• 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 […]

  • Improv artist Marc Herson on Vision Quests for Mourners

    November 28, 2014

    Fasting on water, chanting his heart out and beating a drum for 4 solitary days  in a pine valley opened a door to the afterlife for Marc Hershon. This and more when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with Hershon about his vision quest – a Renaissance man who performs and teaches improv; hosts and produces Succotash, the Comedy Podcast; draws an award-winning, weekly cartoon for California’s Half […]

  • Activities to help Children Process Grief: Interview with Dr. Natalie Carlos

    November 15, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Natalie Carlos, who works in the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, about her work with children and grief. Natalie got into this field after being motivated and inspired by her own personal experience. Natalie’s mom died after a two-year battle with […]

  • 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 […]

  • Why Happy New Year is Tough on Bereaved Parents

    May 30, 2014

    When the ball at Times Square drops, champagne corks pop. Ample hugs and kisses are dispensed all around. A new year, new hope, new ventures, new possibilities. Wow, it’s all so exciting! However, for the parent who has lost a child in the previous year, the dawning of a new calendar year can be rough. […]

  • Childhood Grief: An Interview with Chase Roberts

    May 17, 2014

    In this video, Jesse Roberts, the author of Katie the Ladybug: Explaining Emotions of Grief to a Child, speaks of his own experiences and encourages those who are helping grieving children to be honest, concrete, and sensitive when discussing the topic of death. Losing both of my parents before the age of 16 inspired me […]

  • Telling a Child about a Death

    December 29, 2013

    Asking “what if” is helpful when it includes thinking things through in order to be prepared. One example is: “What if my child needs to be told some difficult news? How can I best handle the situation?” It helps to deliver bad news slowly and sensitively. Children appreciate adults being honest with them. When you […]

  • Holidays Don’t Have to be Harder Than Other Times of Year

    December 16, 2013

    The holidays are here.  This time of year can bring all kinds of stress and anticipation for you and for your living children. Sometimes, just the anticipation can be the hardest part of the holidays.  You may find that you anticipate that the holiday it is going to be difficult.  You may anticipate that it […]

  • 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 […]

  • Signs from the Afterlife?

    July 26, 2013

    When I was a chiropractor in New York City, an essential part of my job was helping stressed-out patients to relax. Back pain is a vicious cycle. The pain causes tension and the tension intensifies the pain. Breaking the cycle with relaxation and a change of viewpoint helps the body heal. I never would have […]

  • Teen Questions Reaction to Her Parent’s Death

    February 18, 2013

    Question from a reader:  My dad died a little over two weeks ago.   He was not sick.  He was caught in an undercurrent and drowned.  I did not witness it but I heard the stories and have been there enough to be able to picture it.  He was not an amazing dad; he worked a […]

  • Thanks to the Men who Help Kids After Father Loss

    June 20, 2012

    When my husband died, I knew it would be important to my boys to have men around and in their lives. Since they would no longer have their trail guide, it was up to me to make sure men of good character, who were loving, compassionate and wise were a part of their lives. I […]

  • 7-Year-Old Creates Own Grief Ritual

    March 8, 2012

    My son was 7 years old when his biological father passed away from suicide. About a month after his dad’s death, I found Kaden very distressed, crying alone in his bedroom. I instantly bent down to his level, trying to get him to talk about what had him so upset. I was determined to fix […]

  • ‘Daddy Died, Mommy. Are You Going to Die, too?’

    January 13, 2012

    When children lose one of their parents to death, they may worry that their other parent will die as well. This worry can also come if another person who has been very important to them (such as a grandparent) dies. What can we do to keep those worries to a minimum? We lay the first […]

  • Helping Children Cope with Grief during the Holiday Season

    November 2, 2011

    Holidays are normally a time of joy and celebration amongst families; however, they can heighten children’s sense of loss. Whether it is loss from a death or a divorce, a child is more likely to acknowledge the fact that the relative is missing during these times that are spent with family. According to recent census […]

  • 100 Great Stress Busters for Kids

    January 14, 2011

    Stress is the normal nervous tension we feel in our bodies when we are making a transition in our life. Change is sometimes predictable like the birth of a baby, transferring to a higher school grade or graduation from high school. Then there are changes that happen unexpectedly, like coming down with a major illness, […]

  • Edwards Children Will Need Adult Help as They Grieve

    December 9, 2010

    The death of Elizabeth Edwards this week leaves three children without their mother, including two children ages 12 and 10. What can the Edwards family and friends do to help them through their grief? Research by psychoanalysts at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis on The Effects of Early Parent Deaths showed: The most important thing […]

