• Hope

    After Loss of a parent

After Loss of a parent

Stories of others who have lost parents will inspire and support you. Read, listen and watch. Hope is the bridge between loss and recovery.


  • Adult Children and the Loss of Elderly Parents

    October 22, 2016

    Registered drama therapist and licensed counselor Deborah Antinori discusses the loss of elderly parents with Dr. Heidi Horsley. As adult children, losses can be minimized and disenfranchised. Loved ones don’t offer the same level of support or seem to worry as much about adult children compared to teens and young children—however, our parents are our […]

  • From Motherless to ‘Motherfull’

    September 25, 2016

    Knowing our role or function among our friends and family isn’t something we intentionally think about; it’s just natural. Knowing our role at work is necessary and obvious. I didn’t realize every character (aka: people around me) in my story (aka: life) had been playing a role in my life for years. Not just Mom, […]

  • Songwriting as Healing Art

    September 10, 2016

    I kissed your head Told you I loved you, ’cause I wanted You to know just how much that you impacted My life, so much more than I could ask for This is not good-bye, and yes, I will cry but that’s ’cause I miss your face This is not good-bye, I know I’ll see […]

  • After Father’s Death, Daughter Recalls His Deep Devotion

    July 9, 2016

    My father was an activist who devoted his life to one principle: that God is love. He once told me that he was a Christian because he was born in a Christian household in a Christian culture and it might have been otherwise if he’d been born in, say, the Middle East. His belief in […]

  • A Young Father’s Murder

    June 17, 2016

    I met Randall when he was just six years old, the youngest of three siblings, one brother Mickey, and older sister Nancy, who was to become a lifelong friend. But at thirteen, we rarely thought of the future. It was fun to go to her house. Since I was an only child, I thought her […]

  • Father’s Day After Your Father Has Died

    June 11, 2016

    It’s Father’s Day, and for more than 100 million Americans whose fathers have died, it will be a day of missing Dad. What can these fatherless Americans do to make the holiday meaningful? For my book, FatherLoss, I interviewed several hundred people about the death of their dads. And some were actually a little relieved […]

  • A Daughter Remembers Her Father’s Creative Legacy

    May 9, 2016

    My father, Geoff Relf, a longtime San Diego advertising and communications figure passed away July 28, 2015, at 85, after battling cancer, surviving his wife, Connie by five years. The couple met at the University of Washington and moved to San Diego in 1956, then to La Jolla in 1959, where they raised four children: […]

  • A Message for Mother’s Day: After Mother Has Died

    May 8, 2016

    Yesterday I received a text message saying, “I’m sorry I couldn’t call you back. I had a rough night.” I wasn’t keeping track and couldn’t readily remember what I’d called to say in the first place, so I asked if she was O.K. She responded telling me that a young friend had received a cancer […]

  • 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 […]

  • Sharon Taylor: Father Loss

    March 13, 2016

    A professor of psychology and the chair of the Women’s Studies department at St. Martin University, Dr. Sharon Taylor, talks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about father loss. Dr. Taylor’s father died at war when she was just a few months old. This was in 1945, right at the end of the war, and during this […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 With Red Feathers

    January 1, 2016

    “Hope is the thing with feathers.” This quote from Emily Dickinson never made a lot of sense to me; my primary association with it resulted from Woody Allen’s poking fun in one of his 1970’s books. Recently, an odd experience, maybe some would say a coincidence, caused me to see this pronouncement in a new […]

  • The Last Christmas Stocking

    December 24, 2015

    The first Christmas stocking I ever made was in 1960. I was 10 years old and living in Walnut Creek, California with my parents, Ted and Lillian. We didn’t have too many Christmas rituals, no church services or Advent candles. There was a china nativity set. It was small, but had all the important characters. […]

  • First Christmas Without Mom

    December 22, 2015

    I’m searching the internet for ways to get through this first festival of lights season without my mother. The articles I read about loss and the holidays offer helpful tips for getting through it. So many helpful suggestions: find meaning in your traditions, ask for help, plan ahead, discover what has most value to you, […]

