Contributors to Living With Loss™

NITA AASEN, author
St. Peter, MN
Author of Living Still, Loving Always Nita has worked as a nurse in rural and urban hospitals and as a nursing instructor for the last 17 years in public health. Nita Aasen earned her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and a master's in Health Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Working in the obstetrical unit, medical surgical areas, and the emergency room brought a myriad of contacts with those confronting death and dying, loss and grief. As a nursing instructor at a small private liberal arts college, she brought these educational and clinical experiences to the classroom. Years later, when her two young adult sons, Erik and David, were killed in a freak car accident, she learned how little she truly knew about grief. Nita has been a contributor to Bereavement Magazine and Living With Loss Magazine since 2003. Her column, GIVING GRIEF A VOICE, explores the many issues associated with a catastrophic loss and parental grief. Visit
Western Colorado
Gusti Boiani is an Energy Medicine Practitioner and lives in Western Colorado. She is currently working with a population of clients with developmental disability and is continuing research on brain chemistry and how our thoughts and emotions affect health and wellbeing. Click here to visit her blog, Cottonwood Healing Arts, if you would like to share.
MITCH CARMODY, author - speaker - workshop presenter
Hastings, MN
Author of Letters to My Son: A Journey Through Grief Mitch Carmody is a prolific writer, sought after speaker and intuitive artist. A popular presenter at bereaved parent conferences and general bereavement programs, Mitch believes we must be proactive in our grieving. Since the death of his son 20 years ago, Mitch has dedicated his life to helping the bereaved navigate the uncharted territory of death, dying and the bereavement process. Through his compassionate insight and gentle spirit he will touch your heart and give you tools to aid you on your journey. Mitch has developed a new forum for the bereaved titled: Proactive Grieving™… a paradigm shift in processing loss. His newest workshop, "Proactive Grieving" and the website named for it explore the many faces of grief through art, music and writing. Mitch and his wife Barb live in rural Minnesota and are the proud grandparents of their first grandchild. Visit or
Colorado Springs, CO
Sister Marilyn is a Benedictine Sister—a vowed member of Benet Hill Monastery. Her experience includes classroom teaching, parish pastoral associate, hospital chaplain, board member of the Grief Education Institute, Denver, and healing prayer ministry and bereavement education/companioning. In 1995 she began the Pikes Peak Bereavement Coalition in Colorado Springs, CO. Sr. Marilyn has an M.R.E. in Pastoral Theology, an M.A. Psych, is a certified chaplain and a liturgist/musician. Her focus continues to be education and pastoral support in the form of seminars, retreats, e-mail, support groups, and supplying resources for the bereaved, their families, caregivers, and the general public.
EARL A. GROLLMAN, author - speaker - workshop presenter
Belmont, MA
Dr. Earl A. Grollman, a pioneer in crisis intervention and an award-winning author of 27 books, lectures extensively throughout the world. He was rabbi of the Beth El Temple Center in Belmont, MA, for 36 years before taking early retirement to write and address countless groups around the world. He was awarded the Death Education Award for the Year 2000 by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. His 27th and newest book is “Living with Loss: Healing with Hope – A Jewish Perspective.” (Beacon Press: Boston, 2000) Rabbi Harold Kushner has termed this book, “…a gem of wisdom and compassion.” One of the founders of Samaritans, a national organization for suicide prevention and intervention, Dr. Grollman also helped establish Good Grief, which helps schools around the nation deal with grief. “What may be of interest to the readers are some basic Jewish perspectives of death. For the ‘God of Abraham and Sarah’ is not only the basis of the Hebrew Bible but is also much of Christianity and The New Testament and the Moslem’s faith, the Koran.” For further information, visit
BETH FRENCH, insurance representative
Delta, Colorado
Beth French is an insurance and *financial services representative and a native of Delta County, Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in English Education, which helps her to communicate effectively with her clients. She has been in business for 13 years. Beth offers an integrated planning service which can include planning and implementation of life insurance, college funding, retirement, and long-term care. In addition, she has a basic understanding of estate planning and works closely with estate planning experts. She utilizes the Circle of Wealth® system to help her clients avoid financial transfers away from their personal circle of wealth. Beth is president of the Delta County Senior Resource Council in Delta, Colorado, Assistant Coach for Delta High School Cross Country, and is active in her local church.
