Articles

  • Art Therapy Can Help in Healing from Grief

    September 3, 2015

    Artist and photographer Nancy Gershman, of Art for Your Sake, joins Dr. Gloria Horsley at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference to talk about art therapy as part of the grieving process. Gershman is a friend of The Open to Hope foundation and specializes in working with those who have lost a […]

  • Anne M. Carson: Writing Poems about Death of Beloved

    September 2, 2015

    Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Anne M. Carson, a poet from Australia, at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. Carson lost her husband, which is what directed her latest work. However, she was a poet before this loss. In Australia, it’s a ten year apprenticeship to release a book of poetry, which Carson […]

  • 10 Artistic Activities to Help With Grief

    July 21, 2015

    The catacombs of my thoughts, as I grieved the loss of my husband, were painful and all-encompassing…if I didn’t distract myself. A comment, picture, motorcycle, or even a happy memory could throw me into a spiral that consumed my world for hours. One day, I got a package in the mail from my friend Jessica. […]

  • Healing through Expressive Arts: A Conversation with Patricia Rojas-Zambrano

    April 24, 2015

    Exploring the field of art therapy through a series of interviews with practitioners in the Bay Area and beyond has become a new focus for me. Last month I met with Patricia Rojas-Zambrano after learning about her art journaling workshops through a chance meeting with a regular attendee. I caught her in the middle of […]

  • Life Coach Empowers Clients Through Story and Craft

    January 25, 2015

    “What now?” It’s a phrase we might utter when we’re dealing with too much in our lives and maybe waiting for a let-up after a cascade of troubles, tragedies and grief strike us. It’s also a question we might ask when we are seeking some direction in our lives. We all get stuck. For those […]

  • Heart-Shaped Door: A Story of Kids and Art

    January 4, 2015

    “What do you think you’d want to draw that’s at home?” asks Gary Vasgerdsian, an artist who today is wearing his volunteer hat, participating in a unique program called Kids & Art. The two youngsters he is addressing are Bay Area kids who belong to a very special population of children. Their lives have been […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Joan Rivers Wants Us to Laugh

    September 8, 2014

    When I was doing research for my book, The Courage to Laugh: Humor, Hope and Healing in the Face of Death and Dying, I asked a number of people how they wanted to be remembered after they were gone. Most said that they wanted people to remember the happier times they shared with their friends […]

  • 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 […]

  • Unravelling of Life … My Sweater

    June 3, 2014

    The sweater clothed me It sheltered me daily It covered my wounds It kept me safe It was comfortable   The occasional yarns that dangled or sprout forth Were quickly yanked away or shorn down No need for them. What I had clothed me   One day Father Jim hugged me A priest on a […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Grieving Someone You’ve Never Met

    May 29, 2014

    With the death of Maya Angelou this week, millions of her advocates and fans will be mourning the loss of an exceptional woman. This grief may, to some, seem misplaced. Because, when any public figure passes a wave of “grief judgment” often follows, from family members, the media, even friends. People question the validity of […]

  • Artist who Lost Mother Collaborates with Family Writings

    May 27, 2014

    In the San Francisco Bay Area with its forward-looking culture, we take notice of what’s new. We thirst for innovation. Bay Area artist Belinda Chlouber finds fascination and value in exploring and mining the past. I spoke with her in her San Mateo home studio about a recent series of multi-media work. Currently she has […]

  • Healing Through Art: Interview with Sharon Strouse

    May 18, 2014

    At the annual ADEC Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Sharon Strouse of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation and discuss with her ways to deal with grief after losing a child. Sharon is also the author of a book called Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing. Using her book, anyone can create their […]

  • Removing the Kimono of Mourning: Interview with Anne Carson

    May 17, 2014

    One of the most important things in anyone’s bereavement process is to find what works personally/individually. There is an opportunity for much creativity in this process. The video features me (Anne Carson) reading the title poem in my collection, Removing the Kimono, and describing how the death of my husband prompted me to write a […]

