Articles

  • Grief Down Under: Australians React to Malaysia Airlines Crash with Compassion

    July 24, 2014

    I arrived in Belgium on 9-11-01, a visitor in a foreign country during a tragically tumultuous time of loss and confusion. Last week, I awoke in Australia to another civilian disaster — the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane — with the same ingredients linking global grief and sorrow. Outcries once again echoed across […]

  • How to Live Through Intense Grief

    July 22, 2014

    Loss has been a prevalent theme intersecting with my life over the past six weeks. In this time, there have been four deaths of people whose lives have touched me warmly: my sweetheart’s precious mother; a beloved cousin; a compassionate former colleague; and, a man whose contagious smile I first remember when we were both […]

  • Life Moves Ahead: Discovering the Freedom to Go With It

    July 12, 2014

    This article was written by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. Our world and our individual lives are in the process of evolving.  It is not a question of rejecting the past but of letting the past flow into the present […]

  • The Hand-Knit Shawl, a Linking Object and Labor of Love

    July 11, 2014

    My husband was in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for weeks. Our minister came to visit him and she had two bulging gift bags. One contained a brown, hand-knit shawl for my husband and the second a blue hand-knit shawl for me. Anonymous members of the church Caring Crafters group made the shawls and the […]

  • My Sister Died and I Waited 16 Years to Deal With It

    July 7, 2014

    I never expected to make a documentary film about my family. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had a story to tell. My sister had died when I was ten years old and by that time her illness seemed pretty normal to me. Aimee was diagnosed with leukemia when I was two years […]

  • Victory Over the Pole: Learning to Let Go

    July 7, 2014

    An intimidating 30-foot pole occupied a notable spot on the challenge-learning course. The facilitator explained that we were to climb the pole. The pole was manufactured with heavy metal staples that created a “ladder”-effect. Once we reached the top of the pole, we were supposed to mount the disk that was attached at the top, […]

  • In Grief and in Joy, Tell Your Story

    July 3, 2014

    “ People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” —Studs Terkel Recently, I attended the funeral of my uncle, though I found myself making excuses for dismissing my obligation to go. When I read his obituary in […]

  • Five Years After Son’s Death, Dad Wonders if ‘the Blue Skies are Coming’

    July 2, 2014

      As the weather finally begins to catch up with the seasons, I find myself looking back. Beyond the still blue waters and flowered meadows. Back to the time when the only contrast to the vast expanses of ice were the dirt streaked mountains of accumulated snow. When I think about this year’s record snowfall […]

  • Malaysian Airlines Aftermath: A Grandmother’s Perspective

    July 2, 2014

    As soon as I heard a Malaysian Airlines flight 370 had been shot down, I thought of the survivors. I have some understanding of traumatic death because our daughter, the mother of our twin grandchildren, suddenly died in a car crash. The cause of death was “blunt force trauma,” three words I didn’t want to […]

  • Lord, Help Me Let You Be the Shepherd of My Life

    July 1, 2014

    This article was wrtten by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. The Psalms are unique among the books of the Bible, revealing a mysterious healing quality in their ability to connect with us at a personal and profound level.  It is […]

  • Declaring Independence From Grief

    July 1, 2014

    Here in the U.S. we celebrate the Fourth of July as Independence Day. It is the day that Congress approved a Declaration of Independence from British rule. It marks the birth of our nation as a free, self-governing entity. The Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” […]

  • Do You See the Mystery?

    June 24, 2014

    The first time I saw the ocean, I was fifteen. I walked up a slight hill. The water was not yet in view, but the sky already seemed different, as if it knew what I was about to behold. No buildings, no trees obscured my view. I reached the top of the hill and there […]

  • I Found Hope, Healing and Grace in the Humanity of Christ

    June 24, 2014

    An excerpt from Fortune Cookie Wisdom: a contemplative perspective This reflection is about how we discover the truth in our lives. “From error to error, one discovers the entire truth” – Dr. Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychologist (1856-1939).  Could Jesus, while he walked the earth, identify with Freud’s statement?   If the words are applicable to the human […]

  • Resilience After Death of a Daughter

    June 14, 2014

    Life did not prepare me for August 15, 2001. In one moment on a very ordinary day, the world as I knew it inexplicably changed. I answered the phone to the panicked voice of a friend telling me that my 18-year-old and only daughter Ashley had been killed in an automobile accident. Little did I […]

  • Surviving Grief without Losing Your Mind

    June 12, 2014

    Losing someone you love is like having part of your heart ripped out. Whether death came through sudden catastrophe or a drawn-out disease where there was time to prepare, grief often leaves us with more questions than answers. •What do I do with all the regrets? •Why do people say crazy things when they’re trying […]

  • Sitting in the Dark with Maya Angelou

    June 11, 2014

    Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. ~Maya Angelou~ I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you […]

  • Lucky Charms: It Isn’t Just a Cereal

    June 10, 2014

    LUCKY CHARMS: It isn’t just a Cereal “See a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.” “Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back.” “When you see a hummingbird, think of me.” I grew up hearing the first of these two “sayings” from my father, which resulted […]

