Articles

  • Kaleidoscope: Rearranging the Pieces After Loss

    April 17, 2015

    It’s been 80 months since I became a widow, 21 months since I said vows for the second time, and two months since my first child was born. Sometimes I need to pinch myself. As I tenderly rock my little girl in my arms, I can’t help but remember the reason I got this rocking […]

  • Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional

    April 10, 2015

    “Does time heal all wounds?” If you are a griever, you have no doubt heard this cliché more than once. On April 16, 1993, our son, Chad, died as a result of suicide. Family and friends know that it doesn’t pay to ask, “Do you ever get over it?” Our response will always be the […]

  • Avoid the Grief Pitfall of Isolation

    April 8, 2015

    Once a loved one dies, the desire to isolate can be overwhelming. Spending time alone to rest, meditate, and remember is restorative, but grief experts tell us shunning others ultimately won’t bring peace. It’s important to find people who can help us work through the grieving process. Sometimes these people can be family members and […]

  • Mother’s Day: A Happy and Sad Occasion

    April 6, 2015

    One Mother’s Day after another passes by since I lost my daughter in September 2006. It does not get easier as years go by. How can this day not intensify my grief after losing one of my three children? Mother’s Day will never be the same ever! This day that used to bring me joy […]

  • Grief in Spring?

    March 23, 2015

    If Spring makes you feel better and to feel new hope, that is a good, positive and nurturing thing. But it may not be true for everyone, and no one should feel they have to hide their true feelings. It is perfectly normal to experience new heightened grief and/or grief-related anxiety in Spring, just as […]

  • Reaching Out, Sharing Grief

    March 22, 2015

    When our son, Timmy, died at age 20 from a skateboard accident, many of our friends, searching for words, said “I can’t imagine…” And of course they can’t. It is beyond our expectations, beyond our understanding of reality, that a vibrant, young person could be plucked from the world so suddenly. It was certainly beyond […]

  • When Grief Subsides….What’s Beyond?

    March 20, 2015

    Grief a major part of a widow/widower’s life. Although everyone works through grief in their own way, there are still some similarities. I’d guess the majority of widow/widowers go through various stages of shock, denial, guilt, anger, depression, and hopefully acceptance. But every journey will also be unique. Once we work through our stages of grief and accept our loss, the grief […]

  • Turning Tragedy into Hope

    March 17, 2015

    March 17th is normally for most people a day of celebration – St. Patrick’s Day. What a saint he was too, not only bringing a message of hope to the Irish, but also to the rest of the British Isles during his lifetime. March 17th, 2011, was a day that changed my life for all […]

  • Can Grief Be a Friend?

    March 7, 2015

    Anne LaMott, in her book Traveling Mercies, writes,  “Don’t get me wrong. Grief sucks; it really does. Unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of Life, of the now, of the sense of living spirit…The bad news is that whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of […]

  • Signs From Heaven

    March 5, 2015

    Many of us who have lost a loved one have received signs from them after they passed away. These could be small signs like a significant song playing on the radio or seeing a butterfly. You can also experience things such as vivid dreams with your loved one, who appear healthy and happy. Cherish these […]

  • Loving My Wife through Her Grief

    March 3, 2015

    This article was written by John Thompson, husband of Open to Hope contributing writer Jill Kraft Thompson. March 25, 2015, will mark the thirteenth anniversary of the day my wife Jill lost her family. Of course, I am not talking about our son Franklin and me, but Jill’s previous husband Bart; their two young sons, […]

  • Why I Can Be Open to Hope

    March 2, 2015

    I can’t always hope. But I can be open to it. When people are in mourning, those who care about them often search for some way to help them feel better. It’s awful to see someone you love feeling such pain. You want to take away the suffering, fix the problem, bring your loved one […]

  • ‘Have Faith and Pursue the Unknown End’

    February 21, 2015

    What life still holds for us after significant loss is one of life’s many “unknown ends.” You may be old enough to remember the 1960’s television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” hosted by Monty Hall. A hallmark of the show was that people sitting in the audience would dress in silly and outrageous outfits […]

