Articles

  • Promptings of Hope

    February 14, 2018

    After a long, cold New England winter, I find myself on the lookout for any sign of Spring … a crocus peeking out of the melting snow, a slight haze of color in the trees across the lake, my own spirits lifting. These promptings … encouragements, reminders…return each year to help me make the transition […]

  • Head and Heart: Like the Acorn and the Oak Tree

    February 9, 2018

    Grasping a concept or idea intellectually is one thing: having it become a real part of who you are is something different. I once heard it said, “Scripture contains the word of God in the way that the acorn contains the oak tree. It is all there, but its presence is made known to us little […]

  • Death of Husband Led Her to Stop Fearing Life

    February 7, 2018

    The word “fear”. Take a moment to think about what fear means to you. To me, the word brings up a million different images. To most, it means that they are afraid of something: afraid to speak in public, or scared and nervous to try something new, which is often actually a fear of failure. […]

  • Strong Back, Soft Front: Staying Open to Emotion

    January 23, 2018

    “Every man is for himself, on that you can rely You’ll have to hide behind a shield to stay alive.” David Roth The Armor Song  How do we envision life—what image catches its essential nature? Is life basically a struggle, a constant challenge and confrontation with obstacles? Is life a gift, a blessing to receive […]

  • The Stuff of Death

    January 18, 2018

    When my grandmother died, no one had touched the belongings in her attic or most of her house in at least 11 years. Her attic was the kind you access from a set of pull down rungs at the top of steep stairs surrounded by creepy ancient wallpaper that looked indicative of Versailles. The pull […]

  • How Near-Death Experiences Change Our Thoughts About Death

    January 12, 2018

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Roberta Moore about her near death experience and how these experiences affect people’s thoughts and insights on death. When Roberta was 13 years old, she had a spontaneous out of body experience. When she was in her early 30’s she had a […]

  • Supporting Families Through Grief Beyond the Hospital

    January 6, 2018

    A labor and delivery registered nurse (RN), Chamel Thompson also works with Emerging Beyond, an organization that supports people after they’ve lost a loved one. Thompson recently spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at the Association of Death Education and Counseling conference in San Antonio, Texas about her work and what Emerging Beyond offers to those […]

  • Do Funerals Matter?

    December 27, 2017

    The author of the book Do Funerals Matter?, Bill Hoy, talked with Dr. Gloria Horsley during the 2015 Association of Death Education and Counseling conference. “Throughout the world and throughout history, we keep doing a handful of things,” Hoy explains. He’s identified five “anchors” that are often found in funeral rituals throughout time and all […]

  • When the Final Words Were Angry

    December 26, 2017

    I’m sure you have heard the marriage advice “Don’t go to bed angry.” Resolving spats before bedtime is the advice offered by almost any long-married couple. What happens when differences can’t be resolved? When the night comes when, through fluke or chance, the marriage ends through a sudden death and there are no more bedtimes […]

  • Waiting for God to Respond to a Prayer

    December 22, 2017

    There is a classic psychological question you may be familiar with that is related to our ability to wait on God:  “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?” When we pray the words of the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the […]

  • 7 Survival Strategies for the Newly Bereaved

    December 17, 2017

    As a grief recovery coach, I often get emails from people who have just recently suffered a loss. They all want to know the same thing. What can they do to get through the pain, sadness, and grief? Here are some strategies my clients have found to be helpful. 7 Strategies for Navigating Loss: Practice […]

  • Cherished Memories Are a Balm for Grief

    December 3, 2017

    Jane’s birth on November 6, 1959, is one I don’t remember. I have been told that at age three, I was beyond excited at the arrival of a baby sister. Jane, a tiny bundle of beauty, pink, and softness, shone gorgeous locks of golden blond hair. She was the true baby of the family, adorable, […]

  • ‘How Can I Help if I Don’t Know You’re Hurting?’

    December 3, 2017

    As a caregiver of a parent with Alzheimer’s dementia, I struggle with myself when I find out my father has been hurting and won’t tell me about it.  My husband and I are caregivers for my father who will be turning 80 next year.  Whenever we’re with him, we focus on the positive and talk […]

  • A Healing Walk in the Cemetery

    December 3, 2017

    When our loved ones pass, the loss is visceral, all encompassing. The cemetery feels like a sad place, but as time passes it can be a place of comfort and peace.  I never thought this until I recently moved near one. Literally, it is in my front yard.  It is a very beautiful place full […]

  • I Became a 26-Year-Old Widow

    November 15, 2017

    Life throws everybody curve balls. They can be minimal, or heartbreaking, but they are unexpected. On the morning of December 31st, 2016, I would never imagine that it would be the last time I would wake up next to my husband, James.  I would never believe that our last kiss was when the clock struck […]

  • Saying ‘No’ to Holiday Traditions is OK After a Loss

    November 14, 2017

    For many of us, for much of the time, it is hard to say “no.” Even when we’re busy, even when we’re tired, even when it’s something we really don’t want to do. It’s especially hard when it’s something that we’ve done before, when it’s been our routine, our habit, or our tradition. We get […]

