IN 2017, A GROUP OF WOMEN WHO ALL SUFFERED EARLY MOTHER LOSS came together to form The Conversation: Stories that Matter, a single topic series that highlights personal stories from extraordinary speakers. We were a microcosm of society, from those of us who had made significant contributions in the field of grief and mother loss to everyday woman, united by our mutual loss.

Today, our event has expanded to include the topic of father loss as well as mother loss. It is important that not only women, but also men, speak of the losses that have defined, shaped and inspired their lives. The events, once again in partnership with HBO Family, are part of the famed event, Reimagine End of Life NYC, a week long conference exploring issues of life and death.

On Monday, October 29th, join us for the first day of the Conversation to focus on mother loss and feature a Ted-style talk with acclaimed author Hope Edelman (Motherless Daughters; Motherless Mothers). Our speakers and presenters have a fresh approach in their field and a unique, personal story to tell. Guests will be moved by all speakers and presenters, to include an intimate interview between Joe Primo (CEO, Good Grief) and Cara Belvin ( founder of empowerHER), a discussion between Rebecca Soffer (co-founder of Modern Loss) and author Meghan O'Rourke (The Long Goodbye); and a panel discussion moderated by author and therapist Carole Geithner (If Only).

On Tuesday, October 30th, join us for and event to focus on both mother and father loss. Once again, the audience will be touched by the words of gifted authors Hope Edelman and Denna Babul (The Fatherless Daughters Project), an interview by author and journalist Allison Gilbert (Passed and Present), as well as a panel of men and women who have navigated the course of parent loss.

We invite you to join the Conversation and become part of our hopeful and inspirational storytelling!

— Hope Edelman, Cara Belvin and Cynthia Whipple

Our Partners

Meet The Producers


Hope Edelman is the author of seven nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Possibility of Everything. Her books have been published in 17 countries and 11 languages and have sold nearly a million copies. Motherless Daughters, often considered required reading for any woman who has lost a mother, is now in its third edition is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary in print. More than 40 support groups worldwide have started based on the book.

An expert in the field of early mother loss and mother-daughter relationships, Hope speaks at venues and conferences all over the world and has appeared frequently on television, including Today, Good Morning America, CNN, KTLA, CBC, and Good Morning Australia. Through her coaching business, Lose Live Grow, she helps individuals explore early loss as a means for personal growth. She and Claire Bidwell Smith founded Motherless Daughters Retreats, which runs three-night retreats for motherless women several times per year. She is also a Producer of The Conversation; Stories that Matter.

Hope lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.


Cynthia Dokas Whipple is an attorney who works as a secondary school and college consultant. She is also the co-author of a children's book, Merrilee Mannerly and Her Magnificent Manners, which has been adopted for children's theatre. Merrilee Mannerly, A Magnificent New Musical, is expected to open Off-Broadway during the 2018-2019 season. Cynthia is honored and grateful to be a Producer of The Conversation: Stories that Matter  as well as  The Dinner Conversation examining life after mother loss. She is also an ambassador for empowerHer in Connecticut. It is her hope that this work helps support and inspire young people who have suffered parent loss. Much of her current writing focuses on life after losing both her parents in her early 20s. She lives in Avon, CT with her husband and three children.


Cara Belvin is a social entrepreneur and founder of empowerHER, a nonprofit organization for young girls who have experienced the early loss of their mothers. After losing her mother at age nine, she grew up advocating with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and it was in this role and that she saw a need for more community support for women and girls like herself.  She frequently presents on issues surrounding adversity, women’s empowerment, and social entrepreneurship. Cara is the lead producer of The Conversation: Stories that Matter speaker series, and the episodic digital series The Dinner Conversation about women powering through their grief.  Her efforts to support young girls who have lost their mother have been featured on the ABC Boston Affiliate Channel 5  and on PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff

She has been recognized as a Boston “Game Changer” by famed photographer Bill Brett, one of Boston’s Exceptional Women by Magic 106.7 FM, South Shore Living Magazine’s Women of Influence and a Speak for Thyself award recipient.  Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots recognized Cara as the Myra Kraft Community MVP for her volunteerism and has been featured in numerous media outlets.

Cara lives in a coastal town on the South Shore of Boston with her husband and two children.