A professor of psychology and the chair of the Women’s Studies department at St. Martin University, Dr. Sharon Taylor, talks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about father loss. Dr. Taylor’s father died at war when she was just a few months old. This was in 1945, right at the end of the war, and during this time nobody dealt with the issue of war. As a result, Dr. Taylor was raised by a grieving mother who never had a chance to mourn. She tried to move on, and everyone in the family was sad about Taylor’s father.

His body was never recovered, and he was declared MIA. A few months later, everyone who was MIA was declared as “dead” by the US military. Over her life, Dr. Taylor has met a few other people in similar positions. She’s now part of an orphaned war network, which is made up of orphans from World War II deaths. Luckily, Dr. Taylor’s grandparents talked with her about her father—but her mother did not. Her entire childhood, she wished her father would come home.

Uncertainty in Death

When there’s no funeral, is a person really dead? That’s a confusing position many children find themselves in. In the late 1990s, after Dr. Taylor’s mother and stepfather died, she began to search for her father. Using grief research, she was connected to a German researcher who specialized in fallen planes. Ultimately, she found her father’s crash site.

Finding that site brought her grief full circle. She describes it as “awesome” and was astounded that the field where her father crashed was unchanged decades later. The land owners remembered the crash and his body, which were great gifts to Dr. Taylor.


Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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