Nan Zastrow

“I always wanted to write,” said Nan Zastrow. “But I never dreamed it would be about death, grief, and mourning. Today I write to heal my pain and teach others that even after a life-changing event, there can be a reason and a purpose to go on living.” On April 16, 1993, Chad Zastrow, the son of Nan and Gary, died as the result of suicide. Ten weeks later, Chad’s fiancée took her life. This double tragedy inspired the Zastrows to create a ministry of hope. They formed a non-profit organization called ©Roots and Wings more commonly called Wings. From 1993—2003, they published the Wings™ magazine, a publication about real situations and real people going through grief that was mailed throughout the United States and Canada. In 2003, their non-profit changed its focus to primarily grief education and support. They publish a free, quarterly newsletter by email to subscribers. Nan and Gary, together, have been keynote speakers at National Bereaved Parents and workshop presenters at various other events. They have been grief group facilitators since 1993, and host workshops and seminars. Each year they host an original theme-based community “When the Holidays Hurt” program for area funeral homes. Nan is the author of a four books and over sixty Editor’s Journal Articles in Wings, Grief Digest, and other publications. Their non-profit organization is the recipient of the 2000 Flame of Freedom Award for community volunteerism. Nan was also nominated for the Women of Vision Award in 2001; the Athena Award in 2005, and The HOPE of Wisconsin, hospice volunteer of the year in 2008. Nan and Gary are hospice volunteers and survivors of six sudden deaths of significant people in their lives. Reach Nan through the website,


Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional, 10 Apr 2015

Victory Over the Pole: Learning to Let Go, 07 Jul 2014

In Grief and in Joy, Tell Your Story, 03 Jul 2014

Bereavement During the Holidays, 07 Nov 2013

Ten Ways to Find Good Fortune in your Holidays, 15 Oct 2013

Love is Stronger than Death: The Power of Story, 17 Jun 2013

You’ve Got the Power to Heal Your Own Grief, 30 May 2013

Paint Your Holiday the Way You Want it to Be (the Norman Rockwell way), 29 Nov 2012

Faith is Like Insurance When a Loved One Dies, 25 Oct 2012

Suicide: Stopping the Silence, 18 Jun 2012

Discovering Something Greater than the Answer to “Why?”, 21 May 2012

Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend, 12 Mar 2012

Death of a Child Changes ‘Santa’, 01 Dec 2011

One Is Silver, the Other Gold: a New Look at Holiday Traditions, 26 Nov 2011

Son’s Suicide Reorders Family’s Life, 13 Aug 2011