Articles

  • By Adversity Our Hearts Are Made Better: How Loss May Strengthen Us

    April 29, 2016

    It was so ironic that as I was flying home on a wonderful United Airlines flight at some 300 mph from the ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I was reading David McCullough’s book, The Wright Brothers.  It is ironic because the conference had a lot to do about sharing the best of […]

  • Seasons of Remembering: Spring Brings Needed Change

    April 28, 2016

    It is amazing how tangible things can evoke some memory tucked away in the secret chambers of our thoughts. Like the changing of the seasons, like Spring. Trees that just yesterday were leafless and barren, now burst with leaf and  bud. And within the intricate xylem tissue, water and minerals are transported from the roots […]

  • When Lupines Bloom, I Think of Him

    April 25, 2016

    My husband Vic and I planted many pounds of wildflower seeds in our fields over the years. Wild grasses devoured some of them, but the lupines thrived and self-seeded on broad hillsides. On the day of Vic’s death in June 2008, lupines bloomed with wild abandon, erupting from the earth with thousands of tall purple […]

  • Returning to the Land of Loss: ‘Enfranchising’ our Grief

    April 21, 2016

    My cousin died last year, at least that’s how it felt for me. She actually died seven years ago, so my delayed sojourn into Loss has been very private…very lonely. Let me explain. I grew up in California and made family trips to Seattle to see my three cousins: Sarah, Susan and Sally. I am […]

  • The Quest for Closure

    April 16, 2016

      I often hear people speak about finding closure after a major life trauma or loss. When a loved one dies or a relationship ends, we say we are seeking closure. We long for relief from the voices in our heads telling us that we should have done more or loved better. We may hope […]

  • Eight Years Later: My Five Stages Of Grief

    April 15, 2016

    The Swiss psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, wrote in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, about the various stages of grief that the bereaved know all too well. I’m sure many of us have heard this from our shrinks or bereavement groups. As I reflect back on the eight years since my 17-year-old daughter Casey’s suicide, […]

  • I Still Grieve my Father’s Silence

    April 13, 2016

    My wife pointed to a curved red slash on my leg. “Where’d you get those scrapes?” “Maybe from the dog when we played a couple of hours ago?” Our dog has raggedy claws and abundant enthusiasm. Two cats also own us and one, Milo, randomly treats our flesh like a pincushion. An errant branch could […]

  • Examining our Beliefs about Life and Death

    April 12, 2016

    This is the first of four articles based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES by Elizabeth Horwin. WHAT IS LIFE? It seems to me that it is a common belief (especially in Western culture) that the human experience begins with Life and ends with Death. That is not my belief because […]

  • Helpful vs. Harmful Thoughts

    April 12, 2016

    In our culture, we tend to be overly self-critical.  Sometimes we are so preoccupied, we aren’t even aware of how harmful our thoughts can be to our well-being.  We are hard on ourselves when it comes to our weight and appearance, whether we are achieving enough in our workplaces and in our homes, and whether […]

  • Kathleen Gilbert and Gloria Horsley: How Family Members Grieve Differently

    April 9, 2016

    Dr. Gloria Horsley of the Open to Hope Foundation interviews Kathleen Gilbert, an associate professor at Indiana University. How do different family members grieve? According to Gilbert, there’s differential grieving. After a loss, people think their grief doesn’t match their loss. Who you are going into the grief is different than who you are now. […]

  • Acceptance or Letting Go?

    April 7, 2016

    I pick Acceptance.  It makes me cringe if I am in a conversation with someone who is grieving or missing a loved one in any way shape or form and I hear the words, it’s time to let go or you need to let go. I am sure their intentions come from a loving place. […]

  • Entering into a New Relationship after the Death of a Life Partner

    April 2, 2016

    How many photos are too many? One of the most charming questions I ever received in one of my second year spousal loss classes came from a middle-aged man named Sam. He said, “If I were to invite a woman over to dinner, how many framed pictures of my deceased wife would be too many?” […]

  • Spousal Loss: What Legacy of Loss Are You Passing on to Others?

