Articles

  • Embracing Helplessness

    May 15, 2019

    Part of me doesn’t want to write about this—feeling and being helpless. Among the feelings I experience on a regular basis, it is one of the least favorite and possibly the champion of them all. Feeling helpless is a loser. If you’re reading this, then likely you know this all too well. You may be […]

  • Turning Less Into More

    May 15, 2019

    Well, that was unexpected. It seems, even when dozens and dozens of years have passed, grief, and what triggers it, can still surprise me. I’m writing this on Mother’s Day. I’ve been motherless since I was seventeen years old. It was a quiet day today in my neighborhood. As I stood in silence, watering some […]

  • Boy’s Don’t Cry…right?  WRONG!  And That’s Okay

    May 8, 2019

      From the time little boys are first able to walk, in some cases even before they can walk, parents begin shaping the psyche of their sons by telling them, “Boys don’t cry. ” Oh really…  who says so?  Whoever it was, they should be prosecuted for the harm they have imposed on to men, […]

  • Four Things that Helped Me When my Friend, Sarah, Died

    April 27, 2019

    “If I had a flower or every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever.” — Alfred Tennyson “I have some sad news about my sister and your old friend, Sarah. Last Friday she lost her two year battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I didn’t want you to find out on Facebook […]

  • The Breath of Life is a Touch from Heaven

    April 11, 2019

      Our hearts continue beating no matter the sadness and visceral pain we experience when a love one dies. What else can our breathing do? Let me invite you to the space of the breath and only the breath. I know what you’re thinking: People say to you to just breathe, take a deep breath, […]

  • Celebration Service Brings Mother Solace

    April 7, 2019

    My 40-year-old son, Jeff, passed away very unexpectedly on 12/13/2018. I thought my sister’s death was the worse thing I would ever go through. Then Jeff died. It is difficult to describe the feelings. Profound sadness and heartache beyond anything I have ever felt before. Recently, I thought about Jeff’s celebration of life. Jeff struggled […]

  • Grief Through the Rearview Mirror

    April 7, 2019

    This big, horrible thing happens. You lose the person with whom you chose to partner for the challenging, amazing, and, sometimes, scary thing called life. Each of us has our own unique experiences of the grieving process. Yet, it’s normal to feel like you have no idea how you’ll go on without them. Whether I […]

  • Well-Dressed Grief

    March 22, 2019

    He was dressed for success. His suit was charcoal gray, shirt the blue of a perfect spring sky, both complimented by an elegant tie. Since the gentleman had just entered the room of a noon-time support group for those 55-and-over, I suspected he was coming from work. Or was he retired and always wore his […]

  • It’s Not Time That Heals Our Wounds

    March 8, 2019

      Time heals all wounds. The message has been passed down for centuries, used in memes, mimes, and has come out of many mouths from those who wish to offer another person encouragement and support. For some of us, this expression is a beacon of hope that keeps us clinging to life, maybe even getting […]

  • Finding EMDR to help with Grief

    February 15, 2019

    My favorite quote is from Earl Grollman when he says, “The only cure for grief, is to grieve.”  I spent a good two years lost in the throes of loss and grief, not knowing how to overcome my grief after the loss of my son.  I felt alone, afraid, and hopeless.  I was deep in […]

  • Death as Teacher

    February 11, 2019

      Death is thought of in many ways. As an (or the) enemy or as a sad and tragic reality. Sometimes as an essential part of the natural cycle of life—“a time to be born and a time to die”—and sometimes as a thief. Grim Reaper, mystery, transition or rebirth. In the Harry Potter books, […]

  • Healing Through the Decades After a Child Dies

    February 10, 2019

    I am a bereaved parent. For so long, that title has defined me and the person I am now. My first daughter was born in 1995 and had a rare condition called Alagille Syndrome. She was cognitively okay, but had serious issues with her heart, liver and kidneys. She lived for two years and two […]

  • Safety in the Silence

    February 10, 2019

    Silence can be a very safe and sacred place when one is grieving. Recently, I spoke with a woman who had a very tragic sudden death in her life. She could barely speak as she tried to explain to me the things that people were saying to her. She was hurt and angry about the […]

  • The Wound Time Won’t Heal

    February 10, 2019

    Time heals all wounds. We’ve all heard it. Sounds incredibly hopeful for someone who’s drowning in grief. Except when time doesn’t heal your wound.  Not enough time. It’s been years since my 4-year-old daughter, Margareta, died. She died exactly 29 days after her fourth birthday. That means we had 1,489 glorious days to spend with […]