  • Grief and the Loss of Control

    June 9, 2014

    Possibly one of the hardest aspects of grief for me has been that I can’t control it. I spent the majority of my life trying desperately to control everything in it. I wanted life to be predictable and – above all – peaceful. The problem has been what I tried to control and how I’d […]

  • Finding a Larger Meaning: Suffering Can Open Us Up

    June 9, 2014

    Challenge is a necessary part of life. And no one is exempt. That includes people like author-teacher extraordinaire Jean Houston. Being “famous” didn’t allow her to opt out of the process. So here are some of her conclusions after meeting difficult times: 1. “It is absolutely essential to look at what happened in fresh ways. […]

  • A Marriage Survives the Loss of a Child

    June 4, 2014

    We have been traveling this grief journey after the death of our son, Clint, for seven years. We didn’t know what to expect along the way for ourselves or for the marriage. In the beginning, we stayed together because we had no energy to do otherwise. Then the suggestion was offered, to stay together because […]

  • Messages of Love

    June 3, 2014

    Over the years since my son’s death by overdose in 2004, I have received many messages and signs from him. Some have come in dreams, some through songs on the radio. Perhaps the most powerful of all have been the heart-shaped stones and shells washed up by the sea to remind me that love never […]

  • Make Time Matter: A Lesson from My Dad

    June 2, 2014

    My father died from complications of bowel cancer, and I held his hand as he took his final breath. Being there, as hard as it was to experience, was a gift to me, and he told me that it was also a gift to him. He endured some very real physical pain and also the […]

  • How to Feel Better in Less Than an Hour

    May 31, 2014

    I often read internet postings from fellow bereaved parents expressing the terrible pain they are feeling after the loss of a child. I hear it in support groups and have lived through it myself. My son, Anthony, died when he was five years old to leukemia four years ago. As I hear and read these […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Navigating the Loss of a Favorite Writer

    May 29, 2014

    I have been positively imprinted by so many wonderful writers that I am also impacted when they die. When Frank McCourt died, my friends & I, all authors, each read excerpts from his books at a cherished, independently owned, local bookstore. I read from Angela’s Ashes. This was our way of paying tribute to Frank, […]

  • When a Mentor Dies

    May 29, 2014

    A special kind of pain is felt when your mentor’s time on earth is through. Whether the person is famous (like writer Maya Angelou) or a family member, the loss can throw you into a tailspin of sadness. Often times, when we are grieving a great teacher or guide, we are not only grieving the […]

  • Death as Part of Who We Are

    May 29, 2014

    We hear a lot about befriending unwanted parts of ourselves. So I wondered if this same language could be applied to our own awaiting destiny. After all like any part that makes up a whole, death is born with us and dies with us. It is an intricate part of who we are and has […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Grieving Someone You’ve Never Met

    May 29, 2014

    With the death of Maya Angelou this week, millions of her advocates and fans will be mourning the loss of an exceptional woman. This grief may, to some, seem misplaced. Because, when any public figure passes a wave of “grief judgment” often follows, from family members, the media, even friends. People question the validity of […]

  • The Beginning of the End: Death is Not Worst Outcome

    May 29, 2014

    And we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten, but the love will have been enough. All those impulses of love return to the love that made them; even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love; […]

  • Learning How to Talk ‘Grief’

    May 28, 2014

      I’m a grief writer and know lots of grief words. After four loved ones died, however, I realized I had to learn more. Adding to my grief vocabulary helped me to understand research. New grief words and terms also helped me to understand my journey. Most important, these new words and terms helped me […]

  • Grief as a Backpack

    May 27, 2014

    People seem to think the ache of missing our children would become more bearable over time. It doesn’t. In fact, some of my days now are more painful as the years go on, because I’m further and further since I last held my son safely in my arms. You’d think after all this time I’d […]

  • Shared Hope: A Source of Comfort and Energy

    May 19, 2014

    For six months, my husband has been hospitalized, recovering from a dissected aorta and a deep surgical wound. His scar is closing and he will need ongoing physical therapy for his paralyzed legs. Many patients would be discouraged by these health challenges, and my husband admitted that he burst into tears one day. Still, he […]

  • Death, Dying and Grief in an Online Universe: Interview with Carla Sofka

    May 18, 2014

    At the annual ADEC Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Carla Sofka and discuss with her how to deal with grief. Carla is the editor of the book Dying, Death, and Grief In An Online Universe. This book looks at grieving in an online world and talks about how it is affecting the […]

  • 3 Ways To Find Hope After Loss: Interview with Dr. David Meagher

    May 18, 2014

    At the annual ADEC Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. David Meagher and discuss with him ways that people can find hope again after loss. Dr. Meagher is a pediatric surgeon who practices in Ohio, but he is originally from New York.  I’m a fellow New Yorker as well, and as we […]

  • Grieving for Dad: Interview with Lara Rogers-Krawchuk

    May 17, 2014

    By Lara Rogers-Krawchuk In this video, I will share lessons learned from my long time work as an oncology social worker, therapist, adjunct professor, and lover of the contemporary concept of meaning making along a grief journey.  I will also offer personal insights from being the daughter of a dad who died much too young […]