  • Welcome Mat for Grief in the School Counselor’s Office

    November 15, 2010

    I had my back to my office door as I was pounding away on the computer, writing parent permission letters to attend a grief group.  After sensing a presence, I turned and saw a student standing there, somber, yet alert and extremely pensive. “Hi, I’m Mrs. J.”  I smiled, staying seated, somehow believing it was […]

  • A Memory Game for Grieving Children

    September 4, 2010

    This version of the typical children’s memory game (known in some circles as Concentration) is for grieving families to share memories of a departed one. It was therapeutic for me to make, and while playing, the kids rehearse memories as they refine their recall and spacial skills. Materials: – cardboard large enough to make your […]

  • Graduation Historic Day for Parentless Children Raised by Grandparents

    July 1, 2010

    June was graduation month for most American high schools.  Our twin grandchildren graduated then, and my husband and I attended the ceremony.  It was an emotional experience because we are GRGs, grandparents raising grandchildren.  We assumed these roles after our grandchildren’s parents — our daughter and son-in-law — were killed in separate car crashes. Graduation […]

  • Mother Finds Comfort in Living Her Daughter’s Values

    June 6, 2010

    On the first anniversary of our daughter’s death, my husband and I held a graveside service in her memory. It was a brief service because the February temperature hovered around zero and the wind chill was fierce. Despite the weather, 10 people gathered to remember her. I passed out a list of our daughter’s values. […]

  • Mourners Surrounded by Sacred Moments

    May 22, 2010

    Ever since my daughter died from the injuries she received in a car crash in 2007, I’ve become more aware of the sacred moments in my life.  Before she died I thought I was aware of these moments, but this turned out to be untrue.  I was sort of aware of them. Other family members […]

  • ‘Sole Parenthood’ Challenges Young Widow and Her Kids

    May 12, 2010

    There are times when, as a sole parent, I feel as if I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. When I say “sole” parent, I mean only parent.  There is no other parent around to pick up the kids every other weekend.  There is no one that can in-case-of-emergency run and grab […]

  • Haiti’s Children Need Emotional Support after Quake

    March 19, 2010

    As the world pulls together to deliver physical necessities such as food, water and shelter, we must remember to respond to the emotional healing that is needed nationwide in Haiti as well. Following the earthquake, the children will experience post-traumatic stress and they will have deep scars, physically and emotionally, that must be tended to. […]

  • Helping the Grieving Child in School

    November 23, 2009

    Children’s grief should be seen as an ongoing life process that is approachable through words, activities and non-verbal communication. Educators can use this understanding to create a safe environment for parents, teachers and children to acknowledge and process difficult feelings. So often adults rely on the prevailing myth that children are too young too grieve. […]

  • Helping your Child with Loss and Grief

    September 4, 2009

    How can we help our children deal with deaths of loved ones? Here are some ways. Prepare the children for what will come. The more open you can be about what is ahead, the less uncomfortable your children will be. Explain what the funeral will be like, what they will see and what feelings they […]

  • Youth Violence Often the Result of Traumatic Losses

    September 3, 2009

    By Suzy Yehl Marta – Josh was a quiet kid, a seventh grader in a mid-size, Midwest city whose parents’ divorce left him bereft. Fortunately, his school offered a peer-support group for students struggling with family transitions, and Josh chose to attend. Meeting every week, the kids in the group shared their pain, confusion and divided […]

  • Helping Your Child Cope With Loss

    June 25, 2009

    By Lauren Littauer Briggs – By the time I was eight, my first brother had died and my second was diagnosed with the same fatal condition.  My great-grandmother had died, but I wasn’t allowed at the funeral.  Instead, I peeked through the heating ducts to watch what was going on.  My dog was given away […]

  • Loss During Young Adulthood May Make One Feel Old

    June 23, 2009

    By Beryl Kaminsky – The young adult years — ranging from late teens to early thirties — span a period of life when most people are self-centered.  Life is all about gaining independence, finding oneself, having a good time or starting relationships.  Death is the farthest thing from a young person’s mind. As a result, […]

  • Mother’s Power Limited in the Face of Death

    May 27, 2009

    By Michele Neff Hernandez – Motherhood brings out the lioness in me. No task is too small or sacrifice too great to ensure the well being of my three children. In my mind’s eye, I can see myself jumping in front of an on-coming train to save their lives; feeding them first from my last […]

  • Supporting Children Dealing with Grief During the Holidays: Tips to Help

    April 27, 2009

    The holidays can be a magical time of year, but for children who have recently lost a parent, sibling, or another significant person in their lives, the holiday season can be an emotional minefield. It can also pose challenges for their still grieving surviving parents and other family members. “The holiday season can be particularly […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Rebecca Soffer: Modern Loss Coping with Grief in a Digital World

    October 30, 2014

    Rebecca Soffer is the co-founder of Modern Loss a website geared to young adults addressing the many permutations of loss, from miscarriages to a parent’s death.  Ms. Soffer lost both her parents, her mother to an automobile accident and her father to a heart attack.

