Dr. Heidi Hosley is at the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, where she connected with Sheila Munafo Kanoza. Kanoza was widowed 22 years ago after her husband died following his cancer battle of ten years. She had three children, and couldn’t imagine how she could move on. She prayed for God to take her, and eventually asked what she was supposed to do with her life. She got the message that she was supposed to join a bereavement center, although she had no idea what that was at the time. She looked it up, and found that to be bereaved means to be robbed. First, she needed to heal as a mom before caring for her children.

She’s traveled all over the US taking numerous trainings. She transitioned from the business world to the bereavement industry. Now a leader in the field, she works with hundreds of teens each month, sharing her story and using the mass knowledge she’s accumulated to help others heal. A life of service is a common healing mechanism among the bereaved, and one that works exceptionally well for many.

Serve to Heal

Now, her organization is in 21 schools and also works with adult support groups. If you don’t work with the family, and if an adult is crippled, how can you expect a child to not be crippled? Kanoza uses her own story to help other families who are walking in her footsteps. She’s found, personally and professionally, that what helps families after a loss is to have someone who will listen. You need someone who will be present. It’s often common to use the spiral of strength to gauge where you are when someone dies.

You’ll bottom out, but you’ll spring back up if you have the right support available. It takes time, so find what brings you up.



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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