  • Aging and Identity: We’re Not Dead Yet

    May 16, 2014

    In Aging and Identity Part I, I maintained the role of identity may be critical in understanding how we react to aging; including the many desperate decisions we make, such as an obsession with appearing youthful, painful tummy tucks, and foolishly engaging in a multitude of activities our bodies are no longer capable of doing. […]

  • Losing a Fiance: Wedding Turned to Funeral

    May 15, 2014

    Recently my twenty-six-year-old niece Kate lost her fiancé in a car accident just two days before their wedding. In addition to her deep grief, Kate also had to face many issues because they were not yet married. First, I believe she was robbed of memories. When I lost my husband, at least I had almost […]

  • Reconciling Your Past, Present and Future After Loss

    May 15, 2014

    When you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, it’s very natural and easy to get trapped in your memories of the past and how things used to be. Let’s take a moment to examine your past, as well as the present and the future, and how this exercise can help you to better understand […]

  • Write Your Mother A Letter

    May 13, 2014

    Many of us are missing our mothers who reside in Heaven. Because God provides that they still see and hear us, it is never too late to talk to them or write them a letter. For Mother’s Day, please consider writing your mother a letter and then reading it out loud to her. Have a […]

  • How to Help Someone In Pain

    May 10, 2014

    A lot of people truly, deeply want to be of help to those they love as they are grieving. They just don’t know what to do. And there are a lot of people in pain wishing they could tell you exactly what they need in their grief. They just don’t have the energy or the resources […]

  • Living with Fear, Learning to Risk

    May 4, 2014

    Twelve years ago, when our family was living in Italy due to my husband’s work, I lost the five most important people in my life. While my mother, sister, and niece were visiting from the States, my husband and I, along with our two young boys, ages four and six, took them on a week-long […]

  • Walking with Grief, Living with Purpose

    May 1, 2014

    Yesterday while walking in my neighborhood, I realized how alive and present my father’s spirit is in my life. He was an avid gardener and life-long admirer of nature, and I feel his presence reflected in the beauty and wonder of the outdoors, the sounds and sights of Spring. He was a daily walker and […]

  • Recovering from a Loss is Up to You

    April 30, 2014

    My mother had a saying and used it often: The good fairy isn’t coming. The saying applied to many aspects of life. She would say it before she began a task, such as cleaning the house, or going to the grocery store. When my mother said the good fairy wasn’t coming she was implying – […]

  • Unending Love: Death Does Not End the Relationship

    April 29, 2014

    One of the things that makes it so difficult to adjust after losing a loved one is the absence of their physical presence, and while there is no denying that we cannot see them anymore, the love is still there, and that love is a link that cannot be broken. One could even say it […]

  • How Tokens and Linking Objects May Help the Bereaved

    April 24, 2014

    “I’ve come to see the flag,” she declared. The white-haired woman had come from skilled nursing section of the nursing home to the rehabilitation unit. She parked her walker, sat down, and peered at the flag outside the window. “Look at that!” she exclaimed. “The flag is straight out. That’s beautiful.” I was sitting at […]

  • Moving to a New Home Sparks Grief

    April 21, 2014

    My husband’s aorta split and during emergency surgery he had a spinal stroke. Now his legs are paralyzed and he can’t return to our current home, which has lots of stairs. So our home is for sale and I’m building a wheelchair friendly town home for us. It’s supposed to be finished in a month, […]

  • Our World, God’s World: Handling Significant Change

    April 7, 2014

    Coming to terms with life’s constant change is one of the greatest challenges that we face.  It is interesting to note, however, that there are many areas of life in which we often have little or no trouble accepting change.  Sometimes we welcome it with open arms; at other times we may find it bittersweet.  […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Jill Kraft Thompson Rebuilding A Life After Losing Five People

    June 19, 2014

    Jill Kraft Thompson had a life filled with love: an adoring husband, two young precious sons, a devoted mother, and a close extended family. Jill’s story begins as everyone’s worst nightmare. In 2002 she lost five close family members in a car crash that she survived. Her beloved young sons, husband, mother and niece were […]

  • Brenda Marshall Ph.D.: Death of an Adult Sibling

    June 12, 2014

    Brenda Marshall Ph.D. is a speaker, coach and educator in the field of bereavement. Her interest in providing help to others, who have lost a sibling, came after the sudden death of her younger brother Brent. She is the author of Adult Sibling Loss:Stories, Reflections and Ripples.

  • Danita Ogandaga: Overcoming the Orphaned Spirit

    June 5, 2014

    Danita Ogandaga is the founder Hope Starts Today and the Orphan No More podcast. She lost both of her parents by the age of twenty-one. She teaches on the topics of grief, restoration, hope and resilience. She is the author of the audio book Overcoming the Orphan Spirit.

  • Cendra Lynn: Web Based Grief Support

    May 1, 2014

    Cendra Lynn Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, certified traumatologist, and a pioneer in the field of grief and loss. She is the founder of the web sites GriefNet and KIDSAID, where over 50 email support groups enable grieving people to safely write others with a similar loss.