“Loss is about all kinds of things,” says Dr. Howard Winokuer, who spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As the president of ADEC, he works with Dr. Gloria’s organization, the Open to Hope Foundation, very closely. Loss can include divorce, moving, growing older, and of course death. Each of these examples can come with intense trauma and grieving periods. Grief happens when we experience a loss, and vice versa. Grief is a reaction to a loss, and a requirement. If you’ve loved someone or something, why would you ever “get over it?” That’s not the goal—the goal is to be able to invest ourselves in living after someone or something we love has died.

“It’s okay to reach out for help, to get support, when you’re hurting,” he says. There are many networks available, from friends and family to professional or religious help. You need to give yourself permission to work through your grief. At some point, you’ll realize you’re not crying every day or thinking all day every day about a person who died. This is a sign that you’re moving forward and your grief is coming towards a closure. He cites Elizabeth Kuebler Ross as an expert in grief, and one who helps him find his own path to healing.

Defining Your Own Support

“You can’t go over pain, you can’t go under pain,” said Ross. It’s something you need to go through, transform, and transform yourself in the process. It’s up to you to find new things that interest you. “There is hope,” he says. Give yourself permission to find it and transform into the next part of your life. Continuing bonds with those you love is always possible.


Howard Winokuer

Dr. Howard R. Winokuer, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, brings a special sensitivity and total commitment to his work. Dr. Winokuer was the co-founder of TO LIFE, a not-for-profit educational and counseling organization that specialized in issues dealing with grief and loss. During his twenty-year career, he has worked with thousands of people suffering from these issues. He has conducted workshops and seminars throughout the United States, as well as in seven foreign countries. Dr. Winokuer has written numerous articles on topics such as coping with grief, relationships, aging, parents and teen suicide. He has recently completed a book entitled A Simple Guide to a Peaceful Life. Dr. Winokuer has a private practice specializing in grief and loss www.thewinokuercenter.com and is the incoming president of the Association of Death Education and Counseling (ADEC).

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