  • Natural Disasters Leave Grief Among the Ruins

    November 5, 2017

    The havoc wrought by recent natural disasters  – hurricanes in Houston and Florida,  the US Virgin Islands  and Puerto Rico, wild fires in Northern California, the earthquakes in Mexico — remind me of how destructive natural disasters can be to those affected by them.  Not only have many lives been lost – wives, husbands, children, […]

  • Grieving for a Loved One I Never Knew

    October 28, 2017

    I must admit I find beautiful and limitless potential in the notion of grieving for loved ones that we did not have the opportunity to know. If given the choice, which we are not, of course we would choose to actually love in this life, real time, face to face. Unfortunately this is not always […]

  • Darcy Harris: Social Justice and Grief

    October 18, 2017

    Dr. Darcy Harris has most recently been focusing on working with issues on social justices and social messages as it relates to grieving, she tells Dr. Heidi Horsley during the Association for Death Education and Counseling 2015 conference. Working with a grief and death studies program in London, Ontario, she splits her time between this […]

  • Hope in a Jar, a Loving Gift for the Bereaved

    October 16, 2017

      What should you say to a grieving friend? What shouldn’t you say? Finding the right words may be so hard that you decide to send a sympathy card. “Well, that’s done,” you mutter to yourself.  Later, though, you may wish you had talked to your friend face-to-face. Of course, this isn’t always possible. Instead […]

  • Hope in the Land of Loss

    October 9, 2017

    The bright, blue sky surrounded the scene, it filled the moment with light. I looked up to see the somber funeral men, leading each of us past the casket. One gave me the carnation from his jacket, as I stood before the big, dark casket where my father’s body lay hidden. I was eleven. How […]

  • Weeping With Those Who Weep: Supporting Others in Grief

    October 9, 2017

    At a friend’s home recently, I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with a dear woman who is 94 years young.  As we were seated together in a cozy spot, she began to tell me about herself.  It wasn’t too long before she related to me that her daughter had passed away. But then she […]

  • How to Use Death Insurance to Trick Death

    September 23, 2017

    It’s not a pleasant scene: You are in a hospital bed, clinging to life, and just outside your room your family members are arguing whether or not you would want to be kept alive by a respirator and, given the likelihood that you will die, would you want your organs donated. Or how about this […]

  • Seek Compassion Over Judgment as a Loved One is Dying

    September 22, 2017

      Anticipatory grief about the end of a loved one’s life can be an overwhelming experience. So many complex emotions. Such a sense of powerlessness. Subconsciously, the family and friends of the dying person will seek order and predictability at a time when there just isn’t any. Anticipatory grief often leads to decisions made or words spoken […]

  • Remembering the ‘Lasts’

    September 13, 2017

      The last words spoken. The last touch. The last meal shared. The last laugh. The last show watched. The lasts…moments and interactions that would otherwise go unnoticed in everyday life now sacred. Memories that, when lucky, we wish to bottle and protectively hold on a shelf. Untouched for eternity. Never dimmed. Never forgotten. Accessible […]

  • The Power of Stories in Coping With Loss

    September 12, 2017

    We have an affinity for stories—they are the vehicle for making meaning out of chaos.  By late adolescence, most of us have developed a “life story” that gives us a sense of identity and reflects our explanation of how the world works.  This overarching story is not particularly factual, but rather consists of experiences that […]

  • Grieving May Be Lonely (But it Doesn’t Have to Be)

    September 2, 2017

    Thirty years ago, while completing my doctoral work in preparation for the career I have today, I was reminded of the difference that one good friend can make to anyone who is grieving.  I was in my hometown visiting my oldest sister when a couple dropped in to visit her and my brother-in-law.  I was […]

  • Let’s Talk About ‘Closure’

    August 29, 2017

    Let’s talk about “closure,” that thing we search for but never fully find after someone dies. We really hope to find it, and the need for it is deeply felt. We go to the funeral and put up the grave marker to find it. We clean out the room, give away some of the clothes, […]

  • After Loss: Do We Ever Return to ‘Normal’?

    August 28, 2017

        Often during the grief journey, I wondered if a normal life could be obtained again.  Of course, there is a big assumption here that I had a normal life to begin with.  So, considering that we all come from skewed visions of what normal is, my definition was being married, having kids, working […]

  • Tina Barrett: Montana Grief Center Offers Outdoor Support for Kids and Teens

    August 16, 2017

    A counselor at the Tamarack Grief Resource Center, Dr. Tina Barrett attended the 2015TANA Association of Death Education and Counseling conference where she spoke with the Executive Director of Open to Hope, Dr. Heidi Horsley. Barret’s goal is to “stabilize kids, adults and communities following loss” in the Missoula, Montana area. Offering both support programs […]

