The Messenger Groups

After the loss of a loved one, after the funerals, services, and memorials, after family and friends have gone home, the one suffering the most – the wife, the husband, the mother, the father – is alone in a world that has turned upside down. The death of a loved one is disorienting. It leaves you in a space no one else occupies. It is new, frightening territory, and above all, it is desolate. No one is there but you.

That is why I have decided to form something called The Messenger Groups. The Messenger is the title of my book, in which I have told the story of my grief and how I was led onto a path of hope. It is how I discovered a reason to live, and live a life that is full, and most importantly…normal. My son died thirty-five years ago. My husband died six years ago. I am well acquainted with the particular kind of isolation grief brings with it.

I remember riding the metro in Washington, D.C., shortly after my son died. I watched people reading their newspapers, or chatting about nothing in particular, people daydreaming, people just going to work. As if my son hadn’t died.

They don’t know Eddie died, I thought to myself. They don’t know about that hole in the ground. I lived alone with that one devastating fact, that one circumstance that separated me from them, that separated me from everybody. I was different. I was alone. I was separate. There was nobody who understood what had happened to me, what happened to my son. There was nobody with whom I could talk, and there were no words that could make anybody understand what it was like to lose a child. Later, I would see old couples holding hands, couples who had lived a long lifetime together, couples helping each other cross a street, couples who were obviously still in love after many decades, and I knew that I would never have that with my husband.

I understand that pain, and it has come to me that, as my book has helped more than one person to see death and grief differently, there is something more that is calling out to me, and that something is The Messenger Groups.

I am proposing to form small groups of grieving mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands – anybody in grief –  in which they and I will talk to each other, keep each other company in the awful days after the loss, whether those days are near in time or farther away in time. Grief takes its own time, after all. I envision us sharing what only we can share. Together.

I see us, regardless of geography or time – for I know people in several countries that have experienced these losses – talking to each other via Skype, perhaps once a week, perhaps once a month. We will have no agenda, no purpose other than that of being together, keeping each other company, giving each other hope, one hour at a time. I see us in small groups, perhaps of four or five, so that we might all have time to talk.

And now, I am asking for your help. If you, or if you know of someone who would be interested in joining me and others like me, please share this blog with them, tell them about my book if you have read it, or invite them to visit my website if they’d like to know more about me at

Please write me or ask your friend to write me in the contact form below with their email address and I will get in touch with them.

Thank you, dear friends. Help me to find those that are alone in their sorrow, and tell them that they are not alone.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

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The End and The Beginning

Everything ends. Some endings are welcome, and some break your heart. When this happens, time stands still. Nothing exists beyond the travesty, the tragedy. You’re stuck in the awful present of it. The ending is all there is.

I was in Pennsylvania and New York last week. In beautiful Valley Forge, I attended a funeral. And in New York, where I visited my daughter, I was surrounded by people in another kind of grief. You all know what I’m talking about. And I was in the immediacy of all of it. We were all in the shocking, stunning aftermaths of endings, temporarily hidden from the future by the curtain of…finality.

And still. One could not entirely ignore the beauty of autumn, because it was everywhere. Color was still in the trees, the leaves rustled underfoot, and the sky…oh, the sky…was so very, very blue. I’ve always hated November. For me, it has always signaled the end of warmth and sunlight. I do not thrive in winter, or in dark days. But those days in Valley Forge and New York were summer-like, warm and sunshiny, as if Nature was intent on defying the inevitable. It was the end of autumn, but oh, so beautiful–like the life of the dear soul who passed away, like the era of dignity, hope, and promise that will soon be but a memory in our country. We grieved in the face of beauty. We could not ignore one and we could not ignore the other, because unarguably, they were both present.  I believe that in this duality is the love of a Benevolent Force that would not leave us in an end without a trace of beauty, and without a beginning.

What I have observed in my relatively long life is that an end that breaks our hearts or takes everything from us, is the one thing that, above all others, has the power to awaken us to a new, heightened sense of the goodness of life, to a sunlight of the spirit. To a recognition of Spirit within us and around us. I have seen it happen many, many times. It has happened to me, more than once. The death of my son was the beginning of my spiritual life. As it was his. The death of my husband deepened that spiritual life, as did the deaths of my parents. The nearness of my own death gave me the health of body and spirit I have in such abundance today. These were my endings and my beginnings. Never was there one without the other.

