During the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Heidi Horsley interviewed Jordan Miraglia of Hands of Hope, an expert in helping children with grief. Miraglia is a bereavement coordinator and former student of Dr. Horsley’s. She works with the only palliative care organization in North Carolina. Partnering with a hospice organization, Miraglia works with grieving children in hospice and palliative care. She manages a bereavement camp twice per year, which is child-centered and family focused, helping the entire family unit.

It is very tough to be the grieving parent of a grieving child. She recommends parents to help their kids get through a loss while also knowing you’re not alone. There are many resources that can help you get connected to peers. Use your networks. Secondly, know that parents and children are worried about one another. Opening that dialogue can welcome a lot of healing into your life.

Grief in Families

Get your children support and surround them with other kids who are grieving. This helps them realize that they’re not alone. Many parents don’t want to cry in front of their child—but children are feeling the same way. Communication is key, and so is finding your own support network. Almost nobody is truly alone in their grief, and absolutely nobody has to be. Your grief support network might not look like you think it should or will, but it’s available. You might have to tap it yourself.

There are many organizations, and Hands of Hope is among them. There’s also the Open to Hope Foundation, Compassionate Friends, and a slew of other non-profits that offer hope and support to the bereaved. Find what works for you and your child, and get the help you need.

 

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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