  • A Daughter, a Mother and an Unexpected Passing: Darkness Followed by a Bright Moment

    February 6, 2019

    My wife and I are owners of a company that provides what technically is known as biohazard remediation. We provide cleanup and sanitization services when people are dealing with the aftermath of challenging incidents at their homes. We work with people at some very difficult moments in their lives. Examples of how we help people […]

  • Dropping into Memory

    February 4, 2019

    Anniversaries come and go but some linger like the drops of rain hanging on the humming bird feeder outside.  They don’t want to let go and so they hang on until the weather changes and dries them up or drop from their perch with the force of the wind.  Anniversaries are important reminders of the […]

  • Sometimes Men Need Their Own Sandbox

    February 4, 2019

      Something was wrong.  Men who followed the Facebook page, “Widowers Support Network,” just weren’t actively using it as a grief recovery tool. Then, in March of 2018, it hit me. Widowed men who sought out the services of my ministry, the Widowers Support Network wanted to express themselves and the grief they were confronted […]

  • Jason Stout: Heroic Journey, Outward Bound

    February 3, 2019

    The Executive Director of Open to Hope spoke with Jason Stout of Outward Bound during the 2015 Association of Death and Counseling Conference. When asked about how he got into this field, Stout responded, “I fell in love with the mission.” Personal growth via a challenge is something that everyone faces, including when losing a […]

  • Open To Hope Inspired by Horsley Family Tragedy

    January 15, 2019

    Dr. Gloria Horsley is the founder of the Open to Hope Foundation. She created the non-profit organization after losing her son, Scott, in 1983. “We thought we would never survive,” she recalls, as her family was completely devastated. At the time, there wasn’t as much support and resources available as there are today. However, with […]

  • Dear Dad Letters: From a Bereaved Son

    January 7, 2019

    Panic Attack Dear Dad, Tonight I went to a play at the Shakespeare Theater with my wife and a friend.  We sat in the middle of the theater.  I have a severe panic attack and insist on leaving the theater. “Can’t you stay?”  “The play hasn’t even started yet!”    Disappointment and anger.  I remember earlier episodes in movie theaters where […]

  • Trauma Treatments During Grief

    December 30, 2018

    Dr. Gloria Horsley and her daughter, Dr. Heidi Horsley, discuss trauma treatments in their 49th Open to Hope Foundation episode. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and a professor at Boston University, and Dr. David Fajgenbaum of The Bone and Joint Surgery Clinic join Drs. Horsley to discuss […]

  • Lessons From One Who Has Helped Many Pass Away

    December 8, 2018

    Let’s talk about the mysteries of death, because in death there always seems to be so many unanswered questions.  I know with my own mom, who has been gone eight years now, the one question still remains: Why did she have to die? Breast cancer took her life. She was too young, a vibrant, good-hearted woman. […]

  • Dear Dad Letters: Nights After Death

    December 5, 2018

    Dreams Dear Dad, I’ve been having this recurring dream.  I am sitting alone in a movie theater, about halfway down the theater.  A movie is playing on the screen, but I can’t make out which one.  I turn around and see lots of people standing and talking to each other along the side and back aisles.  They are not […]

  • Jason Stout: Outward Bound

    November 28, 2018

    Many members of Open to Hope have attended Outward Bound’s (aptly named) outdoor sessions, including the Executive Director Gloria’s Horsley’s late son, Scott. Jason Stout has been a part of Outward Bound for years, and recently spoke with Dr. Horsley about why wilderness experiences are so helpful and critical for those in the grieving process. […]

  • Candice Courtney: Rituals

    November 26, 2018

    “Ritual is so important, it supports us throughout our lives” including when there is a death in the family, says Candice Courtney of Scottsdale, Arizona, the author of Healing Through Illness, Living Through Dying. She recently spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley of the Open to Hope Foundation during the 2015 annual Association of Death Education […]

  • Darwin Huartson: Hospice

    November 20, 2018

    Darwin Huartson is part of the VITAS Innovative Hospice Care team in San Antonio, Texas, and spoke recently with Dr. Gloria Horsley about the role of hospice care—as well as many of the myths surrounding it. He’s a bereavement services manager and has been working with VITAS for 18 years. For years hospices served a […]

  • Donna Bacon: Finding Hope and Healing After Multiple Loss

    November 18, 2018

    Dr. Donna Bacon got into the field of grief because of her own personal losses, and she shared a moment with Open to Hope’s executive director Dr. Heidi Horsley. Today, she’s a lecturer at Nassau Community College. “When I was four years old, my mom died of breast cancer—she was 34.” Bacon and her twin […]

  • No Choice, Some Choices, and ‘Choosement’

    October 23, 2018

      A friend was in a horrible car crash about a year and half ago. The car was damaged beyond repair, he was left with lifetime health consequences, and most tragically, another person in the car, his friend, died in the accident. Since the crash, there have been extensive legal discussions and negotiations concerning liability, […]

  • Don’t the Dead Take their Time Leaving?

