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Sharing the Journey from Bereaved to Shining Light Parent

We are Here to Listen

Our wonderful Caring Listeners are willing to talk in person, by phone, or by Zoom. They each are bereaved parents who are now shining brightly – most of the time – and want to help others.  Our 30 Caring Listeners, led by Dr. Mark Pitstick and Lynn Hollahan, are listed below by alphabetical order.  We also have Spanish-Speaking, French-speaking, Italian-Speaking, Cantonese-Speaking, Romanian-Speaking and Hindi-Speaking and Russian-Speaking Caring Listeners.

As Caring Listeners, we understand and have been on this path of healing, navigating our way with the help of others. We want to offer this help to you as well, with a shoulder to lean on, a voice of comfort, and resources. 
As Caring Listeners, we cannot counsel you or guide you, but we can listen and offer a direction that feels safe.  Please know that we are all here to do whatever we can to provide tools and peace. Note: please be sure to be a member of our Facebook group, Helping Parents Heal, prior to reaching out.
Blessings and love,
~The Caring Listening Team
PS - Please check the location of each Caring Listener to be aware of his or her timezone. 
Head - Caring Listeners

Dr Mark Pitstick

Head - Caring Listeners

Mark Pitstick, MA, DC, has over forty-seven years’ experience and training in hospitals, pastoral counseling settings, mental health centers and private practice. His training includes a premedical degree, graduate theology/pastoral counseling studies, masters in clinical psychology, and doctorate in chiropractic health care.  He also has provided suicide prevention counseling and education to many people. 

He is the creator of the Caring Listeners and has worked with Helping Parents Heal for many years as a Board Member and as a columnist for the monthly newsletter.

Please learn more at

Mark lives in Ohio.

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 मैं हिंदी बोलते हैं

Manisha Akauri

मैं हिंदी बोलते हैं

I lost my only child Yash in October 2018. Needless to say I was distraught, in despair and deep grief. Through a series of synchronicities, I was led to Helping Parents Heal whose members offer support on your bad days, cheer you on the good days and remind you that things will get better. With the many discussions on afterlife on the group, medium readings and signs I know that I still have an ongoing relationship with my child. Through this group I hope to offer the same compassion, hope and empathy to other parents in similar situation as us. I speak Hindi and am available by FaceTime, email and phone.

Manisha lives in Bangalore.

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Allison and David Alison

David and Allison Alison

We are the parents of three amazing adult children: Jocelyn, Davey and Julia. Our son Davey transitioned on July 20, 2016; he was involved in a solo car accident at the age of 24. 

David: I am an engineer with a science perspective and at the time of my son’s transition viewed consciousness as a byproduct of the brain. When the brain died, all that person was ceased to exist. That didn’t stop the feeling that my son was still around and trying to communicate with me. I learned that there is ample evidence that consciousness can and does survive physical death, which led me on a spiritual journey I documented in my book, Finding Davey. I find myself called to be of service to other parents that are struggling with grief. I will listen, answer questions, and share the tools I found that helped me develop a wonderful ongoing relationship with my son in spirit.

Allison: I had been on a spiritual journey prior to Davey’s transition, and this guided me to know that he was not gone. When people said, “I’m sorry for your loss”, I knew they were wrong. He was physically gone but I knew he was still here. I made it my mission to find a way to communicate with him. Through a lot of research and meditation, I have been able to do that. I want to help others do that too. In my career as an attorney and teacher, I have learned to listen to others and want to do that for other struggling parents. You are not alone, and you can feel joy again.

David and Allison live in Delaware.

David: 703-957-9405

Allison: 856-395-0988

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Carol Allen

Hello I am so honored to be able to participate as a Caring Listener. HPH has been an amazing tool for me during this journey that we call grief. My husband and I raised our two boys in Cave Creek, AZ. My oldest son is TJ and my baby Tyler is forever 19. Tyler gained his angel wings on May 14th 2015 when he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle. Tyler is always with me as are your children. He has Proven this so many times. I look forward to helping you in your healing journey.

Carol lives in Arizona.