  • After Loss: We Are Our Own Evidence

    February 20, 2015

    Validation Comes From Within If we need validation or proof of our own transformation after loss or other life altering events, we need look no further than ourselves.   We can only assess for ourselves the progress we have made on our journeys.  The validation from others regarding our progress is important but in reality it […]

  • Lent as a Verb, Not a Noun

    February 20, 2015

    In Christendom Lent, from the Latin for “forty,” is the annual season of fasting and penitence for 40 weekdays before Easter. But, as someone in mourning, I’m having a hard time thinking about giving up chocolate or staying off Facebook as anything as penitential as the sudden death of our son Mack, 8, on New […]

  • Grieving a Future I’ll Never Have

    February 19, 2015

    When grief is new, it is excruciating and overwhelming. Many people get stuck in a quicksand of pain that is so thick and intense, it feels impossible to escape. As you struggle through those first few days, weeks, and months, you begin to be pulled so far down into it, you can’t imagine how you’ll […]

  • ‘Moving On’ vs. ‘Moving Forward’: The Preposition Matters

    February 10, 2015

    Have you ever told someone, with the best of intentions, “You’ve got to look at all the positives and try to move on”? Sure you have. I have, too. But not since I lost my husband and realized the toxicity that lives within both of those phrases. As Dr. Michael Lerner asserts in “The Difference […]

  • The Fierce Tribe of After: Grief, with Attitude

    February 10, 2015

    Don’t make the mistake. It’s not anger you see on my face. It’s attitude. My wife died suddenly in her forties of an unknown heart problem. If you don’t know what to say to me about that, if you feel uncomfortable when I’m around because I make you worry that your spouse is about to […]

  • Cartoonist Keith Knight on How Words Live On

    February 9, 2015

    Keith Knight is a “gentleman cartoonist” whose various, nationally syndicated comics are published in the Washington Post, MAD, Daily Kos, Medium.com, and the Funny Times. Visit Keef on his website and watch the documentary on his work. A vet’s rates don’t come down just because it’s a dying rat Don’t rate a deathbed experience by the number of words exchanged Use a smart […]

  • Keeping Lost Siblings In Your Heart

    February 8, 2015

    I am a sister who sadly lost both my sisters. Although I will permanently have a hole in my heart, I am learning to embrace my beloved sisters to encompass an important place in my life. My sisters Margie and Jane are forever part of me, who I am, past, present and future. My heart […]

  • Years After Daughter’s Death, an Extraordinary Day

    February 8, 2015

    I have been to our university’s graduation parties several times since my daughter passed away, but they were never held in the same hall that her high school graduation had taken place at. I did not step in that building since her graduation eight years ago. I woke up apprehensive of what was awaiting me […]

  • Writing the Gratitude!

    February 6, 2015

    When Daniel died, I wanted more. More smiles, more birthdays, more words, more experiences. Like any mom, I wanted my child to have a full and healthy life. When Daniel breathed his last, all I had was four years and five months and eight days. He hadn’t made it to five; he hadn’t even made […]

  • A Personal Egypt: Accepting God’s Guidance in Our Journey Toward Inner Peace

    February 6, 2015

     We were slaves to the Pharaohs in Egypt, but the Lord led us out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. (Deuteronomy 6:21) One of the keys to a more peaceful life is learning when to allow oneself to be led and when to take life by the horns.  Both of these […]

  • God Wants Us to Grow and Evolve in Our Grief

    February 4, 2015

    The sense of separation when a loved one dies can be very painful. What we may not yet have realized is that just because you can’t see your loved ones doesn’t mean they aren’t with you. You are always connected in your heart. Love does not die. In love, there is no separation. One love, […]

  • Shifting: Child-Loss Splits Mom Between Heaven and Earth

    February 3, 2015

    For all accounts and purposes I am a strong woman. I have been through some extraordinary situations and lived to tell about them. And the telling has been my mission for the last six months. Sharing my story, educating fellow child-loss survivors about meditation, energy and intuition. I preach about connecting with your child after […]

