Symposium of Life After Loss – Workshops


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A large variety of workshops will be offered in a structured setting and will be facilitated by skilled presenters and designed to address specific topics. This is an incredible time for learning, sharing and meeting others with similar losses.

Sharing Sessions are informal meetings led by a facilitator offering participants a safe place to share their personal experiences on specific topics.

Friday Night Workshops and Special Programs

Click here to read more about our wonderful presenters!

What Parents Need to Know about Teen & Young Adult Grief~ Dr. Heidi Horsley & Dr. Gloria Horsley

Adolescence and young adulthood can be a difficult time, even in the best of situations.  This makes coping with the death of a sibling especially stressful.  Since society tends to focus on parental grief, bereaved siblings often feel unacknowledged, overlooked, and ignored.  This mother/daughter team will talk about the unique aspects of losing a child vs. losing a sibling.  It is vital that surviving siblings have their loss validated.  This workshop will also address the “dos” and “don’ts” when dealing with teen and young adult grief, as well as other important issues specific to grief and loss.

Nature and Grief ~ Dave Roberts

This interactive workshop will explore the healing power of nature as it relates to helping participants navigate their grief following the death of their loved ones.  By workshop’s end, participants will be able to see how their own personal “vocabulary of nature” can be the catalyst for transforming perspectives on life and death

Laughter is Good for the Soul ~ Nancy Weil

Explore the spiritual connection between laughter and your inner life.  Use laughter to elevate your mood, lift your spirits, smooth life’s challenges and prepare you to handle the tough stuff. Understand why laughter is the best medicine.  Learn the difference between a problem and an inconvenience.  Make a commitment to Good Hearted Living principles and use the techniques of “Day by Day the Laughter Club Way.” Connect to God and others through the power of humor.   This program shows you exactly how to add the power of laughter to your spiritual toolbox.


 Essence Meditation ~ Kat Wynne-Brown and Kristina Berano

Join  Kat Wynne-Brown and Kristina Berano for a relaxing meditation that features organic aromatherapy, sound, and energy healing to deeply relax and rejuvenate the Body, Mind & Spirit.  Kristina will begin by guiding you through some gentle stretching and breathing exercises and from there will then lead you into a deep state of relaxation known as ‘Yoga Nidra’ or yogic sleep. Once you are in this sweet state, Kat & Kristina will treat you to some energy healing, sound healing and some delicious essential oils.  This will be offered again on Saturday evening!

Mitch Carmody’s Whispers of Love, Signs from Our Loved Ones  DVD Viewing and sharing session

No matter how or where our loved ones died, there is compelling evidence to support the belief that we can still feel their presence through signs. We will explore this phenomenon in detail and provide a slide show of extraordinary anecdotal evidence from all over the world. We will devote time for the sharing of sign stories.

General Sharing Session

Saturday Workshops and Sharing Session

Nurturing Healing Love ~ Scarlett Lewis

Scarlett shares her experience and the lessons learned following the murder of her six year old son, Jesse Lewis at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 including a healing equation given to Scarlett and her older son by orphan genocide survivors from Rwanda who reached out to them after the tragedy that was  miraculously close to a message Jesse left on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before his death, “Nurturing Healing Love.”

Constructing a New Reality After Death ~ Dave Roberts

This workshop will explore “the broken places “ of our grief and tools and strategies that can help us construct a new, different and meaningful world without the physical presence of our loved ones. There will also be time reserved for questions and answers.

Men and Grief ~  Glen Lord & Dave Roberts

This workshop will explore the challenges that males face after the death of a loved one. Our unique process of grieving will be explored. Other areas such as expression of thoughts and feelings, accessing and receiving support, and our language of grief will also be discussed. Time will also be reserved for questions and answers.

Finding Direction Again ~ Glen Lord

When our children die there are so many things that we lose. We lost their physical presence, the hopes and dreams we had for them, often our own identity or purpose. Many of these things are gone forever and even as we acknowledge this reality, we can find direction. There is identity, purpose, passion and hope to be found. We will discuss strategies and tools for finding these in your life again.

Returning to Work After The Death of A Loved One ~ Robert (Tony) Sims, Ph.D.

Accommodating the death of a child is a full time job. Adding the stress of performing at work complicates the grieving process and makes work performance more challenging. This workshop will discuss various strategies for successfully returning to work. It will help families find and access various support systems. Both the bereaved and the professional who is trying to help will benefit from this lively workshop on returning to work after the death of a loved one.

