• Hope

    After Loss of a child

After Loss of a child

We know the pain can be unbearable. Read stories and find community. You need not be alone in your journey.


  • A Day of Rebirth

    April 16, 2014

    I originally wrote this piece for my blog on March 1, 2014, my daughter Jeannine’s 11th angelversary date.  Since year nine of my life as a parent who has experienced the death of a child, I have written about the teachings I have discovered when spending time with Jeannine, on her angelversary date. I decided […]

  • Grieving Especially Tough During Easter Season

    April 12, 2014

    While most of us prepare for the Easter season, some people are struggling to survive the death of a loved one. I dedicate the entire month to everyone suffering with grief and sorrow. I too am grief-stricken and I too find April to be a difficult month, especially this year. This month marks the 10th […]

  • Can the Cycle of Domestic Violence be Broken?

    April 10, 2014

    If you or someone you know suffered domestic violence, ask yourself: Have I imitated violence in my home? And will my children do the same when they have their own homes? Have we mimicked violence or victimization from others and will our children do the same? It is up us to analyze our own situations […]

  • A Mama Finds Memories in a Duplo Box

    April 9, 2014

    In my closet sits one duplo box filled with handwritten cards.  The cards were for my little boy Daniel.  The boy is now gone, but the cards written to him still remain. When we moved from the house where Daniel lived, Daniel didn’t get to go with us.  But the yellow duplo box with cards […]

  • Watching for Signs

    April 5, 2014

    I sat in the sunshine by the community pool and I overheard several sweet little voices call out, “Watch, Papa, watch.” This universal call of a child reminded me of all the times parents watch their children. For mothers, this watching began the moment she found out about the pregnancy. She watched the foods she […]

  • After Losing a Child to Violence

    April 2, 2014

    There is hope despite injustice for victims of crime. If you or someone you know experienced the loss of a child, then you can relate to this article. I never imagined that I would experience the devastation of losing a child at the hands of a cold-blooded killer. We sacrificed and worked hard to keep […]

  • Finding Light in the Darkness of Grief

    March 14, 2014

    Over four years after her death, thoughts of my daughter fill my mind every day. She has now been gone longer than she was alive. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. She was supposed to live a long life full of adventure, creativity, and quirkiness. As my only daughter in a family full of […]

  • Keeping Perspective During the Grief Journey

    February 25, 2014

    Egocentric Grief On several occasions in the almost eleven years since my daughter Jeannine’s death, I have attended calling hours for several friends whose loved ones have died. If the deceased is not a child, I will sometimes get comments like, “I know it is not the same (death of a child), but I feel […]

  • Moving after Loss: The Grief of Leaving the Home You Love

    January 17, 2014

    Moving is one of the most stressful experiences of life. My husband and I have moved so many times we’ve lost count and we’re good at moving. We’ve lived in our present house for 20 years, the longest time we’ve lived anywhere, and made the house our own. This house has nurtured us through some […]

  • Phases of Recovery from Child-Loss

    January 16, 2014

    The death of a loved one is far worse than any physical pain that we can imagine. I wrote a book called An Angel is Born. The book was inspired by the death of my sister’s child, who passed away in 2011. The theme of the book is parents who lose their children before their […]

  • My Grief Process: Pain an ‘Exquisite Form of Love’

    January 10, 2014

    The complete version of this was written by J. J. a year after the deaths of her daughter and granddaughter. It was published in Elizabeth Wagele’s book, The Enneagram of Death and excerpted in The Career Within You blog on Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-career-within-you/201301/healing-after-terrible-loss/comments I write to make sense of the year since the untimely death […]

  • Looking for Hope in the New Year

    January 9, 2014

    For many, welcoming in the New Year is a celebration of optimism and hope. Many see it as a fresh start and a chance to take steps to improve both their lives and perhaps themselves. Of course, this isn’t a view shared by all. For the newly bereaved, the New Year can be an incredibly […]

  • Holidays — Survival or Defeat?

