• 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.

Articles

  • We Would Have Died For You: The Journey of Bereaved Parents

    August 19, 2014

    From the moment we found out you were coming into our lives, we felt electric: a mix of excitement, adrenalin, and a dose of fear for good measure. We dutifully began plotting the course of our lives together – starting with milestones like kindergarten, puberty, graduation, career, wedding, grandchildren, etc. Then we began making our […]

  • Accepting a New Life After a Multiple Loss

    August 19, 2014

    When I was only thirty-three years old, suddenly one day I felt my life was over and my only future was my past. Up until then, my life seemed magical, full of much love and happiness. Everything had been going according to plan. My husband Bart and I had just finished building our house in […]

  • Another School Year Begins

    August 19, 2014

    We hosted a college graduation party at our house for our nephew last weekend. My husband’s family was here, including our 95-year-old great-grandmother, all four grandparents in various levels of physical health. This made five generations gathered to hear my brother-in-law speak of his three children, who have now all graduated from college, and we […]

  • Loss, Bereavement and Robin Williams

    August 13, 2014

    I have been a Robin Williams fan since he appeared on television as the funny alien in Mork and Mindy, “Na Nu, Na Nu.” As the years went on, I came to see that there was a deep and sensitive side to Robin, because it came through his work and yet I, like many of […]

  • Message of Robin Williams’ Death: Mental Illness Can Kill

    August 12, 2014

    Robin Williams got the world’s attention by making us belly laugh. He was also able to bring tears to our eyes by the meaningful messages he would leave us in a profound line of a movie or a conclusion of a stand-up comedy act. Now that our country is in a crisis due to drug-related […]

  • Wanted: Soul Sister in Grief

    August 6, 2014

    I have secretly been looking for a place to post a want-ad for a partner in grief.  In my small hometown, I don’t know anyone who has lost a child.  There is a support group about 30 minutes away but despite my efforts to connect with any of these women outside of the group that […]

  • Colors of the Spirit: We Are All One in Grief

    July 24, 2014

    Embracing Sacred Law From July 11, 2014 through July 13,2014, I attended the 37th National Conference of The Compassionate Friends in Chicago, Illinois.I have been attending and presenting workshops for this great organization whose focus is to provide hope and support to families who have experienced the death of a child, since 2008. I always […]

  • Uncovering The Richer Connections in Our Signs

    July 16, 2014

    An Empirical Man For the majority of my life, I never bought in to the idea that our loved ones could survive death by communicating their continued existence to us. I was too busy trying to handle my day-to-day responsibilities of being a son, husband, father, and addictions counselor to give much thought to what […]

  • Five Years After Son’s Death, Dad Wonders if ‘the Blue Skies are Coming’

    July 2, 2014

      As the weather finally begins to catch up with the seasons, I find myself looking back. Beyond the still blue waters and flowered meadows. Back to the time when the only contrast to the vast expanses of ice were the dirt streaked mountains of accumulated snow. When I think about this year’s record snowfall […]

  • Breaking the Rules of Grief

    June 30, 2014

    An excerpt from the Introduction of Breaking the Rules of Grief, A Bereaved Mother’s Journey.  By Shannon Harris I should begin by warning you that there will be no substantial evidence supporting the ideas in this book. These are all my conflicted thoughts in black and white, perfectly spaced in Times New Roman size 12. Should […]

  • God’s Plan in the Grocery Store

    June 24, 2014

    With my whole heart I can say that I am not afraid of anything in life now that I’ve watched my son die.  Nothing can ever be harder than that moment in time; therefore, I have nothing to fear.  Death itself no longer scares me, either, knowing he is waiting for me on the other […]

  • Depression in the Workplace Can Be Fatal

    June 16, 2014

    with workplace commentary by Sandra Turner, Ph.D In the early morning hours on March 29, 1999, our son Keith died by suicide. Keith suffered from depression caused by the stress he experienced in his place of work—a company where he had worked for only a short seven months of his life. Growing up, Keith was […]

  • Resilience After Death of a Daughter

    June 14, 2014

    Life did not prepare me for August 15, 2001. In one moment on a very ordinary day, the world as I knew it inexplicably changed. I answered the phone to the panicked voice of a friend telling me that my 18-year-old and only daughter Ashley had been killed in an automobile accident. Little did I […]

  • Sitting in the Dark with Maya Angelou

    June 11, 2014

    Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. ~Maya Angelou~ I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you […]

  • Grief and the Loss of Control

    June 9, 2014

    Possibly one of the hardest aspects of grief for me has been that I can’t control it. I spent the majority of my life trying desperately to control everything in it. I wanted life to be predictable and – above all – peaceful. The problem has been what I tried to control and how I’d […]

