Death of a Parent: Healing Mind, Body and Spirit

The death of a parent can be one of the most devastating of losses, no matter what your age. Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk with Dr. Cori Bussolari and Antonio Sausys about this unique loss and how to heal the mind, body and spirit. Dr. Bussolari specializes in grief and loss, especially when it comes to losing your parents. Sausys is a yoga instructor who discovered how physical symptoms pop up during grief, and how yoga/meditation can be a great tool to heal. Dr. Heidi Horsley has known Dr. Bussolari for several years, meeting her during the first day of Dr. Horsley’s doctoral program.

Dr. Bussolari was introduced to parental loss at a young age. Her father was diagnosed with heart disease when she was very young, and he died when she was just 14. Her mother died four years later of cancer, although Dr. Bussolari feels her mother really died of a broken heart. Orphaned as a teenager, Dr. Bussolari was naturally drawn to the grief field when she was in college. She’s spent her entire life studying grief and helping others through the process.

The Importance of Self-Care

As a teen who loses a parent, “Everyone’s telling you what to do,” says Dr. Bussolari. However, all you really want to do is whatever makes you feel better. As a teen or child, this can mean dangerous or self-destructive habits. For Sausys, he found his own strength in yoga. When he lost his mother, who he was very close to, Sausys found out just how strongly physical symptoms can emerge during grief. He was surprised by how little he was feeling after this loss, although the pain would come in the morning. He would “switch it off” which ended up backfiring.

Cori Bussolari

More Articles Written by Cori

Dr. Cori Bussolari brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her practice, working extensively with children, adolescents, and families coping with illness, death, or a significant life transition. She is a Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Educational Psychologist, and Credentialed School Psychologist. Dr Bussolari is one of the featured writers for the Open to Hope Foundation Death of a Pet Blog, for which she publishes a column Dr. Cori Bussolari appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Heidi & Dr. Gloria Horsley to discuss “Being Orphaned at Nineteen.” To hear her being interviewed on this show, click on the following link:


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  • stacey says:

    Hi ,im writing concerning my family my grandmother and grandfather have been together 60 yrs, weve have always had both them ,lucker then most that do not , may not even have one, they were loving and caring and are family surrounded them, my grandfather is very sick and will soon pass, and my grandmother his caregiver and his companion for yrs.she served him , but he was a hard worker and loving husband as well . But i hate to feel this way but so many yrs with them and now one is leaving grandmother broke her hip during this hard time which makes it even harder, oh did i mention they were parents to so many other children who still come to visit them as well, but my father is being so strong hes the oldest so hes had everything on his shoulders to make sure he does everything his family would want , and his parents are1# but my father is hurting i know this but he is trying to be so strong.he alwys talks to me and i try to be his rock but im 4 hpurs away i go to home alot but i have so much that i as well have to do .but being there for family is so important to my grandpa is fighting for life as i write this ,, how do i deal with this and how do i be the best,strong daughter/grandaughter for my family ..what can i do …how do i deal i need answers i just dont know i spend time and time with my grandparents last wk it was as my grandfather was freling better for a minute but soon downhill again. And i went and cleaned there entire home just because i know they could not do it .they were so happy .my dad even put in a new bathroom for them because the one they had wasnt working ..but i still feel i havent done anything please help me feel good about this, help do whats best right now. I dont have answers…my heart is hurting….god bless this life we live and die

  • ayub says:

    Few years ago I lost my parents both my mom n dad. From there everything is going worst in our home. I have 2 elder sisters n 1 elder brother. M the last one, now everyone r behaving very selfish. Now Nobody r there to me to share my pain. Really m feeling very alone. Plz help me