I went to a funeral. But what I saw there was love. My friend, as I did seven years ago, honored and celebrated with family and friends the beautiful life of the husband who loved her. I hugged and was hugged by dear friends I had not seen for a long time. I heard music of incomparable beauty, sung in Japanese. And outside was the golden autumn.  In the next days, I spent hours talking to my daughter as we tried to come to grips with what was ending in our country. Every friend of hers we met on the street stopped for an embrace. We sat in a sunlit café and talked with more friends, all of us processing our grief, our end. Outside was the golden autumn. And inside our hearts and minds, a space began to grow, making room for another beginning.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

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Creating a Sacred Space

I have to admit I’m scared. I think a lot of other people are scared, too. There is a collective consciousness of fear in my country and around the world because of what is happening in the run-up to the United States’ presidential election. It’s a terrible feeling, because the collective consciousness can affect me whether I want it to or not, and it feels like something I can’t control.

Last night, I had a terrible nightmare. This is something that hasn’t happened to me since I don’t know when. I dreamed that an intruder was in my house. He had moved the washing machine to a place it shouldn’t have been, and water was leaking through the floor boards and onto the floor below.  I don’t even have a second floor. In the dream, investigators came and we found a large mound of partially eaten dog food on an old tin plate in the attic. Floor boards were missing and it, too, was in horrible disrepair. It was dangerous to walk there. I don’t even have an attic. Or a dog. Surely my cat would have warned me if a dog had entered our space, I thought in my dream! Also, in the dream, the lights went out in my house, and I went outside in my pajamas to see if others’ lights were out too.  Mine was the only house that was dark. I woke up screaming in fear. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my life. Analyze away, my friends.

The collective consciousness I am talking about is something like an allergy – another thing I’m experiencing here for the first time. The juniper trees are emitting a pollen that is so intense this year that many in Sedona are feeling miserable, especially those of us who are new to the Southwest. They say the first year is the worst, and that we newcomers will feel better next year. It makes you feel tired and sick. It’s in the air, and it feels like something we can’t control.

But this morning I realized that what feels like something we can’t control doesn’t always have the power we give it. The pharmacist I went to see advised an OTC allergy medication. I took it, and it dried things up, but I still felt tired and sick. And then, I did something wise. I looked to Nature. The place from which my discomfort was emanating also offered its antidote. I see a naturopathic doctor out here, like the one I saw back in Maryland. Naturopaths look to the causes of dis-eases more than to alleviating the symptoms. Their philosophy is that the body heals itself if you can give it enough support. I’m not talking about surgery for appendicitis here. I’m talking about things like allergies. So…I got a Chinese herb from her that supports the immune system, and a tumeric-based capsule that relieves allergies. Guess what worked?  After just a few days of taking these supportive plants, I felt like a human being again. I did not put any toxins in my body, (which those OTC drugs are full of) and yesterday, I felt well enough to drive out to one of my favorite sacred places. It happens to be full of juniper trees. And I was fine.


Today, despite the nightmare, I’m still feeling well. What seemed like something out of my control was not. I just had to know where to look for relief.

As to the collective consciousness of fear, I can either add to it, or I can create a sacred space for myself and add to a collective consciousness of peace. That also exists, even in this toxic atmosphere. I have chosen the latter. All the years of spiritual searching have taught me that there is something within myself that is sacred. Holy. Peaceful.  Yet, despite all the years of spiritual searching, more often than not, I have to be prodded to seek it. Fear usually drives me there. As it has done this time. For me, the first step toward It is prayer and meditation. It’s very much like returning to Nature for support of my spiritual immune system. As I returned to my sacred place among the red rocks, I returned in my mind and in my spirit to the sacred place I know is there. Inside. In my mind. In my heart. In my spirit. Both natural remedies – one for my body and one for my soul – are provided by a Power Greater Than Myself. It took a few hours and a nightmare, but I got there.

Finding the remedies and putting fear in its proper place takes work. I have to take my herbs and get enough sleep, I have to pray and meditate, and I have to keep working on the campaign of my choice. I am doing that, by the way, and have been for weeks. I can’t just cower in fear at home in my bed. I have to do the footwork. Literally. And it’s hard, believe me. Anyone who has done this knows the animosity you encounter in the field. It’s like pollen. In your face. People are tired of the race and they’re tired of people like me asking them to go out and vote. But tell me, what’s the alternative?

And so, my dear Friends, whatever happens, I will work hard to stay in my sacred space, even as the juniper trees happily and energetically emit their pollen (How else will we have new juniper trees next year?). Did you know that juniper berries were gathered by Native peoples and used as an aid in digestion? Everything has its positive side, at least in Nature. As the presidential election winds down to its cliff-hanging conclusion, I try to remember that it will be over soon. Whatever the result, it can have no effect on the sacredness that is inside me. It has been given to me by the Universe, it is untouchable, and it is always present. But I still have to create a space for it in my heart and mind. Sometimes by the hour.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

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