  • A Marriage Survives the Loss of a Child

    June 4, 2014

    We have been traveling this grief journey after the death of our son, Clint, for seven years. We didn’t know what to expect along the way for ourselves or for the marriage. In the beginning, we stayed together because we had no energy to do otherwise. Then the suggestion was offered, to stay together because […]

  • Messages of Love

    June 3, 2014

    Over the years since my son’s death by overdose in 2004, I have received many messages and signs from him. Some have come in dreams, some through songs on the radio. Perhaps the most powerful of all have been the heart-shaped stones and shells washed up by the sea to remind me that love never […]

  • How to Feel Better in Less Than an Hour

    May 31, 2014

    I often read internet postings from fellow bereaved parents expressing the terrible pain they are feeling after the loss of a child. I hear it in support groups and have lived through it myself. My son, Anthony, died when he was five years old to leukemia four years ago. As I hear and read these […]

  • Why Happy New Year is Tough on Bereaved Parents

    May 30, 2014

    When the ball at Times Square drops, champagne corks pop. Ample hugs and kisses are dispensed all around. A new year, new hope, new ventures, new possibilities. Wow, it’s all so exciting! However, for the parent who has lost a child in the previous year, the dawning of a new calendar year can be rough. […]

  • Grief as a Backpack

    May 27, 2014

    People seem to think the ache of missing our children would become more bearable over time. It doesn’t. In fact, some of my days now are more painful as the years go on, because I’m further and further since I last held my son safely in my arms. You’d think after all this time I’d […]

  • The Upside of Sadness in Our Grief Journeys

    May 19, 2014

    Entitled No More During the last few days of my existence, I have experienced more sadness than usual. Considering that I am a parent whose child died  over 11 years ago, I could justify my sadness as something that I was entitled to because of my daughter Jeannine’s death. However, entitlement hasn’t been a part […]

  • Healing Through Art: Interview with Sharon Strouse

    May 18, 2014

    At the annual ADEC Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Sharon Strouse of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation and discuss with her ways to deal with grief after losing a child. Sharon is also the author of a book called Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing. Using her book, anyone can create their […]

  • Ministry of Bereavement: Interview with Ronald Ritter

    May 17, 2014

    Today, we had the privilege to interview Ron Ritter about a very basic tool that will assist people of faith to minister intelligently and effectively to those who grieve. The turning point for Ritter was when the shackles of clinical depression were removed five years after his son Steve’s death when he could focus his […]

  • 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 […]

Open to Hope Radio

  • K. Paul Stroller: Writing a Posthumous Memoir

    August 14, 2014

    Dr. K. Paul Stroller, MD, started his medical career as a pediatrician and currently uses hyperbaric medicine to treat brain-injured children and adults.  He is the bereaved father of Galen who in 2007 at the age of sixteen was killed in train collision.  He is the editor of My Life After Life:  A Posthumous Memoir […]

  • Candace Lightner: Death and the Hero’s Journey

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving.

  • Death and the Hero’s Journey : Candace Lightner

    July 31, 2014

    Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 after the death of her daughter Cari.  She continues working both nationally and internationally to promote highway safety.  She is founder and executive director of We Save Lives working on THE 3 D’s: DRUNK, DRUGGED AND DISTRACTED driving

  • Navigating Grief and Trials: Kathleen D. Hamilton

    July 24, 2014

    Kathleen D. Hamilton has suffered a number of tragedies including the deaths of her mother and twelve year old daughter.  She has coped with a brain-injured son and has grieved two broken marriages. Reaching out to help others she has been a facilitator with “The Compassionate Friends” and has worked in the funeral industry. She […]

  • Jill Kraft Thompson Rebuilding A Life After Losing Five People

    June 19, 2014

    Jill Kraft Thompson had a life filled with love: an adoring husband, two young precious sons, a devoted mother, and a close extended family. Jill’s story begins as everyone’s worst nightmare. In 2002 she lost five close family members in a car crash that she survived. Her beloved young sons, husband, mother and niece were […]

  • Beth Rotondo: Hope For Those Who Grieve

    May 8, 2014

    Beth Rotondo has worked in the bereavement for 20 years.  She has lost an infant, parent, and sibling.  Her losses and expertise have made her a comforting companion for those who grieve.  She is the author of Threads of Hope and The Big Chair.

  • 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 […]

  • Pilgrimage Through Loss

    June 10, 2014

      Linda Lawrence Hunt’s book, Pilgrimage through loss is available here.  

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.