Articles

  • 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 […]

  • Using the Expressive Arts for Children’s Grieving

    November 21, 2016

    Dr. Heidi Horsley sits down with Khris Ford, the founder of My Healing Place, to talk about the use of expressive arts to help children in the grief process. She founded the non-profit in Austin, Texas, when she realized there was a disparity that desperately needed filling. My Healing Place works with children ages three […]

  • ‘Light Points’: Recognizing and Sharing Your Miracle Moments

    November 17, 2016

    Light points are those times when something or someone “lights” our path in life.  We often experience these points when we are in a dark place and desperately need to be lifted up.  It is when we realize that there are occurrences that may not be fully understood that are meant solely for our good.  […]

  • Lunch Date with Resilience: Sisu After Pregnancy Loss

    November 8, 2016

      “I like the concept of Sisu: perseverance, guts, determination. But I also think that’s what gets me in trouble.” With family hailing from Finland, Sisu is a common household word, encouraging bravery and resilience. But for my new friend, Heather, it’s extra pressure that makes her feel like she should be able to “do […]

  • Día de Muertos: Eat, Speak, and Remember

    October 28, 2016

    The Oxford English dictionary defines “remember” as to “have in or be able to bring one’s mind an awareness of someone or something from the past.” I have thought a lot about remembering or memory since our son Mack died on New Year’s Eve 2012, two weeks shy of his 9th birthday. Often a memory […]

  • Support for Donor Families and Organ Recipients

    October 24, 2016

    What does it mean to be a member of a donor family? Jamie Yetter, the family services coordinator with the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA), works closely with families who potentially have a loved one who is a viable organ donor. She’s a chaplain and gets notified from hospitals when a potential donor becomes […]

  • Grief in the Body Politic: Mourning Lost Elections

    October 20, 2016

     The way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves from loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life.       — Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom Remen says that the way we deal with loss, as […]

  • Peter’s Place: Serving Grieving Children in Philadelphia

    October 18, 2016

    Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Anthony Morelli of Peter’s Place. A licensed social worker, he works with bereaved children near Philadelphia. Peter’s Place serves children and families who have experienced a death—usually of a parent or sibling. When there’s a loss, it affects the entire community including the school. Children need a safe, consistent environment. […]

  • Roberta’s House a Place for Community Healing

    October 16, 2016

    The President of Roberta’s House, Annette March-Grier, speaks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about the organization’s mission and what it’s like being the only grief center in Baltimore. Founded in 2007, Roberta’s House is in the heart of an urban community that has a lot of violence, drug usage, and health concerns. All free services are […]

  • How Belief Systems Shape Our Grief

    October 14, 2016

    This is the third of four articles based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES by Elizabeth Horwin. WHAT DO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND? The first article in this series focused on the concept of What is Life and the second focused on the concept of What is Death. I encouraged the […]

  • Caregiver Remorse: 3 Ways to Find Peace

    October 11, 2016

    I’ve not yet met a fellow caregiver who, at some point, hasn’t expressed at least one regret…maybe more. Caregiving can be extremely rewarding and challenging. The rewards are pretty clear. On the challenging side, there is care delivery. Caregivers end up on the front lines providing services that, in the past, have been in the hands […]

  • Becoming a Grief Counselor

    October 11, 2016

    Dr. Gloria Horsley connects with Dr. Janet McCord at an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. Dr. McCord is the director of Grief and Bereavement Studies at Marian University in Wisconsin. The two experts discuss what it means to be a grief counselor, including the unique challenges—as well as the benefits. Being a […]

  • Grief, the Roller Coaster

    October 10, 2016

    The one thing you can predict when it comes to the journey of grief is that it will be unpredictable. The most random and smallest sound, smell, or sight can push you emotionally. It’s typically when you least expect it. This is when you realize that you have memories—some that you forgot about—that are attached […]

  • Deep Calls to Deep: Why Grievers Understand Each Other

    October 7, 2016

    I wear the black shroud of my dead, walk through dark canyons littered with bones. Sorrowful, beautiful death lives here. Silence is my companion because you are gone. * A friend who works with the grieving loves the Latin of this phrase so much (abyssus abyssum invocate), that she had it tattooed on her arm. […]

