Nan Zastrow

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 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.

Articles:

Open to  hope

Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional

“Does time heal all wounds?” If you are a griever, you have no doubt heard this cliché more than once. On April 16, 1993, our son, Chad, died as a […]

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Open to  hope

Victory Over the Pole: Learning to Let Go

An intimidating 30-foot pole occupied a notable spot on the challenge-learning course. The facilitator explained that we were to climb the pole. The pole was manufactured with heavy metal staples […]

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Open to  hope

In Grief and in Joy, Tell Your Story

” People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” —Studs Terkel Recently, […]

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Open to  hope

Bereavement During the Holidays

Holidays are a time of great anxiety during bereavement. But it’s not just the holiday season that puts the griever at risk for emotional turmoil.  Any social situation, event, or […]

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Open to  hope

Ten Ways to Find Good Fortune in your Holidays

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 […]

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Open to  hope

Love is Stronger than Death: The Power of Story

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge – That myth is more potent than history. I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts – That hope always triumps […]

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Open to  hope

You’ve Got the Power to Heal Your Own Grief

Donna’s spouse died suddenly. It wasn’t suppose to happen, yet, was all that she could think of as she coped to accept the reality of the event. For months, she […]

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Open to  hope

Paint Your Holiday the Way You Want it to Be (the Norman Rockwell way)

Shirley’s husband of 42 years died suddenly this spring of a heart condition. Brittany’s husband served in the U.S. Army in Iraq for the past 9 months. This was supposed […]

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Open to  hope

Faith is Like Insurance When a Loved One Dies

“Faith is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go on when fear is present.” The summer of 2011 will be remembered as a season of violent storms […]

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Open to  hope

Suicide: Stopping the Silence

Suicide doesn’t just happen to the “crazy” teen down the block, the junkie on drugs or the intoxicated college dude challenging a “dare.” It doesn’t just happen to those who […]

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