Articles

  • My Sister Died and I Waited 16 Years to Deal With It

    July 7, 2014

    I never expected to make a documentary film about my family. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had a story to tell. My sister had died when I was ten years old and by that time her illness seemed pretty normal to me. Aimee was diagnosed with leukemia when I was two years […]

  • Messages of Love

    June 3, 2014

    Over the years since my son’s death by overdose in 2004, I have received many messages and signs from him. Some have come in dreams, some through songs on the radio. Perhaps the most powerful of all have been the heart-shaped stones and shells washed up by the sea to remind me that love never […]

  • Unravelling of Life … My Sweater

    June 3, 2014

    The sweater clothed me It sheltered me daily It covered my wounds It kept me safe It was comfortable   The occasional yarns that dangled or sprout forth Were quickly yanked away or shorn down No need for them. What I had clothed me   One day Father Jim hugged me A priest on a […]

  • In Praise of Friendship: Maya Angelou and Mrs. Flowers

    May 30, 2014

    Sometimes gifted writers, like Maya Angelou, feel like a friend because they invite you into their heart and mind with such a generosity of spirit. It’s no wonder that millions around the world are grieving her death. Though we didn’t ‘know’ her, we came into her world through the 31 books, essays, plays and poetry […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Navigating the Loss of a Favorite Writer

    May 29, 2014

    I have been positively imprinted by so many wonderful writers that I am also impacted when they die. When Frank McCourt died, my friends & I, all authors, each read excerpts from his books at a cherished, independently owned, local bookstore. I read from Angela’s Ashes. This was our way of paying tribute to Frank, […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Grieving Someone You’ve Never Met

    May 29, 2014

    With the death of Maya Angelou this week, millions of her advocates and fans will be mourning the loss of an exceptional woman. This grief may, to some, seem misplaced. Because, when any public figure passes a wave of “grief judgment” often follows, from family members, the media, even friends. People question the validity of […]

  • Playwright Ann Randolph on Writing about Grief

    May 28, 2014

    How is a performance and a post-show creative writing workshop sparking a national discourse on grief? This and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman sits down with playwright and comedian, Ann Randolph to talk about her one-woman show, LOVELAND – and the transformative and healing power of writing about grief.  Learn more about Randolph’s week-long “Write Your Life”workshops, by visiting […]

  • Artist who Lost Mother Collaborates with Family Writings

    May 27, 2014

    In the San Francisco Bay Area with its forward-looking culture, we take notice of what’s new. We thirst for innovation. Bay Area artist Belinda Chlouber finds fascination and value in exploring and mining the past. I spoke with her in her San Mateo home studio about a recent series of multi-media work. Currently she has […]

  • Healing Through Art: Interview with Sharon Strouse

    May 18, 2014

    At the annual ADEC Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Sharon Strouse of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation and discuss with her ways to deal with grief after losing a child. Sharon is also the author of a book called Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing. Using her book, anyone can create their […]

  • Removing the Kimono of Mourning: Interview with Anne Carson

    May 17, 2014

    One of the most important things in anyone’s bereavement process is to find what works personally/individually. There is an opportunity for much creativity in this process. The video features me (Anne Carson) reading the title poem in my collection, Removing the Kimono, and describing how the death of my husband prompted me to write a […]

  • Creating Sacred Space: Interview with Rev. Ian Smith

    May 17, 2014

    This was a brief interview done with Dr. Gloria Horsley on April 24, 2014 at the 36th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) from April 23-26 in Baltimore, MD. The speaker is Rev. Ian Smith. I am an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada and working as a […]

  • Playwright Gary Rudoren on ‘Last Words’

    April 19, 2014

    What’s there to talk about in the 24 hours before “your son, the serial killer” heads to the electric chair? Besides confessions, are there other kinds of “last words” that should happen on our deathbeds? This and more when Gary Rudoren – playwright, director, actor and architect now based in Jerusalem – sits down with […]