  • Why Affirmation Writing Helps Grief Healing

    January 26, 2015

    Grief experts recommend writing as a healing tool because it works. Putting your thoughts in writing makes them real and, more important, validates your thoughts. I started writing one-sentence affirmations after four family members died in 2007 and have been writing them ever since. Affirmation writing has many benefits and there are some of them. […]

  • Life Coach Empowers Clients Through Story and Craft

    January 25, 2015

    “What now?” It’s a phrase we might utter when we’re dealing with too much in our lives and maybe waiting for a let-up after a cascade of troubles, tragedies and grief strike us. It’s also a question we might ask when we are seeking some direction in our lives. We all get stuck. For those […]

  • Denial and Disbelief in Grieving

    January 23, 2015

    I was in denial from the first moment. And for a while thereafter. On a sunny Saturday in June, I had just finished a mud run with my son, and we were walking back to our car in late morning, covered with mud and laughing. My husband called my cell, from our home phone, I […]

  • Behind the Veil

    January 21, 2015

    When you see me, you probably see what you would consider to be a strong person. You see someone who appears to be living the American Dream — juggling a successful career, a beautiful family, a healthy social life, and even time to volunteer for a good cause. You see a person who came back […]

  • When a Child Dies of Drug Addiction

    January 18, 2015

    Ben was an addict. That declaration is enormously painful and takes even more courage to write than Ben died at age nineteen. He was an honor student, football captain, neighborhood skateboard star, altar server, little league all-star, and lead singer in a punk rock band; he was handsome, popular, kind, and gentle. He was my […]

  • Remember Anyway

    January 15, 2015

    Remembering bears a weight of great responsibility and sometimes feels like a constant struggle to do justice to the memory of loved ones and all that they mean(t) to one’s life. Do we remember with painful grief? Do we seek healing to pay homage to the sanctity of life and those we have lost? Do […]

  • Love, Loss, Planning and Valentine’s Day

    January 15, 2015

    Valentine’s is a day when love, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, greeting cards, romantic movies, dinners, drinks and the color red abound. And, Valentine’s Day can trigger those who are not “coupled” to feel sad, pressured, disappointed or lonesome. It can also be a day to have heartfelt conversations about current or future plans, passions, inspiring books, […]

  • Is Grief Making You Feel Sick?

    January 13, 2015

    Recently I got an email from a woman who had lost her son a few years ago. She openly shared how much she had aged fast since her son’s passing. She listed a couple of her most urgent ailments and I quickly realized the process of grieving was taking its toll on her health. As […]

  • The Best Kept Secret and the Biggest Lie

    January 11, 2015

    I’ll bet you want  me to explain the title of this article in one paragraph and let you get back to your search for healing. It’s never quite that easy is it? That last sentence was a hint, by the way. Truthfully, I  don’t want to make today, or any day harder for you, so […]

  • Memories Can Help Us Heal Our Grief

    January 9, 2015

    “I learn something from my mother every day,” I told my husband. The statement surprised me. Maturity, grief knowledge, and new coping skills may have prompted this statement. Whatever the reasons may be, the statement is true. What have I learned from my mother? This question takes me back to childhood. My mother often said, […]

  • Writer Penny Slusher on Somber-Free Rites

    January 8, 2015

    Buying presents for the dead and gifting them; knowing your “mama dance” and texting as the deceased: this and more when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with writer and actress Penny Slusher about somber-free rites. Currently, Slusher is working on a one-woman show about the house she grew up in Bristol Tennessee, and how living with tragic events affected the family […]

  • The Greater Question

    January 5, 2015

    This article is an excerpt from “Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time” written by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein. Seldom does a week (or even a day or an hour) go by when we are not confronted with the question “Why?”  Why are lives devastated by illness, hunger, and devastating loss?  […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Assisted Suicide and Grief: Dr. Robert Liner

    March 26, 2015

    Dr. Robert Liner is a graduate of Stanford University, Honors in Humanities, and the University of Rochester Medical School. He practiced and taught ob/gyn twenty years in San Francisco, was in private practice in the bay area, and served on the faculty of UCSF in their Prenatal Diagnostic Center. He is now retired and volunteers […]

  • Continuing Bonds After Death: Brittany Trauthwein

    March 19, 2015

    Brittany Trauthwein M.A. specializes in grief and loss and end of life matters. Her research was influenced by her own grief journey after the loss of family members. She studies how individuals continue bonds with loved ones who have passed away, particularly adult children remaining in relationship with deceased parents.