  • Julie White: Teens and Grief

    October 7, 2016

    Teens can grieve differently than adults. Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Julie White of the Willow Center in Idaho. White runs teen groups, and finds that teens need the support of one another after a loss. They like to lean on each other to know they’re not alone. Sometimes in school, they feel like an outcast. […]

  • How Child-Loss Changes Your Relationships

    October 5, 2016

    There is a great divide between the relationships I have with those in my life six years ago and those just getting to know me. The more time that passes since watching my son take his last breath, the greater this divide grows.  I was reminded of this today when confronted with some difficult situations […]

  • Life-Work Balance and a Parent with Dementia

    October 1, 2016

    I reflect at 3am not being able to sleep, remembering it was just over one year ago since my husband Paul and I moved my father and his two cats 700 miles north to live near us.  We were traveling and preparing for his move during the week of our 20th anniversary.  Not what we’d […]

  • From Motherless to ‘Motherfull’

    September 25, 2016

    Knowing our role or function among our friends and family isn’t something we intentionally think about; it’s just natural. Knowing our role at work is necessary and obvious. I didn’t realize every character (aka: people around me) in my story (aka: life) had been playing a role in my life for years. Not just Mom, […]

  • When Sorrow and Joy Collide: Coping with Opposite Emotions

    September 23, 2016

    In 2007, my husband and I became guardians of our twin grandchildren. Our elder daughter, their mother, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Six months later the twin’s father died from the injuries he received in a car crash. Two more family members died as well, and we were stunned by […]

  • Darnell Baylor: Helping Teens with Grief and Anger

    September 23, 2016

    Darnell Baylor with Roberta’s House talks to Dr. Heidi Horsley about teens and grief. As a program manager, Baylor works with bereaved teens in Baltimore. It’s the only such center in Baltimore. “Changing the Game” is a way for kids to take control and do something healthier during their grief. They need support and consistency. […]

  • Mandi Zucker: Imagine Center Offers Family Support

    September 21, 2016

    Mandi Zucker joins Dr. Gloria Horsley to talk about Imagine, a center for coping with loss located in New Jersey. They target children ages 3-18 as well as their families. Children living with an illness in the family, as well as those who’ve lost someone they love, need a special kind of support. For adults […]

  • Coral Popowitz: Grief Camps Offer Peer-to-Peer Healing

    September 20, 2016

    Grief camps can be a fantastic tool for healing. Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Coral Popowitz, the Executive Director of several grief camps around the country. Grief camp is an oxymoron, since nobody wants to think about attending one. However, the focus is on the camp aspect and it’s geared towards kids looking for a fun […]

  • My Ten-Year Journey After Losing My Daughter

    September 18, 2016

    I experienced the saddest moments of my life, as the unthinkable happened to my family, when Samar, my 18-year-old daughter died ten years ago. I never thought that what happened to some parents would ever happen to us. But it did. The death of my youngest daughter was the biggest blow I had in my […]

  • Coping With Grief: Approaching the Second Anniversary of My Son’s Death

    September 17, 2016

    Life is moving along well, considering the magnitude of losing of my only child almost two years ago. Since December of last year, I have started to feel like myself again. My nature, which is generally optimistic and hopeful, has returned. Recognizing that part of myself return was like meeting with an old friend. Since […]

  • Time Doesn’t Heal; Gratitude Does

    September 11, 2016

    I remember after the death of our son in 2011, how disconnected I felt that first year. Things I once enjoyed, even special relationships, I was unable to maintain. It wasn’t that I had stopped caring, never that, but the energy involved in even writing a simple letter was too much for me. I was […]

  • Doubt: A Meaningful Part of Saint Mother Teresa’s Story

    September 11, 2016

    One of the most important revelations about Saint Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) was made after her death.  It came in a collection of personal letters written to her spiritual advisers made public in a book published in 2007.  The book called, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, revealed that Mother Teresa was plagued by serious […]

