Articles

  • Open to Hope Television Win’s Prestigious WAVE Award

    March 21, 2017

    We are pleased to announce that our Open to Hope television show Returning to Work After Loss has won a 2017 Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE). Through Public Access and its dedicated team of volunteers, we have been able to produce shows that help people find hope after loss and give a voice to grief […]

  • Family First at Facebook: Company Offers Groundbreaking Bereavement Policy

    March 8, 2017

    The world watched Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg deal with her own grief process when she lost her husband in May 2015. Like anyone who loses a loved one, she needed time to be with her family and go through the healing process. It’s a human need that more companies are finally starting to understand doesn’t […]

  • Who Am I Now that My Sisters Passed Away?

    February 4, 2017

    Who am I now that my sisters passed away?  Not an easy question to answer. My life has evolved through many unpredicted punches, most powerfully by the loss of my treasured sisters Margie and Jane in their young adulthood. As I plow through my cobwebs and  entanglements, searching for the core of the authentic middle […]

  • Another Thanksgiving, Another Grief Acceptance Step

    November 22, 2016

    My elder daughter, Helen, was born on Thanksgiving day. She died in 2007 from the injuries she received in a car crash. “Blunt Force Trauma” was the official cause of death, words no parent wants to hear. I find it odd that Helen was born on the 23rd of the month (November), and died on […]

  • Valarie Molaison: Supporting Grieving Families for the Long Haul

    June 12, 2016

    Right after someone passes is often the most difficult period. Dr. Heidi Horsley interviews Dr. Valarie Molaison about how to handle this time, and what you can do to help support grieving families. Dr. Molaison is the clinical director at Supporting Kids in Delaware. Dr. Horsley points out that society gives people a lot of […]

  • Disenfranchised Grief

    May 30, 2016

    Disenfranchised grief is a type of grief that a majority of people stigmatize and/or don’t feel comfortable talking about. This can include suicide, pet loss, death from an overdose, and other losses that aren’t considered mainstream. Dr. Gloria Horsley interviewed Dr. Ken Doka at the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference to talk […]

  • Dark World Community: Grievers Helping One Another

    April 14, 2016

     When death comes, we leave the world of light behind and enter a world of shadows. Colors mute to gray. Sounds are all in the distance. Even if it’s sunny and in the eighties, the air feels cold and we wear a jacket. Food tastes like cardboard, so we don’t eat. Everything we pick up […]

  • Amy Florian: Finding Hope After the Loss of a Spouse

    March 23, 2016

    The founder and CEO of Corgenius, Amy Florian, shares her thoughts on losing a spouse and finding hope in the aftermath. As a bereavement consultant, she pursued her career based on her own experience. Her husband, John, was killed in an accident when they were in their 20s. She was shocked that the world kept […]

  • Jim Stewart: Katy’s Kids at CCMe

    January 21, 2016

    Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Jim Stewart from Katy’s Kids. A bereaved parent himself, Stewart founded Katy’s Kids after his daughter Katy died at ten years old. The Children’s Museum of the East End was born via Katy’s courage, and today Stewart and his wife are constantly looking for ways to give back. They also […]

  • Make a New Year’s Resolution to Lean into Grief

    December 31, 2015

    I wasn’t prepared for 2009, the first new year after our son Ben’s death in 2008. How could we make new memories without our boy? This revelation hit hard around 11:59 pm on New Year’s Eve 2008 as the Times Square ball drop started and the countdown began. Time needed to stand still – everything […]

  • Loss of an In-law

    December 27, 2015

    The web developer for the Open to Hope Foundation, Christopher Conlan, interviews the founder of the Foundation, Dr. Gloria Horsley. As the author of The In-Law Survival Guide, Dr. Horsley takes a unique approach to talking about in-laws—she doesn’t write about surviving your relationship with them, but rather the loss of your in-laws. A lot […]

  • Dear Dad: Anger and Apologies

    September 24, 2015

    Dear Dad, I miss you and I’m so embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that I’ve spent seven years and $150,000 on not one, but two, creative writing degrees, and I still can’t come up with a more descriptive and involved way to say it. And I suppose there’s a difference between being concise, and being at a […]

  • Forgiveness as Healing

    September 14, 2015

    Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk about forgiveness with Dr. Fred Luskin in this episode of the Open to Hope show. Author and victims advocate Radha Stern also joins the discussion to talk about how she personally handles forgiveness—especially when the man who murdered her son has never shown any remorse. Dr. Luskin is with […]

  • Disenfranchised Grief

    September 7, 2015

    At the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Dr. Ken Doka about disenfranchisement in grief. This happens when a loss isn’t publicly acknowledged or mourned. For example, it might be a relationship that isn’t recognized, such as a gay partnership that may not be legally recognized in that […]

