What people are saying about Portraits of Hope

Whether you’re a parent who has suffered the loss of a child, or a caregiver wanting to be your best for grief-stricken families, this film is filled with gifts of inspiration. 

It is gentle, powerful, heartbreaking and joyful.  No one hides from the seemingly insurmountable pain brought on by such devastating loss; and everyone shares with brutal honesty their lowest and most difficult times.  But creating a new life—a different life—is possible.  And the parents in Portraits of Hope were courageously generous as they opened their hearts and told their stories.


Grief’s path may be different for all of us, and respect for that is of utmost consideration; but at the same time, the human heart can grow in spite of pain, and the human spirit is resilient beyond it.  When you’re ready, this film offers the kind of hope that grows your soul.

Risa Gordon, Therapist

"Dear griefHaven, I was traveling recently and realized, “I’m in Madrid--I can watch Portraits of Hope now.” Why now? I have always felt scared to watch it--worried that it might make me too sad, worried that I'd be in a place where I would cry and upset people. So I sat down and watched it anyway. And you know what? It was so nice to watch your film in the safety of my girlfriend's house. I didn't say anything about watching it. I just turned it on and watched...and cried a little. It was a really good cross section of everything we do feel. It made me feel “normal.”

Portraits of Hope truly IS a “portrait of hope.” You did a really great job! And because you are all so far ahead of me on this journey, I trust you when you say you have happy moments, days, etc.

Thank you so much for sending Portraits of Hope to me. I am just sorry I waited so long."


Shelley Taylor, Shaka’s Mother, England

"I received my Portraits of Hope DVD last night and couldn't wait to watch it.  I waited for everyone to go to sleep and popped it in.  What a terrific job you all have done.  I was thinking that it would be sad and make you cry but it wasn't like that.  It was so well put together and so informative for friends and family members who just don't "get" it.  I can't wait to share it with my family and friends.  Thank you so much for all that you do for us "lost" parents." (Parent)


    "Your wonderful video arrived yesterday, and my husband and I watched it last night.  I can't express to you how profoundly it affected us.  You couldn't have done anything more meaningful.  We will treasure it always, and share it with some special people we know.


    "I feel like a kindred soul with you, especially after seeing you on the video.  My only child was also my best friend just like Erika was yours.  The things you said on the video were so many of the same things I said and did.  It was like watching myself.  Your husband said many things that mine said, and I think we both understand each other so much better now.  

    "I hope my beloved child will guide me as Erika probably did you.  I, too, am struggling to do something meaningful with my life.  I applaud you for starting Grief Haven.  It has been a godsend to so many people." (Parent)


"Also, I wanted to let you know how helpful it is to share Portraits of Hope with friends who are trying to understand what I am going through. It's such a relief to have this way of letting my friends know that my feelings and reactions are 'normal' considering the magnitude of my loss. It's much easier than constantly trying to explain myself. Blessings and love."

"I really have no idea how to tell you I appreciate you and Erika for bringing us this understanding. I really enjoyed every minute of the video. I was so surprised to show my husband . . . we cried and understood each other in a way we never knew." (Parent) 

"Portraits of Hope is an amazing video that I would recommend to anyone who has lost a child, a brother or sister, or who is a family member trying to help someone who is in the throes of such a loss." (Therapist)

"This professional video includes parents who open their hearts to you, sharing their wisdom and pain as they travel the road of grief. It also includes celebrities who have lost children, as well as specialists and clergy who work in the area of grief. Overall, it is the most comprehensive video on the market, reaching out from its heart into the heart of the viewer, inspiring, uplifting, and giving hope to all. "
Teacher, Special Education

"If you are looking for something to give to someone who has lost a child, this is the greatest gift you could give."

" . . . Portraits of Hope is an important new tool in the grief healing process." (Chaplain)

"I was so glad to have your video to watch when I got home. I think you all did a great job.

I plan to share it with as many people as I can get to watch it. There was just so so much of it that I found myself identifying with....and saying that's exactly how I  felt or feel.  Thank you so much. Hugs to you." (Parent)


"Thank you very much for the letter and DVD.  My wife let me know you sent it and I watched it last night.  I am grateful for your inspiration and hard work.  That must have been difficult but yet rewarding to help so many Grieving Parents.  I'll watch it many times.  I am very proud of her as I'm sure you are of Erika (Angels on our shoulders for sure).  Let me know if there is ever anything I can do.  I am thankful to my wife for finding you." (Parent)


