Articles

  • Darcy Harris: Social Justice and Grief

    October 18, 2017

    Dr. Darcy Harris has most recently been focusing on working with issues on social justices and social messages as it relates to grieving, she tells Dr. Heidi Horsley during the Association for Death Education and Counseling 2015 conference. Working with a grief and death studies program in London, Ontario, she splits her time between this […]

  • Hope in a Jar, a Loving Gift for the Bereaved

    October 16, 2017

      What should you say to a grieving friend? What shouldn’t you say? Finding the right words may be so hard that you decide to send a sympathy card. “Well, that’s done,” you mutter to yourself.  Later, though, you may wish you had talked to your friend face-to-face. Of course, this isn’t always possible. Instead […]

  • Hope in the Land of Loss

    October 9, 2017

    The bright, blue sky surrounded the scene, it filled the moment with light. I looked up to see the somber funeral men, leading each of us past the casket. One gave me the carnation from his jacket, as I stood before the big, dark casket where my father’s body lay hidden. I was eleven. How […]

  • Weeping With Those Who Weep: Supporting Others in Grief

    October 9, 2017

    At a friend’s home recently, I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with a dear woman who is 94 years young.  As we were seated together in a cozy spot, she began to tell me about herself.  It wasn’t too long before she related to me that her daughter had passed away. But then she […]

  • How to Use Death Insurance to Trick Death

    September 23, 2017

    It’s not a pleasant scene: You are in a hospital bed, clinging to life, and just outside your room your family members are arguing whether or not you would want to be kept alive by a respirator and, given the likelihood that you will die, would you want your organs donated. Or how about this […]

  • Seek Compassion Over Judgment as a Loved One is Dying

    September 22, 2017

      Anticipatory grief about the end of a loved one’s life can be an overwhelming experience. So many complex emotions. Such a sense of powerlessness. Subconsciously, the family and friends of the dying person will seek order and predictability at a time when there just isn’t any. Anticipatory grief often leads to decisions made or words spoken […]

  • Remembering the ‘Lasts’

    September 13, 2017

      The last words spoken. The last touch. The last meal shared. The last laugh. The last show watched. The lasts…moments and interactions that would otherwise go unnoticed in everyday life now sacred. Memories that, when lucky, we wish to bottle and protectively hold on a shelf. Untouched for eternity. Never dimmed. Never forgotten. Accessible […]

  • The Power of Stories in Coping With Loss

    September 12, 2017

    We have an affinity for stories—they are the vehicle for making meaning out of chaos.  By late adolescence, most of us have developed a “life story” that gives us a sense of identity and reflects our explanation of how the world works.  This overarching story is not particularly factual, but rather consists of experiences that […]

  • Grieving May Be Lonely (But it Doesn’t Have to Be)

    September 2, 2017

    Thirty years ago, while completing my doctoral work in preparation for the career I have today, I was reminded of the difference that one good friend can make to anyone who is grieving.  I was in my hometown visiting my oldest sister when a couple dropped in to visit her and my brother-in-law.  I was […]

  • Let’s Talk About ‘Closure’

    August 29, 2017

    Let’s talk about “closure,” that thing we search for but never fully find after someone dies. We really hope to find it, and the need for it is deeply felt. We go to the funeral and put up the grave marker to find it. We clean out the room, give away some of the clothes, […]

  • After Loss: Do We Ever Return to ‘Normal’?

    August 28, 2017

        Often during the grief journey, I wondered if a normal life could be obtained again.  Of course, there is a big assumption here that I had a normal life to begin with.  So, considering that we all come from skewed visions of what normal is, my definition was being married, having kids, working […]

  • Tina Barrett: Montana Grief Center Offers Outdoor Support for Kids and Teens

    August 16, 2017

    A counselor at the Tamarack Grief Resource Center, Dr. Tina Barrett attended the 2015TANA Association of Death Education and Counseling conference where she spoke with the Executive Director of Open to Hope, Dr. Heidi Horsley. Barret’s goal is to “stabilize kids, adults and communities following loss” in the Missoula, Montana area. Offering both support programs […]

  • Galen Goben: Putting Words to Grief

    August 9, 2017

    The Open to Hope Foundation spoke to the Grief Support Coordinator at Forest Lawn, Galen Goben, about the challenges of putting words to grief after a death. Forest Lawn is an organization throughout southern California that helps with full planning of a death, including funeral, crematory and cemetery services. Goben has been serving as a […]