  • A Mama Finds Memories in a Duplo Box

    April 9, 2014

    In my closet sits one duplo box filled with handwritten cards.  The cards were for my little boy Daniel.  The boy is now gone, but the cards written to him still remain. When we moved from the house where Daniel lived, Daniel didn’t get to go with us.  But the yellow duplo box with cards […]

  • Comic Steve Mittleman About Forgiving Hard Parents at End of Life

    April 8, 2014

    It’s easy to forgive the hardest parent when they thank you through tears with: “Nobody cared for me as much in my whole life!” Or when they write a letter that gets delivered to you on the day of their funeral. This and more, when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with comic, Steve Mittleman who travels […]

  • Helping Military Kids with Traumatic Death

    March 28, 2014

    Ordinary fears are a normal part of a child’s developmental growth, and children create internal and external mechanisms to cope with these fears. But a child’s ordinary fears can be transformed into very real survival fears in the face of severe trauma. After children experience the death of a parent, they often feel alone and […]

  • In Case of Grief, Break Glass

    March 27, 2014

    Recently, I was reading an article written by Mitch Carmody, ( a fellow author here on the Open to Hope site) introducing his concept of “Proactive Grieving.” Mitch is a multi-talented man with a broad pallet of expressive and creative ways to facilitate healing and personal growth. His piece addressed the attitudes and expectations men […]

  • Comic Janice Messitte on Being a Newly Wedded Widow

    March 24, 2014

    In the space of two weeks, newly wedded  Janice Messitte – stand-up comic, singer and actress  – went from planning a dream “Jewnorican” wedding to planning her husband’s funeral.  Hear how she used her comic’s wit to survive, as she sits down with memory artist, Nancy Gershman to recall the details. Double check on your husband […]

  • New Year’s Resolutions for the Caregiver

    January 2, 2014

    By Carol O’Dell –

  • New Year’s Resolutions After a Spouse-Loss

    January 1, 2014

    Give yourself a big pat on the back! You’ve just survived the holidays, one of the toughest times for anyone grieving a loss. Now you’re probably looking ahead and wondering how you’ll ever make it through the next twelve months. Here are five suggestions to help gently ease you along the bumpy road of bereavement: […]

  • Comedy writer Joe Janes on Truthful Memorialization

    December 5, 2013

    Truthful memorialization means talking about Mom stoically eating Joe’s tofurkey. Or Mom openly guzzling “horrible things” like caffeine-free diet coke in front of her vegan son. How Joe honors these mischievous moments and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman talks with Joe Janes, a Chicago-based Emmy award-winning comedy writer. Joe teaches comedy writing at The Second City and Columbia […]

  • For Those With Bereavement: Healing Music

    November 21, 2013

    The holidays are almost here. Very shortly, some of us will prepare a list of things so we can get ready for the season. It may look like this… Christmas cards? Check! Hanukkah candles? Check! Gifts for children, spouse and parent? Check, check, check! Though Hanukkah and Christmas are joyous occasions for most, they can […]

  • The Irreverent Widow, Sandi Amorello on Young Widows with Kids in Tow

    November 3, 2013

    What the bereavement support group dress code should be and why widows often say they’ve “thrown out the rule book”: this and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman talks to Sandi Amorello, humorist, artist, and author of The Irreverent Widow: Shockingly true tales of love, death and dating…with children in tow. Sandi is also founder of Girl Scout Dropout, […]

  • Enjoying the Holidays … Differently

    October 26, 2013

    By Chris Mulligan – It’s time to party! the television advertisements say this time of year. Party? How could I party when some days I did not even want to get out of bed? I did not want to go to work. I did not want to confront my day. How could I party when […]

  • Getting Through Halloween after Child’s Death

    October 20, 2013

    On the evening I type this, the nip in the October air is a reminder that the major holidays are just around the corner. Halloween decorations have been in the stores since July and Christmas décor even as early as August. For those of us who are bereaved parents, siblings and/or grandparents this means the […]

  • How the Graveyard Became a Place of Peace

    October 18, 2013

    There’s the joke about the cemetery. “How many dead people are in there?” The answer: “All of them.” Or, “People are dying to get in there.” It brought a smile to my lips the first time a ten-year-old told me. But after my son died, I was wondering why there are so many jokes about […]

