Loss of a Family Member


  • A Funeral, a Wedding, Graduations and One Unwanted Guest

    Posted on June 22, 2019 - by Elizabeth Brady

    It has been six and a half years since our son, Mack, died suddenly on New Year’s Eve 2012, just shy of his ninth birthday. As the many of us […]

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  • Turning Less Into More

    Posted on May 15, 2019 - by Tambre Leighn

    Well, that was unexpected. It seems, even when dozens and dozens of years have passed, grief, and what triggers it, can still surprise me. I’m writing this on Mother’s Day. […]

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  • ‘Reply All’: Celebrating Mother’s Day on Email

    Posted on May 11, 2019 - by Beth Marshall

    This Mother’s Day, I’m thinking about not only my mom, Beazy, but also about my one-in-a-million grand mom, Nana! Both will be celebrating the day in Heaven. I hope — […]

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  • Every Single Breath

    Posted on May 7, 2018 - by Tambre Leighn

    The 17th anniversary of my husband’s passing was on my mind in the days leading up to it. Some years, it slipped by me without much notice. Other years, the […]

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  • Life After Loss the Afterwards

    Posted on April 23, 2018 - by Laurel D. Rund

    On February 11th, 2018 it was nine years since my husband, Marty, passed away.  I saw a post on Instagram the other day which took my breath away because the […]

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  • The Fear of Forgetting

    Posted on March 11, 2018 - by Harriet Hodgson

    This is the 11th year without my daughter Helen. I still miss her, still love her, and still remember her. But I’m worried. When I try to imagine Helen’s face […]

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  • Finding a Way From Christmas Sorrow to Christmas Joy

    Posted on November 15, 2017 - by Jill Smoot

    Giving gifts to others has always been for me so meaningful, special.  And Christmas seems to  symbolize this more than any other time of year. But my first Christmas three […]

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  • Saying ‘No’ to Holiday Traditions is OK After a Loss

    Posted on November 14, 2017 - by Greg Adams

    For many of us, for much of the time, it is hard to say “no.” Even when we’re busy, even when we’re tired, even when it’s something we really don’t […]

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  • Navigating Grief Through the Holidays

    Posted on October 11, 2017 - by Elizabeth Horwin

      As we approach the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, celebrations, traditions and expectations of things to come. Throughout our […]

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  • 10th Anniversary: Tears at Home Depot

    Posted on February 14, 2017 - by Harriet Hodgson

    The 10th anniversary of my daughter’s death is a few days away. I thought I was prepared for this anniversary, but I wasn’t. Instead, I have burst into tears several […]

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  • This Valentine’s Day, Turn Your Loss into Valuing Yourself

    Posted on February 11, 2017 - by Mary Joye

      You may have been through a gauntlet of grief with your spouse or partner. Then along comes Valentine’s Day and it’s another hurdle. It’s hard to pick yourself up. […]

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  • Are You Laughing With the Sinners or Crying With the Saints This Valentine’s Day?

    Posted on February 5, 2017 - by Mary Jane Hurley Brant

      Billy Joel likes laughing with the sinners. Me? I’m still deciding whether to join him. OK, I’ll admit that during grade school, going for brownie points with the good […]

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

    Posted on January 19, 2017 - by Mary Joye

    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 […]

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  • At Thanksgiving, Say Their Names

    Posted on November 25, 2016 - by Tom Zuba

    This article was first published on Open to Hope in 2010. Thursday will be the 21st Thanksgiving I’ve lived through following the death of my 18-month-old daughter Erin in 1990.  […]

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  • Thanksgiving Darkness

    Posted on November 24, 2016 - by Mark Liebenow

    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 […]

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  • My Ten-Year Journey After Losing My Daughter

    Posted on September 18, 2016 - by Randah Hamadeh

    I experienced the saddest moments of my life, as the unthinkable happened to my family, when Samar, my 18-year-old daughter died ten years ago. I never thought that what happened […]

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  • A Young Father’s Murder

    Posted on June 17, 2016 - by Jill Smoot

    I met Randall when he was just six years old, the youngest of three siblings, one brother Mickey, and older sister Nancy, who was to become a lifelong friend. But […]