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Lisa Arnold

My ever present spiritual journey became most evident when my middle son, my free spirited child named Derek, transitioned at 20 years old from an accidental overdose in September 2020. I was immediately on a quest to find like minded individuals that could support me on this unchartered journey to further connect to my boy. Helping Parents Heal became that life line. My husband, Jim, and I have 3 boys, Devin, Derek, and Dylan. Our 3Ds. We fortunately always believed life doesn’t end simply because the body does. Derry is included in our everyday lives just like his brothers. He has taught me so much from his perspective. Our children are always with us and I couldn’t feel more grateful.
Lisa lives in South Carolina
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Vorbesc Romaneste

Claudia Ardelean

Vorbesc Romaneste

Claudia Ardelean lives in Toronto. Her darling Emma was diagnosed on March 2016 with osteosarcoma, the same type of cancer that Terry Fox had. She was 12 years old and she was a provincial gymnast before. She transitioned on April 7, 2019, not before she told Claudia, “Mom, even if I am not going to be here with you to see me, I will be here in spirit, I will send you signs and you will know that is me”. Sure enough, Emma delivers every single day and Claudia is so grateful to be open to receiving her love and guidance. Please watch Emma's video from 'Romania's Got Talent', where she was invited to participate as a talented gymnast: Here is another short video where Emma talks about her cancer:

Claudia lives in Ontario.

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Je parle français

Elizabeth Boisson

Je parle français

Two of Elizabeth's children have transitioned; her daughter, Chelsea, in 1991 and her son, Morgan, in 2009 from severe altitude sickness while on a student trip to the Base Camp of Mt Everest in Tibet. Immediately after, Elizabeth created the Facebook group Parents United in Loss. Then in 2012 she joined forces with Mark Ireland to form Helping Parents Heal. Elizabeth is a certified yoga instructor and teaches yoga for healing grief. She is the President and Co-Founder of Helping Parents Heal, the Newsletter Editor and the Affiliate Leader of the Phoenix/Scottsdale HPH group.

Elizabeth lives in Arizona.

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Patti Brennan

In 2004 my only child, Rachael, passed from ingesting peanuts. I faced the darkest time of my life then, and it took years for me to recognize she never left, she simply transformed. She sent me signs, but I couldn’t always see them, I suffered from guilt and remorse and that deepened my grief. It wasn’t until I was able to communicate with her, through the guidance of mediums, that I was able to begin healing. I learned to forgive myself and be grateful to still have her in my life. Since then, I’ve developed a relationship with others in my life who’ve passed, as well as my higher power. My husband and my soul mate passed one year ago, but I feel his presence, love, and support. I still experience some dark times, particularly in light of our present global challenge, but I know they are my eternal lifeline to helping my soul grow.

Patti lives in Arizona.

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Mabel Chan


Mabel Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong when it was a British colony. She trained as a Clinical Social Worker in the U.S.A. She and her husband moved to Canada in the early 1980s and now live in British Columbia.
As a young student, Mabel’s school curriculum included the study of ancient Chinese literature, the Bible, and the works of Shakespeare. She has traveled the world, learning to embrace all cultures, and she considers her son Leo to be her greatest teacher. Meningitis took Leo's life soon after he returned to the University of Victoria after the Holiday break in January 2012.  She is the author of the book “The Infinite Bond” inspired by her son Leo who has given her the messages from across the veil.

Mabel lives in British Columbia.

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Dolores Cruz

I am the mother of 4 children – Nick, Jessica, Vanessa and Eric. Our youngest child, Eric, transitioned at the age of 24 in May of 2017 as the result of an automobile accident. As you all know from experience, we were devastated and lost. We had no idea how to go on with our lives. By a “coincidence” I was contacted by a cousin of a cousin who I didn’t even know, who told me about Helping Parents Heal. This amazing organization changed my life. I found my way out of the dark hole I was in, and found hope and healing. I remain connected to Eric through the many signs he sends, which I learned to recognize through the many members of HPH who share their connections as well. I can’t imagine where I’d be without this wonderful healing group.

