wake myself up. So I had to learn to try to like, Okay, stay calm, you know, when I when I would see her. But there’s something about it that you just know that, you know, you’re you’re having an actual visit with them. And they’re usually very brief. Yes, and there, but they, they can kind of kind of carry you through. So you, you had an EMDR you have the communication with Sean, you talk about your faith, your faith in God. And so tell me about what that’s been like over the over the years as you’ve gone through all this?

Cindy Baumann 40:49
Oh, wow. That’s a good question, Brian. Well, first of all, I grew up Catholic, you know, a very traditional Catholic family. I sent my youngest to to Catholic school. You know, we weren’t like crazy route, religious all the time in our house. But we were, we believed in God. We went to church, we prayed. Just just pretty traditional Catholic upbringing. And when we lost Sean, I couldn’t believe God could do that. Why would you do that to us? I thought we were doing everything right. You know, why would he just take him so I was angry, very angry. And it took me a long time to get past that. But it did push me on this spiritual journey, where I read about all kinds of different religions. I read all kinds of medium books. Just a variety. And it just opened my mind up past my little world. And it made me more receptive to what was out there. And I remember people, a couple people had kind of judged me for seeking a medium. And you know, telling me, that was the devil speaking. And I guess first of all, if you if if anyone’s listening to this, and they haven’t lost a loved one, but you know of somebody that has, please don’t judge them, please don’t judge them. People. If, if you lose a child, you are so desperate for communication. People who have their children can communicate with them, whether it’s a text message, a phone call, whatever, all the time, but when you lose a child that ends, and you will do anything for communication with your child. And for the most part, my experience with different mediums has been all good. Yes, I’ve had some that weren’t that good. But for the most part, it’s been good. They brought me peace. I knew they knew things that they wouldn’t know, if my son wasn’t communicating with them. So I guess I looked at it as How can God be angry if it brings you peace? And gives you healing? So after going through my journey, you know, I it brought me back around where at first I wasn’t sure do I believe in God? And now Yes, I believe in God, I have a strong faith. I believe he walks with us, I believe he helps us through this. And and I believe we will see our children again. So that’s kind of you know, but it took me a while to get back to that point.

Brian Smith 44:00
Yeah. And I wanted to ask you that question about faith because I think that’s a very it’s an interesting thing, because a lot of people say they have faith in God, but it is, I call it the Sunday School faith or the or the Santa Claus faith, that if I do all the right things, then God will do good things for me. And when when you have that type of that type of faith and the first thing that happens when someone’s taken from us is either I did something wrong or God let me down you know, and that anger or or I have another friend that just just says okay, I’m just I don’t believe in God anymore. God must not exist because God wouldn’t let this happen. And I think it’s a very very common response and I love your your resiliency to say you didn’t leave with that but that anger at God and that’s important but people again understand that some of the things we go through a pretty much universal and for a lot of people it is that anger that anger a guy why did you Why didn’t you let me down? How could you let this happen to to me

Cindy Baumann 45:01
Yes, yes. And at the time, my priest, I reached out to my priest, he came to my house, he was really, really good. But I remember feeling after the funeral, I can’t even go back to church, I can’t go back to church and sit where my son was, and just too many memories. And, you know, he was bless his little heart, he said to me, Cindy, even the Bible says, there’s a time to be together, and a time to be a part. He said, You are on a spiritual journey like no other. And who knows where it’ll take you. So you know what, I think back to that many times, because that was a lot for him to say, back then to me, I had no pressure. He didn’t force me to go to church, he didn’t make me feel guilty. So I was able to do my own thing and come to my own understanding.

Brian Smith 46:01
So reflecting back on it now with the different things you’ve been through in your life. How do you feel about them? Now? I mean, we talked about some of that some of the trauma you’ve been through? what’s your what’s your what’s your reflection? As you look back on it now?

Cindy Baumann 46:19
On the on God or

Brian Smith 46:21
on on? Do you think it’s a plan? Do you think, oh, random, do you? How do you feel about? Like, do you still ask yourself, like, why did this all happen to me as opposed to somebody else?