  • Broken Gift: Dealing With the Death of a Mentally Ill Child

    September 5, 2015

    God gave us a gift. A son. Firstborn boy. In fear and trembling, we held him in our arms, to be loved, nurtured, to laugh and to cry with. Amazing. And the gift from God grew, gave joy, but also pain we could not comprehend. Why would this gift become broken? This is my story, […]

  • Lara Krawchuk: Grieving for Dad

    September 1, 2015

    Dr. Gloria Horsley discusses grieving for dad with Lara Krawchuk, a clinical social worker in Pennsylvania. She lost her father, paternal grandmother, and was handling becoming a new mother all at once. As a specialist in oncology therapy and an adjunct professor in the grief and loss field, Krawchuk is a strong believer in discovering […]

  • Mitch Carmody: Signs and Connections

    May 27, 2015

    “Getting” signs and connections when a loved one passes is a relatively common phenomenon. Some grievers are sure they’ve experienced signs about or from their loved ones who have passed. Others want to receive these signs. At the 2015 Association of Death and Counseling Conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley talked with Mitch Carmody about his take […]

  • The Gifts of Promise and Hope in Grief

    May 17, 2015

    The Hidden Gifts in Catastrophe Following catastrophic loss or any life altering transition there may be teachings or unanticipated gifts that we discover in the process of transforming our worldviews.  Following the death of my 18-year-old daughter Jeannine, I discovered the gifts of “transient angels”, individuals who crossed my path for a short time. Their […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Uncovering the Illusion of Truth in Our Grief Journeys

    December 3, 2014

    The Wisdom of Age As I become older, my view of the world and the people who inhabit it has evolved.  I would like to believe that growing older has allowed me to acquire more wisdom because of, in part, my own actions and choices as well as those of others whose paths I have […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Sleeping Habits After a Child’s Death

    August 13, 2014

    by Sandy Fox Has your sleep pattern changed since the death of your child? Do you wake up every few hours? Do you toss and turn for hours trying to get to sleep? Do certain dreams wake you up, particularly if your child is in them and you can’t get back to sleep? Do you […]

  • Joyful Aging

    June 26, 2014

    When I see commercials on how to recreate the body I had at 20-years-of-age by applying a magical cream that isn’t sold in any regulated stores (but is free to me for the next ninety minutes if I agree to receive 324 months of the stuff), sit back in my rocking chair with wrinkles and […]

  • Don’t Judge My Grief

    June 2, 2014

    A person’s grief is not too short, and it’s not too long. It’s not too weak, and it’s not too strong. It just is what it is, but it’s never wrong. Please don’t try to tell others how to grieve. If you can’t be supportive and non-judgmental, then just say so and step aside to […]

  • Playwright Ann Randolph on Writing about Grief

    May 28, 2014

    How is a performance and a post-show creative writing workshop sparking a national discourse on grief? This and more when memory artist Nancy Gershman sits down with playwright and comedian, Ann Randolph to talk about her one-woman show, LOVELAND – and the transformative and healing power of writing about grief.  Learn more about Randolph’s week-long “Write Your Life”workshops, by visiting […]

  • The Weight of Well Wishes

    April 8, 2014

    Every once in awhile I am able to see myself through another person’s eyes; sort of like looking up and seeing an image in a mirror, and then realizing the face that is reflected there is your own. The observations from these unguarded moments usually provide some serious food for thought. Recently I watched the […]

  • Comic Steve Mittleman About Forgiving Hard Parents at End of Life

    April 8, 2014

    It’s easy to forgive the hardest parent when they thank you through tears with: “Nobody cared for me as much in my whole life!” Or when they write a letter that gets delivered to you on the day of their funeral. This and more, when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with comic, Steve Mittleman who travels […]

  • Comic Janice Messitte on Being a Newly Wedded Widow

    March 24, 2014

    In the space of two weeks, newly wedded  Janice Messitte – stand-up comic, singer and actress  – went from planning a dream “Jewnorican” wedding to planning her husband’s funeral.  Hear how she used her comic’s wit to survive, as she sits down with memory artist, Nancy Gershman to recall the details. Double check on your husband […]

  • Researcher Seeking Las Vegas-area Parents for Bereaved Study

    December 11, 2013

    INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE A research study is being conducted to gain a greater understanding of the experiences of bereaved parents. The purpose of this study is to expand on existing knowledge and potentially reduce the isolation experienced by the bereaved. Selected participants will include biological and adoptive parents, who have experienced the death of a […]

  • Good Grief: The Holiday Edition

    December 9, 2013

    Grief and the holidays are a tough combo. They go together about as well as peanut butter and pickles. Awful. Mourning a loss during this season of joyful celebration is an exercise in endurance and suffering. I know of what I speak: I lost my father, husband, aunt, and step-brother all in December—three in the […]

  • 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 […]

  • After Eight Years, It’s Getting Better at the Holidays

    December 4, 2013

    Thanksgiving is here. I am grateful for many, many things. Every day I count my blessings…really. My life is pretty, dang good most days. Sure I have struggles and challenges, everyone does. Widowed and non-widowed alike will have moments of acute gratitude and acute pain. It is what it is. People have joy and sorrow […]

