Healing Improv

www.healing-improv.org - Comedy Improv Grief Workshops - Free of Charge - Helping those stuck in grief over loss of a loved one with Comedy Improv Grief Workshops that help participants to give themselves permission to find laughter and joy again.

www.healing-improv.org - A 501(c)(3) Comedy Improv Grief Workshops Free of Charge to those stuck in grief over loss of a loved one.

Mission: To help people struggling with grief through Comedy Improv Grief Workshops that help participants to give themselves permission to laugh and find joy again after loss of a loved one.

For so many who are struggling with grief, finding a reason to give thanks can be a daunting task. Remember the LOVE you have been blessed to hold in your heart, and the HOPE that tomorrow promises. Sometimes the best way to find Thanks, is to Give and share with others in need. Peace, Light, and Laughter to you all this Thanksgiving.


Autumn | Winter 2019 - Compassionate Friends

Healing Improv's founder Bart has one of his pieces included in the current Autumn/Winter Issue of The Compassionate Friends quarterly publication (page 18). A great organization and resource for families unfortunate enough to be suffering the death of a child of any age.

compassionatefriends.org Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.

In addition to the local Compassionate Friends World Wide Candle Lighting being held at Gilda's Club GR, DeVos Children's Hospital also holds a candle lighting for Children of any age gone too soon, at the same time as the TCF World Wide Candle Lighting. So Grand Rapids has a lighting on both sides of the river.

Thank you to all who have served.

A wonderful event I helped organize for years. If you have lost a child of any age, it is a wonderful event to share love, memories, and simply "Remember those children Gone too soon."

Shana Tova, a sweet and healthy new year to all who celebrate.

Grief has no time frame. Sometimes 18 years ago can feel like yesterday...

Thanks for sharing this Heidi.


Stephen Colbert Moves Anderson Cooper To Tears With Powerful Words About Grief

This is an incredibly powerful thing for us all to hear, but especially if you have been newly thrust into a grief journey. These are two men who know profound loss. Their perspective of survival is honest, truthful, and so incredibly hopeful.

huffpost.com The "Late Show" host opens up about what it means to suffer and what benefit we get from it.

We are thrilled to share that Bart will be participating in this great event for Crisis Connections this September in Seattle. If you are interested in attending and supporting this great organization you can register here - www.crisisconnections.org/event/connect/

Thanks to Karen for sharing this quote which I had never seen...

Saw this image accompanying an article on a grief site. I have been in this place emotionally. It's natural, and painful, and comforting all at once. Every once in a while, for our own survival, we need to shut out the world and grieve, even if it means just bending over and turning within. Peace, Light, and Laughter.

Holidays can be difficult, but if you focus on the Love, past, present, and future, the emotional fireworks can be held in check. Peace, Light, Laughter, and Happy 4th of July.

Center For Loss

Center For Loss

Nothing can heal the past, but the here and now is always full of glorious possibilities.

When you open your eyes in the morning close them again and whisper to yourself,
“Thank you for the gift of this new day.”

You have been given the blessing of another day of living and loving.
With a clear mind and a willing heart step into the day with fresh eyes managing all the opportunities life has for you.

Life can be difficult, stressful, and unpredictable, right?
We can handle whatever comes our way when we’re not burdened by what happened yesterday or worried about what may happen tomorrow.

Live fully present in the moment beautiful ones.

One breath at a time...

Please do 💕 you are loved.

Whether a Mother who has lost, or you have lost your Mother, this weekend can be so very difficult. Embrace the LOVE and memories to keep you warm and safe this weekend. Peace, Light, and Laughter. Love never dies.


Parental Bereavement Leave (The Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA)

Sign and bring about change for all those who will face the worst in the future.


Elaine Mansfield

Grief occurs when anything disrupts what we thought was our intended path in life. Good read.

Sometimes we grieve for something other than the death of someone we love.
"While many experience the setbacks and tragedies of life with grief and mourning, many feel they are not entitled to the word.
So I give you permission."

Whatever you celebrate, may this weekend be filled with Love, Peace filled memories of the past, and Hope for the future.

Oh my. yes

The funeral director told us it was time to close the casket and suddenly I gasped for air and tried to hold back my tears - but nothing could stay my sorrow. This was it. I wasn't ready to look upon my son for the last time – to say goodbye to his little body, his sweet face … this little boy I used to cuddle, hug and laugh with. My youngest son, Wyatt stood beside me and watched me in grief and sorrow tuck his older brother one last time.

I carefully pulled Mitchell’s favorite blanket up to his chin, like I did every night, and said “I love you, little boy … my sweet son. Oh, how I love you.” I cried a father’s tears, and until that moment I had tasted no deeper tears. I had never known so great a sorrow as to say goodbye to my child. Sweet Mitch trusted that I could keep him safe from harm. He thought there wasn't anything I couldn't do. When he looked at me, he saw Superman. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a broken man. But I tried. God knows how hard I tried. But I was only human.

