Articles

  • Poet Dana Jerman on Griever Dreams and Signs

    October 25, 2014

    Not only is there is no wrong way to interpret dreams and signs, but they can become catalysts for a great day. This and more when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with writer, photographer and performing poet Dana Jerman of Chicago. Visit her on blastfortune.blogspot.com.  Flush out icky feelings with words  Use one dream element as a creative impulse for your day Some […]

  • Do’s & Don’ts for the Widow/Widower Embracing New Love

    October 25, 2014

    Is it possible to mourn the loss of a beloved spouse and, while still grieving, to not only meet someone special, but fall in love and begin to build a new relationship that includes a commitment to sharing your lives? Can we overlap our loving and our grieving? The answer is a profound: YES! But, […]

  • Wedding Day a Lesson in Process of Grief

    October 24, 2014

    In 2007, my twin grandchildren’s parents died from the injuries they received in separate car crashes. The twin’s mother, our daughter, listed my husband and me as the twin’s guardians in her will. Suddenly we were GRGs, grandparents raising grandchildren. The twins, one boy and one girl, came to live with us when they were […]

  • My Way of Living with Death

    October 22, 2014

    If there is one word to describe me, it would be “Mother.” When I hear “Mom” in a grocery store, I turn, ready for action. I want every one of all ages to be happy, healthy and well cared for. It is in my DNA. My son, Christopher Robin Hotchkiss, was murdered by his roommate, […]

  • A Baseball Cap of Memories

    October 11, 2014

    When my husband died, there were reminders of our life together everywhere I looked. Sweet, lovely memories surrounded me, and those memories gave me much needed comfort in those dark, dark, dark days of despair and loneliness. His favorite leather jacket hung in the closet next to my jackets and coats. His shoes lined the […]

  • Ask, Seek, and Knock Loudly on God’s Door

    October 10, 2014

    On the snowy night of December 30, 2012, I was reflecting on the past year in my journal. I have journaled regularly since 1990, when I lived in the bush in West Africa and had little else to occupy myself during the silent nights in my mud brick house. I wrestled for a while as […]

  • Eight Hard Questions After a Spouse-Loss

    October 8, 2014

    Q: Why are holidays so hard? A: Holidays are reminders of family occasions and have, often painful, associations to events and people. They evoke memories, feelings and nostalgia for what was. It is helpful to do things in a different way at holiday time and to make plans to be with family or friends rather […]

  • When an Adopted Daughter Takes her Own Life

    October 7, 2014

    We had a big fight with our 17-year-old daughter Casey that weekend in January, 2008 – yelling, crying, slamming doors, saying ugly things we didn’t really mean. A typical teenage power struggle. I left her in a puddle of tears in her room cursing me, practically counting the days until she went off to college […]

  • When a Pregnant Woman Commits Suicide

    October 5, 2014

    Abel Keogh, author of Room for Two, was recently interviewed with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley about the Loss of his wife and child to suicide and premature birth. Below is the interview:   G:        Hello, I’m Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host H:        Dr. Heidi Horsley. G:        Each week Heidi and I […]

  • Music Can Heal a Broken Heart

    October 3, 2014

    I love to write. I write about the spiritual in our everyday lives, and I write children’s books. Yes, I know that they are two completely different genres; yet both make me feel complete. I believe that writing about the spiritual is what I was meant to do. It is my reason for being here, […]

  • As Seasons Change, So Does Grief

    October 2, 2014

    Grief is a very difficult passage to make. We hope when we are grief stricken that someday we will no longer grieve. The reality in grief is that we really don’t “get over” it; we learn instead to live with it. I lost my son to an opiate addiction in 2007. As you can imagine, […]

  • Writer J.W. Basilo on Starting Fresh When the Old Guard is Gone

    October 1, 2014

    How can you use a death and a birth to foster a new culture of decency around the dinner table? This and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman talks with Chicago-based writer, performer, and director J.W Basilo. A National and World Poetry Slam finalist, Basilo is also a PushCart Prize Nominee, and co-host of the Uptown Poetry Slam. His work […]

