We are very blessed to have our presenters join us on the 2019 Bereavement Cruise. Each presenter will be sharing their time and their compassionate support with our guests. We will continue to add presenter as we confirm their participation.
After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Marketing and Operations Management, Glen Lord was on the fast track to accomplishing his goal of being a CEO of a fortune 500 company. The death of his son, Noah, in 1999 put brakes on the life he had so carefully planned. As Glen sought a new path he realized that there was a need for genuine, accurate grief information. This realization, plus his extensive business experience, fueled the founding of The Grief Toolbox and creation of the Walking Through Grief® program, both offer a community of grief resources around the world and a marketplace of grief and memorial products. Glen is past president of the national board of directors of The Compassionate Friends. He is a sought after keynote, inspirational presenter and workshop leader. Most recently Glen has come full circle is Co-Founder and CEO of the International Grief Institute, which provides a variety of grief education opportunities including Grief in the Workplace that promotes success in supporting grieving employees.
Visit: The Grief Toolbox
Linda B. Findlay became a bereaved parent with the loss of her infant daughter, Aubrie Marie. Linda founded Mourning Discoveries, Grief Support Services in 1991. Since that time she has filled the role of Aftercare Coordinator for funeral homes currently representing over 300 of them in 25 states and Canada. Linda has also continually facilitated several bereavement support groups as a hospice volunteer and is an AARP Widowed Person Service volunteer trainer and outreach provider. She is a member of the Death and Loss Education Coalition, Inc. located in upstate NY. In a style reflecting compassion, personal loss, experience by working with bereaved families, and special training, she effectively communicates with bereaved families. Through the sharing of personal stories and professional experiences with both integrity and credibility, Linda provides valuable tools, understanding, solid practical ways to help the bereaved.
Visit: Mourning Discoveries
Angels Accross the USA
Alan Pedersen is considered by many to be the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the world on rebuilding life after loss. His powerful presentations draw from his lifetime of experience as an award winning song writer, humorist, performer and radio reporter.
The focus of Alan’s work changed dramatically after the death of his daughter Ashley in 2001.
As a way to find healing in his own life, he began writing and recording songs about the grief journey. Alan also became a student of grief, studying under and being mentored by some of the leading experts in the field. Alan has shared his unique message of hope, mixed with humor and beautiful songs with captivated audiences in more than 1,300 cities throughout the United States and Canada.
The Five Facets Philosophy on Healing™
Annah Elizabeth is The Five Facets founder and creator of The Five Facets Philosophy on Healing™, a groundbreaking guide that helps you live your best personal, professional, and philanthropic life, even in the face of adversity. She is a guest lecturer and Continuing Ed instructor. She is a published author; a TEDx, community, and keynote speaker; a personal coach; a dually-certified energy healer and instructor in Integrated Energy Therapy® and Reiki, a Certified Medical Reiki Master; and a workshop facilitator. Her writings and work have been featured in numerous online magazines, radio programs, and national live events.
Annah’s wellness solutions empower the grieving with tips, strategies, and resources that support them in both the active grief and beyond bereavement phases. Motivated by personal tragedies including child loss, miscarriages, infidelity, and severe depression—Annah set out to uncover the secrets that allow us to triumph over tragedy. Her programs include academic and alternative modalities, all designed to meet the unique and preferred needs of each individual. The strength of Annah's voice lies in a hope that transports us all into the realm of possibility and peace.
Barbara J. Hopkinson
A Butterfly’s Journey
Barbara founded and leads both A Butterfly’s Journey (ABJ, a 501c3 nonprofit) and The Compassionate Friends of Greater Newburyport, MA, a grief support chapter (part of TCF USA).She is an author of several books, a contributor and co-author for multiple Grief Diaries, and a GRI certified Grief Recovery Specialist. As part of ABJ, Barbara created ‘Portraits of Loss’ (TM) photo shoots, to encourage open expression of grief, loss and love. ABJ partners with Journeys and hosts these photo shoots on their cruises. Participants are photographed expressing a phrase meaningful to them, and later receive their digital photos. Barbara has led bereaved families through the journey of grief for fifteen years, after the sudden death of her twenty-one-year-old son, Brent. Prior to that, she lost a stillborn son, Robbie, and a baby by miscarriage. Recently, she also lost her second husband Jim suddenly. Barbara is well acquainted with grief. Her background is international corporate technology, including IBM. She resides north of Boston. Barbara’s family includes her remaining son, three adult stepchildren, their life partners and her grandson.