  • Galen Goben: Coping With the Death of a Parent

    March 27, 2014

    Galen, a Certified Thanatologist, is one of the Grief Support Coordinators for Forest Lawn in Southern California.  He is responsible for providing grief education and services to the community and to the grieving families served by Forest Lawn.  Galen is an ordained Disciple of Christ minister

  • Linda Goldman: Helping Children Deal With Death Guest:

    November 21, 2013

    Linda Goldman is a grief therapist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and Kings College and the author of Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children, 3rd Edition, Children Also Grieve, and Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death.

  • Cathy Spear: The Healing Power of Grief Camp

    August 9, 2012

    Cathy Spear, LICSW, is Director of Camper Services at Circle of Tapawingo, a week-long overnight camp program in Maine for girls who have experienced the death of a parent. Circle was founded in 2002 with 32 campers ages 8-12.  This August, Circle will enroll 145 girls, now including a Teen Program, as well as a […]

  • Donna Hanschu; Balancing Life and Loss

    December 16, 2010

    Donna Hanschu is a certified Death, Dying & Bereavement specialist. She has worked with Head-start families, families with disabilities, families of the terminally ill, children, teenagers, and senior citizens.  She has had considerable personal experience with loss and is the author of Spirit in Flight.

  • Donna Hanschu; Balancing Life and Loss

    December 16, 2010

    Donna Hanschu is a certified Death, Dying & Bereavement specialist. She has worked with Head-start families, families with disabilities, families of the terminally ill, children, teenagers, and senior citizens.  She has had considerable personal experience with loss and is the author of Spirit in Flight.

  • Barbara Thompson: Death of a Father

    September 9, 2010

    Barbara Thompson’s father died at age 12, she went on to find hope and meaning after his loss.

  • Dr. Laura Slap-Shelton: Death of a Parent

    July 15, 2010

    Laura Slap-Shelton lost her father at age 12, she has gone on to write a children’s book helping kids cope with loss.

  • Kathy Supiano: Resources for Bereaved Children and Families

    October 8, 2009

    Kathy is a clinical Social Worker and Director of Caring Connections, an organization of hope and comfort for the grieving.

  • Understanding Dementia and Caregiving For Your Aging Parents From A to Z

    March 24, 2014

    Per the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report published by the Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight older Americans (over 65 years old) has Alzheimer’s and nearly half of the people 85 and older are afflicted with this insidious disease. So just as the Baby Boomer generation is getting ready to enjoy retirement, their increasingly […]

  • Let’s Get A Grasp on Grief

    March 24, 2014

    Grief is a very puzzling process and not easily understood. Even most adults don’t understand it, so how can we expect children to understand their feelings if their Mom or Dad dies. “Let’s Get A Grasp on Grief” begins to help older children (9 years +) to understand some of the confusing emotions they will […]

  • Let’s Get A Grip on Grief

    March 24, 2014

    Grief is a very puzzling process and not easily understood. Even most adults don’t understand it, so how can we expect children to understand their feelings if their Mom, Dad or another loved one dies. “Let’s Get A Grip on Grief” does NOT attempt to explain death or why a loved one had to die. […]

  • Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death: What Children Need to Know

    November 16, 2010

    Linda Goldman’s book, Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death: What Children Need to Know, is available at

  • Squirrel and Oak, A Story of Hope

    November 2, 2010

    Megan Prescott’s book, Squirrel and Oak, A Story of Hope, is available at

  • Overcoming Loss: Activities and Stories to Help Transform Children’s Grief and Loss

    November 2, 2010

    Julia Sorensen’s book, Overcoming Loss: Activities and Stories to Help Transform Children’s Grief and Loss, is available at

  • In My Mother’s Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence

    October 28, 2010

    Robin Edgar’s book, In My Mother’s Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence, illustrates how to recall and record memories of your loved ones in order to develop rituals that celebrate the times you had with them. This inexpensive paperback  is available at

  • Your Legacy of Love

    October 26, 2010

    Gemini Adams’ book, Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye, is available at

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 13:Death of a Parent: Healing Mind, Body and Spirit

    June 19, 2013

    Grief Relief Television with mother/daughter team Dr Gloria and Dr Heidi Horsley, brought to you by the Open to Hope Foundation. On this show Dr. Cori Bussolari and Antonio Sausys, yoga expert give sound advice on ways to heal your mind and body after the loss of a parent

  • Jenny Wheeler, Reassuring Grieving Teens

    July 22, 2011

    Jenny Wheeler, author of Weird is Normal When Teenagers Grieve, talks about the loss of her father and ways teens can cope at the Association of Death Education and Counseling annual conference, 2011.