Articles

  • A Young Widower’s Marathon, Part 1: Cancer and its Aftermath

    April 2, 2017

    The night of April 21, 2016, I opened my email and saw the following subject: “My dentist, Melanie, gave me your name as a fellow griever…” I thought back to my last cleaning and kind dentist who always remembered and asked about my journey. As I clicked on Andy Guice’s name and began to read […]

  • 5 Tips to Cope With Grief After Divorce

    March 17, 2017

    When you lose a spouse, there’s an inevitable grieving period which is accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions. When you think of this grieving process, you probably associate it with loss due to illness or tragedy, but what about divorce? When partners divorce, there’s still a grieving process that goes along with the split. […]

  • Seven Years Later, the Grief Lingers

    March 9, 2017

    7 years seems like such a long time, yet it also seems like such a small amount of time as well. 7 years full of birthdays, holidays, weddings, birth of nieces and nephews, beginnings and endings of friendships, and cross country moves. March 9th is the 7th anniversary of my beloved Greg being with Jesus. […]

  • What Can We Do to Bring Joy to the Journey?

    March 7, 2017

    This is the fourth article written for the Open To Hope foundation and online community based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES, by Elizabeth Horwin. WHAT CAN WE DO?  The first article in this series focused on the concept of What is Life, the second on the concept of What is […]

  • Is Stigma a Part of Your Grief?

    March 1, 2017

    Societal stigma. Here is a topic associated with loss that few of us think about and even fewer of us talk about. By definition, stigma is an idea, condition or issue that the community (or even the nation-at-large) has targeted as disgraceful or reproachable. Because stigma exists around us in every aspect of life, the […]

  • Healing Tears: No Apologies for Crying

    March 1, 2017

    I remember the first year of our son’s passing.  How I vacillated between feeling numb, wooden, dry-eyed, to days when all I could do was cry.  So many times I never knew what I might do. I had never been someone who normally cried in front of people, and yet I found myself doing just […]

  • How to Turn Grief into Positive Action

    February 28, 2017

    Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley with the Open to Hope Foundation discuss continuing bonds and closure after loss. At 17 years old, Heidi’s brother Scott was killed in a car accident. Everyone told her and her mother that they would “get over it” eventually and find closure. Know that closure isn’t for love accounts—it’s for […]

  • The Grief of Things: Owning and Letting Go

    February 26, 2017

    Let’s acknowledge this obvious fact from the start: people are not things. The house burns down, every item within is lost, but our family survives unhurt. We’ll take that every time. The car is totaled but our loved ones walk away. Eternally grateful as we replace the car. We go into the water and wallet, […]

  • Loneliness, Being Alone, Lonesome

    February 24, 2017

    I am so sorry for your loss.  There is one feeling that I don’t see discussed much and that is the loneliness that comes with grief. There is a feeling in the heart that makes us feel like we are walking in this world totally alone. It doesn’t matter who we are with. Whether it […]

  • The Downstairs Thief

    February 19, 2017

    I had a vivid dream shortly after Mack, our son, died. I walked into our house through the front door and immediately realized that we had been robbed. I made my way tentatively through each familiar room surveying overturned furniture, shattered lamps. I noted the computers were taken, and the silver. But something inside assured […]

  • You Can’t Sleep With a Butterfly

    February 17, 2017

    Several years ago, one of the cancer patients I counseled told me she was going to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where her mother lived, to resolve her difficulties with her mother and die there. She accomplished all that she had hoped for and died there feeling loved, complete and at peace with herself. About […]

  • 10th Anniversary: Tears at Home Depot

    February 14, 2017

    The 10th anniversary of my daughter’s death is a few days away. I thought I was prepared for this anniversary, but I wasn’t. Instead, I have burst into tears several times. My daughter, mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Six months later he twins’ father died […]

  • This Valentine’s Day, Turn Your Loss into Valuing Yourself

    February 11, 2017

      You may have been through a gauntlet of grief with your spouse or partner. Then along comes Valentine’s Day and it’s another hurdle. It’s hard to pick yourself up. Reframing this memory of being loved won’t be easy. It takes bravery and fortitude to find gratitude. The loss of that perfect someone you loved […]

  • 7 Dos and Don’ts to Help Someone Dealing With Loss

    February 8, 2017

    Losing a loved one is a devastating experience and something we would never wish on our best friend or our worst enemy. Unfortunately, loss is an inevitable part of life and something we will all deal with at one time or another. While loss is a common life experience, the healing process is unique to […]

  • Are You Laughing With the Sinners or Crying With the Saints This Valentine’s Day?

    February 5, 2017

      Billy Joel likes laughing with the sinners. Me? I’m still deciding whether to join him. OK, I’ll admit that during grade school, going for brownie points with the good nuns kept me crying with the saints more than laughing with the sinners. And, come Feb. 14, I demonstrated complete loyalty by rejecting every other […]

  • You May Be Wandering, But You May Not Be Lost

    January 31, 2017

    In the aftermath of some great loss, we tend to move through our days as a wanderer in an unfamiliar place. Everything looks the same and yet–somehow it feels so different. How do we move on? When will life start to feel any semblance of normality? We go through the motions, placing one foot in […]

  • The Rose Bush: A Sign From Dad

    January 25, 2017

    As we approach February, I look out my kitchen window and see something that has caught my eye. It is a rose bush in bloom. This bush has been blooming throughout the winter. I first noticed it around Christmas time. Hmmm, peculiar. It’s never bloomed in the past. Yes, I live in Las Vegas but […]