  • AIDS and Grief : Doneley Meris

    March 12, 2015

    Doneley Meris Grief Psychotherapist and Training Educator, is the founder and executive director of HIV Arts Network. He is adjunct faculty at New York University and the chair of the People Of Color/Multi-Cultural Committee of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

  • Grief Support: Lori Chinitz

    March 5, 2015

    Lori Chinitz is a Healing From the Core Certified Instructor, and Physical Therapist. Lori’s strengths as an instructor and practitioner flow out of her capacity to witness and support each person’s unique journey. Her gentle, down to earth style has often been a key to unlocking deeper doorways to healing.

  • Healing Through Grief: Sherry Cassedy

    February 26, 2015

    Sherry Cassedy, JD, MA, has practiced law and mediation for 29 years and currently has a mediation and private judging practice in Palo Alto, CA.  She is also a certified yoga instructor and spiritual guide, weaving yoga philosophy through her classes and offering spiritual guidance and seasonal retreats on spiritual topics.  She is the bereaved […]

  • Celebrate Your Life: Faith Freed

    February 19, 2015

    Faith Freed holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and spiritual guidance from The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Faith is the author of, “Is:  Your Authentic Spirituality Unleashed.” She counsels clients in Palo Alto and San Francisco at the Entelechy Wellness Center.

  • Spirituality and Grief: Lisa Irish

    February 12, 2015

    Lisa Irish is no stranger to loss. At age 2, her mother’s paralyzing car accident changed a normal childhood. At 11, her father died, and at 25, her mother died. She learned to look through the lens of loss, felt its power and trusted its teaching. Today she understands herself as a woman of hope […]

  • Teen Grief and the Internet: Ilene Cupit

    January 29, 2015

    Dr. Illene Noppe Cupit is a Professor of Human Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She teaches Dying, Death & Loss and recently coedited Dying, Death and Grief in an Online Universe. She founded Camp Lloyd for grieving children and adolescents, and is the past President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

  • Military Loss of a Son: Don Lipstein

    January 22, 2015

    Don Lipstein, is a Peer Mentor Support and Training Coordinator for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Military Loss (TAPS).  Don joined the TAPS Team in July, 2012, after receiving support due to the suicide death of his oldest son, Joshua.  He plays an important role in providing hope and healing to military survivors […]

  • Wellness and Grief: Dr. Jane Bissler

    January 8, 2015

    Dr. Jane Bissler, LPCC, is a clinical counselor and the clinical director for Counseling for Wellness, LLP and Kelly’s Grief Center, a not-for-profit organization counseling those who have experienced the heartbreaking reality of the death of a loved one. Her latest book is for children titled:  Hoover and Honeybunch Find Comfort in a Sometimes Scary […]

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 40: Helping Families Deal With Drug and Alcohol Overdose

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Barbara Allen whose son, Jim, overdosed on heroin and alcohol in 2003.  She is the founder of  “Shatter the Stigma” an organization with the goal of bringing the disease of addiction into the light of hope and healing.  Joining her on the show is […]

  • Episode 39: Finding Hope After Multiple Deaths

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Jill Kraft Thompson an amazing woman who has re-built her life after losing five people she loved the most. She survived the car crash that killed five members of her family – her husband Bart, her two sons, Ben and Sam, her mom and […]

  • Episode 38: Traumatic Loss 9/11

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Heidi and Dr. Gloria Horsley interview Susan Esposito Lombardo whose father Billy Esposito, vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald was killed on the 104th floor of the north tower on 9/11.  In his memory the family founded A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation and Bereavement Program helping grieving children […]