  • Quiet and Patience are Stepping Stones to Healing

    October 1, 2014

    The earliest feelings of mourning include the initial shock (this can’t be happening), the denial of the reality, and feeling overwhelmed and numb. It is not uncommon to feel some loss of self-esteem and extreme vulnerable. Symptoms usually include a variety of internal complaints, a great deal of crying, insomnia, waking from sleep or not […]

  • Music and Grief

    September 30, 2014

    I was afraid. If death could just sweep in and take Duane and Jody, then none of us is safe. Her death robbed me of an innocence of sorts…the belief that we all will live full lives surrounded by the people we love. But that all changed on January 26, 2003, and, now, I am […]

  • My Brother, My Best Friend

    September 30, 2014

    Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals: A Memoir, opens up about her brother and best friend today with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley. Enjoy the full interview: G:        Hello.  I’m Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host H:        Dr. Heidi Horsley. G:        Each week we welcome you to Healing the Grieving Heart, a […]

  • Happy Birthday to a Husband Gone

    September 30, 2014

    I wonder how your Retire-at-55 plan would be going by now? Would we be Florida-bound? Or woefully far from the dream? That seems to be how life goes. We smugly think our plans are well-made, well-plotted, that hard work and diligence paid. Or we think God had other plans or we missed the mark, failure […]

  • Preparing for Winter Blues, Anniversary Reactions, and the Unwelcome Return of Grief

    September 29, 2014

    Fall has come to Minnesota. The trees are turning gold and orange and red. White-winged Juncos, birds in the sparrow family and harbingers of winter, have returned to the backyard feeders. Nights are colder, and there is frost on the lawn in the mornings. Much as I love fall, I’m always a bit uneasy because […]

  • Sadness Creeps Back, Sometimes Out of the Blue

    September 27, 2014

    I lost my husband of 35 years nine years ago, and the overwhelming grief that I felt is somewhat of a distant memory. “Yes, somewhat of a distant memory, until something triggers that gut-wrenching heartache,” I mutter out loud as I write. It is strange how it manages to creep back into our lives, out […]

  • The Ruby Connection

    September 26, 2014

    My mother died 2 months after she turned 48. Her boyfriend was suspected in her death, but he was never charged. This left me with no answers, no closure, and no mother. I think this emotional “lostness” created a need for connections to her that I may not have experienced otherwise, at least not at […]

  • Already Among the Dead

    September 25, 2014

    I walk among the dead. This began when my wife died in April 2001. So when the planes slam into the World Trade Center, my heart doesn’t move. The towers collapse, sending clouds of dust billowing into the sky, people stumble into the streets stunned, and I feel nothing. Why should I cry? Why should […]

  • Songwriter Helps Mother Let Son Go

    September 25, 2014

    Of all the songs I have ever been invited to compose, to assist with healing around a loss, the story of little 4-year-old Alex is the one that most deeply touched my heart. One day I got a call from Aimee, who had spent almost all of her family’s income on medical bills for her […]

  • Helping the Bereaved Parent Survive the ‘Season of Cheer’

    September 23, 2014

    Once you become a bereaved parent, events that you once looked forward to, you now dread. Everything from the start of the school year right through to Memorial Day is filled with memories that now evoke as much pain as laughter. For most of us, however, it is that period of time between Thanksgiving and […]

  • ‘Würmchen is Dead’

    September 18, 2014

    There’s an old pear tree in our back yard. It’s too close to the house. One of these days, a windstorm will blow one of the high branches onto the roof, and we’ll wish we’d had it removed earlier. Already, windstorms have taken down the three ancient apple trees that were on the property when […]

  • The Terms of My Surrender

    September 17, 2014

    From the moment you came into my life, I hated you. I despised you. You came on the heels of my worst nightmare come true – the death of my young daughter. I didn’t know your name at the time. I just knew that you brought with you all the horrible feelings and emotions I […]

  • Thoughts on 9/11: Holding onto Hope

    September 12, 2014

    I feel so much loss. It’s September 12th, 2014, thirteen years after the terror attacks that I witnessed while living in New York City. I kept a media blackout in my home and my heart yesterday. I don’t want any more images of those burning buildings to flash before my eyes. I don’t want to […]

