Donna Shuurman: Never Too Late to Heal

Meeting at the National Alliance for Grieving Children, Dr. Gloria Horsley and Donna Shuurman meet to talk about healing after a loss. Schuurman is the executive director of The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, and lost a sister before she was born. Shuurman worked in bereavement for 15 years, and never knew why she was drawn to the work. Years later, she found out that her parents (18 and 19 at the time) had a child who was a girl. She died five days after birth. Every June, her mother would get depressed and her father would say, “It’s about that baby, but by the fourth of July she’ll be better.”

They were taught “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and never heard much more. When Shuurman was in her 40s, she realized how much her parent’s own unaddressed grief affected her. She called her mother, who isn’t one to wear her heart on her sleeve. She asked to hear the story, and thought her mother might hang up. Instead, her mother talked for three hours. It was the first time her mother talked about it, and the first time anyone had really asked.

Moving Forward and Upward

It’s never too late to look into grief and bereavement issues. It led to a lot of healing for both women, and changed their relationship for the better. Now, their bond is stronger and there was a softening. Her mother told her all the details, such as the baby’s mouth and fingers even 65 years later. It’s not too late to heal those grieving feelings, and that can also help you deal with current grief.

Shuurman doesn’t like the term “resolved grief” because she says grief can’t be resolved. There are always layers, but you can certainly tackle untouched grief.

 

Gloria Horsley

More Articles Written by Gloria

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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  • Mary Boye says:

    I lost my dear brother on 21st November 2015 and I am not well at all. I just don’t know when my tears will stop for this loss. He was 46 and we have lived together since childhood. Friends, family and my church have all called in to show their sympathy but it seems I am not getting any better. Pls help me

  • Roz says:

    My husband is 54 and struggling with the loss of his mother in 2014.
    I have tried my best to help him cope as I loved her very much also.
    I try and stay strong for him but now I’m feeling that he thinks I have not forgotten about her but have gotten over her loss. This is not the case but I don’t think he could deal with my feelings as well as his own.
    He had always been there for me and I feel like I am letting him down as I feel he is suffering from depression a year on and really needs a professional to help get him through this.
    I have discussed it with him but said that he can manage to get himself through it.
    I’m at a stand still and don’t know how to help. We will both always miss and grieve for her but I just want him to be happy and start enjoying his life again.