Articles

  • How to Help Children After a Traumatic Death

    February 19, 2014

    Peter was seven-years-old. He died of a brain tumor soon after he fainted on the school playground. Peter had first complained to his teacher of a bad headache, then fell off of the swings and become unconscious. His parents rushed him to the hospital, where the doctors discovered a brain tumor. He died after an […]

  • Comedy writer Joe Janes on Truthful Memorialization

    December 5, 2013

    Truthful memorialization means talking about Mom stoically eating Joe’s tofurkey. Or Mom openly guzzling “horrible things” like caffeine-free diet coke in front of her vegan son. How Joe honors these mischievous moments and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman talks with Joe Janes, a Chicago-based Emmy award-winning comedy writer. Joe teaches comedy writing at The Second City and Columbia […]

  • Holiday Sorrows and Precious Gifts

    October 13, 2013

    I am sure that I am not alone in approaching American Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with sorrow in my heart over the death of a loved one.  I hope these reflections will provide guidance for reaching through the sorrows of loss in the coming season. During the holidays, the pain of separation from loved […]

  • Sister Unloads Grief Years After Brother’s Suicide

    August 7, 2013

    I was a sweet, blue-eyed seven-year-old girl watching The Parent Trap while my big brother was babysitting. He got me a cup of water after asking if there was anything I needed. Little did I know my answer should have been, “I need my big brother.” Only minutes later I heard a heart-stopping, deafening boom. […]

  • Anxiety and Fear in Grief: When Your Mind is Not Your Friend

    May 20, 2013

    In the past year, I’ve lost two women in my family from cancer. I’ve felt the searing loss and pain that these deaths have brought, in part because I am in remission from cancer myself. Twice. Seventeen years apart. Because of that, I know a lot about how my mind works with anxiety and fear. […]

  • The Magic of a Love Letter to the Dying

    February 6, 2013

    I got a wonderful lesson in the value of writing love letters to the dying on my last visit to M, my friend of forty years plus, who had, at that time, only a few days to live despite every evidence that she would live to be one hundred and twenty. She was a politically […]

  • Writing to a Friend in Hospice

    December 30, 2012

    Because I was out of town for several weekends, I missed several Sunday church services. When I returned to church, I saw a friend of mine. She had lost so much weight she barely looked like herself and was wearing a cap to conceal her bare head. “Oh my gosh, she has cancer,” I thought […]

  • Seeing the Beauty of Life in the Wake of Death

    November 14, 2012

    Often as we are grieving, it is difficult to see the beauty that is left in our lives. For many who are grieving in the first year or two after loss, it is so difficult to see past the grief, the pain, the loss and to actually see life, the life that is still here waiting […]

  • Losing a Friend, Finding Her Son Years Later

    July 5, 2012

    Carol and I slipped thoroughly and whole-heartedly into each other’s lives when we were 12 and she transferred to into my Junior High School. She was funny, emotionally brave, self-governing, welcoming, gorgeous, incapable of self-absorption and enthusiastic about life. She was one of my 5 best friends. Ever. We traveled through our adolescent lives together […]

  • First Birthdays in Widowhood

    July 5, 2012

    My 35th birthday came a month into widowhood. One of my best friends took me out to dinner that evening. You really know who your closest friends are when it comes to celebrating birthdays and holidays in the first year. After all, how do you make it a celebration? Why would I want to celebrate […]

  • Choosing to Say Goodbye

    June 29, 2012

    There’s a time when you have to say goodbye, and a time when you choose to say goodbye. For the first time, I chose to say goodbye to my friend Curtis today. I had to say goodbye when he was ripped away from me in a car accident thirty years ago. And all this time […]

  • Teen Mourns the Death of Her Best Friend

    April 27, 2012

    Question from a reader: When I was 12 years old, my best friend in the whole world died, one month before her 12th birthday. She was in the swimming pool playing that game—you know, who can hold their breath the longest—she was under but when she came up she inhaled a lot of water. She […]

  • Playing With Ashes

    February 29, 2012

    It’s been a tender week. This week marks the first anniversary of the death of my dear friend, E, who left the earth plane suddenly and unexpectedly, just two weeks after her 61st birthday. I made it to the North Carolina hospital on Easter Sunday and had the profound honor of witnessing her transition on […]

  • Death of An Ex-Spouse

    February 22, 2012

    A reader writes: I’m not really sure how to explain how I feel after losing my ex-spouse a month ago—especially since he died the same day I was having major surgery. Consequently, I’ve had quite a few complications from my surgery since I started taking care of my two teenage boys and their grief the […]

  • Grieving, She Tries to Accept the Emptiness

    December 7, 2011

    While walking my dogs this morning, I was reflecting on the fact that I have acquired a wonderful set of girlfriends who are kind-hearted, intelligent, generous and fun. Nothing unusual about that, you might think? Lots of girls have great girlfriends. However, just over a year ago, this was not the case. I was lonely, […]

  • Psalm 23 Creates Healing Connection

    August 21, 2011

    Grief is the price we pay for love. —Queen Elizabeth II My best friend was dead. My faith was shattered. It was too much for me. I felt that I, too, was dying. I desperately needed a breakthrough—a sign, if you will, that she was safe. The thoughts of her being smashed against a mountain […]

