Articles

  • A Young Widower’s Marathon, Part 1: Cancer and its Aftermath

    April 2, 2017

    The night of April 21, 2016, I opened my email and saw the following subject: “My dentist, Melanie, gave me your name as a fellow griever…” I thought back to my last cleaning and kind dentist who always remembered and asked about my journey. As I clicked on Andy Guice’s name and began to read […]

  • 5 Tips to Cope With Grief After Divorce

    March 17, 2017

    When you lose a spouse, there’s an inevitable grieving period which is accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions. When you think of this grieving process, you probably associate it with loss due to illness or tragedy, but what about divorce? When partners divorce, there’s still a grieving process that goes along with the split. […]

  • Seven Years Later, the Grief Lingers

    March 9, 2017

    7 years seems like such a long time, yet it also seems like such a small amount of time as well. 7 years full of birthdays, holidays, weddings, birth of nieces and nephews, beginnings and endings of friendships, and cross country moves. March 9th is the 7th anniversary of my beloved Greg being with Jesus. […]

  • What Can We Do to Bring Joy to the Journey?

    March 7, 2017

    This is the fourth article written for the Open To Hope foundation and online community based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES, by Elizabeth Horwin. WHAT CAN WE DO?  The first article in this series focused on the concept of What is Life, the second on the concept of What is […]

  • Is Stigma a Part of Your Grief?

    March 1, 2017

    Societal stigma. Here is a topic associated with loss that few of us think about and even fewer of us talk about. By definition, stigma is an idea, condition or issue that the community (or even the nation-at-large) has targeted as disgraceful or reproachable. Because stigma exists around us in every aspect of life, the […]

  • Healing Tears: No Apologies for Crying

    March 1, 2017

    I remember the first year of our son’s passing.  How I vacillated between feeling numb, wooden, dry-eyed, to days when all I could do was cry.  So many times I never knew what I might do. I had never been someone who normally cried in front of people, and yet I found myself doing just […]

  • How to Turn Grief into Positive Action

    February 28, 2017

    Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley with the Open to Hope Foundation discuss continuing bonds and closure after loss. At 17 years old, Heidi’s brother Scott was killed in a car accident. Everyone told her and her mother that they would “get over it” eventually and find closure. Know that closure isn’t for love accounts—it’s for […]

  • The Grief of Things: Owning and Letting Go

    February 26, 2017

    Let’s acknowledge this obvious fact from the start: people are not things. The house burns down, every item within is lost, but our family survives unhurt. We’ll take that every time. The car is totaled but our loved ones walk away. Eternally grateful as we replace the car. We go into the water and wallet, […]

  • Loneliness, Being Alone, Lonesome

    February 24, 2017

    I am so sorry for your loss.  There is one feeling that I don’t see discussed much and that is the loneliness that comes with grief. There is a feeling in the heart that makes us feel like we are walking in this world totally alone. It doesn’t matter who we are with. Whether it […]

  • The Downstairs Thief

    February 19, 2017

    I had a vivid dream shortly after Mack, our son, died. I walked into our house through the front door and immediately realized that we had been robbed. I made my way tentatively through each familiar room surveying overturned furniture, shattered lamps. I noted the computers were taken, and the silver. But something inside assured […]

  • You May Be Wandering, But You May Not Be Lost

    January 31, 2017

    In the aftermath of some great loss, we tend to move through our days as a wanderer in an unfamiliar place. Everything looks the same and yet–somehow it feels so different. How do we move on? When will life start to feel any semblance of normality? We go through the motions, placing one foot in […]

  • The Rose Bush: A Sign From Dad

    January 25, 2017

    As we approach February, I look out my kitchen window and see something that has caught my eye. It is a rose bush in bloom. This bush has been blooming throughout the winter. I first noticed it around Christmas time. Hmmm, peculiar. It’s never bloomed in the past. Yes, I live in Las Vegas but […]

  • Creating a Legacy Video

    January 21, 2017

    Documentary photographer Todd Hochberg talks about Moments Held, Legacy Work, which is an organization that connects families with documentarians like himself to capture the most poignant moments of life. Hochberg’s legacy videos are a popular option when a family knows that a loved one will pass soon, often from a terminal illness. For all the […]

  • What to Do When the Casseroles Stop Coming: First Anniversary of a Loved One’s Loss

    January 19, 2017

    About three weeks after a funeral, most people stop checking on you. The offerings become a smattering of well wishes and hopes you’re doing “better”. However, you might not be “better”. The anniversary of a loved one’s passing, particularly the first, sometimes is the toughest. Many books say that one year is “long enough” to […]

  • Birthdays … Beautiful and Bittersweet

    January 11, 2017

    I turned 60 in October, the day filled with a range of emotions. Etched in my brain and soul was the last time I saw my sister Jane, to celebrate my 25th birthday. For 35 years, my birthday held a cloud, never the joy of celebrating me on my birthday, always the pain of the […]

  • ‘Do You Cook for Yourself?’: How to Remember a Loving Husband

    January 7, 2017

    “Do you cook for yourself?”  a new acquaintance asks me. I smile to myself. She has no idea. She has opened the door wide. I begin: “No, I do not cook. My husband did everything with joy and skill for the entire time of our marriage.” I have one subject that fills my soul: the […]