  • Creating a Legacy Video

    January 21, 2017

    Documentary photographer Todd Hochberg talks about Moments Held, Legacy Work, which is an organization that connects families with documentarians like himself to capture the most poignant moments of life. Hochberg’s legacy videos are a popular option when a family knows that a loved one will pass soon, often from a terminal illness. For all the […]

  • What to Do When the Casseroles Stop Coming: First Anniversary of a Loved One’s Loss

    January 19, 2017

    About three weeks after a funeral, most people stop checking on you. The offerings become a smattering of well wishes and hopes you’re doing “better”. However, you might not be “better”. The anniversary of a loved one’s passing, particularly the first, sometimes is the toughest. Many books say that one year is “long enough” to […]

  • Birthdays … Beautiful and Bittersweet

    January 11, 2017

    I turned 60 in October, the day filled with a range of emotions. Etched in my brain and soul was the last time I saw my sister Jane, to celebrate my 25th birthday. For 35 years, my birthday held a cloud, never the joy of celebrating me on my birthday, always the pain of the […]

  • ‘Do You Cook for Yourself?’: How to Remember a Loving Husband

    January 7, 2017

    “Do you cook for yourself?”  a new acquaintance asks me. I smile to myself. She has no idea. She has opened the door wide. I begin: “No, I do not cook. My husband did everything with joy and skill for the entire time of our marriage.” I have one subject that fills my soul: the […]

  • One Mother’s Grief: Embracing ‘Fierce Growth’

    January 6, 2017

    A lightning bolt ripped through me and froze my being as I listened to the piercing words of my friend. “Your daughter has been in a bike accident. She died.” I felt everything and I felt nothing. The grieving started with a pattern of feeling split wide open, raw, bleeding; then followed moments of nothing […]

  • My Second Chapter: Life, Marriage, Family

    January 4, 2017

    Many people ask me, What’s it really like being re-married? My widow(er) friends want to know if I’m as happy as I was in my first marriage, if I compare my two husbands, why I’d risk being a widow again, and most importantly, if my new husband is understanding. Can you talk about James with him? […]

  • Turning Grief into Good

    December 15, 2016

    Four years into widowhood, I’m astounded at how entrenched I’ve become in the grief community. I would have guessed that when my husband died, after twelve years of struggling with dementia, that I would have done everything possible to leave the grief community, having been in it for so long. Caring for a loved one with […]

  • No One Should Grieve Alone

    December 14, 2016

    You’re here for self-help. But the best help is in person. Some of you have come here in abject grief, thinking life is unfair. It is unfair, as we all know, but when it is not fair to you, you need someone to help you understand what to do about it. What do you do with […]

  • Teaching Children about Loss

    December 14, 2016

    David Meagher is a professor emeritus at The City University of New York. He spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley of the Open to Hope Foundation about the unique ways children handle loss, and the hurdles they face. He wrote Zach and His Dog, a tool to help adults talk with children about loss. “When is […]

  • Holiday Grief: Personal and Professional Lessons

    December 10, 2016

    Who wants more stress? Not me, thanks very much. I enjoy the holidays: giving & receiving, getting together with those I love & cherish, embracing meaningful rituals, appreciating holiday decorations, sharing special meals, reflecting on my gratitude & blessings, & acknowledging my ancestors & their contributions. I am mindful to meet some of my needs […]

  • December is the Longest Month of Grief

    December 6, 2016

    December is the most difficult time of year for those of us who have children who are physically no longer with us. For me it begins in late September, with the anniversary of the day my son Richard died. Followed by Halloween. Richard loved Halloween…he took a lot of pleasure in introducing his youngest daughter to […]

  • The Holidays: Helping Seniors Grieve a Lifetime of Marriage

    December 5, 2016

    How can I face the holidays without my true love, my one and only love? A gentleman I recently visited is facing his first Christmas without his beloved. Enter gently and you may be able to bring peace to a broken heart. The caregiver warns me that he is very grumpy. Please don’t take it personally, […]

  • What Do the First Five Years Look Like?

    November 29, 2016

    Exactly five years ago today, our daughter, Becca, left this earth. I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting, trying to put so many abstract thoughts and feelings into something concrete, like words on a page. How is my life different now, besides the obvious? What is good, what is bad, and what […]

  • Valarie Molaison: Communicating with Children after a Suicide

    November 28, 2016

    How can you talk to children following a suicide? That’s the question Dr. Heidi Horsley tackles with Dr. Valarie Molaison, the clinical director at Supporting Kids, a non-profit based in Delaware. She’s also a licensed psychologist and a specialist in grief and loss. Suicide is a stigmatized loss already. Should children be told the truth […]

  • At Thanksgiving, Say Their Names

    November 25, 2016

    This article was first published on Open to Hope in 2010. Thursday will be the 21st Thanksgiving I’ve lived through following the death of my 18-month-old daughter Erin in 1990.  The 12th since my wife Trici died in 1999 and the 6th since my 13-year-old son Rory died in 2005. One thing I know for […]

  • Thanksgiving Darkness

    November 24, 2016

    Coming home after work in late November, I hear the sounds of children laughing and look down from the BART station at the playground of St. Leander’s School. Children are running around, playing kickball, and delighting in life. My wife Evelyn tutored at the school after hours for several years as her health slowly improved […]

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