Dolores lives in California.

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Pamela Demars

Hello! I am a mother of 3 adult children. My middle and only son Brandon, 35, transitioned on Christmas Day of 2017. It was sudden and unexpected, of a massive heart attack next to me. This journey has definitely been difficult, but I’ve learned so much from this HPH group. I’ve learned hope, gratefulness, love and most of all healing. I am here to listen, share and send healing love to any parent who is experiencing this walk we are traveling.

Pamela lives in Minnesota.

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Nancy Hejna

I am mother to four incredible children Katie, Maggie, Will and Joe.  Both of my sons left this earth two years apart at age 26.  Will passed from an accidental overdose in 2016, and Joe from a car accident in 2018 on the day of his sisters wedding. To say this seemed beyond comprehension is an understatement.  Armed with the clear sense my boys could not possibly be just gone, I began a fervent search which led me to Helping Parents Heal with all its compassion and collective wisdom. I read many books, cultivated tools, and continue to this day the spiritual journey which has led me to know” our relationships continue.  I am fortunate to live near the shores of Lake Michigan and draw inspiration from nature, the joyful energy of my beautiful daughters and grandchildren, and undeniable signs from my sons. I hope to support anyone on this difficult path in the best way possible. 

Nancy lives in Northwest Indiana



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Lynn Hollahan - Point of Contact/Caring Listeners

Lynn & Jeff Hollahan

Lynn Hollahan - Point of Contact/Caring Listeners

We are the parents of two beautiful children, Devon and Kelsey.  In November of 2009, we received a telephone call which changed our lives: Our son Devon had gone missing in Frankfurt, Germany.  After a month-long search, our worst fears were realized when his body was found in the Main River, downstream from Frankfurt.  Our world shattered; we wandered our house aimlessly until Devon began to make his presence known through mediums and signs.  These amazing and unmistakable signs proved beyond any doubt that not only was Devon NOT gone, he was, in fact, very present in our lives! 

Our connection to HPH goes back almost to the founding of the group when we were introduced to Elizabeth Boisson and Mark Ireland.  We are blessed to have had our journey become part of the book, Still Right Here, by Suzanne Giesemann, and we are eternally grateful for the miraculous bonds we have formed with other HPH members! 

Through Devon’s continued antics, we have found joy, peace and comfort.  Our fondest wish is to be able to help you achieve the same.  Here’s to moving forward together, living our best lives!

Lynn is a Founding Member and a Co-Affiliate Leader of Helping Parents Heal - Scottsdale Book Club.  She is also the point of contact for our Caring Listeners.

Jeff is a Board Member and the Co-Affiliate Leader of Helping Parents Heal - Scottsdale Book Club.

Jeff Hollahan: 602-571-4547


Lynn and Jeff live in Arizona.

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Lisa Laniewski

I am a teacher and a counselor by education, married to a retired Army officer. Less than three months after our precious daughter, Amber, transitioned in November 2014, at the age of 25 from an eating disorder that triggered an accidental overdose, we were dealt yet another blow. My husband’s boss, the owner of his company, also transitioned quite unexpectedly, and within a matter of weeks, my husband was without the job that we had really planned our lives around. We decided not to make any more dramatic changes during those early months of grieving and to spend the months ahead learning all we could about where our daughter was and how we could continue to maintain communication as well as our family relationships on both sides of this veil. Much reading, attending conferences, meeting with mediums and joining groups combined to lead us to Helping Parents Heal where we hope to learn even more ways to share our love and be of service to those who need a hug, a hand, a shoulder or an ear.

Lisa lives in Florida.