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  • Father’s Day: A Duel Between Happiness and Sadness

    Posted on June 17, 2016 - by Bart Sumner

    The first Father’s Day I remember was when I was 8 or 9, and my dad and I were on an “Indian Guides” camping weekend with our “Tribe.” “Indian Guides” […]

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  • Father’s Day After Your Father Has Died

    Posted on June 11, 2016 - by Neil Chethik

    It’s Father’s Day, and for more than 100 million Americans whose fathers have died, it will be a day of missing Dad. What can these fatherless Americans do to make […]

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  • Spring—A Haunted Season

    Posted on May 11, 2016 - by Greg Adams

    We are all haunted by the dead, and that reality, like so many others, is both challenge and comfort. Autumn with its Halloween, falling leaves, frosty air and increasingly bare […]

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  • A Letter to My Living Children for Mother’s Day

    Posted on May 3, 2016 - by Maria Kubitz

    Dearest ones, Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. Each year, I’ve received beautiful hand drawn cards or beautiful crafts from you that I cherish and save. Your words of love and […]

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  • Easter After Our Daughter’s Death

    Posted on March 27, 2016 - by Lo Anne Mayer

    “Come home, Mom,” my daughter screamed over the transatlantic phone. “Cyndi is dead, and we’ve been trying to reach you.”   All the money I had placed into the red lobster […]

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  • Valentine’s Day Message: It Does Get Better

    Posted on February 14, 2016 - by Cathy Seehuetter

    Valentine’s Day 1995: I had just sat down at my desk in my home office for a busy day work-wise when the phone rang. It was Nina calling me from […]

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  • Thank You, Stephen Levine

    Posted on January 19, 2016 - by Cheryl Espinosa-Jones

    It was intermission at In The Name of Love, a yearly concert in honor and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each year, Living Jazz gathers incredible musicians to […]

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  • Finding Christmas and Peace after the Death of a Child

    Posted on December 25, 2015 - by Harriet Hodgson

    Decades have passed since my infant daughter’s first Christmas. Baby Helen was only a month old when Christmas came. Because my husband and I were financially strapped, there were few […]

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  • The Last Christmas Stocking

    Posted on December 24, 2015 - by Lisa Irish

    The first Christmas stocking I ever made was in 1960. I was 10 years old and living in Walnut Creek, California with my parents, Ted and Lillian. We didn’t have […]

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  • Maryana Stern: Foster Kids Helping Each Other

    Posted on December 19, 2015 - by Heidi Horsley

    During the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Heidi Horsley interviews Maryana Stern of Foster Club and a former foster child in the system. It’s a peer to peer […]

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  • Winter Grief Activities and Projects

    Posted on November 29, 2015 - by John Pete

    The long winter months can be especially confining, isolating and challenging when grieving a loss. But you can also engage in unique ways that will help you bear your loss. […]

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  • A Father ‘Hears From’ His Deceased Son on Father’s Day

    Posted on June 15, 2015 - by Perry Grosser

    Hi Dad, I have been thinking awhile of what I would write to you on Father’s Day, what I want to tell you, as well as what you need to […]

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  • My Fathers in Heaven

    Posted on June 11, 2015 - by Janet Grimes

    Both my fathers are in Heaven. For me, it has always been this way. If God watched me from the moon, Daddy rested on the brightest nearby star. I grew […]

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  • Finding the Good Stuff on Father’s Day

    Posted on June 10, 2015 - by Anne Hamilton

    I will always remember my Uncle Steve in his work clothing, coming home from a long day of repairing cars and trucks. His boots were worn, and his clothing stained […]

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  • A Letter to My Daddy in Heaven

    Posted on June 10, 2015 - by Julie Nierenberg

    Dear Daddy, It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. I miss doing that. We shared so many big and little things in our frequent emails and phone […]

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  • Mother’s Day Haikus

    Posted on May 9, 2015 - by Neil Chethik

    Editor’s note: We recently asked our contributing writers to create Haikus related to Mother’s Day. Here are some of the poems. Hard being a mother When your child is far […]

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  • What is Mother’s Day after Mother is Gone?