    March 28, 2016

    The loss of your life partner is especially complex to manage because the two of you functioned as a couple for so long. As a result, you are not only dealing with the loss of your partner, but also the loss of your sense of self that was constructed through your interactions. The question becomes: […]

  • Ron Villano: Finding ‘Zing’ in Your Life After the Loss of a Child

    March 24, 2016

    Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley welcome Ron Villano to a webinar about finding your “zing” after you’ve lost a child. Villano is a licensed psychotherapist, bereavement coach, national speaker, and author. Villano lost his son, Michael, and knows exactly how it feels to lose a child. His first tip is to give yourself permission to […]

  • Blueprint for a Difficult Conversation: How to Stand Up for What You Need

    March 21, 2016

    In my last published article for OpenToHope, I shared the letter I wish I could’ve received after my husband was killed. It focused on validation and simplifying expectations for the truly important things to do in those initial months. It also held hope: for various coping mechanisms, helping others through grief, and in someday being […]

  • It’s Never Too Late to Grieve

    March 19, 2016

    How do I make peace and forgiveness with myself for not grieving and mourning my sisters Margie and Jane for 30 years? It is more the regrets, of years lost, of memories forgotten, of a soul missing, of dreams shattered, of a hole in my heart. Was the the pain too hard? I got used […]

  • Jon Reid: Depression or Grief

    March 18, 2016

    Dr. Jon Reid, a Professor of Psychology and Counseling at Southeastern Oklahoma State, talks about depression following grief with Dr. Heidi Horsley at the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. He’s a certified fellow in thanatology from ADEC. “How do I know if I’m depressed or just grieving?” That’s a common question from […]

  • My Adult Son’s Death Has Changed My Life

    March 17, 2016

    When someone we love dies…we are changed. When that someone is our child…we are changed forever, deeply, no matter how old they were. Letting go is not a possibility. Everything in my being was geared to hold on, to protect and to be aware of his life. It didn’t matter that he was an adult, […]

  • Continuing Connections to a Deceased Loved One

    March 16, 2016

    The founders of the Open to Hope Foundation, Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley, share how they got into the grief and loss field—it’s often a story with terrible beginnings. For this mother-daughter duo, it was the death of Scott at 17 years old that catapulted both of them onto their own unique journey. He was […]

  • Taking Care of Your Health While Grieving

    March 11, 2016

    The Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pederson, joins the president of the Open to Hope Foundation, Dr. Gloria Horsley, to discuss the importance of health while in the grieving process. Grief is a natural response to loss, but it can be devastating. Special guest Dr. Coralease Ruff is featured, a registered nurse, professor, […]

  • Dr. Ken Doka: How Women and Men Grieve Differently

    March 5, 2016

    It’s no surprise that men and women grieve differently. Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Dr. Ken Doka, president and consultant to the American Hospice Foundation, at an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. It’s no longer solely an issue of gender—and “some” men grieve differently than women. There are, instead, many ways of grieving. […]

  • Dr. Ira Byock: Nurturing a Relationship During Grief

    March 2, 2016

    Professor at Dartmouth Medical School Dr. Ira Byock shares with the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) four key items to keep in mind in order to maintain a whole relationship. He’s also the Director of Palliative Medicine, and has been involved with hospice care for over 30 years. In emergency medicine and private […]

  • Relationship Struggles May Coincide with Grieving

    February 25, 2016

    Relationship with your current partner Losing a family member or friend is stressful on the relationship with your intimate partner. People suffering a profound sense of loss are more vulnerable to relationship conflicts at work and home. Your partner may be uncomfortable with intense, physical sensations and making love at this time. When you desire […]

  • Staying Put or Selling the Family Home

    February 22, 2016

    I have worked with many clients who have chosen to move away from their home after the passing of a loved one. The information in this Open to Hope article may help you decide if this is your best path at the moment. Things to consider People suffering profound grief may want to move house, […]

  • Twelve Years Later: Love Really Is Both Sides Now

    February 20, 2016

      February is anniversary month, when loss rises like nausea, climbing and swelling until the day itself, February 21. This is the day my first husband Brett died of a brain tumor, a medulloblastoma. He was witty, green-eyed, and just shy of his fortieth birthday. I was 37, and our twins, well, they were less […]

  • Wearing My Father’s Clothes

    February 18, 2016

    Many days since my father’s death, I have worn some piece of his clothing. Often it is just a belt, brown or black. Today it was a blue dress shirt (several from which to choose), a navy blazer, an overcoat, and a wool cap…and the brown belt. I also have pullover sweaters, turtlenecks, mock turtlenecks, […]

  • Suicide Threats Spark Anticipatory Grief

    February 17, 2016

    A friend of mine has a suicidal daughter and worries about her constantly. The daughter attempted suicide once, and has threatened it many times. “When I wake up in the morning, I wonder if this will be the day she succeeds,” the mother explained. She has nightmares about her daughter and feels totally helpless. If […]

  • Putting the House Back Together Afterward

    February 15, 2016

    Note: My book, Belongings, seeks to understand the connection bereaved people have with their loved one’s personal belongings. Here is an excerpt. Putting the House Back Together Creatively Take a few deep breaths and use the grounding technique any time you feel tired. Changing your living environment can be daunting, but at the same time […]

  • Grief Assessment: How am I Doing?

