The Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, talks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference in Chicago, Illinois. Both Dr. Gloria Horsley and her daughter, Dr. Heidi Horsley, will be presenting at the conference along with an impressive roster of other experts in the field of loss and grieving. With over 168 different titles of workshops, Pedersen says, “I don’t think there’s a better collection of information in the world” than what can be found at the annual ADEC conferences.

If you’ve lost a loved one or are interested in getting into the field of loss and grieving, joining the ADEC conference is one of the best ways to immerse yourself. “It’s an amazing conference, life affirming, and life changing,” says Dr. Horsley. Every year, favorite experts return and new ones are welcomed to discuss the field of grief, loss, and death in a professional and welcoming environment. There is also a solid friends and sibling program, along with a corresponding social media group, so parents and guardians can feel comfortable bringing children to the event.

Bringing Everyone Together

For youth and adult programs alike, “It’s not just sitting around talking about grief,” says Dr. Horsley. There are many activities, from music and dancing to arts and crafts. Everyone grieves and learns in a different way, and that’s celebrated at ADEC conferences. “It’s almost like a retreat,” says Pedersen. Take some time to be with your grief, your feelings, and your loved ones. “Come and breathe in good knowledge,” he says, and be around people how validate what you feel.

The ADEC conferences are held every summer, and early registration is encouraged. Spaces do fill up, so act quickly. It can be scary for early grievers to attend, but there’s no warmer community than what you’ll find here.

Alan Pedersen

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: www.everashleymusic.com. 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: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley033006.mp3 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: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley122508.mp3

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