  • 9/11 Post-Traumatic Stress: Four Things That Can Help

    September 11, 2014

    Where were you on September 11th, 2001? I was just getting ready to fly to Utah to speak at a hospice conference. I set out my breakfast and turned on the television news, as I did every morning, just as the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Like everyone, I was confused and in […]

  • When it’s Grief, Not Depression

    September 9, 2014

    One sleepless night, I tiptoed down the stairs, slipped outside and stared up at the low-hanging moon, so close to me it looked as if it had been pinned against the black canvas with a thumb tack. I reached out a hand to snatch if from the sky, tuck it inside my heart, feel its […]

  • Easing The Way At the End of Life: A Conversation with a Palliative Care Doctor

    September 8, 2014

    Elaine Mansfield: My husband Vic was strong and fit when he was diagnosed with incurable lymphoma. He went through chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant with relative ease and regained his vitality. Eight months after the stem cell transplant, we went to the ER because of swelling and arrhythmia. I refused to leave the room […]

  • Joan Rivers’ Last Days Reminds Us Importance of Living Wills

    September 8, 2014

    This week, the world lost another comedic icon – Joan Rivers. I must confess, I was sad at the passing of this woman. I grew up watching her on television. It was announced that she was on life support. To imagine a woman this vital on a ventilator is almost unthinkable. And yet, every day, […]

  • Wildest Dreams: How We Can Learn to Grieve

    September 8, 2014

    On the day my wife died, the house was overflowing. In the room with me were our kids, 2 1/2 and 14, and a few friends who had pretty much moved in with us those weeks when we knew it was the end. Out in the living room were people who had supported us through […]

  • Because My Son is in a Box

    September 6, 2014

    Because my son is in a box on my shelf, I no longer give a shit about how I appear to the outside world.  I do not care that I am misunderstood.  I do not care that I am offensive or seem selfish. For once in my life I have no desire to explain myself.  […]

  • Joan Rivers and Life Support

    September 1, 2014

    Update: Joan Rivers passed away not 12 hours after we originally posted this article. The recent tragic news of Joan Rivers, legendary comedian, being placed on life support after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest on Thursday has made many of us think about end-of-life choices. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joan Rivers and […]

  • Using the Pen to Return from Grief

    August 29, 2014

    Since my dad’s passing in April of 2012, I’ve learned there are many, varied, and sometimes unusual, ways people find to support their grief and integrate the inescapable reality of loss. No single process is best for everyone. For my own acceptance and eventual comfort, I turned to the pen. His death was not unexpected. […]

  • Comic Yisrael Campbell on Uplifting the Dying

    August 23, 2014

    How can you use your talents to make the dying feel like they’re at the center of your universe? Be a DJ on a pretend radio station with your friend’s name in the call letters: this idea and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman speaks with Yisrael Campbell (born Chris Campbell): a comedian of Irish and Italian descent, who […]

  • We Would Have Died For You: The Journey of Bereaved Parents

    August 19, 2014

    From the moment we found out you were coming into our lives, we felt electric: a mix of excitement, adrenalin, and a dose of fear for good measure. We dutifully began plotting the course of our lives together – starting with milestones like kindergarten, puberty, graduation, career, wedding, grandchildren, etc. Then we began making our […]

  • Accepting a New Life After a Multiple Loss

    August 19, 2014

    When I was only thirty-three years old, suddenly one day I felt my life was over and my only future was my past. Up until then, my life seemed magical, full of much love and happiness. Everything had been going according to plan. My husband Bart and I had just finished building our house in […]

  • Another School Year Begins

    August 19, 2014

    We hosted a college graduation party at our house for our nephew last weekend. My husband’s family was here, including our 95-year-old great-grandmother, all four grandparents in various levels of physical health. This made five generations gathered to hear my brother-in-law speak of his three children, who have now all graduated from college, and we […]

  • On Robin Williams’ Death

    August 14, 2014

    On Robin Williams’ Death   Robin Williams had a life force that he shared with everyone. It is clear, from his outpouring of words and actions as an actor and comedian, that his inner life was fast and furious. Sometimes the body just can’t contain the pure frenzy of your inner life and you can’t […]