  • ‘Wish You Were Here’: Friend’s Death Stirs Deep Emotions

    August 1, 2011

    I had just returned from a visit back home to Iowa. It was the first morning after a long drive back to Texas, and I was pouting. I missed my friends. I missed my family. Every thought seemed to beckon me home like a postcard reading, “Wish you were here.”  Still, vacation was over and […]

  • Losing My Mentor: Remembering Romulus Linney

    January 29, 2011

    I lost a great friend and mentor this month.  Romulus Linney, the playwright and novelist, died in New York of lung cancer. In a twist of fate, Rom’s daughter, the actress Laura Linney, won a Golden Globe the day after her father’s death, for her starring role in THE BIG C, a story about a […]

  • Farewell to a ‘Transitioning’ Friend

    January 24, 2011

    If you have or you are currently sitting bedside of a loved one in hospice, you are probably struggling with accepting the thought and reality of letting your beloved go.  It is a psychological battle that starts by praying for a miracle of life and ends by praying for a miracle of death: “Please, God, […]

  • Poem: Across The Waves

    December 15, 2010

    Across the ocean’s waves, around the world Your message of sorrow came to me No matter that we’ve not met face to face, my Dear Friend, Through the written word, I know your heart as you know mine. Across the ocean’s waves, around the world I grieve with you and share the pain of your […]

  • Woman Loses Organs to Cancer, Still Revels in Life

    September 1, 2010

    I want to tell you the story of Louella Gaines from Ypsilanti, Michigan, who has persevered through many bouts of cancer, during which she has lost a lung, a kidney, her female organs, and many areas of her skin. May you find some strength from the insightful words from this remarkable woman, someone who continues […]

  • Revisiting Loss 30 Years Later ‘Refreshing’

    July 30, 2010

    Last year, when the 30th anniversary of my friend Curtis’ death was coming up, I set out on a journey of healing, to clean out whatever vestiges of internal emotional and psychological damage that might be stopping me from living a full life today. I trusted that if I thought again about Curtis, I would […]

  • Script-writing Helps Her Understand Meaning of Loss

    July 28, 2010

    The body is gone, but the love remains. This is the bottom line for so many of us. We may miss the person’s physical presence, but more often it’s the person’s mind/soul/body presence which we long for. And yet, the love remains. I’ve been taking a “deliberate journey of the soul” in search of deeper […]

  • When a Friend Dies

    July 26, 2010

    When I picked up my four-year old grandson at preschool, Kenny was proud to introduce me to his new friend.  Even at a young age, we begin the life-long process of making friends.  If Kenny’s lucky, he may even keep some of the friends he makes in these early years.  I still have a friend […]

  • Writing Poetry Helps Decades After Friend’s Death

    July 24, 2010

    June 11th of last year was the 30th anniversary of the death of my friend Curtis in a car accident. As part of my healing process, I set out on a “deliberate journey of the soul,” to clean out whatever vestiges of internal emotional and psychological damage that might be stopping me from living a […]

  • Teens Often Best at Consoling Each Other

    June 26, 2010

    I’ve gotten accustomed in my 60s to having that phone call that a friend has become very ill or died. It’s not that I’m callused but I’m knocking on the door of the Golden Years. But it’s always a shock to the system — physically, emotionally, and spiritually — when a young person dies suddenly. […]

  • Maintaining Emotional Fluency through Artistic Expression

    May 29, 2010

    Last year, when the 30th anniversary of his death was coming up, I set out on a journey of healing…

  • Death of ‘Neon Man’ Inspires Friend to Help Others

    March 25, 2010

    In 2004, I got a call that my best friend died.  Mark Jamison was a neon artist from Roanoke, Virginia, who was electrocuted after he was blown into a power line while hanging a neon sign. He was only 35. A month after he died, his girlfriend discovered she was pregnant. Mark and I had been friends for nearly 18 […]

  • A Fresh Loss, New Lessons

    March 22, 2010

    “There are no random acts…We are all connected…You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind…” – Mitch Albom It’s true…I feel it, you feel it…we are all connected. As human beings, we feel each other’s pain. Because of this we are able to pull together […]

  • The Road Back from Loss Leads to Grief-Counseling Career

    March 17, 2010

    The road back from any loss is crooked and wide, and sometimes even circular.  My experiences as a primary caregiver in my home (with hospice support) with my husband, my father, and my female best friend all affected me in different ways. I’ve read that the depth of grief is equal to the degree and […]

  • We’re Strengthened When We Say ‘I’m Here’

    March 7, 2010

    I recently attended calling hours to support a close friend who had suddenly lost her cousin to cancer. When I arrived, I joined the end of the receiving line and proceeded to view the television monitor which displayed a memorial of the deceased. Several people behind and in front of me were quietly talking amongst […]

  • Bringing Light into a Dark Place: Joining Inmates in Overcoming Hopelessness

    December 7, 2009

    I have been in and out of jail for well over a year. I’m not there because I’ve broken a law or violated probation. I visit the barb wired facility to bring hope into a very dark place. It’s part of my healing process after losing my best friend six years ago in a plane […]