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Paige Lee

Paige's spiritual awakening came abruptly and forcefully after her 23-year old son, Bryan, was murdered in September 2008. Just as the only world she’d ever known was shattered, a new world opened. A world filled with Hope, Spirit, and Love; a world that allowed her not only to continue having a relationship with her son, but a world that opened her own true self into being.
Paige is dedicated to helping people who have experienced a profound loss, especially the loss of a child, face and release their emotions and find a way to joyfully connect with their loved one in Spirit.
She is the author of Choose to Believe, a beautiful book that shares her after death experiences with Bryan and encourages the reader to make connections with their loved ones after death. Our loved ones are not lost, they are not gone...we can still have a relationship with them! Paige is a certified Grief Recovery Specialist, an Intuitive Grief Coach and a level II Reiki practitioner. She is also a life coach, certified through Mary Morrissey's Dreambuilder program.
A former Helping Parents Heal Affiliate Director in Boise, Idaho, Paige lives with her husband Dwaine. They love to travel and spend as much time as they can with their two remaining children and five grandchildren.
Paige lives in Idaho.
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Hablo Español

Conrado Leslie

Hablo Español

I lost my only child to a terrorist attack in France in 2016.  He was 20, my best friend, and center of my universe.  I used to love life but soon feared it.  My marriage and future were looking dim.  But visitations, amazing signs, and messages from Nick convinced me that there is a higher reality. I was able to find joy in life again and my marriage is stronger than ever.  I believe my son is somewhere safe, surrounded by love, and is doing the heavy lifting for me.   For 30 years, I managed environmental, geotechnical, and oceanographic investigations.  I enjoy reading about the strangeness of quantum physics, and I am fascinated by the flexibility of time as described by Einstein’s special relativity.  I am a waterman and learned to enjoy again kitesurfing, surfing, diving, fishing, and swimming.  I grew up in Spain and speak Spanish fluently.

Conrado lives in Hawaii.

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Hablo Español, Io Parlo Italiano

Paola Leslie

Hablo Español, Io Parlo Italiano

My only child Nicolas was a victim of a terrorist attack in France on July 14, 2016. He was 20, and a student at UC Berkeley.  Nicolas was the greatest joy in my life. After the tragedy, I suffered from complicate grief and depression. I did not think that I was going to survive.  However, I soon discovered that Nicolas never left my side. I received many signs, messages and dream visitations that convinced me that Nicolas was still with me. Nicolas guided me towards the light, and with his persistent spiritual presence, he showed me that it was possible to find Joy in life again.  I enjoy reading books about the afterlife, lucid dreaming, and Out of Body Experiences. I currently live in Hawaii with my husband. Nicolas continues to be an enormous part of our life.  I was born in Italy; and I speak Italian and Spanish.

Paola lives in Hawaii.

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Joyce Lupp McLaughlin

Hello...I am the mother of three beautiful daughters, two are in spirit.  My youngest daughter, Holly, our precious special needs child, passed at age 2 from a seizure disorder and failure to thrive.  This was a horrible loss to our young family to say the least.  My oldest daughter, Michelle, was tragically murdered in April 2013 at age 45.  It was the darkest of days for me and my family.  I honestly didn’t think I could survive the loss of another child.  A long time friend called me early on when I was experiencing my darkest moments and said I needed to read Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander.  Reluctantly, I ordered the book and was able to read it (not all at one time) through so many tears ... although it was difficult, it seemed to propel me to search for “more”.  Through this journey I found a medium who connected with my daughter, Michelle; changed my focus from depression to hope; from hope to realizing my children are still with me and have been giving me signs and evidence of their presence, I just needed to open my heart to what “is”.  Finding Helping Parents Heal has been so instrumental in my healing process and am hoping to help, listen and share with other parents on their journey.

Joyce lives in Tennessee.
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Rosanne Norris

My name is Rosanne Norris. I am the proud mother of five children and six grandchildren. On January 9, 2018, our middle son, Lee, age 30, left this earth plane due to a carbon monoxide poisoning in his home.

Out of this most unimaginable pain was born a seeking of the truth which lead me to Helping Parents Heal. I want to dedicate my life to helping other parents suffering from the crushing loss of their child. Together, we will support and guide each other on our journey to becoming shining light parents.  Rosanne is the author of a book about her son Lee, 'BeLEEve'.  

Rosanne lives in New York.