Grief and The Holidays ~ Mary Lemly & Maryann Trocchio

A very difficult part of trying to live day to day after the death of a loved one or other significant loss is the question, “What are we going to do when the holidays arrive?”  Most people look forward to the holiday season; Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas or whatever days are meaningful to your family.  When we are grieving, especially in the early years, we tend to dread this time of the year.  Many wish they could go to bed on November 1 and sleep through New Years.  Why is it that we feel this way? Holidays bring into focus all that we have together as a family, whatever the family constellation is.  These were times we all celebrated together.  Now that our loved one has died, or our situation has been drastically changed due to a loss, the holidays only make us painfully aware of all that we have lost.  In this workshop ideas and strategies for surviving the holidays after the death of a loved one or other significant loss will be presented.  The holidays will never be as they were, but we will learn how to make them meaningful and enjoyable once again while honoring the memory of our loved ones.

Essential Oil Workshop~Kat Wynne Brown & Kristina Berano

Join holistic practitioners Kat Wynne-Brown & Kristina Berano for an informative workshop on essential oil essences. In this experiential workshop, Kat & Kristina will share their knowledge on a variety of specially selected essences that can help with the process of grief. Take this time to discover how powerful the sense of smell is to healing! In this experiential workshop, participants will have a chance to work with numerous essences from the plant and tree kingdom. Participants will be able to smell, apply and explore organic ‘oils’ to discover their each unique healing powers.  Many essences will be explored and explained by certified Medicinal Aromatherapists, Kristina Berano and Kat Wynne-Brown. Participants will have time to journal about their experiences, discover how to use these ‘devas’ in everyday life healing, ask questions as well as order their own divine essence guardians. Truly an uplifting hour!

Introducing the Child You Lost to New Family Members ~ Ann Walsh

After a child dies, there may be new family members as the result of marriage, or another child may come into your life.  This workshop will share and discuss ways to help integrate the deceased child into the family lifestyle, and how to honor his/her memory as the years go by. Using a discussion and sharing format, attendees will have the opportunity to achieve ways to make the child they have lost a natural part of the family.  The discussions will center on ways to include him/her in celebrations, outings, and how to initially “introduce” him/her to new family members.  This is also a way to “network” with families who have had children after the loss of one.

Guilt and Regret After Loss ~ Sara Ruble
Emotions can fill us with the most confusing feelings of pain and anguish following after the death of our loved ones. How do we ever find any peace within when we are beating ourselves up and not able to see anything different? Or what if someone is telling you should have done more? In this interactive workshop Sara will open you up to new perspectives and the ability to see that life is always challenging…but now…it is demanding and forces us to find new answers…and new ways to look at life and death. You’ll have the opportunity to look at life through clearer eyes…which can bring relief and freedom from that which holds us back from our journey into healing.

Grief Free, Naturally~Nancy Weil

Trouble sleeping? Feeling anxious and stressed? Just looking for a way to feel better now? There are many holistic tools that can help you, even on your toughest days. Meditation, essential oils, flower remedies, drumming, laughing and more will be discussed during this experiential session. Nancy is the Founder of the Holistic Alliance of WNY and has seen the difference that natural remedies can bring. Learn how to incorporate these “can’t hurt, might help” treatments into your life. 

Dreams: A Blessing in Disguise for Healing Through Loss and Transition ~ Carla Blowey (2 sessions with a break in between)

Carla Blowey invites the bereaved to recognize their own dreams as a valuable tool for healing grief and reconciling the death of their loved ones. Carla offers the bereaved an opportunity to see beyond the illusions of death and grief, bringing their dreams and their loved ones, and ultimately themselves into the Light.  Carla explains that dreams of the bereaved often mirror their own grief journey in memories, metaphors, and symbols, pointing to issues and hidden agendas blocking the path to acceptance and reconciliation.  In addition, the bereaved commonly experience “dream visits” with their deceased children and deceased loved ones and friends, offering the bereaved assurance of their loved one’s continued existence.

The Sole/Soul Journey ~ Sara Ruble

This workshop is directed to all bereaved parents, grandparents, and adult siblings.  This workshop will explore the sole journey, how we must do the grief work ourselves to come to a place of hope and even peace.  It will also address how the soul journey takes us to a deeper place of knowing that brings greater peace and hope as well and how the two journeys works together and encourage a deeper understanding of life and death.

Art From The Heart ~ Robin Sanson (2 sessions each viable on their own)

Creative wellness practices are less about the finished product and more about the process.  Our experiential will introduce you to positive psychology  based therapeutic art. You will learn simple ways to use creativity to relax and clear your mind leaving you with a healthier, more positive outlook.  Session I: Zen Doodles & Mandala Making…finding “the zone”

Session II: Attitude of Gratitude & 3 good things…try “your hand” at visual journaling

The First Year of Grief to 31 Years Down The Road ~ Dr. Gloria Horsley

Are there areas where you are feeling stuck?  Is your loss defining you?  Are you ready to move on?  This work shop is designed for the long term griever and will be interactional with participants identifying road blocks to recover in terms of restoration, reconciliation, reality, and reunion.

