Articles

  • The Relationship Continues, the Context has Changed

    June 17, 2015

    I spoke to Bridget, who nearly one year after her dad’s passing at the age of sixty-four was missing him terribly. She always had a close connection to her dad and was one of his caretakers while he was quite ill the year before he passed away. She believes in an afterlife and believes that […]

  • Running from Dad’s Death

    June 16, 2015

    “I need to see Dad,” I said to Mom. I stood in my parents’ bedroom. My mother’s clothes were strewn on the floor and the bed was unmade. “I’m in a hurry, Elaine. I have to get to the hospital.” “I know,” I said. “Take me with you. I want to see Dad. He’s MY […]

  • The Death of My Father: Lingering Guilt

    June 13, 2015

    January 11, 2003, I sat on my father’s bed chatting with him at the Mercer Island Care Center. At age 80, he was attempting to recover from a bout of pneumonia. At around 9:30 pm, I kissed him good-bye, got up from the bed and said I’d see him tomorrow. I can still see him […]

  • Mitch Carmody: Proactive Grieving

    June 12, 2015

    Grieving shouldn’t just be a passive process—but many people need help being proactive about it. Dr. Gloria Horsley from the Open to Hope Foundation recently spoke with proactive grieving expert Mitch Carmody of Heartlight Studios about what it means to grieve in a proactive manner. Carmody brings his own experience to the table, having lost […]

  • As Life Ended, He Knew He Had Done the Best He Could

    June 11, 2015

    Developmental theorist Eric Erickson1 described our final developmental task as being the need to review our life to determine if the gods are pleased. In doing a life review, we sort through the various aspects of our life and conclude either with believing we have done the best we could, or determining there are things […]

  • Gone Too Soon: A Father’s Day Remembrance

    June 8, 2015

    Fathers are so important in our lives. To those fathers who are still with us, Happy Father’s Day. To those fathers who preceded us in death, who are gone too soon, we remember you. A special shout-out to all of the single fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, father figures, uncles, clergy, godfathers, neighbors, counselors, support group facilitators, […]

  • Sheryl Sandberg’s Public Grief a Gift to All

    June 3, 2015

    Facebook executive and author Sheryl Sandberg used her personal facebook account today to speak out about the pain of losing her young husband last month and to thank friends and fans for their support in the aftermath. In a poignant 1,700-word post, Ms. Sandberg also took the opportunity to provide a virtual checklist of lessons […]

  • Howard Winokuer: Having Hope

    June 3, 2015

    “It’s okay to see past some of the issues,” urges Dr. Howard Winokuer, the founder of The Winokuer Center for Counseling and Healing in Charlotte, North Carolina. Speaking with Dr. Heidi Horsley at the Association of Death Education and Counseling conference in 2015, he explains that, “It’s okay to have hope even if things don’t […]

  • Lyn Prashant: Body Work After Loss

    May 28, 2015

    As a bereaved spouse herself, Lyn Prashant specializes in “body work” after loss. She recently talked with Dr. Gloria Horsley from the Open to Hope Foundation about options for those in various stages of grieving when it comes to using the body as part of the healing process. “After my husband died, I found that […]

  • Be Aware of Anticipatory Grief

    May 27, 2015

    Sooner or later, we all experience anticipatory grief—a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they are going through this process, and think something is wrong with them. You may be experiencing anticipatory grief now. Nothing is wrong with you; it is a normal response to […]

  • Trust Heals: Journeying With Faith, Hope and Patience

    May 18, 2015

    “With Open Hands” –  Free me, Lord, from the inner bondage and endless cycle of what I think needs to happen before I can be happy.  Free me, Lord, from my idea of the solution. Help me to wait with open ended, joyful expectation; and help me to experience your peace. Amen  (Charles W. Sidoti). […]

  • Unleash the Silence: Compassion for Surviving Siblings

    May 11, 2015

    Losing my beloved sisters Jane and Margie impacted my life in ways I did not comprehend until years later. Their passing shaped the person I am today. With hard work, support, guidance, and the cheering of many, I re-discovered Judy after 30 years. The topic I choose to unleash, although extremely sensitive, needs to be […]

  • Renaming the Stages of Grief

    April 28, 2015

    Chances are, you’ve heard of the stages of grief Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying.” The stages are: 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance It is a very nice idea that you can break grief down into defined segments that have a clear beginning and […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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, […]

  • Open the Door, Welcome Joy

    December 28, 2014

    “Twinkling lights, horse-drawn carriages and the Sugar Plum Fairy all aglow. Evergreens and mistletoe, and Gingerbread houses lined in a row. Stockings hung by wood stoves, dogs curled up on the floor, as we sit and rock with our memories knocking at our door.” Time is measured from the moment our loved ones inhale their […]

  • Help for Holiday Grievers

    December 20, 2014

    “So, what’s for dinner?” Twelve pairs of eyes looked at me expectantly. It was a simple question, not one that should have struck terror in my heart, and yet I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I cleared my throat, nervously fingering the blanket that covered my lap. I thought I’d done so well. I’d managed to decorate […]

  • Does Bereavement End? Deciding That It’s OK to Survive

    December 19, 2014

    My wife, Kathy, and I present a workshop for bereaved parents that we have titled, “Into the Valley and Out Again.” We conclude that presentation with some of our observations on our recovery and reinvestment. We believe that many of these observations apply to all forms of bereavement. So here are some excerpts from our […]

  • Holiday Grief and Nutrition

    December 18, 2014

    The holidays are an opportunity to enjoy family, friends, food, drink and customs, as well as ethnic, religious and spiritual rituals. In addition to joyous experiences, like giving and receiving cards, gifts and donations, the holidays can also bring feelings of sadness, stress, disappointment, depression and loneliness to the surface, especially when we have experienced […]

  • Getting Through the Holidays: Include Your Deceased Loved One

    December 16, 2014

    Many of us who have lost a loved one dread the holiday season. This can be for many reasons. Maybe the death occurred around this time of year, or maybe the traditions that no longer take place, leave a void and a sadness in our hearts. No matter what the situation may be, everyone else […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Christopher Jones: Mitchell’s Journey a Personal Story of Reflection and Discovery

    June 11, 2015

    Christopher Jones is the author of Mitchell’s Journey, a Facebook blog which has nearly 300,000 followers. Chris began the blog a few years prior to his son, Mitchell’s death from heart failure caused by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He has along with his family and friends shared with the world his personal journey of reflection and […]

  • Finding Joy Again After Loss: Beth Marshall

    May 21, 2015

    Beth Marshall is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, and the author of two grief-related journals. Her newest book, Grief Survivor~ 28 Steps Toward Hope and Healing was designed to help people write and remember their loved one; and realize there really can be a joy-filled life after loss!

  • Finding Joy Again After Loss: Beth Marshall

    May 21, 2015

    Beth Marshall is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, and the author of two grief-related journals. Her newest book, Grief Survivor~ 28 Steps Toward Hope and Healing was designed to help people write and remember their loved one; and realize there really can be a joy-filled life after loss!

  • 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 49: Trauma Treatments

    May 7, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma EMDR and Neurofeedback for repairing faulty connections and connectivity patterns. Dr. David Fajgenbaum joins the group to discuss how the death of […]

  • Episode 48: Trauma/Heal The Body

    May 7, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma how yoga and other physical activities help the bereaved. Bereaved spouse Dr. Lyn Prashant PhD, FT, joins the discussion of helping the […]