  • Galen Goben: Putting Words to Grief

    August 9, 2017

    The Open to Hope Foundation spoke to the Grief Support Coordinator at Forest Lawn, Galen Goben, about the challenges of putting words to grief after a death. Forest Lawn is an organization throughout southern California that helps with full planning of a death, including funeral, crematory and cemetery services. Goben has been serving as a […]

  • ‘If I Had Six Months to Live’: Taking Inventory of Your Life

    August 7, 2017

    In one week, I attended two funerals of people who had a big influence on my life. As the veil between heaven and earth gets closer with age and time, I noticed that at these funerals, among the weeping was silence. The reverence is part of our tradition. People also come to celebrate the lives […]

  • Shades of Grief: How Personal Traits Influence Our Grief

    August 7, 2017

      The popular press is full of articles about how your personality type affects your happiness and success. Please ignore them–also the official diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. A technical diagnosis may help a professional help you, but to look it up may be confusing and do more harm than good. Everyone is […]

  • An Evolution of Feeling: How Grief Changes Over Time

    July 26, 2017

      I’ve noticed that, as a rule, we don’t particularly care to talk about how old we are, so I was amused when a friend did some arithmetic based on some of my recollections and determined that I am 70. We had been discussing worry and he wondered if I worry less now that I […]

  • Shades of Grief: How Do We Know What’s Normal?

    July 23, 2017

      Everyone grieves differently. We’re all individuals. No two people are exactly the same biologically or psychologically. Even your “identical” twin is different­–if you have one. You both came from the same set of genes, but when that set divided into the two of you, accidents may have happen: little accidents that don’t prevent a […]

  • ‘His Life Was Brief’: Grieving the Death of an Infant

    July 23, 2017

    The first time I saw my son, he was lying in a NICU incubator with a small, clear tube protruding from his mouth to help him breathe.  The adhesive that kept the ventilator tube in place covered most of his tiny face.  His eyes were closed, taped shut to keep out the bright light.  He […]

  • Choosing the ‘Right’ Memorial for Your Loved One

    July 9, 2017

    When I was growing up, the neighbors who lived behind us installed a new patio and garden in their backyard. On a plaque in front of the garden were the words, Thank You Mom and Dad. “I think that’s really nice,” my mother commented. “They used money they inherited from their parents to pay for […]

  • A Final Decision: Making Choices During Grief

    June 30, 2017

      Have you ever crossed a high, narrow, rickety bridge, made it safely to the other side only to realize that you are suddenly stuck in the middle of that same bridge swaying back and forth, knees buckled and unable to move? Where did that come from, you ask yourself?  How did I find myself […]

  • Grief Counseling: 7 Reasons to Seek Support

    June 28, 2017

        “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  (C.S. Lewis) If you keep the proverbial “stiff upper lip” for too long, you may impair your ability to learn to smile […]

  • The Three Points

    June 26, 2017

      My experience with grief tells me that while grief is different for everyone, there are commonalities in the questions grievers ask.  How do I move forward?  Why does grief take so long to get over?  What does normal look like now?  These are just some of the questions that linger after the death of anyone […]

  • My Summer of Grief Led to New Normal

    June 26, 2017

    Our daughter died on July 19, 2005.  The shock of her suicide and my own gut-wrenching grief that day is painful to remember.  No one in our family knew what to do or how to react.  It was like falling out of a boat in the dark at high tide.  We couldn’t “swim”.  We couldn’t […]

  • The Myth of the 5 Stages of Grief

    June 24, 2017

    As a mental-health counselor and a sixty-something-year-old human being, I have found that you cannot fit grief into a neat list of stages on some linear continuum.  The so-called five stages of grief actually are a myth. Grief doesn’t come in stages, but in cycles. These cycles may come in waves like a gently rolling […]

  • What Grief Teaches Us

    June 22, 2017

    In the depths of our grief, something new is being born in us. Grief is the dark mother delivering from her womb of sorrow an unfolding version of ourselves. This new version experiences dimensions of emotion that the old version could not. The new version has collapsed and stretched and suffered and learned in ways […]

  • Fingerprints: Losing a Husband, Living with Grief

    June 15, 2017

    When he used to take off his socks next to our bed and throw them ceremoniously to the cork floor, he would spread the fingers of his chubby peasant hands on the wall of our bedroom to keep his balance before rocketing into bed beside me. It took at least three years to have a finished […]

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 117: The Life and Legacy of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    January 8, 2018

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, interview Ken Ross, son of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and Vice President of the EKR Foundation. Elisabeth was a Swiss-American Psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies, and author of the groundbreaking book, “On Death and Dying.” Joining them on the show, are two members of Helping […]

  • Episode 112: Kim Perlmutter and Sarah Cornwell: Gardening Through Grief

    November 17, 2017

    On this show Dr. Heidi Horsley and Dr. Gloria Horsley interview landscape designer Kim Perlmutter, bereaved parent of Joey and owner of “Inviting Spaces By Kim” and Sarah Cornwell, Executive Director of Gamble Garden located in Palo Alto, California regarding how gardening as well as just enjoying the gardens can heal the broken heart. A […]

Open to Hope Radio