  • Marci Servizi: Death of a Father

    December 20, 2015

    During the National Alliance for Grieving Children, Marci Servizi connects with Dr. Gloria Horsley to tell her about the death of her father. Based in Seattle, Servizi works with Safe Crossings, which raises money to give to other organizations that serve those who experienced a loss. Her father died on her 12th birthday. As the […]

  • Not Home for the Holidays

    December 3, 2015

    I vividly remember the day that one of my one of my closest friends called me at 1:30 AM to tell me that her Dad had just died. She had left the hospital and although she was audibly distressed, she was still able to drive herself home. “Do you want me to come over?” I […]

  • Ashley Maderr: Death of a Father

    November 21, 2015

    At the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley talked with Ashley Maderr, who lost her father. Together with her mother and sister, Maderr now serves the bereaved. Located in California, Maderr was 20 years old when her father died. As an adult child, it can often be a disenfranchised loss that isn’t […]

  • Broc Seib: Loss of a Father

    November 14, 2015

    During the conference for the National Alliance for Grieving Children , Dr. Gloria Horsley talked with Broc Seib about father loss. Seib lost his own father in 2008 and it was unexpected. Dealing with his death was challenging, and Seib says his family and wife were very supportive. His wife is in the field of […]

  • Fourteen Days to Heaven: Being with Mom at End of Life

    November 2, 2015

      The phone rang early one morning as I was getting ready to go to work. “Come quick, something is wrong with your mother!” came my dad’s voice from the other end of the line. We quickly got into the car and headed the eighth mile to my mom and dad’s house. My mother had […]

  • Father’s Day: The Many Aspects of Loss

    November 1, 2015

    The Open to Hope show’s Father’s Day special provides a number of tools for handling one of the most difficult days of the year. Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley welcome guests Neil Chethik (Executive Editor for the Open to Hope Foundation and author of Father Loss: How Sons of All Ages Come to Terms with […]

  • Death of a Parent: Healing Mind, Body and Spirit

    September 26, 2015

    The death of a parent can be one of the most devastating of losses, no matter what your age. Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk with Dr. Cori Bussolari and Antonio Sausys about this unique loss and how to heal the mind, body and spirit. Dr. Bussolari specializes in grief and loss, especially when it […]

  • ‘Isn’t Mom Done Being Dead Yet?’

    August 30, 2015

    “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” That’s what my mom always said. I’d holler back, “Well, one right and one wrong don’t make a right either, MMMommm.” Whenever she said that, I had no idea what she was talking about. I took it as a sign of weakness like she was advocating I be a […]

  • Parent Loss with Barbara Scharf

    August 13, 2015

    At the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley interviewed Dr. Barbara Scharf about losing a parent as an adult, which is often a minimized loss—and a very difficult one. Your parents are your parents, no matter what your age. Unfortunately, those around you (including those you thought would be part […]

  • Nina Impala: Grief, Loss of Our Parents

    August 11, 2015

    As a spiritual grief counselor, Nina Impala depends on her personal experience with grief to help others through their own journey. She uses HeartSight in her therapy sessions. She’s also the author of Dearly Departed: What I Learned About Living from the Dying, and spends some time discussing her work with Drs. Gloria and Heidi […]

  • Loss of a Parent Through Suicide with Franklin Cook

    August 7, 2015

    At the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley discusses loss of a parent via suicide with personal grief coach Franklin Cook. “My dad died of suicide in 1978,” says Cook, which began his interest in the field but it took two decades before Cook was fully immersed. He was in […]

  • Summer Memories of my Father

    August 3, 2015

    Summer always comes with the memory of my father, Col. Billy F. Nunley’s funeral.  The funeral service was on July 2nd and that made the fireworks and military tributes of  July 4th a painful echo of the ceremony performed by the Air Force Honor Guard. The sky was a clear blue, the kind of day […]

  • At My Father’s Desk: Dementia’s Silent Toll

    July 20, 2015

    Grief can elbow its way into life long before death. This I remember . . . I visit my parents’ home. Only Mom lives there now. Because of dementia, Dad has resided in a memory care facility for nearly three months. He sleeps often. Awake he can be silent. Alert, he will often express himself […]