Galesburg, IL
Rev. Richard Gilbert, Ph.D.,CT, is director of the World Pastoral Care Center and a member of the faculties of Benedictine University, Mercy College and The Graduate Theological Foundation. He is a well-sought-out speaker and author and provides editorial help for many authors.
LINDA GOLDMAN, author - grief therapist - presenter
Chevy Chase, MD
Linda is a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement with an MS degree in counseling and Master’s Equivalency in early childhood education. Linda is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and National Board Certified Counselor. She was a teacher and counselor in the school system for 20 years and has a private grief therapy practice in Chevy Chase, MD working with children, teenagers, families with prenatal loss and adults. Linda Goldman is the author of Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children, Coming Out , Coming In and Children Also Grieve. Visit
SANDY GOODMAN, author - speaker - workshop presenter
Riverton, WY
Sandy is the author of Love Never Dies: A Mother’s Journey from Loss to Love,, a speaker, workshop presenter. Sandy became a bereaved mother in 1996 when her 18-year-old son, Jason, died in an electrical accident. Four years later, she realized she had survived the unthinkable and she began writing and speaking about her journey and the gifts she found along the way. Sandy's column is eclectic, humorous, insightful and free-flowing – if you’ve scoffed at the concept of ‘finding closure’ and you often find yourself coloring outside the lines, then watch Sandy’s column. Sandy has presented workshops at the Compassionate Friends National Conferences and Bereaved Parents of the USA. Her chat room, Love Never Dies 4 U is an innovative and receptive alternative to the "norm" of grief support and education. Visit or
J. SHEP JEFFREYS, Ed.D., F.T., grief psychologist - author - presenter
Columbia, MD
Shep Jeffreys is a licensed psychologist and a Fellow in Thanatology. Following his son Steven’s death, his work focused on helping grieving people. In addition to clinical practice, Shep is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and an affiliate assistant professor of pastoral counseling at Loyola College, Maryland. He has served as a trainer with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross nationally and internationally and as a consulting psychologist for the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service. Shep is the author of Helping Grieving People-When Tears Are Not Enough: A Handbook for Care Providers. Listen to his audio series at or visit
Denver, CO
Rachel Blythe Kodanaz entered the grief world in 1992 when her husband suddenly passed away, leaving her with her 2-year-old daughter. She spent several years trying to find her path through grief and as a part of her recovery became active in supporting others who were suffering a loss. Rachel has served as the Executive Director and member of the Board of Directors of Heartlight Center, located in Denver, CO. She facilitates numerous groups including a support groups, multi-day workshops, keynote addresses and training classes. In addition, her experience working in large corporations led her to develop and publish material to support the workplace when dealing with a grieving employee or workgroup, with an emphasis on educating managers and co-workers. Rachel authored "Grief in the Workplace" a bereavement resource booklet published by Bereavement Publications, Inc. Rachel presents to corporations, communities, not-for-profit organizations, funeral directors and conferences. Rachel has been a contributor to Bereavement Magazine and Living With Loss™ Magazine since 2003 and participated in a grief segment on Good Morning America. Visit
BOB LANG, counselor
Delta, CO
Bob has his Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, 60 Post-Masters degree credit hours in Counseling Psychology and over 5000 hours of continuing education in the counseling field. He has been in practice since 1983 and founded Family Treatment Centers in 1993. He specializes in reconciliation, forensic and legalistic court determinations and is a Child Family Investigator. Bob is the Program Supervisor for the Center for Mental Health in Delta, Colorado and works as a consultant and presents at professional conferences and national organizations.
Delta, CO
Elaine is a senior at Mesa State College, majoring in psychology. She is currently the owner of a drug screening business and works closely with the Meth-Free Delta County program in Colorado. Her career includes 10 years as a victim advocate for local law enforcement agencies. She also volunteers with St. Mary’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team. After growing up in the South, Elaine moved to Colorado 13 years ago. She has four beautiful daughters and a stepson and is happily married to Bob Lang.