Cindy Baumann 46:34
Well, gosh, I asked that question a lot in the beginning, but then I thought, well, how unfair for me to want to ever I don’t want it to happen, anybody. But I really struggled with that, why? Why did this happen? Is it part of a plan, you know, are our days numbered? And honestly, everybody comes to their own understanding. But this is what I had to kind of believe. This is where I, where I kind of landed was my son, and I’m not just saying this, because he wasn’t here. He was a good, compassionate young man. He cared about everyone. He was the glue. He was the brother, everybody went to he, you know, I remember his father in law at the funeral in the eulogy said, You can always tell the way a man is going to treat his wife by the way, he treats his mother. And he had an unbelievable bond with his mother. And, you know, he did with his father as well. But I guess, I believe that he, you know, he went through the divorce with grace. He did every he went through his treatment with grace. He wanted to become a doctor to help kids. And I feel that whatever he was put on this earth to do, he completed it. So I had to come to terms that if it wasn’t that day in the woods, because I could get hung up on that a long time. It wasn’t that day in the woods, that you know, that accident, the the people who accidentally shot him. What if he died in another? In another way? What if he died in a car accident? What if it been something else, I had to tell myself that he completed his plan on this earth, he went to the school to Earth school, and he learned what he was supposed to learn? And God took him home. So that’s what I believe. And I believe when I finally figure all this out, I’ll get there too.

Brian Smith 48:44
Yeah, I do want to ask you about the accident. And I’m going to ask you about forgiveness. Because again, these are a couple of things that I think are universal, and they apply to all of us, you know, we always find a way to assign blame when our children pass. So it could be the person that sold our child, the drug, it could be the drunk driver, it could be the doctor that didn’t do the right thing. It could be ourselves, you know, et cetera. I had never heard of the type of hunting that your son was doing. So how did you come to grips with an or have you with the men that were involved in this and and would that take you through too much of the trauma? Describe the type of hunting that they were doing because I’ve never heard of this.

Cindy Baumann 49:32
Okay. Sure. And no worries taking me through the trauma. I’ve been through it many times. So Shawn was so in Wisconsin, they do wit, you know, they they hunt during hunting season, which is around Thanksgiving, and they have this one part of hunting called deer drives. So what that is, is people place these hunters on posts and then They’re there. Another group of hunters drive the deer to them. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. And I will tell you that my son never liked it. He was always nervous about it. It was almost like he had this knowing. So the fact that he went, was kind of a surprise to me that day, but but he went, and, you know, he went to be part of the group and have fun and the camaraderie with the guys. And so it was the last drive of the day. And in speaking to his dad, which is my ex husband, you know, he, my ex husband said, you know, he just wasn’t feeling right about about something. And he said to the, the kids, he says, this is going to be it. They weren’t kids anymore. But this adults, this is going to be at after this. We’re done. So this was the last drive. And Shawn was placed in a spot. And what happened was, you know, as the deer were coming through the woods, the hunter next to him shot, and I don’t know if he heard something and shot or what happened, but he shot and hit my son. Now, I struggled with why did it have to be right there? Why couldn’t have had been in the arm? Why couldn’t have had been in the leg? Why did it have to be in that spot? No. And why couldn’t God have had him bend down and tie a shoe or just something. But he hit him right in the spot where, you know, he was instantly killed. So for a long time, I struggled with the person who set the drives up, who placed everybody where they were supposed to be? Because I I felt that maybe that wasn’t right. And the shooter who you know, and I guess it took me a long time to come to that place of forgiveness. How do I forgive them, they took my son’s life and that split second. But what I finally realized was it was more about understanding that they didn’t intentionally take my kids want to kill my son that day, it was an accident. So I know that it was an accident. So that’s where where I was able to come to my forgiveness. But before I had to do that, I had to forgive myself. And I remember a friend said to me, he was a good, good friend. And he tried to kind of like, help me through this. And he said, you know, Cindy, you can’t heal till you forgive yourself. And I looked at him and I thought, forgive myself. Why do I have to forgive myself, I wasn’t even involved. But I realized he was right. Because I felt this, I should have protected him. Even though I wasn’t even there. I should have protected him. And I just you know, as a parent, I feel that all we want to do is protect our children. So I had to do that. And then I was able to forgive the people understanding that it wasn’t intentional. Yeah. Wow, tough.

Brian Smith 53:24
You, as you said that something just came to me because I’ve often wondered, why is that we beat ourselves up so much. And I can say that’s almost universal. And I think I just dawned on me, you said that. It’s it’s punishment, we feel like we’re we haven’t forgiven ourselves. So we punish ourselves. So we say I can’t feel good, I can’t be happy. I don’t deserve to be happy. You know, I deserve all this, all this stuff that we do to ourselves. Because it’s, I see it so often. And I think what your set friend said is very profound. It’s like, we can’t start to heal until we forgive ourselves. And even if it’s not a conscious feeling, I think it’s there subconsciously, as a parent, and I remember thinking, because I had to give Shana an injection, she had rheumatoid arthritis. So I had to give her injection every couple of weeks. And I given her an injection on Monday, and she passed on a Wednesday or Tuesday overnight on Tuesday. And I thought, you know, did I do something wrong, you know, with the injection? And you know, and she was she was seeing a cardiologist. So should we have taken her back to the cardiologist? And was it his fault that he missed something and you go through all those different things, trying to find someone or something to blame. Without just being able to say, like you said earlier, I’m only human. And you know, we do what we can do. Like, let’s talk about where you are, where you are today. I mean, you’re a grief to gratitude coach. I know you were a very successful entrepreneur before all this. So how did you get to being what you’re doing now?