  • For Those With Bereavement: Healing Music

    November 21, 2013

    The holidays are almost here. Very shortly, some of us will prepare a list of things so we can get ready for the season. It may look like this… Christmas cards? Check! Hanukkah candles? Check! Gifts for children, spouse and parent? Check, check, check! Though Hanukkah and Christmas are joyous occasions for most, they can […]

  • Ten Ways to Find Good Fortune in your Holidays

    October 15, 2013

    The Christmas tree we dragged from the woods wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t expect the Christmas holiday to be perfect either. The long gangly branches made the tree seem awkwardly out of balance. It was fat at the bottom and too skinny at the top. One of our guests during the holiday commented, “I can’t […]

  • Writing Your Book about Grief: Helpful Tips for Beginning Writers

    September 12, 2013

    I’ve been a freelance writer for 36+ years, focusing on health and wellness books. My latest book focuses on the steps I took to recover from multiple losses. Four family members died in 2007 and, thanks to grief work and introspection, I created a new life. So many people asked me how I managed to […]

  • Man Who Lost Parents As a Child Speaks Through Art

    September 6, 2013

    If you have spent any time in La Jolla, California over the last decades, you might have seen Chris Canole in one of his many incarnations. This year, for the entire month of August, a series of drawn portraits and illustrations by this local polymath was on display as a one-man show at the Pannikin […]

  • Writing Poetry to Cope

    June 22, 2013

    This summer is going to be a doozy: Our eldest daughter is about to climb behind the wheel of our family van. Yikes. Stop the clock already. I wish we could go back in time, start off a bit more slowly, savor all those delicious growing-up moments, even delay taking those training wheels off her […]

  • My Words to Live By: I Am Open

    June 18, 2013

    I recently spent some time with a special friend and she told me how she came to name her upcoming book  (which I hope to feature in a future blog).  What follows is my reaction to the story of her experience. At a New Year’s Day service, which is a time of beginnings, my friend […]

  • Making Lemonade: Building on Life’s Challenges

    February 8, 2013

    Almost everyone has heard the saying, “When life sends you lemons, make lemonade.” In 2007, I received a bushel-full of lemons: the death of my daughter, death of my father-in-law, death of my brother and only sibling, death of my former son-in-law, and becoming guardian of 15-year-old grandchildren. Six years have passed since I suffered […]

  • The Yin and Yang of Love after Spouse-Loss

    February 2, 2013

    Unbelievable as it seems, it has been four years since my husband passed away. Every year, from January 26th until February 19th, I go into a Bermuda triangle of memories and emotions – his birthday, the day of his death and our anniversary fall on these dates. You would think grief would have loosened its hold […]

  • This Puzzle Called Life by Laurel D. Rund

    November 18, 2012

    I was working my way through my own personal puzzle in 2010. It was a transformative time, as I moved through grief into an appreciation for my newly reshaped life and spirit. I sat down and wrote a poem “This Puzzle Called Life.” It is included in my book “Emerging Voices.“ For me, it was […]

  • Writing about Mother Helps Turn Pain into Gratitude

    September 17, 2012

    For an adult, the role of your parent in your life changes greatly from when you were a child.  As a child, you depended on them for everything-food, shelter, clothing, guidance and love.  As an adult, you don’t rely on your parents to care for your basic needs any longer; but their role in your […]

  • Five Artist Perspectives on the Numinous Quality of Portraiture

    September 11, 2012

    I asked the five artists whose reflections appear below to write about what I call the numinous quality of portraiture. I want to thank them for providing me with their insight and for their personal responses. Each commentary is different and uniquely speaks about the authors’ life, experiences and craft. I will be adding additional artist […]

  • ‘Carry On’: A Song of Hope

    September 9, 2012

    What would those who died say to their loved ones if they could somehow get a message across? I asked that question over and over in my mind in April 1995 after the bombing in Oklahoma City shook the country and 168 people including nineteen children lost their lives. The loss of innocent life was […]

