Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley interviewed married couple Michele Muro and Babe-Anthony Muro on The Open to Hope Foundation show, in collaboration with The Compassionate Friends. The Muros lost daughter/stepdaughter Lori in an automobile collision while she was serving in the military. Gloria and Heidi also interview Arnie and Varda Wendorf, who also lost their daughter Lauren in a car accident. Following the loss of Lauren, the Wendorfs teamed up with The Compassionate Friends to become co-leaders for the Staten Island New York chapter.

Michele says her daughter was just 24 when she died, and the family “was at a loss” in terms of what to do. All she knew is she couldn’t do it herself. Varda empathizes, since Lauren died when she was almost 19. She also didn’t know where to go. “I never thought of joining a group,” she says, but luckily her husband Arnie did think of it. According to Babe, losing a stepdaughter is equally heartbreaking. However, his big focus was finding support for his wife—especially since they were new to Staten Island.

Finding Support

Varda found Compassionate Friends online, and found there was a support group somewhat nearby (40 minutes away). By asking around at work, the family found even more, local support. Seventeen years ago, the Muros found Compassionate Friends and never looked back. Today, they are very involved and “rarely miss a meeting.” They say bereaved parents need to know they’re not alone. “When this happens to you, you think you’re the only one in the world to whom it’s happened.” It’s critical to know there are others who truly understand how you feel.

“When you have this loss, you think you’re going crazy,” says Michele. It feels like you’re going over this mountain and you’re going to fall over the other end, but groups can stabilize you.

Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley are a mother/daughter team and internationally recognized grief experts. They are the founders of The Open to Hope Foundation and the hosts of The Open to Hope Show. In addition, Dr. Gloria is a board member for The Compassionate Friends and Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and has a private practice in manhattan. Their message is that others have made it through the grief journey and so can you, if you do not yet have hope lean on theirs.

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