Cindy Baumann 54:58
Well, Going through the loss of my son, and I know you, you can relate many parents who have lost a child can understand that your identity changes who you were before the loss is not who you are today. Therefore, your priorities change. You know, I was building a business, climbing the ladder, I have to admit, I mean, I had fun doing it. I loved being part of this group. I had an ad agency and and we, it was a fun business. We had a great team, I had a good partner. And it was fun. But after I lost my son, my passion just was gone. I felt like I spent way too much of my life working, which I did. That’s one of my regrets. I worked way too much through all of my children. And I tell the story, just because it’s kind of cute. But one, one January day, my son who was young called me at work, and it was after I don’t know, it was like, 630 or seven o’clock, he called me at work. And he goes, Mom. And I’m like, yes, just, he goes, Did you forget your New Year’s reservation? Knowing he meant resolution, I’m like, Oh, yes, Justin, I will be right home. Because he knew that I promised to be home by six o’clock. So you know, it was just those things. And all of that came back to me. And I thought, okay, I spent way too much time working, I have to refocus. So spent some time kind of trying to figure this out. And there was only so much I could do because I had a business to run with my partner. So eventually, we sold the business. I worked part time for the new employers, while I kind of worked on my coaching, and expanded my knowledge in those areas, and then started writing my book. So today, it’s my goal today is to help others. There is beauty and joy on the other side of this, and I want to help others who are struggling find that helping others heal is the most, you know, satisfying, I think satisfying thing you can do is to see that person move forward in their grief. So that’s kind of what I still pray for an MD because I’ve always prayed for a near death experience that I never got. But I thought how cool would that be? To have an MD II, just so I could see what my son’s life was like, but I still pray for that. But yet, yeah, it’s my life is good. No.

Brian Smith 58:03
Well, I will tell you I’ve interviewed lots of people have indeed, and the ease and one thing they always say is do not pray for an indie. Oh, give you that little bit of advice. So the tip. Yeah, it’s, you know, and I’ve said the same thing myself before I studied it as much as I have. Now, it can be very, very traumatizing. They end up with, you know, all kinds of issues. But the great thing is study in these, that’s that’s the best. I’ve read many study in these. But I understand what you’re saying because you know, I sometimes can be envious of my friends that are mediums. I have a really good friend that she’s like, We talk all the time. And she she always said to me, I wish I could give you my third eye so you can see what I see because she actually sees my daughter. And she’s like, I see Shana sitting here on my bed. I see her doing this. And so I for me, I just have to take it on faith, right? I’m like, Okay, I have to I have to believe that she’s here when you told me that she’s here and she but she’s told me like stuffs as insane as room so I know she knows what’s going on. Right? So it’s by love. I love what you call yourself and I haven’t heard this before grief to gratitude coach. So you know, it’s one thing to say waken heal, but that implies even more than that. So what why did you choose the word gratitude?

Cindy Baumann 59:28
Well, it’s a program. So it’s a program that I signed up for. So I’m not responsible for the name of it grief to gratitude, but Dora carpenter is the person that runs this coach certification program. And I guess what it the gratitude part of it is, you know, we, we try to encourage gratitude in your life because, you know, it’s how important it is and sometimes it’s hard to find it and Do we encourage embracing life again? So those, you know, your start out with this heavy grief and you want to bring the person to a healing place of embracing life wanting to live life and being grateful for what they have. So that’s kind of part of the program in Okay. Quick summary.

Brian Smith 1:00:22
Yeah, no, I love that. And that’s it’s taken me a long time to get there probably it’s been six and a half years since St. Shayna passed and probably took me three or four years to get to the point where I really embraced how important gratitude is because I was resistant before that. I’m like, Oh, this is a bunch of crap. And I was just really going to help. But now it’s something I do every day before I get out of bed. I was thinking three things and I’m grateful for. That’s, that’s a practice. That’s a minimal, that’s just a start. Because it’s, it’s, it’s the only way to get through what, you know, we’ve got, I mean, you could look at your life and say, Why do I have to go through all this? You know, I should I should be done by now. And, frankly, you know, again, once these things happen, like, you know, with Sean’s cancer when he’s like, three, you probably thought, Okay, we’re good. We’re good. Now, I probably paid our dues.