Months later, my oldest son, Ethan, came into my office while I was writing an entry for Mitchell’s Journey. I was unprepared for the interruption, and my eyes were red and filled with tears. Ethan asked, “Dad, are you okay?” I immediately tried to be superman and put on a brave face, wiping my eyes and said, “Yeah, I’m okay” … as if to suggest all was well and that I was simply rubbing my tired eyes. But Ethan was discerning and knew better: I could tell by his expression he knew I was grieving.

At that moment I thought to myself, “What good do I do my children when I pretend?” I realized I do him no favors when I am not real. I paused a moment then looked Ethan in the eye and said, “Actually, I’m not okay. But I’m okay. Do you know what I mean?” Relief washed over his face, and I could tell he not only understood but that he was glad I was real … as if it gave him permission to be real, too. I wanted my son to know that it is okay to hurt … that you can be “okay” but “not okay” and that’s okay.

Ethan and I talked about Mitch for a while, and he shared some of his sorrows about losing his younger brother. We both cried together. I hugged Ethan and let him know how much I loved him – every bit as much. We crossed a threshold with grief that day. My son knew it was okay to hurt and that pretending otherwise serves nobody, not even ourselves. To the contrary, we do a great disservice when we pretend.

I had a moment of truth a few years prior when I read the words of an 18th Century French writer who observed, “We discover in ourselves what others hide from us, and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.” When I read those words, I vowed to retire my masks and get real.

I've tried to have similar exchanges with my other kids. My children, each unique, process their grief differently. And that’s okay, too. In all things, I want to be real with them – for it is when we’re real that we become equipped to deal with real life.

I am still walking on Jupiter where the gravity of grief is great. The air is thin, and my tears fall as generously as spring rains. Yes, I have moments of sweet relief and happiness is returning – but grief and sorrow linger. I cannot run from sorrow any more than I can run from my shadow on a sunny day. I must learn to live with love and sorrow – there seems no other way.

I’m okay … but I’m not okay … and that’s okay. That is part of being human.

Note: I originally posted this story in April of 2014. Over the years, many have reached out privately about this post and shared the meaning it had for them. Many have also asked that I re-post it. So, I share this again knowing somewhere out there are people who hurt and want to know if it’s okay to not be okay.

To those who suffer in grief, I want you to know you’re okay. You’re normal. I’m with you.

By Bart Sumner

Recently I have been seeing advertisements for a movie called BREAKTHROUGH. As a father of a son, David, who died at the age of 10 from a freak sports accident, I am always thankful to see a story where, against all odds, a family faces the direst of circumstances with tragic possibilities, and through the grace of the universe, finds their way through the storm to a happy ending. Anytime a family can emerge from tragedy without having to face what our family did, life without their child, there is reason to smile and celebrate.
But, for those that faced a similar scenario, and the fates did not deliver them from the most horrible of outcomes, this type of story can also bring pain, and guilt, and feelings of blame upon themselves. This is especially true when the story is framed in the narrative that because the parents and community prayed hard enough, God listened, and choose to save the child involved. It is a perspective that can breed feelings of deep inadequacy to those that prayed, as hard as anyone, that death would not steal their child from their lives, only to have those prayers go unanswered.
I certainly understand that the film makers are looking to inspire with a story of a miracle, but for thousands of families every year, where a family’s prayers to their higher power go unanswered, this type of story can be confusing, and hurtful in ways that only compound one of the main irrational feelings families that lose a child experience, unrelenting guilt. Guilt over simply being alive while their child no longer lives. Guilt over not deserving to have their child saved. Guilt over not doing enough to please God. Guilt that the basic thing all parents are supposed to do, keep their child safe, they failed at.
I know all these feelings of guilt because they are a completely natural part of the grief journey that so many parents that lose a child experience. I know they were, and are, part of my life, even almost 10 years down the road. I was on the football field the night David had his accident. I was in the Emergency room with him. I sat at his bedside and prayed for things to turn out differently. I made bargains with God, with David, and promised all the things desperate people promise to whatever power that might be listening, to make the nightmare end, all to no avail. His team mates, and coaches, and other community members who didn’t even know him, prayed for him, all to no avail. The fact those prayers went unanswered bred an anger towards God in the aftermath, which is also completely natural for so many grieving parents. For so many, an event like losing a child changes their relationship with their faith forever. Some find more faith which brings them strength, and some lose all belief. But I think it is safe to say that everyone who experiences the death of their child has their relationship with their God change in some way.
The truth is, the death of a child is something that happens for no logical reason. If an individual can find meaning in it, either through religion or not, that is a glorious by-product, but it is something every parent struggles with every day for the rest of their lives. Even when you have found your way forward, the small voices are always there. The voices that say we didn’t do enough, or care enough, or love God enough for God to save our child. I want to tell anyone struggling with these thoughts that we all have them, and they are simply not true in any way. The doubts and “what could have been” thoughts are the thoughts that torture us all, and we must find a way to quiet them so that we can move forward.
In case you are wondering how I quiet those voices, so that I can move forward, well, you are reading it right now. To help me keep these hurtful thoughts in check, I share my feelings with others, to let them know they are not alone. There is strength in numbers. There is strength in knowing we are not alone. So, if like me, you see the ads for movies like BREAKTHROUGH, and there is a nagging feeling of guilt, or anger, or despair that tugs at your soul, know that you are not alone. Know that it is natural. Know that it is part of our lives since our child died. It was not your fault. You loved your child more than enough, but no matter how much love you had, and have, that love is not enough to save any of us from the chaos of the universe. I know, because it happened to my family as well. Peace, Light, and Laughter.