    December 30, 2013

    The forthcoming holidays are often the most difficult times of the year for bereaved parents, now childless. I have some suggestions that will hopefully assist you during this season. My husband and I have attempted some of the following since our daughter, Rhonda, died and others are ideas from other bereaved friends. YOU WILL SURVIVE […]

  • Don’t Let Grief become an Identity Thief

    December 29, 2013

    Grief is complex and we each mourn in our own way. In 2007 my daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law all died. My daughter – mother of our twin grandchildren – and her former husband died in separate car crashes. Deep in my soul I knew, if I wasn’t careful, these multiple losses could destroy […]

  • How Someone in Grief can Survive the Holidays

    December 6, 2013

    As the holidays loom, instead of the common anticipation and excitement, individuals who are grieving often feel a sense of dread. Common sentiments are, “How will I be able to cope with the memories and the heartbreak?” or “There is so much pressure to be cheerful and festive, but I’m not in the mood. I […]

  • Letter from a Bereaved Parent

    November 29, 2013

    Dear Fellow Bereaved Parents, Here we are again, approaching the holidays, such a difficult time for bereaved mothers and fathers. Outside of passing dates and birthdays, these holidays, with their focus on families and gift-giving, can easily unearth some of our saddest feelings of deprivation and longing: we feel deprived of our children and we […]

  • Mindfulness and Bereavement

    November 25, 2013

    If you’re interested in self-development, you’ve probably heard the term “mindfulness.” Over the last decade, mindfulness meditation, sometimes called mindfulness-based therapy, has been researched as an aid to anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain, and other human conditions. Once largely confined to the realm of therapists’ offices or yoga studios, mindfulness has begun to show up […]

  • Bereavement and Holiday Traditions

    November 20, 2013

    The first big celebration without my son, Christopher, was his 23rd birthday. He was killed March 21st (1996) and born in May 15th (1974)–I still get the dates mixed up because they are both so significant to me (both months starting with M doesn’t help). We were all so unsure what to do to celebrate […]

  • ‘How Are You?’: A Silent Signpost for the Newly Bereaved

    November 19, 2013

    “How are you?” It is such a seemingly simple, benign question. Often, those who ask the question are not doing so out of real concern, but just as a polite, meaningless pleasantry. Just as often, those who answer the question would never think to respond with anything other than the implicitly expected “I’m fine” or […]

  • Holidays and Bereavement After the Loss of a Child

    November 8, 2013

    Today we usher in the month of November. The holidays are quickly approaching – first Thanksgiving and then Christmas quickly followed by New Year’s. I remember well the pain of those first holidays without Joseph. Prior to his death we were very traditional in the ways we celebrated, but now we didn’t know how to […]

  • Bereavement: Just a Word

    November 6, 2013

    The Webster dictionary describes the word bereavement as a state of being sad because a family member or friend has recently died. For anyone who has lost a loved one, they know in reality bereavement is a word that cannot be defined. Bereavement is a feeling with unknown depths triggered by love which too cannot […]

  • Mom Wears a Mask on Halloween

    October 28, 2013

    Monday is Halloween, and although we do not celebrate it like we did when my daughter Marcy was alive and young enough to enjoy the night, we still answer the door to the goblins and fairy princesses from our neighborhood. “How pretty you look,” I say to the young children wearing long princess dresses. “And how […]

  • Enjoying the Holidays … Differently

    October 26, 2013

    By Chris Mulligan – It’s time to party! the television advertisements say this time of year. Party? How could I party when some days I did not even want to get out of bed? I did not want to go to work. I did not want to confront my day. How could I party when […]

  • Getting Through Halloween after Child’s Death

    October 20, 2013

    On the evening I type this, the nip in the October air is a reminder that the major holidays are just around the corner. Halloween decorations have been in the stores since July and Christmas décor even as early as August. For those of us who are bereaved parents, siblings and/or grandparents this means the […]

  • How the Graveyard Became a Place of Peace

    October 18, 2013

    There’s the joke about the cemetery. “How many dead people are in there?” The answer: “All of them.” Or, “People are dying to get in there.” It brought a smile to my lips the first time a ten-year-old told me. But after my son died, I was wondering why there are so many jokes about […]

