Articles

  • 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 […]

  • Finding Hope Among the Global Losses

    August 11, 2016

    We have navigated many public losses, from Paris to Orlando to Nice. Some people are very empathetic and feel these losses deeply. Even though they may not have personally known those who died or were injured, they feel the Oneness that we are all connected, that individual choices and experiences affect all of us. For […]

  • Revolutionary Act: Choosing Love When Death is All Around

    August 8, 2016

    The past few months, I’ve been struck dumb, collapsed by the weight of what Francis Weller calls the “sorrows of the world.” The best I could do most of the time was share stories other people were writing. I managed a brief comment on Good Grief, my radio show, after 49 people were killed at […]

  • Annette Childs: Journey from Loss to Healing

    August 1, 2016

    Psychologist Dr. Annette Childs, author of Will You Dance?, talks with the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), and shares tips for journeying from grief to healing. Grief and loss are short words that have the power to bring even the strongest people to their knees. Dr. Childs began to see grief as faceless […]

  • The Shocking Truth About Elisabeth-Kubler Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief

    July 27, 2016

    We are universally connected in our grief and suffering regarding the end of life. There’s no escaping the fact that 56.5 million people die each year — 2.5 million in the USA alone — that’s 6,500 individuals departing daily. Yet, as founders of The Grief Recovery Institute, John James and Russell Friedman note, “We are […]

  • Spider in the Candle Jar

    July 24, 2016

    I keep a yoga mat rolled out in a small room in my house. In front of it I have a candle in a jar, with a sticker on the bottom that identifies the fragrance as “inner peace.” I light it when I practice because the flame helps me focus, and I also figure that […]

  • Ode to an Urn Maker: Commemorative Urns of Eliza Thomas

    July 18, 2016

    Ceramic artist Eliza Thomas has a unique practice of creating commemorative urns and offering them to those grieving a loss. Hearing of this work, I was intrigued, and tried to track her down. When we finally meet at Caffe Borrone in Menlo Park, we are just a short walk from Stanford University. Next door neighbors […]

  • Homesick This Summer: Widows Miss Their Men

    July 17, 2016

      A few days ago, I boarded a flight to St. Louis to visit my son who had recently moved there for his job.  As I sat in my seat, a white-haired lady walked down the aisle of the plane, and she had a big smile on her face, like she was glad to see […]

  • Getting Through Those Triggers!

    July 15, 2016

    When we lose a loved one, the time we spend dealing with sadness surrounding that loss can vary daily, hourly or even minute-by-minute. As time goes by, the expectation we have and what generally occurs, is that the sad thoughts spread themselves out further and further apart. We learn to adjust to life moving on […]

  • After Father’s Death, Daughter Recalls His Deep Devotion

    July 9, 2016

    My father was an activist who devoted his life to one principle: that God is love. He once told me that he was a Christian because he was born in a Christian household in a Christian culture and it might have been otherwise if he’d been born in, say, the Middle East. His belief in […]

  • What Do We Really Believe About Death?

    July 1, 2016

    This is the second of four articles based on concepts, research and experiences shared in, LOVE NEVER DIES by Elizabeth Horwin WHAT IS DEATH? After studying the religions and cultures of this world for most of my life, what I have found is that an individual’s belief regarding death is deeply rooted in the belief […]

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, […]

  • Episode 79: Spouse Loss, What About Dating?

    July 1, 2016

    On this show Dr’s Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview three bereaved spouses; Dr. Joanne Moore, physical therapist and author of After the Loss of a Spouse: What’s Next?, comedian Carol Scibelli author of Poor Widow Me and her partner Mickey Bayard.  They discuss among other issues coping with spouse loss and dating.  The show will […]