  • Ten Ways to Find Good Fortune in your Holidays

    October 15, 2013

    The Christmas tree we dragged from the woods wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t expect the Christmas holiday to be perfect either. The long gangly branches made the tree seem awkwardly out of balance. It was fat at the bottom and too skinny at the top. One of our guests during the holiday commented, “I can’t […]

  • Coming Full Circle: A Letter from Daughter to a Mother Who Died Young

    September 30, 2013

    Ina, my mother, died 13 months after I was born.  For most of my life, I felt like a “motherless child.”  She became a ghost-like fantasy to me, which is probably why I liked fairytales so much as a kid. Maybe I was wishing for a happy ending. My father remarried when I was four […]

  • Writing Your Book about Grief: Helpful Tips for Beginning Writers

    September 12, 2013

    I’ve been a freelance writer for 36+ years, focusing on health and wellness books. My latest book focuses on the steps I took to recover from multiple losses. Four family members died in 2007 and, thanks to grief work and introspection, I created a new life. So many people asked me how I managed to […]

  • Man Who Lost Parents As a Child Speaks Through Art

    September 6, 2013

    If you have spent any time in La Jolla, California over the last decades, you might have seen Chris Canole in one of his many incarnations. This year, for the entire month of August, a series of drawn portraits and illustrations by this local polymath was on display as a one-man show at the Pannikin […]

  • Faith, Doubt, and Warriors of Light: Developing Clarity on our Grief Journeys

    July 22, 2013

    To Inspire and Self Inspire As I have grown older, I have aspired to be in a constant state of learning and discovery. Once I believe there is nothing left to learn, then it is time for me  to look deep within. Periodic introspection and reflection as a matter of course is crucial to our […]

  • Poem: Eleven Years

    July 2, 2013

    Eleven Years My love for you is unconditional However, so is my anger And I have waited eleven years For this devastation to be over But it has only just begun: The torture that makes me want to scream— And I just want to run away From this awfully dreadful scheme. Oh, how badly I […]

  • Writing Poetry to Cope

    June 22, 2013

    This summer is going to be a doozy: Our eldest daughter is about to climb behind the wheel of our family van. Yikes. Stop the clock already. I wish we could go back in time, start off a bit more slowly, savor all those delicious growing-up moments, even delay taking those training wheels off her […]

  • My Words to Live By: I Am Open

    June 18, 2013

    I recently spent some time with a special friend and she told me how she came to name her upcoming book  (which I hope to feature in a future blog).  What follows is my reaction to the story of her experience. At a New Year’s Day service, which is a time of beginnings, my friend […]

  • A Father’s Day Perspective

    June 16, 2013

    by Sandy Fox Happy Father’s Day to all fathers. Today is your day, and I hope you celebrate it with loved ones. Many fathers react differently to this day depending on where they are in their lives, especially a bereaved father. One bereaved father wrote this poem: As this day approaches, I wonder how I […]

  • Father’s Day Eve…

    June 15, 2013

    Ok, so obviously this isn’t a real holiday, but it is to me.   This made up holiday, is the day before my toughest day of the year, Father’s Day.   It is the one day of the year where I feel really different from everybody else, and only a few people in my life […]

  • Father’s Day: Time to Discard Anger and Guilt

    June 11, 2013

    By Sandra Pesmen – If you want to celebrate any holiday, especially Father’s Day, you have to learn to deal with anger and guilt. Whether we widows admit it or not, when our spouse dies, most of us feel guilty because we survived. We fear we may not have been as kind as we could […]

  • A Different (But Good) Father’s Day

    June 9, 2013

    Father’s Day is the day that I least look forward to on the calendar.   I know what you’re saying, “Come on Eric, Father’s Day is 4 months away.”   Absolutely right, but bear with me.   As all of you know you have lost a loved one close to your heart, it could be […]

  • Father’s Day Tough for Those Who Lost Child

    June 5, 2013

    Happy Father’s Day to all fathers. Today is your day, and I hope you celebrate it with loved ones. Many fathers react differently to this day depending on where they are in their lives; it may be especially difficult for a father who has lost a child. One bereaved father wrote this poem: As this […]