  • Thoughts of Holiday Gifts and My Deceased Daughter

    October 17, 2013

    Holidays are a time of reflection and self-discovery for those who mourn.  Four years have passed since my daughter died, and I am still overwhelmed with memories at Christmas time.  Since this was her favorite holiday, I naturally think of her.  I remember the thought she put into selecting and making gifts.  I have dreamed […]

  • Ten Ways to Find Good Fortune in your Holidays

    October 15, 2013

    The Christmas tree we dragged from the woods wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t expect the Christmas holiday to be perfect either. The long gangly branches made the tree seem awkwardly out of balance. It was fat at the bottom and too skinny at the top. One of our guests during the holiday commented, “I can’t […]

  • The Fall Season: Creating New Traditions Among the Old

    October 12, 2013

    I am sitting at my desk looking outside at the glorious blue sky and just a tinge of color change in the leaves. The weekend was one of brisk cool air, the smell of bonfires in the neighborhood, and of mums replacing the petunias that are now stringy and overgrown. I am entering my 16th […]

  • Child-Loss Journey is Easier When Sharing with Others

    October 11, 2013

    When a husband loses his wife, they call him a widower. When a wife loses her husband, they call her a widow. And when somebody’s parents die, they call them an orphan. But there is no name for a parent, a grieving mother or a devastated father, who has lost their child. Because the pain […]

  • Celebrating a Daughter’s 30th Birthday, Without Her

    October 9, 2013

    I breathe a sigh of relief today… as I write this it is the last day of September, 2013. I love the September weather and the move to Fall. But it is a month full of emotions — good and painful. My daughter, Liz, would have turned the big 30 on September 12th. What haunts […]

  • Sixteen Years After the Death of a Son

    October 3, 2013

    I am approaching the anniversary of my son’s death. It will 16 years since we heard the news from the county chaplain on duty that night that it was indeed our son, Adam, and his flight student, Jason, who had landed the plane on a city street and died in the fiery aftermath. Sixteen years […]

  • Death by Suicide and Link to Drug Abuse

    September 16, 2013

    Several of my friends have lost older children due to suicide. In one instance, suicide was linked to drug abuse. I’m very concrned for teens and young adults in my community. Pot is becoming an “accepted” drug and, much as I hate to admit it, Molly, a terribly addictive drug, is surely here. Parents need […]

  • Multiple Losses: ‘Plowing Through the Pain’

    September 8, 2013

    Easter Sunday 2005 was expected to be like all other traditional Easters…church in the morning followed by the family gathering at my parents. We had anticipated this holiday to be extra special because our mother had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and not knowing the severity, we treasured each moment. Unfortunately the day did […]

  • Twenty Years After Child-Loss, a Mother Remembers

    September 5, 2013

    On October 22, 1990, I became the mother of two children. I will always be the mother of two children. Our daughter, Rachel, was already nine, but we’d been unable to conceive a second child after my husband’s shocking bout of cancer two years into our marriage, and so after several miscarriages and years on […]

  • Motorcycle Accidents and Helmet Laws

    August 28, 2013

    It happend again last week, another death of a young man in a motorcycle crash. The man wasn’t wearing a hemet. My home state of Minnesota used to have a law requiring all motorcycle riders to wear safety helmets. Because of protests the law was repealed. Please, please, if you or your child drives a […]

  • Chance Meeting and Comfort in a Discount Store

    August 26, 2013

    I went to my favorite discount store to see the new fall clothing. While I was pushing my cart past a woman, I commented, “Passing on the right.” After I passed the woman I turned to her and said, “We’re looking at long-sleeved tops. It’s hard to believe summer is over and fall is here.” […]

  • Personal Growth Following a Loss: One Parent’s Story

    August 22, 2013

    Providence blinked facing the sun Where are we left to carry on “Until the Day is Done”, by R.E.M Providence Blinked According to Dictionary.com, providence is defined as, among other things, the foreseeing care and guidance of nature over the creatures of the earth. Until May of 2002, I would have accepted that definition without reservation. I […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • Coping With the Death of a Parent: Galen Goben

    March 27, 2014

    Galen, a Certified Thanatologist, is one of the Grief Support Coordinators for Forest Lawn in Southern California. He is responsible for providing grief education and services to the community and to the grieving families served by Forest Lawn. Galen is an ordained Disciple of Christ minister.