  • Accepting Loss as a Fact of Life

    October 25, 2009

    When I was sixteen, my best friend was killed in a car accident. My boyfriend was driving the car. They were going to the movies on a summer afternoon two weeks after their high school graduation. I felt that my life was smashed head on in that one moment, just like their car had been […]

  • Using Laughter and Playfulness as an Antidote to Grief

    October 5, 2009

    I lost my close friend, Jim, to suicide in 2005. Instead of succumbing to the devastating pain, grief and guilt surrounding his death, I embarked on a journey of introspection, self-healing and giving to the community. As a self-proclaimed Giggle Coach, I am on a crusade to help people reclaim joy in their lives, or, as […]

  • First Days After Losing an Exceptional Friend

    September 25, 2009

    I could not afford to fly home for Christmas on my meagre salary and begrudgingly accepted my festive destiny: being alone. Well, technically, I was not alone, if I was to include the critters quietly doing their private research and development in my cupboards. To cheer myself, in an attempt to embrace “the experience”, I […]

  • A Moment of Perspective…

    September 14, 2009

    Sometimes, it’s hard to put things into perspective becuase we are always so consumed about what we are feeling and how it affects us in our lives, that we don’t take the time to think that maybe somebody has it just a little bit harder than you. I was in a charity golf outing this […]

  • When a Friend Dies

    September 5, 2009

    By Harriett Hodgson – My father-in-law made many close friends during his 98 years of life. So many of those friends died that my father-in-law became known as the “last man standing.” At first, Dad would get really upset when a close friend died. After losing dozens of friends his response changed. “He (or she) was […]

  • Does Grief End? Turning the Corner Takes Work, Faith, Patience

    August 21, 2009

    People who come for grief therapy often ask, “How long does this sadness last?” ”Does it ever get better?”  “Will I ever wake up some morning and feel something different than what I’m feeling now?”  Though the questions are usually the same, the answers are not! I have learned from listening to others and from working through my […]

  • Farrah, Michael, Bonnie, and Denise

    June 26, 2009

    By Michelle Linn-Gust – When I found out that Farrah Fawcett had anal cancer, I was taken back to the cancer of my friend, Bonnie, who died 3 1/2 years ago. I was with Bonnie almost every day, as long as I was in town, until her death a few months later. Today is my […]

  • Loss During Young Adulthood May Make One Feel Old

    June 23, 2009

    By Beryl Kaminsky – The young adult years — ranging from late teens to early thirties — span a period of life when most people are self-centered.  Life is all about gaining independence, finding oneself, having a good time or starting relationships.  Death is the farthest thing from a young person’s mind. As a result, […]

  • Should Man Contact Parents of High School Classmate Who Died?

    June 15, 2009

    Question from Al:  Should I contact parents whose child, a high school friend, died 20 years ago? I feel awkward about doing this, especially at my age, mostly because she was their only child, and I don’t want to invade their lives or bring them any more grief. I am married and have children and […]

  • Recalling a Childhood Friend, Decades After Her Death

    May 30, 2009

    By Linda C. Wisniewski – If a loss comes early in life, it sometimes takes many years before its full impact is felt. When my kindergarten best friend was killed, I was more puzzled and scared than sad. It was only when I began writing my own life story and recalled the events surrounding her […]

  • Without a Mooring — For Bereaved, the Waves Keep Crashing

    April 24, 2009

    By Beverly Chantalle McManus – Those of us who have survived the death of a spouse receive ongoing reminders that life will never be the same.  Just as we feel we’re finally able to be buoyant again, as we’re coming to grips with this most devastating loss and the profound changes that overtake every aspect […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Christa Scalies: Healing Grief Through Laughter

    November 28, 2013

    Christa Scalies has experienced the messy, fearful, ugly and soul-wrenching side of grief after losing two friends to suicide. In her e-book, “Suicide Sucks: Move thought the Pain of Suicide Loss and Learn to Laugh Again,”Christa provides 10 actionable steps to help people recover mentally, physically, and spiritually from loss.

  • Catherine Greenleaf; Losing a Friend to Suicide

    November 18, 2010

    Catherine Greenleaf is a survivor of suicide loss. She is a non-denominational spiritual director who speaks to fellow survivors about navigating the crucial stages of recovery from suicide loss. In her book, Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide, she shares how it is possible to live a full […]

  • Cherly Edwards: Death of a Fiance

    September 9, 2010

    Cherly Edwards talks about coping after the loss of her fiance in Vietnam.

  • Ann Hamilton: Healing Through the Arts

    June 11, 2009

    Ann talks about helping people heal through the use of the arts.

  • even if i am

    October 14, 2012

    Chasity Glass’ book, even if i am, is available at Amazon.

  • In My Mother’s Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence

    October 28, 2010

    Robin Edgar’s book, In My Mother’s Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence, illustrates how to recall and record memories of your loved ones in order to develop rituals that celebrate the times you had with them. This inexpensive paperback  is available at amazon.com.

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