What Makes a Survivor?

Free My Heart of Grief to Love

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I had a chance to interview Sandra Moore Bernsen in Quartzsite, Arizona, where she was hosting an author signing event at Readers Oasis Books. Sandra wrote Free My Heart of Grief to Love-A Journey from Loss to Joy, a memoir of devastating loss and recovery.

Born in Minnesota, the financially stressed family moved to Montana where she later found the “bad boy” to whom she gave her heart. The antithesis of Sandra, she and Rich married and eventually moved to Idaho where they established a life of their own after welcoming their two sons. Ray was their first born son. Patrick followed, but at 8 days old went from being a happy, healthy boy to one of multiple and massive health issues–forcing the family for an extended period of time to concentrate on acquiring his care where they could and eventually losing him to the devastating illness that ravaged his little body.

Ray had his own issues, but borne of the eventual loss of his younger brother and that of his beloved German Shepherds, Sam and Alf, he turned inward for solace and took it upon himself to garner the protection he felt he needed. The protection accidentally turned deadly one evening in the kitchen as he fixed himself a late-night snack. Roused by the sharp report in the kitchen, both mother and father discovered their son had suffered a fatal head wound. Within 10 short weeks of the loss of Ray, Sandra’s mother succumbed to her own health issues.

Devastated, both parents grieved in their own way until Rich was discovered to have contracted acute leukemia–one so rare his doctors were at a loss to create an appropriate treatment regime. Sandra took her husband home and once again faced the emotional turmoil of laying to rest another loved one.

I asked how in the world she was able to handle this and continue on with her life when she’d suffered what would have spelled the end to most of us?

She answered that she had many friends and acquaintances who, following the loss of her husband and in their quest to ease somewhat her torment, were themselves calmed and given peace by Sandra’s experiences and private counsel. Told more than once that she should write and publish a book of her experience, she was reminded of the journal she’d kept as a child.

The new journal stemmed from a “growing sense of being an orphan”, and she detailed as many memories as she could recall. Unfortunately, her mother had found and read the diary she’d kept during her youth which quashed her desire to further chronicle any events or record her true feelings on paper for some time. The catastrophic loss of all the loved ones in her adult world “forced inspiration” and became cathartic.

I asked Sandra about the grief counselor she alluded to as being a saving grace.

She recalled the grief counselor as being “sent from God” and kept in close contact with her throughout the immediate loss of Rich, knowing that the extent of the losses to which she had been subjected many times led to the death of the survivor.

How did Sandra begin the exploration into the use of intuition and meditation?

Sandra was introduced to grief counseling books, texts, articles, and sources of inspiration, one of which was the book regarding life after death, “Talking to Heaven” by James Van Praagh. Not the first time she was introduced to the idea of life in the spirit world as she felt strongly that Sam, their German Shepherd, shaking their bed in death as he always had in life was a physical manifestation of the phenomenon.

I loved her parting words of wisdom shared as we wrapped the interview: “Let go of the things that don’t serve you–if it doesn’t serve you–why do you drag it around?” Indeed! Sandra Moore Bernsen

***Sandra Moore Bernsen grew up in a remote town in western Montana, moving to Idaho in the early 1990s. Her life experiences led her to the study of intuition and meditation, learning the Berkeley Psychic Institute method of clairvoyant reading and healing. She finds strength in sharing her background with others and the impulsive counseling that occurs. She loves spending time with her second husband, Rick, and her dog Anna, a German Shepherd. Sandra knows that life can be short and change in an instant. It’s imperative to enjoy each and every day! Sandra’s book has garnered 5-star ratings on Amazon.com and she is available for speaking engagements. She looks forward to hearing from you. Feel free to contact her at Sandra@SandraBernsen.com or sandrabernsen@gmail.com

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Author: Rosepoint Publishing

I am the granddaughter of Patrick John "Stanley McShane" Rose whose books including "Cocos Island Treasure" I've recently self-published. He wrote many manuscripts, short stories, and poems. Some of the latter were included in the anthology, "Sole Survivor." My time is now spent in promotion, marketing, sales, reading and reviews. Reviews are as important to me as you! I'm looking forward to sharing this social media odyssey with you!

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