Our Grief Journey with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley

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FEBRUARY 1, 2007 – .? Join Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley as they discuss their grief journey.

Heidi Horsley:? Like we?ve learned, mom, from so many of our guests, oftentimes one of the ways to heal ourselves is to become active in our grief process and this is such an important way to be active and to do something positive and productive and turn our grief outward.? Oftentimes people aren?t ready for this but for those of you that are ready, this is a great way to kind of give back and to educate people so that they can learn from what?s worked for you and what hasn?t.?

Gloria Horsley:? I wish I?d had the opportunity to go to the accident site at that time, you know, and see.? I said I wanted to see the body, and the policeman said no, you don?t want to see the body.

Heidi Horsley:? So he was protecting you; but in hindsight, you would have been, you really needed to do that?. If you really want to see a body and you really want to see the site, then this is your opportunity to do it and your decision should be respected.

Heidi Horsley:? It just brings back so many times when we have guests on when they say you know one of the things that helped us the most in the hospital is that the nurses had the wherewithal to ask me if I wanted to hold my child and to allow me time with my child to grieve the loss of my child who had died.? Because sometimes like you said, you weren’t able to make those decisions.? It would have been nice if someone had come in and asked you, do you want to see the site?? We?ll drive you there.

Gloria Horsley:? And we were fortunate later on, we had the finances to go back to Washington, DC, to have somebody from the police department pick us up, take us to the accident site, take us to see the car, and to do all those things that really make you realize that it really happened and, you know, there?s such a denial at first, isn?t there?

Heidi Horsley:? Absolutely.? I completely understand when people say, especially some of the 9/11 families I see, they say well, I thought for a year or two that he was actually alive and was walking around the city with amnesia.? I understand that because when Scott died, I really believed in my heart of hearts that Scott and Matthew had been kidnapped and somebody else was in that car.? It was not them.? They had been kidnapped because there?s no way 17-year-old boys in the prime of their lives, healthy, happy, physically fit, die suddenly.? It just doesn?t happen.

Gloria Horsley:? Absolutely, and you go through that yearning and searching stage that I?m sure everyone knows about.? I had a stiff neck from looking, seeing people with blond hair and thinking that might be them.

Gloria Horsley:? It?s very interesting talking to the newly-bereaved parents because a very newly bereaved parent said to me today, you never get over it, right?? And I said, oh, you never forget and the memories become sweet.? And she said, oh, that?s what I want to hear.? I don?t want to hear you never get over it.

Heidi Horsley:? Well, I?m always saying this.? I think that you can?t get over something like this, but you learn to live with it.? You learn to go on.? You learn to have a lot of positive life experiences and you learn to be in a very different place than the place you?re in now.? If someone had told me that the pain that I was in initially would never end, I would not want to go on living.

Gloria Horsley:? Absolutely.? It is just so excruciatingly painful, isn?t it?

Heidi Horsley:? Absolutely.? The grief is always on some level, you always miss that person and like you said mom, even 23 years, but the pain is gone, the pain is no longer there.? You occasionally will get waves of pain but you will rebound from those waves very quickly after 23 years.

Gloria Horsley:? Absolutely, and there could be a smell or a sound or a sight or something that will trigger you.

Heidi Horsley:? Or an event in your life.?

Gloria Horsley:? Humor kind of helps you survive.?

Heidi Horsley:? Right, and unfortunately when you?re around other people that have gone through a loss, they understand that, but outsiders don?t understand that.? They can?t figure out how you can laugh, and laughing is an emotion and it?s a way of releasing some of the tension and anxiety and stressful feeling after a death.

Gloria Horsley:? What did you need, for the folks out there, as a 20-year-old, what did you need from the world?

Heidi Horsley:? I needed the world to acknowledge and validate how hard it is to have a brother die, and to really get it.? To understand my pain.? And I felt like the world did not understand how much pain I was in.

Heidi Horsley:? Kids are worried about you and that?s why oftentimes we don?t show our grief because we feel like you?ve been through enough and we don?t want to cause you any more pain, and if we grieve in front of you, we feel like it might hurt you.? It might cause you more pain because you are grieving yourselves.

Heidi Horsley:? People initially say well, it?s easier if you have a body and initially that might be true, but down the road, mourning is mourning and grief is grief.? I still didn?t have Scott.

Gloria Horsley:? So I?d say to you folks out there, if you wished you?d seen the body and you didn?t or there was something that you?d wished you?d done, if you think that you might be grieving better or somebody might tell you it.? Not necessarily so, right, Heidi?

Heidi Horsley:? Right.? The thing that it did for me is that I didn?t believe.? I was in denial.? I didn?t believe that he had died and so it just made the reality happen a little quicker.? You?ll eventually get there anyway.

Heidi Horsley:? Parents are always saying to me, what could I do for my child?? I?m in so much pain.? What would be helpful?? And I always, if I could give you only one piece of advice as parents, just one piece of advice, I would say, and I?ve said it on the show before, go to your children and say, look, I know what it?s like to lose a child, and I know how hard and horrible it is to lose a child, but I have no idea what it?s like to lose a sibling, and I just wanted to let you know that if there?s anything I can do, that I?m here, because I don?t know what it?s like, and it must be really hard for you.? It must be horrible.? This was your sibling.? This is someone you were supposed to grow old with.? This was someone that was supposed to be in your life forever and they?re no longer here.

Heidi Horsley:? One of the things I want to tell parents is this event, this death of my brother and my cousin defined my life, but it did not destroy my life.? It has defined my life.? It has changed my life.? It has changed who I am and not all in a bad way.? I feel like I?m a more mature person.? I?m more empathic.? I appreciate life more.? I appreciate my family more because I know what it?s like to have a brother who died and lose my brother so it will define your children?s lives.? It no way destroys your children?s lives.? Your children are more resilient than you will ever know and they will rebound and they will go on to have a positive life despite this horrific horrible event that has happened in their lives.

Gloria Horsley:? Absolutely, so you?ve got to have some trust and faith there.? And they may go through some bad patches.? You know, my younger daughter went through some very rough years and it was rough for us.

Heidi Horsley:? Right.? Grief goes in waves.? I mean, we definitely have times that are good and times that are bad.

Gloria Horsley:? Absolutely, and the thing is you have a big black hole and you throw everything into the grief hole.? Everything?s because they?re grieving.? Well, teenagers go through situations and 20 year olds.? They have bad and good times whether they?ve had a sibling die or not or whether you?ve had a child die or not.

Heidi Horsley:? This show is so amazing and our guests just inspire me every day, they truly do, because I realize if they can get through what they?ve gotten through, I can get through anything that life will throw at me because life is going to throw you hurdles over and over.? No one gets through this world easily.? It?s not possible.? So, yeah, they inspire me.? Like you said, our lives are like two books.? I mean, they?ve got a couple of chapters.? My life is the chapter before Scott?s death and the chapter after and underneath, there?s a lot of different segments to that.

G:???????? Absolutely, so we give you all our love and courage to go on and tell you that we love doing the show for you and we appreciate you as our listeners.

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