Visit: Portraits of Loss
Visit: A Butterfly's Journey
Master Grief Coach
Profoundly evolving after extreme suffering following the death of her two sons, Cathy Cheshire left a 30-year business career in healthcare to support other grievers.In honor of her sons, she became an author, speaker, and the founder of the “Master Grief Coach” training program with a certification option. She has diverse education from traditional and progressive professionals with varied grief expertise including the areas of thought, emotion, mindfulness and resilience. Cathy received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University. Her book is titled, “Thriving After the Death of a Child.” One reader commented, “This is such a powerful book.” Follow her at www.CathyCheshire.com, which includes the training module “Understanding Grief and Healing,” her blog, interviews, and other resources.
Way to Wellness – Holistic Lifestyle and Integrative Health Education
Diane Speer, Founder and Director of Way to Wellness, is a pioneer specializing in the health science field of mindfulness with over 25 years in education, research and programming in the integrative healing arts and mindfulness. As a Yoga Therapist, Yoga and Meditation teacher trainer, Reiki Master, Grief Support Specialist, Aroma therapist, and a Holistic Lifestyle Coach she has served thousands with therapeutic lifestyle programs and professional trainings based in yoga, meditation mindfulness practices. Diane is no stranger to significant loss through her personal journey and professionally with clients. She has developed a repertoire of transformative lifestyle techniques and programs that educate about holistic health and healing for wide ranging specializations including mental wellness, stress, Hospice care, grief care and chronic disease management.
Diane brings a unique blend of experience, understanding and practicality to all of her trainings, seminars and workshops, in a supportive and compassionate environment. She partners with teams of therapists, health care providers, educational institutes, researchers, communities and businesses focusing on implementing a new healthcare paradigm representing the forefront of integrative mindfulness healthcare, empowering people to live healthier, more mindful and fulfilling lives. Diane is thrilled to be joining the Bereavement Cruise again in 2019 and will be offering mindfulness integrative healing arts workshops and small group sessions.
Unified Community Solutions
Franklin James Cook, MA, CPC,* is a private consultant and owner of Unified Community Solutions, in Boston, Mass. He is devoted to delivering peer support services to help bereaved people cope with a stigmatized death (e.g., from suicide or substance use) or any sudden death.
Franklin is a survivor of his father's suicide in 1978, and he has been involved in peer support for addiction recovery since 1981. He has been a grassroots advocate for systems change in mental health and addiction recovery services for the past 20 years -- and he has spoken and provided training nationally on peer grief support, establishing himself as a leader in the field. Franklin continues to deliver direct peer services to bereaved people in many forms (small groups, online, etc.), including via telephone (see Personal Grief Coaching ).
Currently, he is launching a new national initiative, Support After a Death by Overdose (sadod.org), which offers presentations, training, and other services to families, service providers, and communities affected by the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. Franklin maintains the After a Suicide Resource Directory; and he is a consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s men's suicide prevention initiatives (e.g., MassMen.org. Franklin serves as an MDPH Health Care and Safety Expert Consultant in peer grief support, and recently launched the Support System for Frontline Providers project, through which he is creating a comprehensive program to help service providers with the grief, trauma, and distress they experience from being exposed to multiple overdose fatalities. In addition, at the eight TAPS survivor seminars offered annually across the nation, he provides peer grief support to families that have lost a loved one in the military.
* Franklin holds a Master of Arts degree (MA) in the humanities and is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC).
Widowers Support Network
Herb Knoll lost his wife, Michelle, to pancreatic cancer on March 7, 2008. As a bank executive, Herb was known as a man who could get things done. But when he lost his wife to cancer, he found few resources that could help him recover. When he asked a clerk at Barnes & Noble what materials were available, he was told, “Mister, we don’t have a damn thing for you!” WOW!
The more Herb learned about the plight of widowers, from their high suicide rates to physical and emotional problems; troubled relationships, careers and finances and more; the more he became motivated to write a book to serve them. After nine years of research and with the help of over 40 widowers and an esteemed team of subject matter experts, lead by sociologist Deborah Carr, Ph.D., of Boston University, and writer/editor Robert L. Frick, Herb wrote The Widower’s Journey, a breakout guidebook designed to comfort and assist widowers and those who love them.
Herb knows how to help widowers heal, and now he’s talking. Herb’s presentations are lively, yet appropriately sensitive, expressly designed to comfort and assist widowers and the families who love them, in a way only a polished and seasoned professional speaker can deliver. Herb breaks down barriers that otherwise block widowers from discovering their better tomorrow. As an advocate for widowers, Herb’s words are accepted by those fortunate enough to hear them, structured much in the way a guide serves those who are lost. Widowers trust Herb, in part because they recognize how, as a widower, Herb understands the challenges they face. Those who hear Herb’s compassionate message of hope, leave his presentations encouraged, and better equipped to move forward with their lives. Herb’s engaging personality provides an comfortable environment designed to encourage audience participation. The good news is, much of Herb’s expertise can help widows too.