  • No Longer the Victim: Emerging From Loss

    September 1, 2016

    When we have children, being a parent becomes one of the deepest parts of our identity. As a woman, my identity is being the mother of Becca, Christopher, Kimmy, Jamison, and Austin. When Becca went through times of severe illness (such as cancer at age 3, being given a 50/50 chance of surviving labor and […]

  • Grieving the Loss of the Future

    August 21, 2016

    I knew from day one when I lost my mom that specific occasions would arise in my life that I would inevitably miss having a mother there for. The two most prominent times would be getting married and having kids. I was hesitant about them from the beginning. It was comforting knowing I had my […]

  • Camille Gerace: Helping Kids Cope with Grief

    August 20, 2016

    The Open to Hope Foundation’s Dr. Heidi Horsley talks with Camille Gerace about the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region. This project is just one year old, but Gerace says that already they’ve seen so much growth in their clients. She says that when children are around their peers, they get the […]

  • Is ‘Getting Over It’ the Goal?

    August 19, 2016

    “Loss is about all kinds of things,” says Dr. Howard Winokuer, who spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As the president of ADEC, he works with Dr. Gloria’s organization, the Open to Hope Foundation, very closely. Loss can include divorce, moving, growing older, and of course […]

  • The Challenge of Guilt During Grief

    August 19, 2016

    Before I made my professional home in the grief world, I had no idea that guilt was such a common emotion after someone died. Looking back, perhaps I should have known. My maternal grandmother died when I was ten years old. Unlike many grandparents I see today, my grandparents rarely got out and about and […]

  • Celestial Conversations: Reaching Through the Veil

    August 18, 2016

    When my mother died in 2004, we had so much unfinished business that I thought her death ended all chances of healing our strained relationship. Encouraged by a friend, I began journaling with the intention of reaching through the veil to my mother.  Even though my Catholic religion frowned on talking to the dead, it […]

  • Lunch Date with Resilience: Not Everything Happens ‘For a Reason’

    August 17, 2016

      “You can go two ways when you have a tragedy,” she began as she unrolled her white, pressed napkin. “You can be the victim, or you can change your story.” On July 6, 2016, I was honored to have lunch and conversation about loss, the lasting impact of fatal crashes, mindsets, and motherhood with […]

  • Cristina Flores: Finding Hope After Loss (En espanol)

    August 16, 2016

    Cristina Flores trabaja con Bo’s Place y es entrevistada por John Rampton de Open to Hope Foundation durante la conferencia de National Alliance for Grieving Children. Flores es la coordinadora de los grupos bilingües en Bo’s Place, un lugar de duelo que le ayuda a los niños, adultos y familiares que han sufrido una perdida […]

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  • Episode 88: Male Grief: Sudden Traumatic Loss

    November 7, 2016

    Have you or a male friend had a sudden or traumatic loss? Are you wondering how men cope? If so join Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley in a frank discussion of men and grief with Jim Giaccone, Franklin Cook and Eric Marcus. Jim’s brother Joe, died on 9/11 while Franklin and Eric suffered the […]

  • Episode 85: Transforming Grief After The Death of A Mother and Daughter

    October 2, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interviewed Lo Anne Mayer on the death of her mother and how she found comfort and understanding by conversing with her mother through meditation and writing. After the tragic suicide of her daughter, Cyndi, Lo Anne again found comfort in writing as a conduit between […]

  • Episode 83: Spouse Loss

    August 21, 2016

    On this show Dr’s Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview bereaved spouses Audrey Pellicano. RN MS Health Counselor and educator, and Rabbi Jeffery Sirkman, Senior Rabbi of Larchmont Temple, regarding the challenges of lousing a spouse and how they have again found hope. Joining in the discussion of finding hope after the loss of a partner […]

  • Episode 82: Coping With Murder

    August 20, 2016

    On this show Dr’s Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview Zander Sprague regarding the murder of his sister and the strong emotions of anger, shame and guilt experienced by survivors. Joining in the discussion of forgiveness and hope are Buddhist Monks, Koshin Paley Ellison, Robert Chodo Campbell, and Jeffery Sirkman, Senior Rabbi of Larchmont Temple. The […]