  • Against The Winds of Grief: My Thoughts on The Oklahoma Tragedy

    May 22, 2013

    Nature and all that it encompasses can bear many blessings.  A glorious sunset, a gentle rain and a cool breeze can soothe us even in the most tumultuous of times and perhaps even provide valuable teachings that promote clarity on our life’s journey. Nature can also be an relentless and  destructive force as evidenced by […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Steve Siler: Healing Power of Music

    May 15, 2014

    Steve Siler is the founder of Music For the Soul A Christian ministry using the power of songs and stories as a bridge to hope and healing for those facing life’s most difficult issues.  Drink Deep: A Musical Journey through Grief is the award winning organization’s 10th full-length project.

  • Monique Cerundolo: Dealing With Grief Through Poetry and Quilting

    April 3, 2014

    Monique Cerundolo is a chaplain at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Twenty-five years ago she started quilting and was attracted by the beauty and the possibilities of this art form. She is the author of Seasons of Grief and Hope.

  • Laurel Rund: Transformation After the Death of a Husband

    October 24, 2013

    It all began in 2009 when a life-changing event would begin the transformation of Laurel Rund into the woman she is today. Never would she have imagined that the death of her 42 year old husband would send her  on a journey through loss and grief to a redefined sense of self.  Laurel is the author […]

  • Laraine Gordon, LCSW: Teen’s and Grief

    September 12, 2013

    Laraine Gordon is a therapist, coach, program director, and founder of A Time for Teens. A Time for Teens provides a bereavement camp, seminars, and workshops for bereaved teens. Laraine’s profession and passion for helping bereaved teens was inspired by the loss of her older sister when Laraine was 12 years old.

  • Nate Hinerman Ph.D.: Ending Suffering

    June 20, 2013

    Dr. Nate Hinerman is a faculty member at the University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University, where he teaches classes in death, dying, and bereavement. He also serves as a hospice psychotherapist, and chairs the San Francisco End of Life Coalition.

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 31: Forgiveness

    February 12, 2014

    On This show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Fred Luskin Ph.D. the rationale for forgiveness and why forgiveness is necessary. Radha Stern author and victims advocate will join Dr. Luskin to discuss how she deals with forgiveness when the man who murdered her son shows no remorse. The show closes with […]

  • Episode 30: Pet Loss

    February 12, 2014

    On This show Dr. Gloria Horsley; and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss the death of a pet with pet loss experts Bonnie Goodman and Dr. Betty J. Carmack, R.N., Ed.D. Betty is a researcher and author of “Grieving the Death of a Pet”. Bonnie is a certified Thanatologist and grief Counselor. The show closes with music […]

  • Episode 25: Healing With Art and Humor

    December 10, 2013

    On this show comic writer and comedian Carol Scibelli and art therapist Barbara ‘Basia’ Mosinski give Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley tips and insight into how humor and art helped them to get through the deaths of family members including a spouse, step-son, and parent.  Carol is the author of Poor Widow Me. […]

  • Episode 23: Loss as an Inspiration for the Creative Process

    December 10, 2013

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Mary Skinner, documentary film maker, how her deceased mother inspired her award winning film “Irene Sendley:  In The Name of Their Mothers”.  Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi then interview singer songwriter Billy Bensing regarding his music and the impact of the loss of […]

  • Episode 20: Finding Meaning After Loss

    December 10, 2013

    On This show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley explore the topic of finding meaning after loss.  They interview two inspirational women who rather than be broken by their experience have used their tragic losses to make meaning and to help others. The first guest is Ann Khadalia Social Worker and national board member […]

  • Episode #17: The Emotions of Grief

    August 14, 2013

    On this show Dr. Bob Baugher and Dr. Darcie Sims discuss the emotions of grief and give tips on coping.  Dr. Baugher covers the emotion of anger. Dr. Baugher and Dr. Sims then cover the difference between men and women’s response to grief.  Singer Song Writer and grief expert Alan Pederson closes with The Hope […]