Celynn McClarrinon, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist

How can you help a grieving friend? Just be there.♥️


My Forever Brother - Compassionate Friends

Tomorrow is National Sibling Day, this piece was written by our dear friend Heidi Horsley about her brother Scott who died when she was 20. If you know someone who lost a sibling, mention their name tomorrow. All any of us want to know is that they are remembered.

compassionatefriends.org When I was 20 years old, I was awakened in the middle of the night to the terrible news that my only brother, Scott, and my cousin, Matthew, had been killed together in a car accident. It seemed inconceivable that...


Healing Improv: A Journey Through Grief to Laughter

Every once in a while we share this info, not so much to sell books, but to remind those of you that know people who have suffered a loss, the HEALING IMPROV book is 5 Star rated on Amazon. Just received another sweet 5 Star review this week. It can help if you know someone trying to find their way through grief.

amazon.com In 2009 Bart Sumner’s life was shattered when his 10-year-old son, David, suffered a traumatic brain injury at football practice and died in his arms. Finding a way back to the road forward in a world where mourners are told “He’s in a better place” or to “Get over it” is a daunting and ...


Open To Hope Radio

Check this out and support a great project!

opentohope.com Lita Lopez and Finding Your Good Balloon Written by admin on Thursday, February 28, 2019 Lita Lopez is an Actor, Writer, and Producer. She grew up in Odessa, Texas in a family of 9 children. In 2008 her brother, Noel, was murdered. In honor of him she is producing and acting in the inspirational sto...


The Good Balloon

We support this project being created by a dear friend. If you can, please lend your support.

seedandspark.com Love never dies. Energy only takes a different shape. This is what I learned from devastating loss. Although grief may never end, our loved ones never truly leave us. "The Good Balloon" is about hope amidst despair. If you are in grief right now, my hope is to uplift you and help you smile again.


Parental Bereavement Leave (The Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA)

Please sign, it's about time families that have faced the worst, get some time to grieve.


[01/22/19]   It is our job to remember those who have died, no matter how painful.

Keep looking forward. All the best for 2019


I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day - Burl Ives

One of my top 3 Christmas Carols, as relevant today as when Longfellow wrote the original poem 154 years ago... Merry Christmas to all, no matter religion or political belief. LOVE is the answer to all things. - Bart

Here is the 1864 American Christmas Carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and performed in Burl Ives with lyrics. ...

It can so very difficult to maneuver through everyone else's holiday frivolity when the shroud of grief weighs your spirit down. Do not allow others to set unrealistic expectations for you, and don't place them on yourself, either. Your heart knows what it needs. From Healing Improv, we wish for you whatever Peace, Hope, and Joy you can manage to find this time of year. Be good to yourself, and let the love of holidays past warm your soul. Peace, Light, and Laughter to you.

We have reached 900 likes. Thank you. Together, we will find a future of Peace, Light, and Laughter.

Happy Chanukah to those that Celebrate. May your memories of joyous days passed illuminate your future hopes and dreams. Peace, Light, and Laughter.

There is a reason it's referred to as a "Grief Journey." For the rest of your life, it will not end. But, it is imperative that we all keep moving forward on our journey. Without forward motion, and battling the dark places with light and joy, we risk losing ourselves and the brilliance of the love we have for those we have lost. For me, over 9 years in, and facing my 10th Holiday season without my son, I continue moving forward. Each step helps me find more to live for, more love to remember and share without tears, and deepens the love I have for my son. Finding a way forward does not mean leaving your child behind you, it means keeping their love with you every day, and using it to help guide and illuminate your way until perhaps you meet again. Peace, Light, and Laughter to you all this challenging season.

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[email protected] You can purchase HEALING-IMPROV: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF TO LAUGHTER here - http://amzn.to/1U7ceju
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