Articles

  • Don Lipstein: Losing a Soldier Son to Suicide

    July 27, 2015

    In this episode of The Open to Hope Radio show, Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview Don Lipstein, who is a Peer Mentor Support and Training Coordinator for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Military Loss (TAPS). Lipstein began working with TAPS in the summer of 2012, shortly after the suicide death of his […]

  • Cori Bussolari and Wendy Packman: Pet Loss

    July 26, 2015

    A professor at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Cori Bussolari, and a professor at Palo Alto University, Dr. Wendy Packman, recently spoke with Dr. Heidi Horsley during the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling about the grief process that follows the loss of a pet. Having just completed a study on pet loss […]

  • Brittany Trauthwein: Continuing Bonds

    July 19, 2015

    The Open to Hope Foundation radio show was the first outreach strategy, and continues to be a fantastic means of support for those who have lost a loved one. In the “Continuing Bonds” episode, Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk with Brittany Trauthwein, MA, a specialist in end of life, grief and loss. Trauthwein has […]

  • What Loss Has Taught Me: Everybody’s on the Tightrope

    July 7, 2015

    The other day, I went out running to clear my head, something I often do in a continuing quest to manage my grief over the loss of my brother a year ago. I had my iPod on a random shuffle. Janelle Monáe’s song, “Tightrope,” came on after I had gone about a mile and a […]

  • Memoir of a Spirit

    July 6, 2015

    Many of us grapple with the thought of our own mortality. It’s a frightening unknown cloaked in mystery, but it doesn’t have to be. My son, Erik, took his own life just after his 20th birthday. Since he was 14 years old, he struggled with severe bipolar disease. On top of this, he had odd […]

  • Franklin Cook: Suicide Survivors and Grief Coaching

    June 28, 2015

    Franklin Cook specializes in suicide prevention project management via a coaching business. He offers one-on-one support for those who are grieving after losing a loved one to suicide in a process he calls personal grief coaching. “People are very much in shock after a loss from suicide, and so one thing they need is good, […]

  • Suicide Grief Is Unique Because Death by Suicide Is Unique

    June 10, 2015

    Perhaps the word unique is too restrictive in a discussion of universal phenomena such as death or grief, but according to new national guidelines* for responding to suicide, considering such a perspective … … opens the door to asking not only “What makes grief after suicide different?” but also “How does the distinctive nature of suicide […]

  • Finding the Good Stuff on Father’s Day

    June 10, 2015

    I will always remember my Uncle Steve in his work clothing, coming home from a long day of repairing cars and trucks. His boots were worn, and his clothing stained with grease. He would be so tired that he would lie down on the carpet. Often, he would fall asleep there from sheer exhaustion. When […]

  • Historic Guidelines Focus on Helping the Suicide Bereaved

    May 12, 2015

    After 15 years of advocacy and work in peer support and training as a survivor of suicide loss, I am pleased to announce that a dozen of my colleagues and I on a blue-ribbon task force* have completed a historic document, Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines. The Guidelines were […]

  • Can Grief Be a Friend?

    March 7, 2015

    Anne LaMott, in her book Traveling Mercies, writes,  “Don’t get me wrong. Grief sucks; it really does. Unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of Life, of the now, of the sense of living spirit…The bad news is that whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of […]

  • Loving My Wife through Her Grief

    March 3, 2015

    This article was written by John Thompson, husband of Open to Hope contributing writer Jill Kraft Thompson. March 25, 2015, will mark the thirteenth anniversary of the day my wife Jill lost her family. Of course, I am not talking about our son Franklin and me, but Jill’s previous husband Bart; their two young sons, […]

  • Cartoonist Keith Knight on How Words Live On

    February 9, 2015

    Keith Knight is a “gentleman cartoonist” whose various, nationally syndicated comics are published in the Washington Post, MAD, Daily Kos, Medium.com, and the Funny Times. Visit Keef on his website and watch the documentary on his work. A vet’s rates don’t come down just because it’s a dying rat Don’t rate a deathbed experience by the number of words exchanged Use a smart […]

  • Denial and Disbelief in Grieving

    January 23, 2015

    I was in denial from the first moment. And for a while thereafter. On a sunny Saturday in June, I had just finished a mud run with my son, and we were walking back to our car in late morning, covered with mud and laughing. My husband called my cell, from our home phone, I […]

  • When a Child Dies of Drug Addiction

    January 18, 2015

    Ben was an addict. That declaration is enormously painful and takes even more courage to write than Ben died at age nineteen. He was an honor student, football captain, neighborhood skateboard star, altar server, little league all-star, and lead singer in a punk rock band; he was handsome, popular, kind, and gentle. He was my […]

  • Writer Penny Slusher on Somber-Free Rites

    January 8, 2015

    Buying presents for the dead and gifting them; knowing your “mama dance” and texting as the deceased: this and more when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with writer and actress Penny Slusher about somber-free rites. Currently, Slusher is working on a one-woman show about the house she grew up in Bristol Tennessee, and how living with tragic events affected the family […]

  • Merry Christmas, Dad!

