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Posts from 2014

The King’s Diamond – A Parable

There is so much pain and sorrow in our world and lives. Finding some thread of hope and inspiration often seems unreachable. It’s so important that we reach out to each other and create that thread… see each other through. From the beginning of time, hurting souls would sit around fires, tell stories and create connection and hope. We’ve strayed from those rituals and too often feel alone. We need those stories, those parables and metaphors to hold onto, a touchstone to hope.

As 2014 comes to a close, we offer you a “touchstone” to hold onto… the story of The King’s Diamond, an old Jewish folk story. This version is included in the Introduction of Living Through Mourning: Finding Comfort and Hope When a Loved One Has Died, by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff. May it bring you a sense of connection to all of us and your deceased loved one.


There once was a mighty king

Mindful Grieving Through The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and it can be a very stressful, lonely time, and especially painful for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. It can feel dreadful for those who are experiencing their “first” holiday without their departed. For many others, you may have already had your “firsts,” but it may still feel that way because you were moving through a thick fog during that time.

Aloneness, Loneliness and Grief

When you experience the loss of a loved one, there is an alone time that is different. The house is quieter.  Just knowing that your loved one was there, even if in another room, was reassuring. It helped to define you and to let you feel that you were not alone. Loneliness is often called the “greatest penalty of widowhood.”* It’s the…

What We Can Learn From 9/11

Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, many people are writing about the meaning, significance and even personal memories of that awful day. 

There is an aspect of the event, though, that is particularly meaningful to those associated with Hope Connection — group leaders, current and past members alike.

That aspect concerns the  process of moving beyond grief. Unlike many people who experience the loss of a loved one as a largely individual event, there is a group of people mainly concentrated in the greater New York area who share a communal loss. People have neighbors, friends, co-workers who have shared a similar loss at the same time for the same reason.

Gail Sheehy recognized the unique nature of this shared loss, and has explored its nuances in a new book called Middletown, America.

A Personal Response To Robin Williams’ Suicide

A note from HOPE Connection: We received the article below shortly after the news of Robin Williams’ death. The author’s husband committed suicide, and she posted these heartfelt words on her Facebook page. It is a truly powerful message. She has graciously allowed us to reprint her post in the hope that lives may not only be touched, but saved. – Dr. Jo…

My Parent Has Died! What Now?

Loss!  We have all experienced losing a loved one but losing a parent is a unique loss and one that is often discounted.  Anyone who has had a parent die knows that feeling of profound sadness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the thoughts of,  “Oh No! What now?”

There is a prevailing attitude in our cultural messages that the death of a parent is a natural course of events and we need to “just get over it!”

When a parent dies, we find ourselves

A Different Grief – A Man’s Grief

Everyone goes through a natural grieving process when a death occurs. We each behave and express feelings according to the way we’ve been taught and as modeled by our society, our culture, our family, our peers and other influences. A belief system is created that affects the way that we perceive life, death and grief.

Although men and women both feel pain and grieve when they suffer a loss, the way they deal with grief is where the differences in their grieving become apparent. The differences we see in “his” and “her” grief responses are due to our different styles of coping with pain and loss.

There are many factors that cause these differences in coping… and most often we were carefully “taught.”

depressed man

From childhood, we are taught different gender roles. Little girls are taught and encouraged to share feelings, express needs and receive support from others. This support system is acquired over a lifetime.

How Do You Know If You’re Healing?

Grief is a natural process that has similar stages and phases for everyone but it is also unique to each individual. In the beginning, it may feel like the pain is unbearable. Just like a cut on your skin that heals and eventually scabs over and leaves a scar, there is an internal healing that happens with grieving. It, too, will be…

Walking Through Grief

When you suffer the death of a loved one, you are thrown into a state of emergency in your body, mind and soul. 

Brain imaging studies have shown that when an individual experiences a significant loss, changes occur along a broad network of neurons. The ancient survival mechanism of the fight or flight response is automatically triggered in your brain chemistry. Even if not consciously aware, at a deep level we fear for our survival. There is incredible amount of tension held in the body that is stressful and takes a huge toll emotionally, mentally and physically. Grievers often