Herb’s research and insights tackle the tough questions widowers need addressed including:
- taking care of family matters when your wife is terminally ill
- how men can process grief
- keeping healthy during stressful times
- managing a career while coping with loss
- drawing strength from your faith
- reentering the dating world
- dealing with the issues that sex, dating, and marriage create
- parenting as a widower
- solving financial and legal problems
- preserving your late partner’s memory for yourself and family and friends
Lynda Cheldelin Fell
After losing her 15-year-old daughter in a car accident in 2009, Lynda Cheldelin Fell was caught in a fog of shock and traumatic grief. Just when she started to reclaim her life, Lynda's beloved 46-year-old husband suffered a massive stroke, leaving him permanently disabled. Lynda journeyed to the extremes of human resiliency, yet determined to restore hope to her devastated family, fought hard to find a way back. Along the way she discovered that helping others was a powerful balm for her own wounds. Lynda became an international bestselling author in 2013, and founded AlyBlue Media soon after. She created Grief Diaries Radio and Grief Diaries Live in 2014, was executive director of the International Grief & Hope Convention 2015 in Indianapolis, earned four national literary awards in 2016, wrote the curriculum Managing Grief in the Workplace in 2017, was nominated for five national advocacy awards in 2017, co-founded the International Grief Institute in 2017, and created the experiential workshop Resiliency Rx in 2018. To date she has authored over 30 books on finding hope after loss. Now considered a pioneer in the field, Lynda creates groundbreaking projects dedicated to raising compassion and awareness, and inspire healing and hope that joy can be restored.
Marguerite A. Simonetti Kershaw
Lifelong Learner of Grief
I married my best friend/soul mate in 1984 and I thought my "happily ever after" was just beginning. My husband had a chronic illness and every day of our marriage was a medical challenge. As a result of our medical issues, we struggled with infertility. In 1986, my perfect world, as I knew it, came tumbling down around me. My mom, my best friend, passed away rather suddenly. This was my very first experience with grieving the loss of someone close to me. I didn't know much about grief, but, being a lifelong learner, I knew I needed to educate myself. I became involved with HOPE for Bereaved, Inc., Syracuse. I attended a support group and it helped tremendously! I am still involved with this fine organization, 34 years later
So, my "formal" grief education journey started in 1986. I learned about anticipatory grief with my husband's illness. Imagine what a relief when we discovered that the mirage of feelings we were experiencing due to our inability to have children was perfectly normal and grief-related. I was working in the Department of Corrections, at the time, and realized that my students, the inmates, were suffering from several "varieties" of grief: disenfranchised (ambiguous), delayed, cumulative, to name a few. I initiated a Bereavement Program at the correctional facility and trained inmates to be peer counselors. I facilitated a weekly grief support group.
After my husband's passing in 2010, I enrolled in a Bereavement Studies Program at Maria College, Albany. As a result of my coursework, I began to facilitate a pet loss support group through my veterinary clinic and an anticipatory grief support group for caregivers through the Office of the Aging.
At that point, I was looking to re-enter the workforce in some capacity. I was led to the perfect position at our local newspaper as an Obituary Clerk. I love working with the funeral directors and especially helping family members writing/editing obituaries for their loved ones. It is my goal to assist/accompany others in their grief journeys.
Certified Grief Coach
Mary Lee Robinson found herself suddenly widowed in February of 2013. Finding herself very much alone, Mary Lee was led to create a Social Group for widows and widowers (or as she fondly refers to them and herself, “wids”). It grew to 170 widows in 8 months, telling a lot about the need.
Next she gathered 25 other “wids” who wanted to participate in the writing of a book The Widow or Widower Next Door, a collection of 25 questions answered by 25 “wids.” The book is aimed at anyone who has ever met a widow or widower, is a widow or widower, or may possibly become a widow or widower. In other words, we think it should be read by everyone.
She has also co-authored Grief Diaries: Loss of a Spouse, Grief Diaries: Hello from Heaven, Grief Diaries:How to Help the Newly Bereaved and contributed to Grief Diaries: Loss of a Parent, and Grief Diaries scheduled for release. All are available on this site in the web store as well as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Mary Lee Robinson is also a Certified Grief Coach, American Assoc. of Christian Counselors, a speaker, and a proud member of the National Grief & Hope Coalition.
View her TV interview, talking about the "Set an Extra Plate Initiative" that she created with Lynda Cheldelin Fell here: http://wpde.com/news/local/myrtle-beach-woman-asks-families-to-set-an-ex...