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Janean Quigley

I am married and mom to 4 children, my oldest, in spirit since September 4, 2016 by suicide.  There are no words to adequately capture the despair and devastation that the whole family has endured since Sean left our dimension to relieve pain that we didn’t understand nor have the ability to cure.  He was the “stable one”, the wise beyond his years one, the one that everyone admired and depended on for fun and kindness.  
I described my heart as hamburger spread out on the pavement with no hope of ever recovering a beating loving rhythm again.  That is when I met Elizabeth Boisson and several other shining light parents and things began to shift. I recognized that they looked joyful while I knew that they understood my pain like none of my other friends, though well meaning, ever could.  I clung on, began going to meetings and using the online Facebook meetings and my healing journey began.  I now see that having my heart pulverized allowed the light to come in like it never could have before.  I am on a daily search for the Greater Reality and for a connection with Sean.  The signs are so undeniable.  They bring so much joy and comfort.  The growth that has occurred since then is the silver lining and I know that Sean is proud of the steps that I continue to take to reach and expand. 
Since then, I have begun my own local chapter of HPH and help to moderate the Helping Parents Heal Moving Forward After Suicide FB site.   Talking to other parents who have experienced the loss of a child feels so natural and necessary. I am extending an outstretched hand to you as was given to me.  I urge you to take it and begin your own path to recovery and peace.  
Janean lives in Flagstaff, AZ.
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John Rooks

I raised my two sons, Jon and Michael, as a single parent, and in December of 1990, two days after his 17th birthday, Michael, was involved in a hit and run that left him in a coma that resulted in his passing 8 days later.  During these days of confusion and severe emotional trauma, I had people that I never met, reach our to me and offer everything from simple friendship, to a kind listening ear if I felt like talking  Had it now been for these caring persons offering their compassion, my road to dealing with the terrible of loss of my son would have been unbearable.

After all of these years, I can still feel Michael’s presence in everything I do.  To be able to share my story with others who have suffered the same loss in so healing, and it allows me to feel normal in my emotions when I hear others share their stories.  HPH gives us HOPE which is one of the most needed, and important, gifts that any of us can receive.

John lives in California.

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Laurie Savoie

Laurie Savoie, married to Tom mother of three, turned her grief and sadness after the passing of her son, Garrett, into a life-changing passion to help others and is involved in Helping Parents Heal as the secretary and active participant. Laurie joined HPH when it was in its infancy, in 2011.

In addition, Laurie is involved in HOPE ASAP (an online Facebook group started by Jennifer Dulski for people who have lost loved ones to addiction), Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary, a Senior Dog rescue saving so many four legged souls, and providing a healing service, Reiki with Messages at Eric’s House in Paradise Valley, AZ, all to make people and the World feel better. Laurie is also a Grief Companion for Eric’s House. Her family has also created a book called The Ripple Effect: Invisible Impact of Suicide. Every penny made from book sales goes toward buying more books which are donated to suicide prevention groups, schools, therapists, doctors, libraries, and families who have lost loved ones to suicide – in essence, anyone who has the desire to lift up someone’s life. To know you are not alone and you are loved.

Laurie is also featured in two documentaries: Life to Afterlife: Mom, can you hear me? and Life to Afterlife: I Want to Talk to The Dead.

Laurie lives in Scottsdale, AZ.

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Я говорю по русски 

Elly Sheykhet

Я говорю по русски 

Hello! My name is Elly and I was born and raised in Russia. I am a proud mother to two children, Artem and Alina. In October of 2017, on my son’s birthday, my husband and I found my beautiful daughter brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She was only twenty years old. I didn’t think that I could survive this pain. Fast forward three years later – not only am I surviving life, but I am also thriving in life. My grieving process has led me to develop a deeper understanding of life and death; I found myself fluttering between the physical world and the spirit world. I have a strong connection with my daughter. I feel her presence constantly and communicate with her on a daily basis. Although she is not here physically, I know that she still stands by me every day. I’m extremely grateful for the love and support provided by HPH. I channeled my grief into writing my first book: One Year After. I am hopeful that my writing can serve as a fellow bereaved parent’s “survival guide”. I am also a certified Grief Coach and am the vice president of Alina’s Light, a nonprofit organization founded in Alina’s memory. I hope to bring light and healing to the broken hearts of others and prove that gratitude after grief exists.
Elly lives in Pittsburgh
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Brian and Tywana Smith