  • ‘If I Had Six Months to Live’: Taking Inventory of Your Life

    August 7, 2017

    In one week, I attended two funerals of people who had a big influence on my life. As the veil between heaven and earth gets closer with age and time, I noticed that at these funerals, among the weeping was silence. The reverence is part of our tradition. People also come to celebrate the lives […]

  • Shades of Grief: How Personal Traits Influence Our Grief

    August 7, 2017

      The popular press is full of articles about how your personality type affects your happiness and success. Please ignore them–also the official diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. A technical diagnosis may help a professional help you, but to look it up may be confusing and do more harm than good. Everyone is […]

  • An Evolution of Feeling: How Grief Changes Over Time

    July 26, 2017

      I’ve noticed that, as a rule, we don’t particularly care to talk about how old we are, so I was amused when a friend did some arithmetic based on some of my recollections and determined that I am 70. We had been discussing worry and he wondered if I worry less now that I […]

  • Shades of Grief: How Do We Know What’s Normal?

    July 23, 2017

      Everyone grieves differently. We’re all individuals. No two people are exactly the same biologically or psychologically. Even your “identical” twin is different­–if you have one. You both came from the same set of genes, but when that set divided into the two of you, accidents may have happen: little accidents that don’t prevent a […]

  • ‘His Life Was Brief’: Grieving the Death of an Infant

    July 23, 2017

    The first time I saw my son, he was lying in a NICU incubator with a small, clear tube protruding from his mouth to help him breathe.  The adhesive that kept the ventilator tube in place covered most of his tiny face.  His eyes were closed, taped shut to keep out the bright light.  He […]

  • Choosing the ‘Right’ Memorial for Your Loved One

    July 9, 2017

    When I was growing up, the neighbors who lived behind us installed a new patio and garden in their backyard. On a plaque in front of the garden were the words, Thank You Mom and Dad. “I think that’s really nice,” my mother commented. “They used money they inherited from their parents to pay for […]

  • A Final Decision: Making Choices During Grief

    June 30, 2017

      Have you ever crossed a high, narrow, rickety bridge, made it safely to the other side only to realize that you are suddenly stuck in the middle of that same bridge swaying back and forth, knees buckled and unable to move? Where did that come from, you ask yourself?  How did I find myself […]

  • Grief Counseling: 7 Reasons to Seek Support

    June 28, 2017

        “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  (C.S. Lewis) If you keep the proverbial “stiff upper lip” for too long, you may impair your ability to learn to smile […]

  • The Three Points

    June 26, 2017

      My experience with grief tells me that while grief is different for everyone, there are commonalities in the questions grievers ask.  How do I move forward?  Why does grief take so long to get over?  What does normal look like now?  These are just some of the questions that linger after the death of anyone […]

  • My Summer of Grief Led to New Normal

    June 26, 2017

    Our daughter died on July 19, 2005.  The shock of her suicide and my own gut-wrenching grief that day is painful to remember.  No one in our family knew what to do or how to react.  It was like falling out of a boat in the dark at high tide.  We couldn’t “swim”.  We couldn’t […]

  • The Myth of the 5 Stages of Grief

    June 24, 2017

    As a mental-health counselor and a sixty-something-year-old human being, I have found that you cannot fit grief into a neat list of stages on some linear continuum.  The so-called five stages of grief actually are a myth. Grief doesn’t come in stages, but in cycles. These cycles may come in waves like a gently rolling […]

  • What Grief Teaches Us

    June 22, 2017

    In the depths of our grief, something new is being born in us. Grief is the dark mother delivering from her womb of sorrow an unfolding version of ourselves. This new version experiences dimensions of emotion that the old version could not. The new version has collapsed and stretched and suffered and learned in ways […]

  • Fingerprints: Losing a Husband, Living with Grief

    June 15, 2017

    When he used to take off his socks next to our bed and throw them ceremoniously to the cork floor, he would spread the fingers of his chubby peasant hands on the wall of our bedroom to keep his balance before rocketing into bed beside me. It took at least three years to have a finished […]