  • Diane Martin Ph.D. CT: Forgiveness

    March 13, 2014

    Diane Martin is a writer, therapist and educator who experienced the loss of her son Sandy to suicide. In her pathway to healing she sought to understand the profound experience of child loss through completing her PhD and recent work The Mother’s Journey.

  • Avril Nagel & Randy Clark: Mending Broken Hearts

    February 20, 2014

    Randie Clark and Avril Nagel are the authors of When Your Child Dies; Tools for Mending Parents’ Broken Hearts. Randie Clark, MA, CCC, is a therapist, and specializes in complicated issues of loss and grief. Avril Nagel is an author, editor and freelance writer. They are both bereaved parents.

  • Tom Zuba: Recovering from Multiple Losses

    February 6, 2014

    Tom Zuba is a life coach, author and speaker teaching a new way to do grief. In 1990 Tom’s daughter Erin died suddenly. His wife Tricia died in 1999 and his son Rory died in 2005. He is the author of the upcoming book Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief.

  • Kathy Eldon: Celebrating and Remembering

    January 16, 2014

    Kathy Eldon is a bereaved mother, journalist, author, and film producer. She is the founder of Creative Visions Foundation and co-founder of Sanctri, a new Facebook application to commemorate and celebrate those who have died. Author of 17 books including “Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance,” and her new memoir, “In the Heart […]

  • Marsha Maring: Where Was God?

    December 26, 2013

    Marsha Maring is the author of I Know the Secret. On this show Marsha discusses God’s Promises to Care when tragedy strikes. She talks how God helped her through death, divorce and other challenges including the death of her son. She shares the Bible verses on God’s promises that touched her during her darkest moments.

  • Abel Keogh: Getting it Together After Loss

    September 26, 2013

    Abel Keogh is author of the memoir Room for Two, the story of the year of his life following his late wife’s suicide and the corresponding death of their unborn child. He is also the writer of the relationship guides Dating a Widower, Marrying a Widower, and Life with a Widower. Now remarried, he and […]

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 31: Forgiveness

    February 12, 2014

    On This show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with Fred Luskin Ph.D. the rationale for forgiveness and why forgiveness is necessary. Radha Stern author and victims advocate will join Dr. Luskin to discuss how she deals with forgiveness when the man who murdered her son shows no remorse. The show closes with […]

  • Episode 29: Holiday Candle Lighting and Cooking

    February 12, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with the executive director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, bereavement advice for getting through the holidays. Included is a segment from The Compassionate Friends, Midpensula Chapter, National Candlelighting. Katie Morford registered dietician and author of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook closes the show with ideas […]

  • Episode 28: Grief Styles: The Enneagram

    February 12, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss grieving styles given Enneagram personality types with the author of the Enneagram Made Easy, Elizabeth Wagele, and Jan Conlon, grief support expert. Katie Morford registered dietician and author of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook gives tips for healthy eating during stressful times.

  • Episode 27: Grieving Styles: Myers Briggs

    February 12, 2014

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Lisa Prosser-Dodds, PhD, Therapist and Author regarding individualized grief responses based upon Jungian personality types, measured by the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (GRIEFtype). Musician discusses how his grief type is expressed through his music.

  • Episode 26: Drug and Alcohol Deaths

    December 10, 2013

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss with William and Beverly Feigelman authors of  ”Devastating Losses” the death of their son and the risks of substance abuse.  Vanessa McGannon then talks about her work with The American Society of Suicidology.  Singer, songwriter Larry Stevens closes the show.

  • Episode 20: Finding Meaning After Loss

    December 10, 2013

    On This show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley explore the topic of finding meaning after loss.  They interview two inspirational women who rather than be broken by their experience have used their tragic losses to make meaning and to help others. The first guest is Ann Khadalia Social Worker and national board member […]