  • Fatherly Influence: Transcending Biology and Time

    June 20, 2015

    The first time my adoptive father, Taner, tried to teach me a lesson was over green peppers that had formed a pile on the side of my plate. I was five years old with classically frustrating picky-eater syndrome, and I didn’t want those peppers. But being the new father figure in the previously single-parent household, […]

  • 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 […]

  • Emergency 2009: A Father Falls

    June 14, 2015

    It’s getting close to dinner time and I’m in the kitchen, ingredients on the counter and a pan heating up. The phone rings. It’s my mother. It’s not a usual time for her to call, but I don’t think much of it. “Cheryl, something terrible has happened.” I have that strange feeling you get when […]

  • 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 […]

  • My Fathers in Heaven

    June 11, 2015

    Both my fathers are in Heaven. For me, it has always been this way. If God watched me from the moon, Daddy rested on the brightest nearby star. I grew up dreaming of the time I would get to meet my Daddy, face to face. I sought out his footsteps, so I could somehow follow […]

  • A Letter to My Daddy in Heaven

    June 10, 2015

    Dear Daddy, It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. I miss doing that. We shared so many big and little things in our frequent emails and phone calls. Our conversations shrank the distance and connected us every day. Now that you’re gone from this earthly plane, I miss those exchanges dearly. Our […]

  • 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, […]

  • Is it Still OK to Cry?

    May 20, 2015

    It was Mother’s Day weekend, and life was especially good. With our kids scattered across the country, the idea of traveling to Colorado to spend a couple days with our daughter, Amy, seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. I stopped in an airport restaurant for breakfast and crossed paths with one of the friendliest […]

  • Mother’s Day Haikus

    May 9, 2015

    Editor’s note: We recently asked our contributing writers to create Haikus related to Mother’s Day. Here are some of the poems. Hard being a mother When your child is far away Hug them in your heart — Neal Raisman An angel you are A bright light among the stars And for you, I weep — […]

  • What is Mother’s Day after Mother is Gone?

    April 26, 2015

    What is Mother’s Day? A day to honor mothers. To me, it’s also the day that American University hosts its graduation. May 13, 2007, I sullenly watched David Gregory give a very witty speech about something I’m fairly certain was inspirational. My mother died the year before and I wasn’t in the mood for Mother’s […]

  • Returning: When the Matriarch Dies

    April 11, 2015

    “Where are we going?” she asked again. “We are going to get your hair done,” I tell her for the third or fourth time in the last few minutes. I look over at my mother-in-law, “Min” as her grandchildren had renamed her. She nods and looks out the window. Her hair is a mat of […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 86: Spouse Loss

    October 9, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interviewed Dawn Jiosi, creator of the New Dawn that was inspired by the shattering life events of her husband’s death eight years ago. Our second guests were Caryl Fried Feldmann and her daughter Sara Feldmann Sheehan, Executive Producer of Mortal, a film inspired by the […]

  • Episode 85: Transforming Grief After The Death of A Mother and Daughter

    October 2, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interviewed Lo Anne Mayer on the death of her mother and how she found comfort and understanding by conversing with her mother through meditation and writing. After the tragic suicide of her daughter, Cyndi, Lo Anne again found comfort in writing as a conduit between […]

  • Episode 77: Proactive Grieving

    June 3, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Alan Petersen, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, interview Megan Carmody, bereaved sibling of Kelly and Gwen Oliver, bereaved daughter of Marlene, on finding hope after the death of a sibling/parent. Megan’s father Mitch, author of Letters To My Son, and is founder of Proactive Grieving®, joins the […]

  • 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 […]

  • Episode 63: Finding Your Way Back to Joy After a Loss

    March 2, 2016

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview John Welshons counselor, teacher and lecturer.  As a young child John contracted polio and faced death but had a miraculous recovery. He is the author of Awakening From Grief; One Soul, One Love, One Heart and When Prayers Aren’t Answered.  Tribute is paid to […]

  • 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 […]

  • For the Ones Left Behind: A Guide for Helping Loved Ones After a Death

    May 23, 2016

    A death can shatter the lives of those left behind. Now, there are so many things to do. Who do you call? Where do you start? How can you help? Managing to survive in the aftermath of a loved one’s death is a daunting task. For the Ones Left Behind, A Guide for Helping Loved […]