At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Delores Gulledge about life after the death of her 17 year old daughter Melanie. She shares how she went forward with her life and found a way to help others.

Delores is also the author of a book called “A Mourning Miracle”, which she wrote while in the process of putting her life back together after the death of her daughter. Her book was written to help others who are going through the same experience.

In the video below, Delores share her advice on how to go about getting your life back together after the death of a child or loved one.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • The hard work of grief is putting your life back together and taking those shattered pieces and sorting through them.
  • Delores also recommends a type of art therapy that symbolizes putting life back together by putting together a mosaic. The process works by taking something whole, like a glass bowl, and breaking it. Then you rearrange the pieces and create a mosaic out of the broken object.
  • Find ways to restructure your life, and relearn your world, and be intentional about it.
  • Delores advocates for looking at the grief and making the intentional decision that the grief will not control you for the rest of your life.
  • Take the circumstance you’re in and choose to do something positive with it, don’t let it be wasted.
  • Delores’ message is that there is hope, and life can be recreated. Your life will never be the same, but it can be good if you choose to make it that way.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ‚ÄčNational Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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