Articles

  • The Myth of the 5 Stages of Grief

    June 24, 2017

    As a mental-health counselor and a sixty-something-year-old human being, I have found that you cannot fit grief into a neat list of stages on some linear continuum.  The so-called five stages of grief actually are a myth. Grief doesn’t come in stages, but in cycles. These cycles may come in waves like a gently rolling […]

  • What Grief Teaches Us

    June 22, 2017

    In the depths of our grief, something new is being born in us. Grief is the dark mother delivering from her womb of sorrow an unfolding version of ourselves. This new version experiences dimensions of emotion that the old version could not. The new version has collapsed and stretched and suffered and learned in ways […]

  • Fingerprints: Losing a Husband, Living with Grief

    June 15, 2017

    When he used to take off his socks next to our bed and throw them ceremoniously to the cork floor, he would spread the fingers of his chubby peasant hands on the wall of our bedroom to keep his balance before rocketing into bed beside me. It took at least three years to have a finished […]

  • Five Signs You May Be Carrying Hidden Grief

    June 13, 2017

      When my son Justin died in 1993 at the age of 16, I was emotionally crippled for at least a year, unable to return to my former life in advertising or relate to people in familiar ways. Over time, I reassembled the tattered scraps of my life into a new tapestry, and I took […]

  • The Restlessness of Grief: Taking Back Control

    June 11, 2017

    It’s early morning and the sun has just come up.  I open my eyes and am hit with a wave of grief as I remember that my loved one is gone.  My mind begins to remember the events of the last few days and I replay the reality that now is my life again and […]

  • Spring: Memories of Love, a Chance for New Growth

    June 5, 2017

    “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” ― Pablo Neruda   Spring rain brings May flowers This was my partner Kim’s favorite time of year. I watch her child-like actions as the flowers bloom and the trees bud. She knew the names of them all, closing her eyes while […]

  • Glen Lord: The Grief Toolbox

    June 3, 2017

    As part of The Grief Toolbox, Glen Lord spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference about the death of a parent as an adult. “Death of a parent” searches make up about half of Open to Hope’s searches. He says the death of a parent when the […]

  • Mitch Carmody: Taking Care of Yourself and Finding Hope After Loss

    June 1, 2017

    Mitch Carmody works with Heartlight Studios, has his own ministry, works with The Compassionate Friends as well as TAPS. As a leader in the grief industry, his passion comes from personal experience: Carmody’s son died at just nine years old. Carmody spoke with Dr. Heidi Horsley of The Open to Hope Foundation during the 2015 […]

  • A Visualization: How to Choose Healing and Growth

    May 27, 2017

    If you find yourself here, it’s likely because you’ve recently experienced the death of someone you love.  You may have had time to prepare, or the death may have come suddenly.  Either way, the expectations you had for your life and your future were thwarted; taken from you without warning.  And as devastating as loss […]

  • So Much More than 5 Stages of Grief

    May 21, 2017

    Please, right this very moment, if you are reading this trying to figure out where the catastrophe of your grief fits in a little box, STOP. The truth is, there are no five stages. Or ten, or twenty, or ninety-five. There is no one way to grieve, only your way. There may be characteristic emotional […]

  • An Absent Connection: Eight Years After a Child-Loss

    May 4, 2017

    This October it will be 8 years since my 10-year-old son David was tripped up during a football practice, and suffered an acute subdural hematoma which took him forever from our lives. He is always in my thoughts. Every day his smile and love runs through my day. Every benchmark of growing up his little […]

  • The Switch Stays On: Attachment After a Loss

    May 3, 2017

    How we start out in life has consequences for the rest of our lives. The connections we make, or don’t make, to whoever parents us, sets the stage for all our future relationships. The more our parents are dependable, nurturing and sensitive to our needs, the more we are set up to be part of […]

  • Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal

    April 26, 2017

    Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky, the author of Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal. Dr. Kosminsky says, “I wrote it because people were coming in and asking me if they were grieving in the right way.”. There are many stages of grief, and that’s talked about in depth, but it […]

  • Webinar: How Do I Know If It’s Grief or Depression?

    April 23, 2017

    This webinar features Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talking about grief vs. depression with Dr. Howard Winokuer. As the co-founder of TO LIFE, a non-profit that offers education and counseling to those struggling with loss, he knows all too well that there are blurred lines. Dr. Winokuer has helped thousands of people along their grief […]

  • Is There Such a Thing as Closure After a Loss?

    April 19, 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 […]

  • Suffering a Loss Yet to Come

    April 19, 2017

    My father’s wife of 30 years passed away in November 2014. Prior to her passing, he was her caretaker in all senses of the word, even to the extent that he was neglecting himself.  We knew while he was taking care of her that something was happening with his cognition, but he was a wonderful, […]

  • A Young Widower’s Marathon, Part 2: Healing, Resilience and Dating

    April 4, 2017

    Andy Guice’s life forever changed when he met his wife. She uplifted and encouraged him in ways he’d never known. Then she underwent three rounds of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and suffered a terrible death during just before their third wedding anniversary. He was 31 years old. The first part of this interview series covered […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 104: Honoring our Children

    May 16, 2017

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Gabrielle Doucet, author of Let Go & Let Love; Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, and Judy Pedersen along with bereaved parent Daniel Abut from Hearts of Hope foundation regarding loss and how they have honored deceased family members.

  • Episode 95: Coping With Cancer with Sue Matthews and Dr. Wendy Lichtenthal

    December 12, 2016

    Cancer deaths are difficult and traumatic for families. On this show Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley talk with Sue Matthews, parent of Taylor, and founder of Conquering Kidz Cancer, and Dr. Wendy Lichtenthal, clinical psychologist and director of the Bereavement Clinic at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, about ways to cope and find meaning […]

  • Episode 92: Sudden Death Regaining Balance with Dr. Neal Raisman, Rob Goor, and Steven Francesco

    December 7, 2016

    Feeling out of balance? Has sudden death disrupted your equilibrium? Join Dr. Gloria Horsley, Dr. Heidi Horsley, Dr. Neal Raisman, Rob Goor, and Steven Francesco for tips on stabilizing your life after loss. Neal is the author of Standing On One Foot, Rob authored Dear Andrew, and Steven is founder of Do No Harm Network, […]