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 […]

  • Be Selfish to Heal More Quickly

    January 8, 2018

    I didn’t believe that my son would die.  The death of a child is a tragic and horrific event that happens to someone else, not to me.  Until it did.  The grieving process sucked the very life out of me.  My grief strained me emotionally as I experienced a roller-coaster of emotions like anger, depression, […]

  • 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 […]

  • Helping Others After Loss

    January 2, 2018

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr Janet McCord about helping others after loss. Janet is a professor in Thanatology. In the video below she shared with me the programs at Marian University and what they offer those who are interested in helping others through grief and loss. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Keep the Door to Your Soul Open

    December 17, 2017

    I was given a pocket size daily devotional after Mack died called “Healing After Loss” written by Martha Whitmore Hickman, who was also a bereaved parent. I carried it in my purse for two years until the binding weakened, the cover fell off, and each page was dotted with notes and stained with my tears. One of the daily reflections […]

  • How to Treat a Grieving Person: Be Real

    December 17, 2017

    I am now two years out from the unexpected and traumatic death of my husband, which means countless people have lifted me up and cared for me when I could not do it myself. In and among those wonderful helpful friends and family, there have been some responses to my grief and mourning that were not […]

  • 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 […]

  • Stories I Do Not Tell: Grief & Spirituality

    November 16, 2017

    Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form into another.” Strange that a scientist’s quote brought me comfort in dealing with the death of my husband, Gary. It also became the means by which I convinced myself I wasn’t crazy when seemingly inexplicable, spiritual experiences happened. These are […]

  • 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 […]

  • Finding a Way From Christmas Sorrow to Christmas Joy

    November 15, 2017

    Giving gifts to others has always been for me so meaningful, special.  And Christmas seems to  symbolize this more than any other time of year. But my first Christmas three months after our son’s death found me drained and wrung out.  I didn’t feel like a “gifter”, only an  empty-handed “griever”.  Sorrow hurts, but it […]

  • 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 […]

  • Navigating Grief Through the Holidays

    October 11, 2017

      As we approach the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, celebrations, traditions and expectations of things to come. Throughout our lives, expectations of things to come are based on past experiences. This article is not for those looking forward to the holiday season, but for […]

  • 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 Own Your Winter Grief

    October 9, 2017

    💨 🕶🍲☕🎃🎄☃ Something many of us learn through the course of years, losses and grief is that it’s far better to take control and OWN YOUR WINTERS, rather than to allow your winters own you. The seasons change & winters come (and go) in the midst of grief, ready or not. And long winters days and nights can […]

  • Don’t Send the Wrong Message to Surviving Children

    September 26, 2017

      When our child leaves this earth, so many of our future hopes and dreams go with them. I don’t even need to start listing them; we all know all too well what those things are. When my oldest daughter, Becca, first died, it was so hard to see past her death and the death […]

  • Barb Petsel: Talking with Children about Death

    September 26, 2017

    The Executive Editor of the Open to Hope Foundation recently spoke with Barb Petsel, author and therapist at Healing Transitions Counseling, during the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. As the author of Remembering Grandma’s Hugs, Petsel delved deep into the how’s of talking to children when their grandparents die. “I wrote (this […]

  • 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 […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 120: Resources for grieving families

    January 8, 2018

    On this show Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley highlight three outstanding programs for grieving families. Nancy Cincotta MSW talks about her work with families at Camp Sunshine in Maine. Bereaved parents Marie Levine, National Board member of The Compassionate Friends and Allison Jacobson Executive Director of First Candle discuss their missions and how they […]

  • Episode 118: Men and Grief with R. Glenn Kelly,  Ron Villano and Anna Huckabee Tull

    January 8, 2018

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview R. Glenn Kelly, who lost his only child, Jonathan, to a congenital heart defect and Ron Villano whose son, Michael died in an automobile accident. Both men are motivational speakers and authors. R. Glenn is the author of Sometimes I Cry in the Shower […]

  • 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 115: Spiritual Experience and the Afterlife

    January 8, 2018

    On this show Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley interview bereaved parents Elizabeth Boisson, Irene Vouvalides and Ernie Jackson regarding their view of the afterlife and how their experiences have helped them to cope with their losses. Their organization, “Helping Parents Heal,” founded by Elizabeth Boisson, offers bereaved parents an open discussion of spiritual and […]

  • Episode 114: Guys and Grief, Healing Stories of Sibling Loss with Zach Sullivan and Ryan Tomasello

    November 17, 2017

    On this show Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley discuss the healing power of stories with two bereaved siblings; Zach Sullivan bereaved brother of Kyle and Ryan Tomasello bereaved brother of Rory. A video clip is shown featuring Jordon Ferber discussing the importance of remembering his brother, Russell.

  • 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 […]