    February 11, 2016

    My elder daughter died in 2007 from the injuries she received in a car crash. Oddly, she died on the 23rd day of the month, the same day she was born. Each year, as I approach the anniversary of her death, I pause and take some time to assess my grief journey. This year is […]

  • Janet McCord: Marian University’s Thanatology Graduate Program

    February 11, 2016

    While at the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley connects with Janet McCord of Marian University. The Thanatology Graduate Program focuses on death and dying. Located in Wisconsin, it’s a fully online program that offers people the opportunity to complete it remotely. You’re required to have a bachelor’s degree and a strong […]

  • Stimulating Your Senses to Promote Healing

    February 2, 2016

    There are times during our grief that we must make a conscious choice to embrace the day. Despite our pain, we are glad to be alive. When we grieve, we often feel numb or frozen, so how can we remind ourselves that we are alive? One way to feel alive is by enjoying our five […]

  • Therese Oettl: Outdoor Grief Programs

    January 24, 2016

    At the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Heidi Horsley interviews Therese Oettl, who’s studying for a master’s degree in European Outdoor Studies. She studies with a group of 18 people throughout England, Norway, and Germany. The group is looking at how Outward Bound and other outdoor programs help people grieve. There’s a variety […]

  • Re-Imagining Grief: When Family and Culture Offer No Help

    January 7, 2016

    We are taught how to grieve by the legacy carried in our families, or more accurately, we are taught how to cover death up. This presented a problem when my wife Evelyn died. I was told that one side of my family was pushed out of Scotland because of the Clearances, settled in Ireland for […]

  • Yes, I’m Still Grieving

    January 5, 2016

    If you or someone you care about has ever suffered a painful loss, you’ve likely heard, communicated, or thought something like the following: That earnest wish that a person could “move on” or “get over” the intensity of grief. The well-meaning concern that someone is “dwelling on,” “wallowing in,” or “stuck in” grief. That kind […]

  • You Did The Best You Could

    January 5, 2016

    There is something very important I want to share with you, so listen deep. As a bereavement counselor I speak with numerous people on a daily basis about loss. The number one thing I feel from people is guilt.  The words pour out of them, “If I hadn’t take them to the hospital…” or “What […]

  • Hope and Clarity in the Middle of Nowhere

    January 5, 2016

    Lately, I have begun to revisit previous articles and blogs that I have authored. Perhaps as I grow older, I value nostalgia more, or perhaps it is the value I place on the past as a teacher. Regardless, I always discover new insights when I revisit previous writings. The  majority of the content of the […]

  • The Place of Transition: Finding Purpose After Loss

    December 23, 2015

      The following is a sermon by Michelle D. Jarvie, written as a reflection on Isaiah 61 for an Advent Service of Remembrance and Hope.    “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is […]

  • Family Dynamics When Dealing With Loss

    December 21, 2015

    Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview the Ferber family about handling loss as a family unit. Dorothy (mom), David (dad), and Jordan (the couple’s son) discuss the death of Russell—Jordan’s brother. The family found The Compassionate Friends, which was pivotal in helping them celebrate the life of Russell. They created the Russell Ferber Foundation, dedicated […]

  • Accepting What We Cannot Change

    December 18, 2015

    There is no question about it – accepting the loss of loved one can be one of our most difficult challenges, and yet acceptance is part of the answer we are looking for. As long as we resist what has happened, we cannot move beyond it. It is only when we can accept the change […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 68: Grief Quest/ Music and Healing

    April 26, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Lilly Juliian bereaved parent/spouse and founder of COPE and her partner Jerry Winestock bereaved spouse about their book Grief Quest and their retreats and camps that have inspired thousands of individuals and families to find hope and healing. Jerry is also the author […]

  • Episode 67: Finding Hope After A Terrorist Attack

    April 26, 2016

    Joining Dr’s. Gloria and Heidi Horsley on this show are Melissa Pettignano, singer and songwriter and her mother Evelyn whose aunt/sister Arlene was killed in the World Trade Center and Mary Fetchet who Co-founded Voices of September 11th in 2001 following the death of her son Brad on 9/11. A clinical social worker, Mary created […]

  • Episode: 66: Mortality; Living Your Best Life

    April 26, 2016

    On this show Dr’s Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview Sara Feldman Sheehan and her husband Bobby Sheehan producers and directors of Mortal the first documentary that addresses the shifting paradigm in how we view life and death. The second guest is Lilly Julian bereaved parent of Michelle and founder of COPE with the mission of […]

  • Episode 64: Talking About Grief

    March 9, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Rachael Stephenson an advocate for honest and open discussions regarding grief. A clip is shown from Rachael’s Ted Talk Against Grieving in Silence. Their second guest is John Welshons author of Awakening From Grief; One Soul, One Love, One Heart and When Prayers Aren’t […]