Articles

  • ‘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 […]

  • Robin Williams’ Death: When Living is Hard

    August 12, 2014

    Robin Williams’ apparent death by suicide is especially hard for me to fathom. His jocular, insightful, heart-warming and spirit-lifting public presence brought much joy to my life. His creative expressions of talent and spontaneity inspired many throughout the world to bring forth their own unique artistic abilities. Robin had a profound influence on our society’s […]

  • Message of Robin Williams’ Death: Mental Illness Can Kill

    August 12, 2014

    Robin Williams got the world’s attention by making us belly laugh. He was also able to bring tears to our eyes by the meaningful messages he would leave us in a profound line of a movie or a conclusion of a stand-up comedy act. Now that our country is in a crisis due to drug-related […]

  • Honoring Robin Williams

    August 11, 2014

    Experiencing sadness or grief can come from feeling that something is missing, something has been lost. When you think about someone now gone who inspired you, made a difference in your life – or, like Robin Williams, someone who made you laugh – ask what qualities of that person you can embrace. Perhaps it is […]

  • Peanut Gallery, a Documentary: Interview with Molly Gandour

    August 6, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Molly Gandour about her documentary ‘Peanut Gallery’. Her film explores the death of her sister and how she and her parents just recently learned to talk about it. Molly went home to Indiana a few years ago, where she grew up, […]

  • Is There a Right Way to Heal? An Interview with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky

    August 6, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky about healing after loss and what is the right way to heal. Phyllis has written a book called Getting Back To Life When Grief Won’t Heal. She wrote the book because a lot of people were asking her if […]

  • Wanted: Soul Sister in Grief

    August 6, 2014

    I have secretly been looking for a place to post a want-ad for a partner in grief.  In my small hometown, I don’t know anyone who has lost a child.  There is a support group about 30 minutes away but despite my efforts to connect with any of these women outside of the group that […]

  • Playwright Taren Sterry Finding the Funny in Sadness

    August 4, 2014

    Taren Sterry is a comedic actress and playwright who also teaches improv, presentation coaching, public speaking and team building. She is a full time manager of Volunteer Training at Visiting Nurse Service of NY Hospice and Palliative Care. Her nationally acclaimed one-woman show, 180 Days, is about her first six months working in hospice. Visit Taren […]

  • Tips for Coping with Traumatic Loss

    July 30, 2014

    ARLINGTON, Va. – Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy, but a sudden and traumatic loss can raise special concerns for the family members and friends left behind. Aviation tragedies, combat, homicide and other types of violent deaths can be particularly difficult. These deaths are unexpected and survivors must grapple with […]

  • Traumatic Grief: Are You At-Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress

    July 28, 2014

    Special article by Jill Harrington LaMorie, MSW, LCSW, DSW This article was first published in Volume 17 Issue 2 of TAPS Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Imagine driving down the street and crossing an intersection. You glance quickly left and right, but out of nowhere you are hit by an oncoming vehicle. The impact is painful, […]

  • The Chauffeur’s Flower: Memories of an Early Loss

    July 26, 2014

    The day of my father’s funeral stands out in my mind. I remember blue sky and sunshine. It was six days after my eleventh birthday. At the end of the day, the chauffeur from the limousine handed me a carnation he had been wearing. I took it home, pressed it and always remembered the kindness […]

  • Colors of the Spirit: We Are All One in Grief

    July 24, 2014

    Embracing Sacred Law From July 11, 2014 through July 13,2014, I attended the 37th National Conference of The Compassionate Friends in Chicago, Illinois.I have been attending and presenting workshops for this great organization whose focus is to provide hope and support to families who have experienced the death of a child, since 2008. I always […]

  • 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 […]

  • Adult Sibling Loss: Interview with Dr. Brenda Marshall

    July 22, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Brenda Marshall about adult sibling loss. Brenda got into this field when her younger brother Brent died eight years ago. It was then that she realized there’s not very much support for siblings. That realization called on her to ask the […]

  • Heaven…When Malaysian Plane Arrives

    July 21, 2014

    Darkness spread throughout heaven…and, all of heaven was filled with sadness…the moment when God heard his children on Malaysia flight number MH17 cry out for help…and, the angel choirs were silent…and, God wept openly for his children… God wept openly as he heard from the pilots, flight attendants, and passengers on the plane that was […]

  • The Malaysian Airlines Crash: Reflections on Grief After Tragedy

    July 20, 2014

    This past Thursday (7/18/14), Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 was hit by a missile while flying over the Ukraine. All told, 298 individuals from 11 countries, including 80 children were killed. Recalling My Past When I first heard of this tragic event, I immediately recalled the terrorist attack involving Pan Am Flight 103 on December […]

  • Teens and Homicide: Interview with Dr. Tashel Bordere

    July 19, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Tashel Bordere about her work with teens and the effects of homicide on their lives. In the video below, Tashel shares some of the most important things she has learned during her work with teens and homicide. Here are some key […]

  • Uncovering The Richer Connections in Our Signs

    July 16, 2014

    An Empirical Man For the majority of my life, I never bought in to the idea that our loved ones could survive death by communicating their continued existence to us. I was too busy trying to handle my day-to-day responsibilities of being a son, husband, father, and addictions counselor to give much thought to what […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Breaking the Rules of Grief

    June 30, 2014

    An excerpt from the Introduction of Breaking the Rules of Grief, A Bereaved Mother’s Journey.  By Shannon Harris I should begin by warning you that there will be no substantial evidence supporting the ideas in this book. These are all my conflicted thoughts in black and white, perfectly spaced in Times New Roman size 12. Should […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • 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 […]

  • Candace Lightner: Death and the Hero’s Journey

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving.

  • Death and the Hero’s Journey : Candace Lightner

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving

  • Navigating Grief and Trials: Kathleen D. Hamilton

    July 24, 2014

    Kathleen D. Hamilton has suffered a number of tragedies including the deaths of her mother and twelve year old daughter.  She has coped with a brain-injured son and has grieved two broken marriages. Reaching out to help others she has been a facilitator with “The Compassionate Friends” and has worked in the funeral industry. She […]

  • Finances after Loss: Aaron Britz

    July 10, 2014

    Aaron Britz was 6 years old, when he lost his 62-year-old grandfather to a brain tumor. During the days and years that followed he watched his grandmother struggle with finances. This experience inspired him to become a financial planner specializing in helping people in grief, loss, or transition.  He is the President of Legacy Wealth […]

  • Handling Grief, Loss of Our Parents: Nina Impala

    July 3, 2014

    Nina Impala has both personal and professional experience with bereavement.  She has lost both parents and has recruited and trained hospice volunteers.  Nina is a Spiritual Grief Counselor who gives people tools to cope through her process of using HeartSight™.  She is the author of Dearly Departed: What I Learned About Living From The Dying.

  • Julie Saeger Nierenberg: Death of My Dad

    June 26, 2014

    Julie is a writer, editor and author coach. Inspired by the journey of love and release through her father’s end of life. Julie writes to contribute to a cultural shift in how we prepare ourselves and support others in the final chapter of life. She is the author of Daddy, this is it. Being-with My […]