"I did receive the dvd that you sent..portrait of hope...wow..all that I have to say is thank you soo much for taking the time to make the video ..I know for myself I sometimes think I am going crazy and sometimes I think I can not do this any more and sometimes I feel the light of my daughter shining thru me and hearing everybody talk about their journey and how they are doing and the thoughts make me know that I am ok and I am not crazy nor am I alone and I am going to make it.. thank you soo much God Bless" (Parent)



"I received "Portraits of Hope" in the mail yesterday. It is wonderful, validating, and inspiring. Thank you so much for this gift. You are really keeping me going. I also thank you for the website and for the support forum. It would be so much harder for me if I didn't connect 

with others who are enduring this great a loss.  I've made a holiday donation to Grief Haven.  I thank you so much for all your wonderful work, and I wish you a peaceful holiday season with sweet memories to ease the pain of your grief." (Parent)


"Hi,  I watched Portraits of Hope last night with my husband.  It's very impressive, profound, and really professional.  You did a brilliant job, and we are proud to have been a part of making it happen.  Congratulations." (Donor) 



"Thank you so much for the Packet of Hope and especially the video Portraits of Hope. It came at the right time for me because 12/23 is the 9 month anniversary of my son's death and with Christmas here now, it's just been awful trying to get through the days.  It helped me tremendously to watch the video and hear all of those parents express exactly how I've been feeling.  It really does help to know we're not alone in this struggle to go on with life after losing our precious children.  God Bless You for giving so much of yourself in creating this wonderful GriefHaven website where we can all have a place to go in the middle of the night or whenever we are overwhelmed with grief and just sit there and connect with those who truly understand the depths of our grief.  I hope you and Wendell have a peaceful holiday season." (Parent)


"Dearest Erika's Mom......... It is almost 12:30 A.M., I just finished watching the video.  I am overwhelmed with it.  It is beautiful and so well put together.  The scenery, music, everything is really helpful and will be a gift to all who see it." (Parent)


"Portraits of Hope is a personal roadmap through the treacherous path of grief." (Medical Doctor)


"My entire family watched Portraits of Hope together on Christmas morning.....it was an amazing and perfect gift. I am so very proud of you for staying with your dream through the difficult times and for giving grieving parents the fruits of your experiences, to help them through the unthinkable journey of losing a child.  Kudos and thanks to the parents in Portraits of Hope....their willingness to share the most painfully tragic part of their lives is a testament to their incredible compassion and selfless character.  I had an appointment with my therapist yesterday....I gave her a copy of Portraits of Hope, and she is going to watch it and then give it to a friend who has lost her child. I am also going to send a copy to my cousin and his wife; they lost their 12 year old son this past summer when he was tragically hit while riding his new bike...a bike that was his birthday gift.  I look forward to the day when I can give you a great big hug in person :)" (Parent & Donor)

"Few of us are prepared to grieve. But the loss of a child is by far the most difficult and painful loss of all. This video is not only a heartfelt sharing of the wisdom of those who have suffered the loss of a child, but also includes practical suggestions anyone can use."
Marc Klaas - Klaas Kid's Foundation & Beyond Missing (participant in Portraits of Hope)

"This video marked a moment in time where a beautiful idea by one became the fruit and labor of many who gave from their hearts to help others. Portraits of Hope will give hope, courage, strength and love to the masses, and not just parents who have lost a child. This video includes loving and practical wisdom lived by those who have been there, and I highly recommend it to parents, siblings, families, friends, medical professionals, psychologists, and anyone who has personally suffered the loss of a child or any type of personal loss. This video should be available in all medical facilities to be handed out to parents and families in need."
Jack Canfield, co-author, Chicken Soup for the Soul Series (Participant in Portraits of Hope)

"I wish that Portraits of Hope had been available in 1978 and 1982 when we were suffering the loss of our son and then our daughter. This video made me aware that I am 'not alone' and gave me the opportunity to understand the broad spectrum of emotions in dealing with such a devastating loss."
Genie Riordan, Parent (Participant in Portraits of Hope)

"Portraits of Hope is a video that will bring peace and hope to anyone who has lost a loved one, especially to grieving parents. Seeing how others have survived and coped with such a devastating loss brings so much comfort and courage. I highly recommend it!"
Gilda Martindelcampo, Korestar Training (Participant in Portraits of Hope)

"Losing a child is the worst thing in the world. You need to know that you can get through it. The parents in this video tell you how they did it. They provide an inspiring and positive message -- life does get better. If you know someone who has lost a child, we strongly urge you to watch this video. It will help you better understand what the grieving parent needs and how you can help. While dealing with overwhelming grief, this video is life-affirming."
Anne Roberts, Attorney at Law; Wayne Neiman, Studio Executive  (Participant in Portraits of Hope)

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