  • One Mother’s Grief: Embracing ‘Fierce Growth’

    January 6, 2017

    A lightning bolt ripped through me and froze my being as I listened to the piercing words of my friend. “Your daughter has been in a bike accident. She died.” I felt everything and I felt nothing. The grieving started with a pattern of feeling split wide open, raw, bleeding; then followed moments of nothing […]

  • My Second Chapter: Life, Marriage, Family

    January 4, 2017

    Many people ask me, What’s it really like being re-married? My widow(er) friends want to know if I’m as happy as I was in my first marriage, if I compare my two husbands, why I’d risk being a widow again, and most importantly, if my new husband is understanding. Can you talk about James with him? […]

  • Turning Grief into Good

    December 15, 2016

    Four years into widowhood, I’m astounded at how entrenched I’ve become in the grief community. I would have guessed that when my husband died, after twelve years of struggling with dementia, that I would have done everything possible to leave the grief community, having been in it for so long. Caring for a loved one with […]

  • No One Should Grieve Alone

    December 14, 2016

    You’re here for self-help. But the best help is in person. Some of you have come here in abject grief, thinking life is unfair. It is unfair, as we all know, but when it is not fair to you, you need someone to help you understand what to do about it. What do you do with […]

  • Holiday Grief: Personal and Professional Lessons

    December 10, 2016

    Who wants more stress? Not me, thanks very much. I enjoy the holidays: giving & receiving, getting together with those I love & cherish, embracing meaningful rituals, appreciating holiday decorations, sharing special meals, reflecting on my gratitude & blessings, & acknowledging my ancestors & their contributions. I am mindful to meet some of my needs […]

  • December is the Longest Month of Grief

    December 6, 2016

    December is the most difficult time of year for those of us who have children who are physically no longer with us. For me it begins in late September, with the anniversary of the day my son Richard died. Followed by Halloween. Richard loved Halloween…he took a lot of pleasure in introducing his youngest daughter to […]

  • What Do the First Five Years Look Like?

    November 29, 2016

    Exactly five years ago today, our daughter, Becca, left this earth. I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting, trying to put so many abstract thoughts and feelings into something concrete, like words on a page. How is my life different now, besides the obvious? What is good, what is bad, and what […]

  • Thanksgiving Darkness

    November 24, 2016

    Coming home after work in late November, I hear the sounds of children laughing and look down from the BART station at the playground of St. Leander’s School. Children are running around, playing kickball, and delighting in life. My wife Evelyn tutored at the school after hours for several years as her health slowly improved […]

  • ‘Light Points’: Recognizing and Sharing Your Miracle Moments

    November 17, 2016

    Light points are those times when something or someone “lights” our path in life.  We often experience these points when we are in a dark place and desperately need to be lifted up.  It is when we realize that there are occurrences that may not be fully understood that are meant solely for our good.  […]

  • Lunch Date with Resilience: Sisu After Pregnancy Loss

    November 8, 2016

      “I like the concept of Sisu: perseverance, guts, determination. But I also think that’s what gets me in trouble.” With family hailing from Finland, Sisu is a common household word, encouraging bravery and resilience. But for my new friend, Heather, it’s extra pressure that makes her feel like she should be able to “do […]

  • Support for Donor Families and Organ Recipients

    October 24, 2016

    What does it mean to be a member of a donor family? Jamie Yetter, the family services coordinator with the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA), works closely with families who potentially have a loved one who is a viable organ donor. She’s a chaplain and gets notified from hospitals when a potential donor becomes […]

  • Grief in the Body Politic: Mourning Lost Elections

    October 20, 2016

     The way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves from loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life.       — Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom Remen says that the way we deal with loss, as […]

  • How Belief Systems Shape Our Grief

    October 14, 2016

    This is the third of four articles based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES by Elizabeth Horwin. WHAT DO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND? The first article in this series focused on the concept of What is Life and the second focused on the concept of What is Death. I encouraged the […]

  • Caregiver Remorse: 3 Ways to Find Peace

    October 11, 2016

    I’ve not yet met a fellow caregiver who, at some point, hasn’t expressed at least one regret…maybe more. Caregiving can be extremely rewarding and challenging. The rewards are pretty clear. On the challenging side, there is care delivery. Caregivers end up on the front lines providing services that, in the past, have been in the hands […]

  • Grief, the Roller Coaster

    October 10, 2016

    The one thing you can predict when it comes to the journey of grief is that it will be unpredictable. The most random and smallest sound, smell, or sight can push you emotionally. It’s typically when you least expect it. This is when you realize that you have memories—some that you forgot about—that are attached […]

  • Deep Calls to Deep: Why Grievers Understand Each Other

    October 7, 2016

    I wear the black shroud of my dead, walk through dark canyons littered with bones. Sorrowful, beautiful death lives here. Silence is my companion because you are gone. * A friend who works with the grieving loves the Latin of this phrase so much (abyssus abyssum invocate), that she had it tattooed on her arm. […]