Brian and Tywana Smith's daughter Shayna Elayne, whose name means “Beautiful Light”, transitioned on June 24, 2015 at 15 years of age. Shayna was a force while on Earth and continues to be a force after her transition. The couple has had many visits from Shayna, including sessions with mediums where she came through loud and clear. After her passing they began experiencing a series of synchronistic events that led them to Mark Ireland, Elizabeth Boisson, and Mark Pitstick. The unique connection of events was undeniable and helped them understand that it was their destiny to start a chapter of Helping Parents Heal. They are Co-Affiliate Leaders of the Helping Parents Heal - Online group and Brian is a Board Member. Brian also founded a Grief Support Group, 'Grief 2 Growth'.

Brian and Tywana live in Ohio.

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Suzi Smith

I am the mother of three beautiful sons. One in spirit. In 2004 my 23-year-old son, Alex, died from suicide. This life-changing event led to a deep and dark depression, but ultimately to a life of volunteering. In an attempt to break through this depression, I began to volunteer at a local hospice. I found this work to be truly healing. I then began to volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. I feel strongly that working with, and listening to, others helped greatly in healing my own traumatic grief. My mission now is to give hope to parents who have lost children and are in great despair. I feel that spirit led me to an interest in the afterlife which has been transformational. I have had numerous experiences with several very talented evidential mediums who were able to connect me to my son. This has opened up a world I never knew existed and a continuing relationship with my son on the other side.

I would love to help parents who question whether their pain will ever go away. I, myself, wondered that at one time. I am here to speak with, but mainly listen to, anyone who is currently walking this challenging path. I hope in the role as a Caring Listener to be able to soften the hard edges of other parents grief.

Suzi lives in Virginia.

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Irene Vouvalides

I lost my best friend, my only child, my beautiful 24 year old daughter Carly Elizabeth Hughes to esophageal-gastric cancer on February 17th, 2013. Like so many of us who have experienced this devastating loss my daughter’s passing sent me on a spiritual quest. I have found friends and comfort through this remarkable group Helping Parents Heal. In the short time since Carly’s passing I have had definite proof that consciousness survives physical death, that Carly is well,and with me always. I have been fortunate to speak with mediums who were able to provide absolute evidence of the afterlife, indisputable information relayed bringing comfort and helping to lighten the heavy weight of grief. With family and Carly’s friends we have created a foundation in her honor- Carly’s Kids A Foundation For Education, I hope you will take the time to read about us and what we are doing in Carly’s memory.

Visit: Carly’s Kids

Irene lives in South Carolina.

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Lisa Wilcoxson

I am the mom of two beautiful boys, both in spirit. Michael Angelo was born in 1988 and crossed in 2000 at the age of 12 from pneumonia. Michael was born very healthy, but had special needs due to having had a severe toxic reaction to his first DPT shot at the age of 4 weeks. Michael never spoke or walked, but taught me more about love than any other human possibly could have. He was as beautiful in life as he is in spirit, and being his mom remains to this day to be the greatest privilege I’ll ever have on this earth. Anthony is my other shining light, and I know he was born as a golden gift. Anthony was six when Michael crossed, and everything I lived for was in Anthony’s eyes. Anthony told me when he was two that he was waiting forever to be born so I could be his Mommy. Then, when he was four, he was crying. He said he was sad because he was going to leave me when he was 18. I thought he meant he was going to college. He was a freshman at Arizona State University when he transitioned from being poisoned by a synthetic drug at a party in 2013. During this dark night of my soul I was able to find my boys again in meditation, and have since learned that Spirit has chosen to use me through mediumship to prove that love never dies. My boys are at my side 24/7, and with this I’ve learned to live peacefully and joyfully having one foot on this earth plane serving Spirit and one foot in the spirit plane with them.

Lisa lives in Arizona

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