Articles

  • Comic Yisrael Campbell on Uplifting the Dying

    August 23, 2014

    How can you use your talents to make the dying feel like they’re at the center of your universe? Be a DJ on a pretend radio station with your friend’s name in the call letters: this idea and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman speaks with Yisrael Campbell (born Chris Campbell): a comedian of Irish and Italian descent, who […]

  • Don’t Forget to Check Your Dip Stick: Maintaining Strength During Grief

    August 19, 2014

    After crouching on a lime-green foam kneeling pad, he pushed with all of his might against the 6’x6’ thick concrete cover. “Wait, Dad, let me help you,” I interrupted as I joined him by squatting down near the well cover, planting my feet firmly in the bordering sedum. “Oh, I can do it. Just hold […]

  • We Would Have Died For You: The Journey of Bereaved Parents

    August 19, 2014

    From the moment we found out you were coming into our lives, we felt electric: a mix of excitement, adrenalin, and a dose of fear for good measure. We dutifully began plotting the course of our lives together – starting with milestones like kindergarten, puberty, graduation, career, wedding, grandchildren, etc. Then we began making our […]

  • Accepting a New Life After a Multiple Loss

    August 19, 2014

    When I was only thirty-three years old, suddenly one day I felt my life was over and my only future was my past. Up until then, my life seemed magical, full of much love and happiness. Everything had been going according to plan. My husband Bart and I had just finished building our house in […]

  • Another School Year Begins

    August 19, 2014

    We hosted a college graduation party at our house for our nephew last weekend. My husband’s family was here, including our 95-year-old great-grandmother, all four grandparents in various levels of physical health. This made five generations gathered to hear my brother-in-law speak of his three children, who have now all graduated from college, and we […]

  • Robin Williams’ Suicide Brings Back Difficult Memories

    August 12, 2014

    The headlines scream, “Coroner: Robin Williams Death Ruled Suicide by Asphyxiation.” I suppose there’s a bit of a morbid fascination that comes from the death of a celebrity; particularly when the celebrity is young or dies in a particularly salacious way. Robin Williams’ death is one of those. He was both young and his death […]

  • Robin Williams’ Death: When Living is Hard

    August 12, 2014

    Robin Williams’ apparent death by suicide is especially hard for me to fathom. His jocular, insightful, heart-warming and spirit-lifting public presence brought much joy to my life. His creative expressions of talent and spontaneity inspired many throughout the world to bring forth their own unique artistic abilities. Robin had a profound influence on our society’s […]

  • Honoring Robin Williams

    August 11, 2014

    Experiencing sadness or grief can come from feeling that something is missing, something has been lost. When you think about someone now gone who inspired you, made a difference in your life – or, like Robin Williams, someone who made you laugh – ask what qualities of that person you can embrace. Perhaps it is […]

  • Looking Back – From the Moon!

    August 11, 2014

    This article is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. One of the most enlightening films I have ever seen is Ron Howard’s 2007 documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.  In the film, Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell reflects upon his amazing experience of looking back at the Earth while orbiting the […]

  • College Students and Bereavement: Interview With David Fajgenbaum

    August 6, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with David Fajgenbaum about college students and bereavement In the video below, David discusses how college student handle loss and deal with grief. Here are some key takeaways from the video: Losing someone at any age is never easy, but losing someone […]

  • Wanted: Soul Sister in Grief

    August 6, 2014

    I have secretly been looking for a place to post a want-ad for a partner in grief.  In my small hometown, I don’t know anyone who has lost a child.  There is a support group about 30 minutes away but despite my efforts to connect with any of these women outside of the group that […]

  • Personality Types and Grief: Interview with Dr. Lisa Prossor-Dodds

    August 4, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Dr. Lisa Prossor-Dodds about Myers Briggs personality types and the different way people grieve. Lisa describes her research as being very exciting, because as she gets deeper into it, she’s starting to see patterns emerge from the data. She says it’s […]

  • Adults Losing their Parents: Interview with Patricia Stauber, RN

    August 4, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Patricia Stauber about the issues of losing a parent as an adult. This loss can be overlooked as it is expected that everyone’s parents will die eventually. Patricia has worked with adults who have lost a parent for many years. She’s […]

  • Playwright Taren Sterry Finding the Funny in Sadness

    August 4, 2014

    Taren Sterry is a comedic actress and playwright who also teaches improv, presentation coaching, public speaking and team building. She is a full time manager of Volunteer Training at Visiting Nurse Service of NY Hospice and Palliative Care. Her nationally acclaimed one-woman show, 180 Days, is about her first six months working in hospice. Visit Taren […]

  • Adolescents and Grief: Interview with Dr. Ken Doka

    August 4, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Dr. Ken Doka about adolescents and grief. Adolescents have different issues when it comes to grief. Ken discusses these in detail in the video below. Here are some key takeaways from the video: Adolescents are in transition, and because they’re in […]

  • Responding to Loss: Moving On, Moving Forward, Moving In

    August 2, 2014

    Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “Maybe it’s time to move on…” These words are actually offered as (presumed) words of comfort to grieving people! I still shake my head at the idea that this is said by a friend or family member to someone who is hurting. Move on…to me this suggests “moving away […]