  • How Child-Loss Changes Your Relationships

    October 5, 2016

    There is a great divide between the relationships I have with those in my life six years ago and those just getting to know me. The more time that passes since watching my son take his last breath, the greater this divide grows.  I was reminded of this today when confronted with some difficult situations […]

  • From Motherless to ‘Motherfull’

    September 25, 2016

    Knowing our role or function among our friends and family isn’t something we intentionally think about; it’s just natural. Knowing our role at work is necessary and obvious. I didn’t realize every character (aka: people around me) in my story (aka: life) had been playing a role in my life for years. Not just Mom, […]

  • When Sorrow and Joy Collide: Coping with Opposite Emotions

    September 23, 2016

    In 2007, my husband and I became guardians of our twin grandchildren. Our elder daughter, their mother, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Six months later the twin’s father died from the injuries he received in a car crash. Two more family members died as well, and we were stunned by […]

  • Coping With Grief: Approaching the Second Anniversary of My Son’s Death

    September 17, 2016

    Life is moving along well, considering the magnitude of losing of my only child almost two years ago. Since December of last year, I have started to feel like myself again. My nature, which is generally optimistic and hopeful, has returned. Recognizing that part of myself return was like meeting with an old friend. Since […]

  • Time Doesn’t Heal; Gratitude Does

    September 11, 2016

    I remember after the death of our son in 2011, how disconnected I felt that first year. Things I once enjoyed, even special relationships, I was unable to maintain. It wasn’t that I had stopped caring, never that, but the energy involved in even writing a simple letter was too much for me. I was […]

  • Doubt: A Meaningful Part of Saint Mother Teresa’s Story

    September 11, 2016

    One of the most important revelations about Saint Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) was made after her death.  It came in a collection of personal letters written to her spiritual advisers made public in a book published in 2007.  The book called, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, revealed that Mother Teresa was plagued by serious […]

  • No Longer the Victim: Emerging From Loss

    September 1, 2016

    When we have children, being a parent becomes one of the deepest parts of our identity. As a woman, my identity is being the mother of Becca, Christopher, Kimmy, Jamison, and Austin. When Becca went through times of severe illness (such as cancer at age 3, being given a 50/50 chance of surviving labor and […]

  • Grieving the Loss of the Future

    August 21, 2016

    I knew from day one when I lost my mom that specific occasions would arise in my life that I would inevitably miss having a mother there for. The two most prominent times would be getting married and having kids. I was hesitant about them from the beginning. It was comforting knowing I had my […]

  • Is ‘Getting Over It’ the Goal?

    August 19, 2016

    “Loss is about all kinds of things,” says Dr. Howard Winokuer, who spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As the president of ADEC, he works with Dr. Gloria’s organization, the Open to Hope Foundation, very closely. Loss can include divorce, moving, growing older, and of course […]

  • The Challenge of Guilt During Grief

    August 19, 2016

    Before I made my professional home in the grief world, I had no idea that guilt was such a common emotion after someone died. Looking back, perhaps I should have known. My maternal grandmother died when I was ten years old. Unlike many grandparents I see today, my grandparents rarely got out and about and […]

  • Lunch Date with Resilience: Not Everything Happens ‘For a Reason’

    August 17, 2016

      “You can go two ways when you have a tragedy,” she began as she unrolled her white, pressed napkin. “You can be the victim, or you can change your story.” On July 6, 2016, I was honored to have lunch and conversation about loss, the lasting impact of fatal crashes, mindsets, and motherhood with […]

  • Cristina Flores: Finding Hope After Loss (En espanol)

    August 16, 2016

    Cristina Flores trabaja con Bo’s Place y es entrevistada por John Rampton de Open to Hope Foundation durante la conferencia de National Alliance for Grieving Children. Flores es la coordinadora de los grupos bilingües en Bo’s Place, un lugar de duelo que le ayuda a los niños, adultos y familiares que han sufrido una perdida […]

  • Lynne Ann DeSpelder: The Last Dance

    August 13, 2016

    The Director of the Open to Hope Foundation, Dr. Heidi Horsley, interviews author Lynne Anne DeSpelder. A counselor and psychology professor, DeSpelder wrote The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying after years of studying the bereavement field. The book is now in its eighth edition. “The Last Dance” came from the idea that the warrior […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 95: Coping With Cancer with Sue Matthews and Dr. Wendy Lichtenthal

    December 12, 2016

    Cancer deaths are difficult and traumatic for families. On this show Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley talk with Sue Matthews, parent of Taylor, and founder of Conquering Kidz Cancer, and Dr. Wendy Lichtenthal, clinical psychologist and director of the Bereavement Clinic at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, about ways to cope and find meaning […]

  • Episode 92: Sudden Death Regaining Balance with Dr. Neal Raisman, Rob Goor, and Steven Francesco

    December 7, 2016

    Feeling out of balance? Has sudden death disrupted your equilibrium? Join Dr. Gloria Horsley, Dr. Heidi Horsley, Dr. Neal Raisman, Rob Goor, and Steven Francesco for tips on stabilizing your life after loss. Neal is the author of Standing On One Foot, Rob authored Dear Andrew, and Steven is founder of Do No Harm Network, […]