    December 25, 2014

    I sat in my car. I wasn’t sure I had the nerve to do it. I looked at the letter I held in my hand. Would this work? Could I possibly find peace after 26 years, merely by reading a letter aloud? It was a suggestion by a friend. Write your dad a letter and […]

  • Holiday Letter to a Young Widow

    December 13, 2014

    Dearest Heart, This season reminds me of endings, but also of a December long ago that was a beginning. After one of the most challenging periods of Gary’s cancer and time at an alternative clinic, he returned looking much healthier. With both of us rested, we could breathe, share a beautiful Christmas, and re-embrace each […]

  • She Called Me Sweetie

    November 17, 2014

    There wasn’t one definitive phone call that I could point to and say that this was the moment when I knew to I had to go home and visit her. There were a few conversations with various people, my mother, brother, my Uncle Charles* (not by blood, nor was She, just my parents dear friend’s. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • John Brooks: Suicide: Trying to Understand

    July 23, 2015

    John Brooks lost his adopted daughter, Casey to suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008. She was 17. A senior financial executive in the media industry, Brooks, 57, has written a memoir, “The Girl Behind The Door,” which vividly describes the ordeal he has been through. He has been heavily involved in suicide prevention […]

  • Wendy Resnick: Bereavement Groups: Can they help?

    June 4, 2015

    Wendy Resnick works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatric Nursing. She specializes in Group Leader Training and is a trainer and consultant for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Compassionate Friends, and Cure. For over thirty years, Wendy has been assisting professionals and laypeople to develop and maintain effective support groups nationwide.

  • When Grief Won’t Heal: Phyllis Kosminsky

    May 28, 2015

    Phyllis Kosminsky, PhD is a clinical social worker in private practice and at the Center for Hope in Darien, Connecticut. Her work focuses on grief, loss and trauma. She is the author of Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal.

  • Assisted Suicide and Grief: Dr. Robert Liner

    March 26, 2015

    Dr. Robert Liner is a graduate of Stanford University, Honors in Humanities, and the University of Rochester Medical School. He practiced and taught ob/gyn twenty years in San Francisco, was in private practice in the bay area, and served on the faculty of UCSF in their Prenatal Diagnostic Center. He is now retired and volunteers […]

  • Military Loss of a Son: Don Lipstein

    January 22, 2015

    Don Lipstein, is a Peer Mentor Support and Training Coordinator for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Military Loss (TAPS).  Don joined the TAPS Team in July, 2012, after receiving support due to the suicide death of his oldest son, Joshua.  He plays an important role in providing hope and healing to military survivors […]

  • Military Loss of a Spouse: Kim Ruocco MSW

    January 15, 2015

    Kim Ruocco MSW, is the Manager for Suicide Outreach and Education Programs at The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of Military Loss (TAPS).  In 2005 her husband Major John Ruocco, U.S. Marine Corps, a decorated Cobra gunship pilot and father of two sons lost his life to suicide. He had returned from a tour in […]

  • Handling The Holidays After Loss: Melissa Pettignano

    December 25, 2014

    Melissa Pettignano is the CEO of MPettignano Enterprises, LLC. One of the biggest losses she had to deal with was losing a family member in the September 11th, 2001 World Trade Center Attacks. Melissa is an Award-Winning Professional Music Artist, Songwriter, Author, Entrepreneur, inspirational Speaker and Humanitarian.

  • Dating After The Loss of a Spouse and a Child; Guest: Abel Keogh

    December 11, 2014

    At age twenty-six, after the tragic suicide of his wife and the death of their 9 day old baby Abel Keogh unexpectedly found himself a young widower and bereaved parent.  Abel works in marketing for a technology company and is also the author of the memoir Room for Two, and four relationship guides. His current book […]

  • 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

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 44: COPS; Supporting Cops and their Families

    May 7, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Dennis Jones the Executive Director of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S). and Anthony (Babe) Muro a supporter and friend of the police community. They discuss how C.O.P.S. supports individuals and families after a fellow officer has fallen and offer suggestions on how the community […]

  • Episode 43: Military Related Suicide

    May 7, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Janet Burroway, New York Times best selling author, her book “Losing Tim” a memoir about the death of her oldest son, Tim, a U.S. soldier and contractor who served in Iraq and died by suicide in 2004 at age 40. They then show a […]

  • Episode 40: Helping Families Deal With Drug and Alcohol Overdose

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Barbara Allen whose son, Jim, overdosed on heroin and alcohol in 2003.  She is the founder of  “Shatter the Stigma” an organization with the goal of bringing the disease of addiction into the light of hope and healing.  Joining her on the show is […]

  • Episode 39: Finding Hope After Multiple Deaths

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Jill Kraft Thompson an amazing woman who has re-built her life after losing five people she loved the most. She survived the car crash that killed five members of her family – her husband Bart, her two sons, Ben and Sam, her mom and […]

  • Episode 38: Traumatic Loss 9/11

    January 14, 2015

    On this show Dr. Heidi and Dr. Gloria Horsley interview Susan Esposito Lombardo whose father Billy Esposito, vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald was killed on the 104th floor of the north tower on 9/11.  In his memory the family founded A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation and Bereavement Program helping grieving children […]

  • Episode 34: Making Meaning After Loss– Golden Gate Bridge

    November 11, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Sue Story and David Hull both bereaved parents whose children died after jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.  Sue and David have gone on to honor their children by advocating for safety changes in the bridge and suicide prevention.  David is the co-founder of […]

  • Episode 32: Treating Trauma (EMDR)

    November 11, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Dr. Christopher Sato-Perry and Dr. Jean Schellenberg their use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in treating trauma. The show closes with music by Peter Anderson and Randy Cookson.