HARRY MCDONALD, retired school counselor – spiritual director ACIM
Grand Junction, CO
Harry McDonald is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor and school guidance counselor. He was Spiritual Director at United Church of Christ and has led and taught spiritually-centered workshops and classes in A Course in Miracles for over 20 years. His first novel, Touched by Love: A Parable for Today, contrasts the path of listening to Divine love with the actions produced by blind belief. Helping others with loss and the personal losses in Harry’s life have contributed to learning about the power of love, acceptance and forgiveness. “Finding life and love in the anguish of loss is part of the story about the some of the most incredible people I know.” Harry’s column will highlight how touching Love generates transformation and healing.
Kettering, OH
Nancy Roberson is a lawyer who has focused her practice on estate planning and probate law for over 20 years. She received her B.A. degree in English from Indiana University in 1971 and her J.D. degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1981, where she was a member of the Editorial Board for the University of Dayton Law Review. Nancy has served as chairperson of the Dayton Bar Association’s Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Committee and president of the Dayton Trust and Estate Planning Group. She is board-certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in the area of Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law.
Nancy’s interest in the fields of estate planning and probate law grew out of her experience of being widowed at the age of 27 when her daughter, Amy, was 2 years old. Amy is now 34, married and working for her mother. Nancy has been married to Bob Roberson for 25 years. She serves on several non-profit boards and co-founded and co-facilitates the Young Widows’ Support Group. In addition, she is actively involved with her church and her family’s common interest in basketball.
Nancy has presented the “Are you Prepared?” seminar for many years and co-authored the workbook “Solutions” in 1994 with Pam Walker.
HAROLD IVAN SMITH, author - teacher - speaker - counselor - certified funeral celebrant
Kansas City, MO
Grief Stories
Harold Ivan Smith is an exceptional wordsmith and storyteller with a talent for helping people view information from a new perspective. Through his stories listeners and readers say, “I never quite thought of it that way before.” Harold Ivan leads “Grief Gatherings” – innovative storytelling groups at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO, and at workshops and trainings across the country for hospice and pastoral leadership conferences. Harold Ivan is a Fellow in Thanatology, recognized by the Association for Death Education and Counseling, a board member of ADEC, a faculty member of the American Academy of Grief and an adjunct professor in the doctoral program at Northern Baptist Seminary. Author of GriefKeeping: Learning How Long Grief Takes, The ABC’s of Grief and many more.
MARGE SWAIN, funeral director
Delta, CO
Marge received her bachelor’s degree in Sec. Education from Northern Michigan University with a double major in sociology and political science. Marge is a certified funeral director in Colorado and has worked in the funeral home industry since 1986. She and husband, Chalmer Swain, own Taylor Funeral Service & Crematory and Mesa View Cemetery in Delta, Colorado. The business is a member of CFDA, NFDA and Select Independent Funeral Homes professional organizations. Marge serves in many fund-raising efforts for Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado and her business has sponsored the Hospice Foundation of America’s National Grief Teleconference for 17 years. She is licensed in Colorado for pre-need insurance purposes and the mother of two children.
Bemidji, MN
Dr. Thompson received his medical education at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in Philadelphia, PA and additional training in psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic. He served two years in the USPHS stationed in a remote Alaskan village on the Yukon River where his interest in rural medicine was kindled. During his 35 years of rural medical practice, Dr. Thompson served as a community hospital hospice consultant and worked as a medical officer in a federal medical prison where he started a hospice program. Dr. Thompson is the author of numerous articles on medical and medical-social topics, and the author of Remembering: The Death of a Child, a poignant story about the loss of his son 18-year-old son, Paul Leslie Thompson. Visit
DR. ALAN D. WOLFELT, Ph.D, C.T., grief counselor - educator – presenter – author
Ft. Collins, CO
Dr. Wolfelt is an internationally noted author, educator and grief counselor. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Recipient of the Association of Death Education and Counseling’s Death Educator Award, Alan is committed to helping people mourn well so they can live well and love well. Among his many books on healing in grief are Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, and The Journey through Grief: Reflections on Healing. Dr. Wolfelt has been a contributor to Living With Loss™ Magazine for more than 15 years. For more information about Dr. Wolfelt, his books and seminars visit: