The Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, joins the Grief Relief show with Dr. Gloria Horsley. Dr. Darcie Sims joins the show to talk about how you lose and gain friends when you lose a loved one. Pedersen travels the world, sharing stories about his healing process from losing his daughter. He’s also a performer, and is featured in this episode singing “A Little Further Down the Road.” Dr. Sims also travels to share stories about her loss, as part of the Angels of the USA Program.

Your relationships with friends change over time anyway, and they can shift suddenly and dramatically with big events. Losing a child can cause the disappearance of many friends. Dr. Sims lost her son, “Big A,” years ago. She remembers that many friends came to the funeral, but she never saw them again. It’s interesting to note that years ago casserole dishes were given at wakes with names on them so you’d know who to return them to. The dishes today are disposable, an unfortunate suggestion of what may happen with some friendships.

Friends Forever?

Denise Pedersen, Alan’s wife, also joins the show. Their son, Sean, was 21 when he got into a car accident. However, nobody knew what happened for nine days. Friends rallied around them during the search. Once his body was recovered, their friends stuck around for a while (to plan the funeral) but they slowly disappeared. Denise says she thinks her pain was just too strong and nobody knew how to handle it.

“So many people think death and grief are contagious,” says Dr. Sims. In a way, grief is, and it’s normal to not know how to act when a friend is in grief. It’s in grief support groups that you might find new friendships.

Alan Pedersen

Alan Pedersen has been performing for more than 25 years. An accomplished singer and award winning songwriter, he spent several years writing and recording music in Nashville, Tennessee. Alan has had several songs recorded by other artists. His writing has not been limited to music, he has written commercials, radio news copy, and collaborations for television shows and other comedy projects. His performing credits are numerous as well. Alan has worked as an actor, stand-up comedian, keynote speaker/emcee, and in radio as a network news and sports reporter for Westwood One Communications. Currently living in Englewood, Colorado, Alan is the father of four boys and an angel. In August of 2001 Alan’s life took a tragic turn, his 18-year-old and only daughter Ashley was killed in an automobile accident. This tragedy would take his life in a direction he never imagined. Struggling for months to find answers and trying to cope with tremendous pain and anger, he entered a grief program in Denver, Colorado and began attending monthly meetings of a support organization (The Compassionate Friends.) Alan credits these organizations with saving his life and inspiring him to honor his daughter’s life by helping others. In July of 2003, Alan released a CD of songs he had written about his walk through the valley of grief, titled Ashley’s Songbook. In 2006, he released a follow up CD titled “A Little Farther Down The Road.” Alan now helps others by sharing his story of faith and hope. His message is simple; grief and loss offer the opportunity for ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. He believes that healing begins when we once again give of ourselves by helping others. Alan speaks and plays his music for churches and grief organizations around the country. In 2008 Alan will release his third CD of original music about the journey bereaved families must walk. Alan has performed at National Conferences for The Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents of the USA, and the World Gathering on Bereavement. Alan will travel and speak 120 times in 2008 for local chapters of TCF, BP-USA, and other grief organizations dedicated to helping families grieving the loss of a child. In February of 2008 Alan released his third CD “More Songs From the Journey” which features “Celebrate the Children” which is the anthem of his concerts and events this year. To learn more about Alan and to get his tour schedule, go to: Alan appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss “Learning to Live Again After Loss.” To hear his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: Alan appeared a second time on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss, “The Holidays, Helpful or Hurtful?” to hear his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:

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