Alan Pedersen, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, joins Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley during this special holiday edition of the Open to Hope show. Pedersen shares a segment from The Compassionate Friends, where Dr. Heidi Horsley currently serves on their board of directors. This is an organization for anyone who’s lost a sibling, child or grandchild. There’s also a roll-in from a National Candle Lighting event, which is a fantastic way for many grievers to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away.
“This organization really changed my life,” says Dr. Heidi Horsley. It was at The Compassionate Friends where she found a group of supporters who felt just like siblings after she had lost her own brother in an auto accident. Katie Morford, author of Best Lunch Box Ever, also joins the show to share some cooking tips on healthy eating while grieving.
Making it Through the Holidays
Pedersen says many people want quick and easy tips for “surviving” the holidays, but there are no shortcuts. He lost his daughter, Ashley, in 2001 and says he considers the holidays a sacred space to just be with her. He uses candle lighting ceremonies to establish a continuing bond with Ashley. Remembering her and being with her, especially during the holidays, is now something he looks forward to every year.
Lighting a candle is so pure and simple, but is a fantastic means of acknowledging a death while celebrating a life. It’s a type of ritual and ceremony that is used in almost every culture around the world. Candle lighting ceremonies sometimes include hundreds or thousands of people and are great reminders that you’re not alone. It’s a tool commonly used in The Compassionate Friends events, but it’s also something you can do yourself or put together with a smaller group.