    September 23, 2018

    After my father died, I became fascinated about where he went. Someone came to take his body out of our house and to a funeral home. He was cremated and his remains were put into an urn. But he was gone. Gone where? Where was the essence of him? I remember my siblings, mother and […]

  • Why Do Therapists Warn the Bereaved that they Will Divorce?

    September 22, 2018

    Dr. Gloria Horsley responds: You got me. I have been a therapist for many years and have repeatedly been told that, parents who lose children divorce. Let’s see, Phil and I have been married for over forty years and it has been over twenty since our son was killed. Memories of our dear Scott seem […]

  • Shame and Grief: Interview with Jeffrey Kauffman

    September 13, 2018

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Jeffrey Kauffman about shame after grief and how complicated grief can be the result of the shame. Jeffrey is the author of a book called “The Shame Of Death, Grief, and Trauma.” Shame is a topic a lot of people shy away […]

  • Willingness in Grief

    September 11, 2018

    Willingness means the state of being prepared to do something, readiness. But here’s the thing you may not have been ready for a loved one dying. Your mind will ask the incessant questions… Why now? Is that time predicted? Do we have a destiny? Why did God let my family member pass away? I miss […]

  • Grief: A More Peaceful Definition

    September 11, 2018

    The word “grief” brings the impression of negativity, like when you are supposed to act, feel or think a certain way.  This continues through the time line that is created by other’s thoughts around us that have lost someone.  It is almost like grievers are the ones being directed on stage by an unknown force. […]

  • To The Widow Struggling With Guilt

    September 3, 2018

    On the outside, the world sees you hurting from the loss of your spouse. They don’t know; however, that in addition to the “normal” feelings of grief, you’re also struggling with guilt. You blame yourself for not insisting that he see the doctor when his cough got progressively worse. You beat yourself up for not […]

  • You Know You’re Recovering from Grief When . . .

    August 21, 2018

    Grief is a dark place, so dark you wonder if you will ever see light again. While you’re grieving, you are struggling to find your way through a long tunnel of darkness and there is no light ahead. You wonder if you will survive. Maybe you won’t find your way out of the tunnel, a terrible […]

  • You Can’t Unfriend the Dead

    August 14, 2018

      Not too long ago, I attended a presentation on grieving in a social-media world. Like so many things with social media, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that social media provides new and creative ways for grieving people to connect and to memorialize. These connections can reduce feelings of […]

  • Grieving in Advance

    August 12, 2018

    Is it possible to fully grieve in advance? Only you can truly answer that. This preceding part of the grieving process has been clinically labeled as “Anticipatory Grief”. Perhaps it isn’t as simple as it sounds. How do you anticipate what will happen to you? Some may think that if their loved one is ill […]

  • Litea Williams and Eleanor Haley: What’s Your Grief?

    August 8, 2018

    What’s Your Grief? is an organization founded and operated by Litea Williams and Eleanor Haley. “Practical, down to earth tools” is their specialty. They also do a lot of work in Baltimore City, working with the community and in particular with the homeless population. Williams and Haley spoke with Open to Hope’s Executive Director Dr. […]

  • How I Transformed Grief into Growth

    July 17, 2018

    On a balmy summer evening in 2011, my beloved 26-year-old son David was killed instantly in a motorcycle accident and my life was forever changed. Suddenly plunged into a crazy altered reality, I wandered helplessly through disbelief, confusion, anguish, and searing pain. For a long time I felt stuck in my misery, since death is […]

  • When Others Want to Know Why You Aren’t ‘Over’ the Death of Your Child

    July 17, 2018

    Lately, the question I have been getting the most is, “How do I get the people around me to understand why I am still grieving the death of my child so deeply?” We already feel like we are going crazy, and having family and friends tell us we “should be past this by now” may […]

Open to Hope Radio

Open to Hope TV

  • Episode 138: How to Build Awareness After Loss

    July 30, 2018

    On this show Dr. Heidi Horsley explores with two bereaved mothers, Carol Henderson and Jamie Bright, how they have build awareness though writing and speaking. Carol is the author of Losing Malcolm:A Mother’s Journey Through Grief and Farther Along:The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers. Jamie speaks out against domestic violence sharing the story of […]