  • Dream After Husband’s Suicide Reassures Wife

    August 13, 2014

    Reprinted from the book, Special Dream, by Luellen Hoffman, following the death of Robin Williams Introduction: My husband suffered from what is now recognized as an obsessive-compulsive bipolar disorder. Greg committed suicide in 1987, when he was thirty-two years old. In his unfortunate brilliance, he was able to hide his problems from the psychiatrists with […]

  • Loss, Bereavement and Robin Williams

    August 13, 2014

    I have been a Robin Williams fan since he appeared on television as the funny alien in Mork and Mindy, “Na Nu, Na Nu.” As the years went on, I came to see that there was a deep and sensitive side to Robin, because it came through his work and yet I, like many of […]

  • Robin Williams’ Legacy: Opening a Conversation about Suicide

    August 12, 2014

    Robin Williams was brilliant, and his death leaves a void that does not and cannot make sense to anybody but him. Williams talked openly about his addiction issues and struggle with depression. Perhaps part of his legacy will be opening these difficult conversations about taboo topics-mental health and suicide. It would be an honor to […]

  • Robin Williams’ Suicide Brings Back Difficult Memories

    August 12, 2014

    The headlines scream, “Coroner: Robin Williams Death Ruled Suicide by Asphyxiation.” I suppose there’s a bit of a morbid fascination that comes from the death of a celebrity; particularly when the celebrity is young or dies in a particularly salacious way. Robin Williams’ death is one of those. He was both young and his death […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Cornelia Cannon Holden: Miscarriage

    October 23, 2014

    Cornelia Cannon Holden is a social entrepreneur and educator. Through her company, Mindful Warrior, she is dedicated to helping her clients reach their performance potential.  In 2013 Cornelia was 18 weeks pregnant when she learned that her pregnancy was no longer viable.  As a body-centered psychotherapist she shares with others her path to recovery.  

  • Jill Smolowe: Resilience In A Time of Grief

    October 16, 2014

    Within 17 months award-winning journalist and author Jill Smolowe lost her husband, sister, and mother.   Jill, a senior writer for People, desiring to help others, used her experience to write Four Funerals and a Wedding:  Resilience In A Time Of Grief. Jill then became a grief and transition coach helping clients learn how to restore […]

  • Elizabeth Heineman: Stillbirth

    October 9, 2014

    Elizabeth Heineman is mother of one stillborn and two surviving children. Her memoir of her stillbirth is Ghostbelly (Feminist Press, 2014). She is a professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches courses on gender and sexuality, European and German history, and the history of human rights.

  • An Artists View of Death, Steven Boone

    October 2, 2014

    Artist, photographer, traveler, and writer Steven Boone lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He lost his daughter to cancer when she was nineteen. His award-winning book, called “A Heart Traced in Sand” recalls his experiences with her living and dying.

  • Allen Klein: The Healing Power of Humor

    September 25, 2014

    Allen Klein discovered the therapeutic value of humor after his wife died at thirty-four. He now shows others how to lighten up loss. He is the author of 19 books including The Healing Power of Humor and Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying.

  • Rosalie Deer Heart: Healing Grief

    September 18, 2014

    Rosalie Deer Heart is a veteran of grief who chose to open her heart even wider to love after the sudden death of her teenage son, Mike. She is the author of eight books including Healing Grief—A Mother’s Story.

  • Linda Hunt: Finding Strength and Renewal After Child Loss

    September 4, 2014

    Linda Lawrence Hunt’s 25-year-old daughter Krista was killed while volunteering with her husband in Bolivia.  She and her husband co-founded the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship.  Linda is the author of Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child.

  • K. Paul Stroller: Writing a Posthumous Memoir

    August 14, 2014

    Dr. K. Paul Stroller, MD, started his medical career as a pediatrician and currently uses hyperbaric medicine to treat brain-injured children and adults.  He is the bereaved father of Galen who in 2007 at the age of sixteen was killed in train collision.  He is the editor of My Life After Life:  A Posthumous Memoir […]