  • How to Receive Signs from Your Deceased Loved Ones

    August 1, 2014

    Our deceased loved ones are not gone. They are able to be with us whenever they choose, and are even able to help and guide us throughout our lives. If you’d like to hear from them, all you need to do is to ask them to give you “without a doubt” signs to let you […]

  • Tips for Coping with Traumatic Loss

    July 30, 2014

    ARLINGTON, Va. – Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy, but a sudden and traumatic loss can raise special concerns for the family members and friends left behind. Aviation tragedies, combat, homicide and other types of violent deaths can be particularly difficult. These deaths are unexpected and survivors must grapple with […]

  • Traumatic Grief: Are You At-Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress

    July 28, 2014

    Special article by Jill Harrington LaMorie, MSW, LCSW, DSW This article was first published in Volume 17 Issue 2 of TAPS Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Imagine driving down the street and crossing an intersection. You glance quickly left and right, but out of nowhere you are hit by an oncoming vehicle. The impact is painful, […]

  • The Chauffeur’s Flower: Memories of an Early Loss

    July 26, 2014

    The day of my father’s funeral stands out in my mind. I remember blue sky and sunshine. It was six days after my eleventh birthday. At the end of the day, the chauffeur from the limousine handed me a carnation he had been wearing. I took it home, pressed it and always remembered the kindness […]

  • Colors of the Spirit: We Are All One in Grief

    July 24, 2014

    Embracing Sacred Law From July 11, 2014 through July 13,2014, I attended the 37th National Conference of The Compassionate Friends in Chicago, Illinois.I have been attending and presenting workshops for this great organization whose focus is to provide hope and support to families who have experienced the death of a child, since 2008. I always […]

  • Grief Down Under: Australians React to Malaysia Airlines Crash with Compassion

    July 24, 2014

    I arrived in Belgium on 9-11-01, a visitor in a foreign country during a tragically tumultuous time of loss and confusion. Last week, I awoke in Australia to another civilian disaster — the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane — with the same ingredients linking global grief and sorrow. Outcries once again echoed across […]

  • How to Live Through Intense Grief

    July 22, 2014

    Loss has been a prevalent theme intersecting with my life over the past six weeks. In this time, there have been four deaths of people whose lives have touched me warmly: my sweetheart’s precious mother; a beloved cousin; a compassionate former colleague; and, a man whose contagious smile I first remember when we were both […]

  • Heaven…When Malaysian Plane Arrives

    July 21, 2014

    Darkness spread throughout heaven…and, all of heaven was filled with sadness…the moment when God heard his children on Malaysia flight number MH17 cry out for help…and, the angel choirs were silent…and, God wept openly for his children… God wept openly as he heard from the pilots, flight attendants, and passengers on the plane that was […]

  • Teens and Homicide: Interview with Dr. Tashel Bordere

    July 19, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Tashel Bordere about her work with teens and the effects of homicide on their lives. In the video below, Tashel shares some of the most important things she has learned during her work with teens and homicide. Here are some key […]

  • Uncovering The Richer Connections in Our Signs

    July 16, 2014

    An Empirical Man For the majority of my life, I never bought in to the idea that our loved ones could survive death by communicating their continued existence to us. I was too busy trying to handle my day-to-day responsibilities of being a son, husband, father, and addictions counselor to give much thought to what […]

  • Life Moves Ahead: Discovering the Freedom to Go With It

    July 12, 2014

    This article was written by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. Our world and our individual lives are in the process of evolving.  It is not a question of rejecting the past but of letting the past flow into the present […]

  • The Hand-Knit Shawl, a Linking Object and Labor of Love

    July 11, 2014

    My husband was in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for weeks. Our minister came to visit him and she had two bulging gift bags. One contained a brown, hand-knit shawl for my husband and the second a blue hand-knit shawl for me. Anonymous members of the church Caring Crafters group made the shawls and the […]

  • 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 […]

  • Victory Over the Pole: Learning to Let Go

    July 7, 2014

    An intimidating 30-foot pole occupied a notable spot on the challenge-learning course. The facilitator explained that we were to climb the pole. The pole was manufactured with heavy metal staples that created a “ladder”-effect. Once we reached the top of the pole, we were supposed to mount the disk that was attached at the top, […]

  • July 4 in Minnesota Lifts Spirits

    July 4, 2014

    With the grueling winter behind us, I, like most Minnesotans, cherish these hot days of summer. Families gather for picnics, hang out at their lake cabins, and squeeze in every bit of outside time they can. Minnesota may be known as the “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but on America’s Independence Day, it becomes “The […]

  • In Grief and in Joy, Tell Your Story

    July 3, 2014

    “ People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” —Studs Terkel Recently, I attended the funeral of my uncle, though I found myself making excuses for dismissing my obligation to go. When I read his obituary in […]

  • Five Years After Son’s Death, Dad Wonders if ‘the Blue Skies are Coming’

    July 2, 2014

      As the weather finally begins to catch up with the seasons, I find myself looking back. Beyond the still blue waters and flowered meadows. Back to the time when the only contrast to the vast expanses of ice were the dirt streaked mountains of accumulated snow. When I think about this year’s record snowfall […]