  • Taking Survival Lessons from Wolves — and Jodi Picoult

    September 4, 2012

    I’m on my way to the library to return yet another remarkable novel by Jodi Picoult. It’s called “Lone Wolf” and I want to share some words her main character speaks about wolves who die, but that apply to all of us who have had “family upheavals” and soldier on. “There is no grief among […]

  • Composing Grief: Songwriting as Salve after Loss

    September 4, 2012

    There are many articles written by people who found an activity that helped them journey through grief and loss. They range from journaling feelings on paper to taking up something more extravagant, such as hang-gliding. These new-found interests have often been the oxygen individuals need to survive. I recently came across an article written by […]

  • Healing Journey: Things Are Looking Up (And So Am I)

    September 3, 2012

    Some of you are far enough along the grief journey to believe that there is life with grief.  Please notice I did not say “life AFTER grief.”  There is no “after”; there is only understanding and healing.  You don’t stop missing a loved one who is no longer with you.  You don’t wake up one […]

  • Former Widower Reviews ‘Go On,’ TV Show About Widower

    August 19, 2012

          I don’t watch a lot of TV. With five young kids and four books in various stages of completion, I don’t have the time or energy to commit to the boob tube. But with Marathon Girl glued to the Olympics for two weeks (about the only time she watches TV), I kept […]

  • Italian Foundation Brings Nature Art into Hospital Rooms

    July 22, 2012

      If you’ve ever been to Florence, Italy, you may have seen l’Ospedale degli Innocenti, a striking Renaissance building. Over the years, the hospital has housed the work of many Florentine Renaissance masters and was one of the earliest instances of artistic decoration in a hospital setting. Today, continuing the intertwining of healthcare and art, […]

  • New Book Says Greatest Work Can Come From Darkest Moments

    July 22, 2012

    “There will always be something quite miraculous about the imagination,” writes Jonah Lehrer in his latest book Imagine: How Creativity Works. This is my second recommendation in a four-part series exploring unconventional books to read when coping with grief. With Lehrer, we are moved to inspiration. Like in Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 37: Sibling Loss

    November 30, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with comedian Jordon Feber and Keith Singer the impact of the loss of their siblings and how they have found hope after loss and gone to inspire others who have lost brothers and sisters.  Both Jordon and Keith are involved with The Compassionate Friends […]

  • Episode 33: Spirituality and Healing

    November 11, 2014

    On this show Dr. Heidi Horsley and Dr. Gloria Horsley discuss with Sherry Cassedy and Faith Freed helpful ideas on getting through a crisis.  Sherry is an attorney who has practiced law and mediation for 29 years and currently has a mediation and private judging practice in Palo Alto, CA.   She has served as […]

  • Episode 23: Loss as an Inspiration for the Creative Process

    December 10, 2013

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Mary Skinner, documentary film maker, how her deceased mother inspired her award winning film “Irene Sendley:  In The Name of Their Mothers”.  Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi then interview singer songwriter Billy Bensing regarding his music and the impact of the loss of […]

  • Episode 1:Handling the Loss of a Child”-CreaTiVe TV Award Winner-Grief Relief TV

    March 7, 2013

    CreaTiVe TV Award Winner “Grief Relief: Handling the Loss of a Child” with guests Patricia Loder, Dr. Ken Druck, Chris Donohoe and hosts Dr. Heidi Horsley and Dr. Gloria Horsley. Pat Loder of The Compassionate Friends discusses the Compassionate Friends and her loss as a parent, Ken Druck discusses the loss of daughter Jenna and […]

  • Nancy Gershman-Legacy Photomontage

    October 8, 2012

    Digital artist Nancy Gershman creates prescriptive and legacy photomontages to counter grief, loss and regrets, to facilitate reconciliation and acceptance. She shares her work and experience at the annual Association of Death Education and Counseling.

  • Barbara Thompson-Commemorative Flag Project

    September 24, 2012

    Barbara shares her experience of helping using art to help people communicate grief and loss. Association of Death Education and Counseling