    Posted on April 26, 2015 - by Lauren Muscarella

    What is Mother’s Day? A day to honor mothers. To me, it’s also the day that American University hosts its graduation. May 13, 2007, I sullenly watched David Gregory give […]

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  • Mother’s Day: A Happy and Sad Occasion

    Posted on April 6, 2015 - by Randah Hamadeh

    One Mother’s Day after another passes by since I lost my daughter in September 2006. It does not get easier as years go by. How can this day not intensify […]

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  • Merry Christmas, Dad!

    Posted on December 25, 2014 - by Lisa Khuraibet

    I sat in my car. I wasn’t sure I had the nerve to do it. I looked at the letter I held in my hand. Would this work? Could I […]

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  • Getting Through the Holidays: Include Your Deceased Loved One

    Posted on December 16, 2014 - by Lora Mercado

    Many of us who have lost a loved one dread the holiday season. This can be for many reasons. Maybe the death occurred around this time of year, or maybe […]

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  • Healing Through the Holidays

    Posted on November 29, 2014 - by Sherry Cassedy

    The holidays approach. “Holidays” meaning Thanksgiving, then Advent, Hannakah, Solstice, but ultimately Christmas, and then New Year’s. ‘Tis the season…to be jolly. Increasingly it is a commercialized, consumer event of […]

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  • One Solstice: A Family Ritual of Love, Remembrance, and Hope

    Posted on November 27, 2014 - by Elaine Mansfield

    My son Anthony arrived from California around three a.m. After a few hours’ sleep, he woke up groggy-eyed, made a pot of coffee, and took a run. He didn’t have […]

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  • The Thankful Day: Remembering My Loved Ones

    Posted on November 14, 2014 - by Harriet Hodgson

    I live in Minnesota, the land of more than 10,000 lakes, spectacular fall colors, and breathtaking spring times. As soon as the fall leaves start to turn yellow and orange […]

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  • It’s That Time of Year…Again

    Posted on November 12, 2014 - by Lisa Khuraibet

    The clocks have been turned back and the weather is changing, signaling the end of summer and our moving into a new season. Much like a new season during the […]

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  • A Widow Remembers the First Year of Holidays

    Posted on November 10, 2014 - by Cindy Adams

    Yes, they’re coming! We can’t hide, it’s inevitable. The holidays are here! Although my young children were grieving in their own ways, they looked forward to Christmas, presents, decorations, and celebrations. My oldest […]

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  • Wedding Day a Lesson in Process of Grief

    Posted on October 24, 2014 - by Harriet Hodgson

    In 2007, my twin grandchildren’s parents died from the injuries they received in separate car crashes. The twin’s mother, our daughter, listed my husband and me as the twin’s guardians […]

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  • Happy Birthday to a Husband Gone

    Posted on September 30, 2014 - by Marta Dorton

    I wonder how your Retire-at-55 plan would be going by now? Would we be Florida-bound? Or woefully far from the dream? That seems to be how life goes. We smugly […]

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  • Helping the Bereaved Parent Survive the ‘Season of Cheer’

    Posted on September 23, 2014 - by Sheri Perl

    Once you become a bereaved parent, events that you once looked forward to, you now dread. Everything from the start of the school year right through to Memorial Day is […]

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  • Another School Year Begins

    Posted on August 19, 2014 - by Elizabeth Brady

    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 […]

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  • July 4 in Minnesota Lifts Spirits

    Posted on July 4, 2014 - by Diane Dettmann

    With the grueling winter behind us, I, like most Minnesotans, cherish these hot days of summer. Families gather for picnics, hang out at their lake cabins, and squeeze in every […]

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  • Declaring Independence From Grief

    Posted on July 1, 2014 - by Claire Perkins

    Here in the U.S. we celebrate the Fourth of July as Independence Day. It is the day that Congress approved a Declaration of Independence from British rule. It marks the […]

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  • Letter to a Lost Father

    Posted on June 13, 2014 - by Lisa Khuraibet

    Dear Dad, It’s been 26 years since we last celebrated Father’s Day together. I think about your time here on Earth and I rejoice in your spirit. Born in the […]

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