  • Five Signs You May Be Carrying Hidden Grief

    June 13, 2017

      When my son Justin died in 1993 at the age of 16, I was emotionally crippled for at least a year, unable to return to my former life in advertising or relate to people in familiar ways. Over time, I reassembled the tattered scraps of my life into a new tapestry, and I took […]

  • The Restlessness of Grief: Taking Back Control

    June 11, 2017

    It’s early morning and the sun has just come up.  I open my eyes and am hit with a wave of grief as I remember that my loved one is gone.  My mind begins to remember the events of the last few days and I replay the reality that now is my life again and […]

  • Spring: Memories of Love, a Chance for New Growth

    June 5, 2017

    “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” ― Pablo Neruda   Spring rain brings May flowers This was my partner Kim’s favorite time of year. I watch her child-like actions as the flowers bloom and the trees bud. She knew the names of them all, closing her eyes while […]

  • Glen Lord: The Grief Toolbox

    June 3, 2017

    As part of The Grief Toolbox, Glen Lord spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference about the death of a parent as an adult. “Death of a parent” searches make up about half of Open to Hope’s searches. He says the death of a parent when the […]

  • Mitch Carmody: Taking Care of Yourself and Finding Hope After Loss

    June 1, 2017

    Mitch Carmody works with Heartlight Studios, has his own ministry, works with The Compassionate Friends as well as TAPS. As a leader in the grief industry, his passion comes from personal experience: Carmody’s son died at just nine years old. Carmody spoke with Dr. Heidi Horsley of The Open to Hope Foundation during the 2015 […]

  • A Visualization: How to Choose Healing and Growth

    May 27, 2017

    If you find yourself here, it’s likely because you’ve recently experienced the death of someone you love.  You may have had time to prepare, or the death may have come suddenly.  Either way, the expectations you had for your life and your future were thwarted; taken from you without warning.  And as devastating as loss […]

  • So Much More than 5 Stages of Grief

    May 21, 2017

    Please, right this very moment, if you are reading this trying to figure out where the catastrophe of your grief fits in a little box, STOP. The truth is, there are no five stages. Or ten, or twenty, or ninety-five. There is no one way to grieve, only your way. There may be characteristic emotional […]

  • An Absent Connection: Eight Years After a Child-Loss

    May 4, 2017

    This October it will be 8 years since my 10-year-old son David was tripped up during a football practice, and suffered an acute subdural hematoma which took him forever from our lives. He is always in my thoughts. Every day his smile and love runs through my day. Every benchmark of growing up his little […]

  • The Switch Stays On: Attachment After a Loss

    May 3, 2017

    How we start out in life has consequences for the rest of our lives. The connections we make, or don’t make, to whoever parents us, sets the stage for all our future relationships. The more our parents are dependable, nurturing and sensitive to our needs, the more we are set up to be part of […]

  • Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal

    April 26, 2017

    Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Dr. Phyllis Kosminsky, the author of Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal. Dr. Kosminsky says, “I wrote it because people were coming in and asking me if they were grieving in the right way.”. There are many stages of grief, and that’s talked about in depth, but it […]

  • Webinar: How Do I Know If It’s Grief or Depression?

    April 23, 2017

    This webinar features Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talking about grief vs. depression with Dr. Howard Winokuer. As the co-founder of TO LIFE, a non-profit that offers education and counseling to those struggling with loss, he knows all too well that there are blurred lines. Dr. Winokuer has helped thousands of people along their grief […]

  • Is There Such a Thing as Closure After a Loss?

    April 19, 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 […]

  • Suffering a Loss Yet to Come

    April 19, 2017

    My father’s wife of 30 years passed away in November 2014. Prior to her passing, he was her caretaker in all senses of the word, even to the extent that he was neglecting himself.  We knew while he was taking care of her that something was happening with his cognition, but he was a wonderful, […]

  • A Young Widower’s Marathon, Part 2: Healing, Resilience and Dating

    April 4, 2017

    Andy Guice’s life forever changed when he met his wife. She uplifted and encouraged him in ways he’d never known. Then she underwent three rounds of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and suffered a terrible death during just before their third wedding anniversary. He was 31 years old. The first part of this interview series covered […]

  • 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 […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 104: Honoring our Children

    May 16, 2017

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Gabrielle Doucet, author of Let Go & Let Love; Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, and Judy Pedersen along with bereaved parent Daniel Abut from Hearts of Hope foundation regarding loss and how they have honored deceased family members.