  • Love and Loss: Marriage and Bereavement at the Holidays

    November 22, 2013

    In her most recent addition to the wildly popular Bridget Jones’ series, Mad about The Boy, Helen Fielding portrays the bubbly and erstwhile boy-crazy Bridget struggling with the untimely death of her husband Mark. We see Bridget five years after Mark’s death still struggling to adjust to the reality and learning how to respond appropriately […]

  • A Dozen Bereavement Tips for Getting Through the Holidays

    November 10, 2013

    Years ago, when my minister told me the holidays are difficult for a lot of people, I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. Why on earth would such a joyous time be difficult? That all changed when I was working my way through the sudden loss of husband and both parents. The […]

  • Lessons Learned: Help for Bereavement During the Holidays

    November 7, 2013

    Halloween is behind us, and we all know what that means. Here come the holidays. If you are grieving, this will be a difficult time for you. What to do, where to go, how do you cope? Take my advice, and don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Instead, make use of the lessons learned by […]

  • Anticipatory Grief and its Power

    October 31, 2013

    I was my mother’s family caregiver for nine years. She had dementia and, day by day, I witnessed her decline. My mother seemed to be dying right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. Being her caregiver sparked an interest in anticipatory grief, a feeling of loss before a death […]

  • The Good Fairy isn’t Coming and Recovering from Grief is Up to You

    October 11, 2013

    My mother had a saying and used it often: The good fairy isn’t coming. This saying applied to many aspects of life. She would say it before starting a task, such as cleaning the house or going to the grocery store. When my mother said the good fairy wasn’t coming she was implying — and […]

  • Ten Things a Dying Loved One Might Want You to Know

    October 1, 2013

    1) You don’t have to be a hero. Let’s face it! As caregivers, we wish to help. Unfortunately, the line between being altruistic and becoming a rescuer is thin. 2) Keep your anxiety to yourself! We often talk about how patients/loved ones displace their emotions onto us. Well…caregivers do the same. How do we know when […]

  • Proactive Steps Help You to be Happy Again

    September 27, 2013

    Grief is exhausting. You may be tired of feeling helpless and hopeless, yet don’t know what to do. Hope eluded me after my daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law died within nine months. Hope seemed to have disappeared, but I found it again in caring for my twin grandkids and taking proactive steps. Here are my suggestions […]

  • Bereaved Mother Conducting Research on Child-Loss, Seeking Participants

    September 12, 2013

    Judy Hefren is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University, College of Social Work, whose only son died in 2007 at the age of 17. She is conducting research in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how and to what extent the significance that parents place on the belongings of their child who has […]

  • Learning Acceptance During Loss and Change

    August 24, 2013

    Change and transformation are a necessary part of life. Until we are willing to enter into the process with our whole heart, we cannot really let go of the past. The new emerges out of the old. Truly, our pain and suffering, our heartache and our anguish, do mold and shape us in wonderful ways […]

  • Forging New Bonds with Our Loved Ones

    August 23, 2013

    Perhaps you would like to do something meaningful yet easy to remember your loved one this weekend. You could take a walk to find a special stone or something from nature to put in your garden or windowsill. Or plant some flowers… You could buy an “I Love You” helium balloon at the grocery store […]

  • My Heart and Me: A Poem

    July 25, 2013

    My heart and me Is all I need to be complete; I could try to stand But can’t Unless I know it’s for my heart and me. I couldn’t see With just me So I made sure I still had my heart To come along with me. My heart would have worn away long ago […]

  • Someday: A Poem

    July 18, 2013

    I may have lost myself somewhere along the way But I’ll be back when the dawn breaks…someday. Along my journey I walked into too many caves And the darkness made me want my home And to come back someday. There were dragons to slay Horrific dragons—I was afraid But I slayed them And loudly whispered […]

  • Let Me Tell You About My Grief: Releasing Hidden Feelings

    July 14, 2013

    Americans tend to avoid grief. We watch hurricane disasters and fires and car crashes on television, but when it comes to listening to someone’s grief story, many of us want to be elsewhere. According to a common myth, mourners “get over it” in three weeks or so, a notion so far from reality it’s laughable. […]

  • Are You Experiencing Grief, Trauma or Both?

    July 12, 2013

    In 2007, on a snowy February night, my elder daughter died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Surgeons operated on her for 20 hours, but her injuries were too severe and they were unable to save her life. Blut force trauma was the actual cause of death — three words a parent […]

  • Poem: Whisper Goodnight

    July 3, 2013

    Whisper Goodnight Now I’m strapped to the bark of Innocent trees While evil angels commit to do their Evil deeds They mock the obscenities of Torturing screams— And they sing me to silence with their Sweet lullabies As fire is already burning At my side And all I can do is Whisper goodnight As they […]