Melanie E. Rijkers
Melanie E. Rijkers loves looking at life with Pure, Fresh eyes. After the loss of her mother when she was still a teenager, she kept her faith by creating artwork and traveling. Since 2011 she inspires others how to cope with stress and depression, by leading mindful photo walks and meetups. Starting her career as an independant professional photographer in 1996, empowering photo projects with teenmoms, brides trashing the wedding dress and natural redheads made her realize photography can be therapy. Melanie works as Visual Consultant and Life Coach in the Netherlands, using Therapeutic Photography and PhotoTherapy as tool. She started a study in psychology in 2017 and published the ‘Eyespiration Mindfulness Photography’ book in 2018. Melanie offers an in depth course using photography as the creative process to make you See. Unlike sports coaching or business consultancy, it is holistic and considers every dimension of life.
Mitch Carmody-The Bereavement Cruise Keynote Presenter
Mitch Carmody, GSP, CCP is a writer, artist, grief educator and a nationally recognized motivational speaker has his own YouTube channel known as MrHeartlight. He is the author of several books, and hosts his own Radio Show “Grief Chat”. He is a Grief Facilitator for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S) of military loss, member of The Association of Death Education and Counseling (A.D.E.C.) and has served on the National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest grief support organization in the world.
Certified Grief, Life, and Spiritual Coach
Robin left her job after 20 years as a computer software systems analyst following the suicide of her husband in 2005. Her journey through grief led to her transformation. She has published two books,“Be Gentle with Me, I’m Grieving” and “Moving to Excellence, A Pathway to Transformation after Grief”.
She also is published in Catholic Charities Loss (Loving Outreach to Suicide Survivors), AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). Tom Sweetman’s Book: From Grief to Greatness and Matlida Butlers’s Book, “Tales of Our Lives: Fork in the Road” and the DAILY Word, September 2016 Issue.
Her life purpose is to encourage and motivate others through teaching and professional coaching. She has been trained as a group facilitator for AFSP. She created an online Facebook support group for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Her most recent work is with a global company at www.transformation.tv where she has created a teaching video series on living a life of excellence after grief.
Robin is a Certified Grief, Life, and Spiritual Coach, a Certified Master NLP Practitioner and a Reiki Practitioner.
Sharon Ehlers is the founding member of Grief Reiki® Limited Liability Company (LCC). After working in Corporate America for almost 30 years, Sharon started her own company to offer a multi-dimensional approach to grief through emotional recovery and spiritual healing. This was the result of her best friend and former fiancé both dying by suicide within a two-year period. Now an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist® and a Reiki Master Teacher, Sharon is helping others to recover from grief by providing them with a safe, compassionate and healing environment for their journey.
Sharon is the author of Grief Reiki®- An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss. She is co-author of Grief Diaries: Surviving Loss by Suicide which was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Book Excellence Awards and the Best Book Awards.
Her best lesson in life is: “Miracles do happen.
Intuitive Grief Guide
Shelby Forsythia insists on showing up for grievers. After losing her mom at age 21, she created the knowledge base and community she wishes she had on her free weekly podcast Coming Back: Conversations on Life After Loss. On the show, she and her guests—including Megan Devine, Caleb Wilde, and Kerry Egan—share powerful truths about life after heart-shattering losses including death, divorce, diagnosis, and more.
Shelby Forsythia is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, Reiki Practitioner, and Intuitive Grief Guide. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Thriveworks, Make It Better, and so much more. She currently lives in Chicago.
Tanya Lord PhD, MPH. When tragedy strikes an individual, it is common for the impact to be life altering. It was for Tanya, a special education teacher turned stay at home mom when her son, Noah, had a devastating healthcare experience. This fired her desire to improve patient safety, quality and the patient experience. Combining her expertise in Quality Improvement and a passion for including all healthcare stakeholders, Tanya works locally and nationally improving care through better Patient and Family Engagement. Following Noah’s death Tanya further found her poetic voice. Her writings illustrate the power of love’s connection to overcome even the deepest separation.
As the primary contributor to and co-founder of The Grief Toolbox Tanya’s expressive poetry speaks directly to the aching heart of those who have been touched by loss and brings comfort, understanding and inspiration to millions of people around the world.
Trish Comer and Peggy Langenwalter,
co-authors of Wonder Widows
Trish Comer and Peggy Langenwalter, co-authors of Wonder Widows - Three Grieving Widows Coming Together to Empower Women to Break the Silence of Widowhood.
Trish is a holistic practitioner and instructor for over 35 years in the art of meditation, stress reduction, hypnotherapy, and Reiki. She founded a community nonprofit in 2011 and is actively involved in the global Age-Friendly movement. Married for 36 years and widowed since August 2014.
Peggy, drawn to natural healing modalities since childhood, incorporated a thriving massage practice for over 20 years into her busy life as dedicated wife and mother. Since 1996, Peggy has taught the benefits of using essential oils and is a certified application instructor. Married for 42 years, widowed since February 2012.
Line-up of presenters subject to change without notice.