How Unresolved Grief Affects Your Health~ Debbie Barbiero

The loss of a loved one is a life-shattering experience. But unknowingly to many, it affects us physically as well as emotionally. The grief a person experiences is felt on an emotional level. The resulting stress of these emotions can create havoc within our bodies. If we had a physical illness before our loved one died, our grief can exacerbate the existing illness. It can also open the way for physical illness if we have been previously healthy. Grief makes us susceptible to diseases such as the common cold, sore throats and other infections. Other diseases shown to be connected to the stress of grief are ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart disease and even cancer. The connection between the mind and body is not always recognized, but there is real scientific evidence that what we think and feel has a direct effect on our biological systems. This is an especially important issue for bereaved parents because the loss of a child is the ultimate in stress and a stress that lasts so very long.  I will discuss ways to take action and care of you body, mind and spirit physically as well as emotionally.

Telling Your Story For Impact ~ Dr. Tanya Lord

We each have a story to tell. We tell our stories for many different reasons to connect with others or share our pain. When we want to use our stories to effect change we need to be able to tell an impactful story that can be heard by the audience. This workshop will guide you in creating a powerful story.

Weaving A Joyful Heart ~ Arden Donahue

Arden will use Spiritual Games, movement and Story-telling for uplifting Soul Connection!  It will be a playful hour to lighten the heart and fill it with Joy!

Using Creativity To Help Heal ~ Ann Walsh

Using music, dramatic reading/role play and interpretations, crafts, discussion, and poetry, I will share how this area of creativity was a great comfort after the death of my 14 year old daughter Erika and 2 of her friends.  Creative resources will be provided to the workshop attendees, including handouts and materials for the attendees to work with, such as memory boxes, stones, plaques, etc to decorate, paper for drawing and writing, and various other craft items.  Those interested in sharing music are encouraged to bring their favorite poem or song.  Attendees can walk away with not only a finished creative product, but also the means to continue to use their favorite method of creativity to help themselves, and not be afraid to try something new!






Sunday Workshops 

Just Show Me a Sign: After Death Communication~Nancy Weil

It can be very comforting to receive signs from your loved one after they have died.  Some may be obvious, others subtle and some people never seem to receive any at all.  Learn the four steps to receiving and interpreting signs from Heaven.  Share some of your own experiences. Nancy has helped many people understand how ADC works and will bring her expertise to this lively discussion format.

What Death Can Teach Us ~ Sara Ruble

When the death of our children and loved ones die our lives are changed forever in ways we could never have been prepared for. Some of those changes are incredibly hard to accept and adjust to and others come in time to show us we can…survive. In the twenty years since my only child Scott died suddenly at age nineteen, I have learned a tremendous amount about grief…about myself…life….and death. I know now that death teaches us in ways we cannot ever see coming …and in ways we work so hard to grasp and understand what’s happened. In this workshop, What Death Can Teach Us? I will share what I’ve learned about death, what others have taught me, and what Scott has taught me as well. There really is so much that we learn through the death experience that is beneficial and meaningful to our lives…and we can never really see that early in our grief.

Journaling as a Healing Tool~ Cathy Seehuetter

Participants will learn how journaling and writing is beneficial in processing your grief, and how it can be used as a helpful way to gauge the progress that has been made as you move through your journey of grief. You will have a chance to write and, if you wish, to share your experiences with one another after each exercise.

Taking Care of Yourself, Finding Hope After Loss ~ Gloria Horsley

Losing a child or sibling is a devastating experience.  It turns ones world upside down.  In this workshop Gloria will discuss how guests on her weekly cable TV show “Grief Relief” and her weekly “Open To Hope” internet radio show, have learned to cope with their pain and finding hope again.  She will share her personal story of love, loss and healing sharing numerous ways in which she, her guest and the visitors to the web site have gone on to find peace and hope after loss.

FOR MEN ONLY -Women Explaining Women to Men~ Ann Walsh and Bobbie Milne 

This workshop is designed to help men understand and cope with their partner.  The presenters are willing to discuss and answer questions men have about how their wives/partner are grieving, why they act differently, and how to help them.  They will be able to address such areas as time spent with family, personal and intimate relationships, work, attitude, surviving sibling issues, and problems with friends and family.  There are certain questions that only a woman can answer and the presenters want the men to feel free to ask.

FOR WOMEN ONLY- Men Explaining Men to Women~ Glen Lord, Tony Sims & Dave Roberts

Angel Pins ~ Sue Rhodes

This workshop is for anyone who would like to learn how to make angel pins for themselves. In this workshop we will have an open discussion on how we memorialize our loved ones. It will be a great chance to learn something new, and share your ideas with others.

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Register for this Event