  • Malaysian Airlines Aftermath: A Grandmother’s Perspective

    July 2, 2014

    As soon as I heard a Malaysian Airlines flight 370 had been shot down, I thought of the survivors. I have some understanding of traumatic death because our daughter, the mother of our twin grandchildren, suddenly died in a car crash. The cause of death was “blunt force trauma,” three words I didn’t want to […]

  • Lord, Help Me Let You Be the Shepherd of My Life

    July 1, 2014

    This article was wrtten by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. The Psalms are unique among the books of the Bible, revealing a mysterious healing quality in their ability to connect with us at a personal and profound level.  It is […]

  • Declaring Independence From Grief

    July 1, 2014

    Here in the U.S. we celebrate the Fourth of July as Independence Day. It is the day that Congress approved a Declaration of Independence from British rule. It marks the birth of our nation as a free, self-governing entity. The Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” […]

  • Breaking the Rules of Grief

    June 30, 2014

    An excerpt from the Introduction of Breaking the Rules of Grief, A Bereaved Mother’s Journey.  By Shannon Harris I should begin by warning you that there will be no substantial evidence supporting the ideas in this book. These are all my conflicted thoughts in black and white, perfectly spaced in Times New Roman size 12. Should […]

  • Do You See the Mystery?

    June 24, 2014

    The first time I saw the ocean, I was fifteen. I walked up a slight hill. The water was not yet in view, but the sky already seemed different, as if it knew what I was about to behold. No buildings, no trees obscured my view. I reached the top of the hill and there […]

  • I Found Hope, Healing and Grace in the Humanity of Christ

    June 24, 2014

    An excerpt from Fortune Cookie Wisdom: a contemplative perspective This reflection is about how we discover the truth in our lives. “From error to error, one discovers the entire truth” – Dr. Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychologist (1856-1939).  Could Jesus, while he walked the earth, identify with Freud’s statement?   If the words are applicable to the human […]

  • God’s Plan in the Grocery Store

    June 24, 2014

    With my whole heart I can say that I am not afraid of anything in life now that I’ve watched my son die.  Nothing can ever be harder than that moment in time; therefore, I have nothing to fear.  Death itself no longer scares me, either, knowing he is waiting for me on the other […]

  • Reflections of my Independence as a Widow

    June 20, 2014

    I consider myself an independent woman, something that when I was a young girl I would have been very proud of.  I would have been proud of the fact that I had a good job, proud of the fact that I had my own place, proud of the fact that I supported myself, and that […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Jon Reid: Dealing With Grief and Loss

    August 21, 2014

    Dr. Jon Reid is a Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  He is the president of the Association of Death Education and Counselors (ADEC) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Fellow in Thanatology.

  • K. Paul Stroller: Writing a Posthumous Memoir

    August 14, 2014

    Dr. K. Paul Stroller, MD, started his medical career as a pediatrician and currently uses hyperbaric medicine to treat brain-injured children and adults.  He is the bereaved father of Galen who in 2007 at the age of sixteen was killed in train collision.  He is the editor of My Life After Life:  A Posthumous Memoir […]

  • Candace Lightner: Death and the Hero’s Journey

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving.

  • Death and the Hero’s Journey : Candace Lightner

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving

  • Navigating Grief and Trials: Kathleen D. Hamilton

    July 24, 2014

    Kathleen D. Hamilton has suffered a number of tragedies including the deaths of her mother and twelve year old daughter.  She has coped with a brain-injured son and has grieved two broken marriages. Reaching out to help others she has been a facilitator with “The Compassionate Friends” and has worked in the funeral industry. She […]

  • The Death Class: Erika Hayasaki’s and Norma Bowe

    July 17, 2014

    Dr. Norma Bowe, RN Ph.D. is a tenured Professor in the College of Education at Kean University in Union N.J. She developed the course curriculum for Death in Perspective which has a three year waiting list and is the subject of the book The Death Class: A True Story About Life, by Erika Hayasaki a […]

  • Finances after Loss: Aaron Britz

    July 10, 2014

    Aaron Britz was 6 years old, when he lost his 62-year-old grandfather to a brain tumor. During the days and years that followed he watched his grandmother struggle with finances. This experience inspired him to become a financial planner specializing in helping people in grief, loss, or transition.  He is the President of Legacy Wealth […]

  • Jill Kraft Thompson Rebuilding A Life After Losing Five People

    June 19, 2014

    Jill Kraft Thompson had a life filled with love: an adoring husband, two young precious sons, a devoted mother, and a close extended family. Jill’s story begins as everyone’s worst nightmare. In 2002 she lost five close family members in a car crash that she survived. Her beloved young sons, husband, mother and niece were […]

  • Getting Out of Bed in the Morning

    July 10, 2014

      Written in devotional format, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning is a companion for those going through sorrow associated with loss–whether brought to the journey through the death of a loved one, failing health, job loss, broken relationships, or weakened family ties. Written by Alice J. Wisler, author, speaker and writing workshop instructor, […]