Cindy Baumann 1:01:13
Right? Right. Yes, I felt the same way you did about gratitude for several years as well, it took me a while. Because yeah, every time you read gratitude, you’re like, gratitude. Come on, seriously. So when I write about in my book, I talked about the fact that you in the beginning, I had to dig deep, and I repeated the same things over and over for a while until I my list started to grow. But yeah, there were things in my life that I could be grateful for. And, and I believe everybody has those. Sometimes they’re just hard to find. They’re buried.

Brian Smith 1:01:50
It’s really, you know, the thing is, if you can start with the small things, you know, like, you and I are both sitting in uncomfortable places, we both have enough food, we have clean water, I was listening to something about Ukraine this morning. And the people marry up when they’re saying they’re drinking brackish water, and their people are starving. And we take it for granted. You know, we take for granted, I was complaining Yesterday, I went to Costco to buy some groceries and meat prices are through the roof right now. So I can either focus on the fact that I had to spend $50, to buy three steaks, or the fact that I had the $50 and I can I can afford the stakes.

Cindy Baumann 1:02:29
Right? Right. Yes, I mean, so true. And Ukraine, you you bring up a good point. I mean, look at their lives right now. And how many 50 Some days ago, they were living a life like we are and boom, look, what they’re dealing with. And my heart just goes out to all of them, and what they’re going through in their lives. But I think you can feel that too. When things happen to others. When you hear somebody who loses a child or you hear of all that death, it just once you’ve gone through a loss like we have, it just breaks your heart. I mean, you feel you can you kind of like feel it in your soul. And it’s, it’s hard.

Brian Smith 1:03:12
Yeah, well, that’s why it’s so important that you’re doing the work that you’re doing. You know, I think just being being the example that you are, and you know, and people being able to because, again, we like to compare ourselves. It’s just, it’s just part of human nature, right? So we say, Oh, my life is so miserable. My life is so terrible, you know, well, it’s easy to say I don’t have anything to be grateful for. And I’ve seen people that from the outside looks like they’re living fantastic lives, you’re like you would you know my life so bad. And when I’ve realized that, you know, talking to people like yourself, it’s like, everybody has challenges, everybody has issues. And for anybody that’s listening and says, Well, you don’t understand my issues. I mean, read Cindy’s book, and you’ll see that, you know, we all go through things and, and we can, we can choose how we come out of them. So I appreciate what you what you’ve done. Running out of time, I could talk to you for the rest of the day. But so I’d like for you to tell people where they can reach you make sure you they know the name of your book if they want to pick it up and stuff like that.

Cindy Baumann 1:04:12
Okay. And I echo your thoughts on everyone has struggles everyone does, everyone. So you can reach me through my website at Cindy and it’s cin D YBAU. M A. N My book is available on Amazon. It’s grief warrior. And I think you’ll find in my book, a lot of different tips and tools on how to get through your grief how to help heal your grief. You’ll feel like you’re not alone. When you read this book. I think you’ll be able to even though everyone’s grief journey is unique. I think you’ll be able to relate to different things. And I guess you know, I want to leave you with Thor, first of all, I want to thank you, Brian, for having me on today. I enjoyed the conversation and sharing with your listeners. And I have a couple of thoughts of, of inspiration for the listeners is, first of all, coming from a grief warrior grief is a battlefield. Keep fighting it, even on those days you don’t want to. Don’t give up. There is beauty and joy on the other side. I am happy today and I want to live. Would I choose this path again? No. Would I rather have my my son with me? Absolutely. But I am going to make the best of the time I have on this earth. And that day, when we embrace. I want him to be proud of my journey. Keep praying, God hears you even if he doesn’t always answer in the way you you’d like him to gratitude again, be grateful for those little blessings in your life. And remember, this is the most important thing. Love truly lives forever. Nothing can sever that you know and thank you Brian, so much heartfelt thanks for you having me today.

Brian Smith 1:06:18
Well, suddenly again so much thank you for being here and for sharing and being so open to I know this will help a lot of people. So with that and once they have a great day. Thank you don’t forget to like hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.

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  1. Great interview. Just curious…She said she tried EMDR therapy. Is that the same as Induced after death communication, or are there differences?

    1. Eye movement can be used as a technique to induce after death communications. But, EMDR can be used for a number of traumas and isn’t necessarily tied to after death communication.