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  • Writer's pictureEllen Krohne

Just When I Thought It Was Over...

I don’t watch horror movies any more. I hate that feeling of being scared and out of control, so I just say “No.” I especially dislike the ones where you think the worst is over, you can take a breath, nothing more horrific can happen, and then, SHOCKER, it does!

I’m feeling like that now about the Coronavirus pandemic. I thought the nation was on a downward trajectory of new cases, getting it under some control, when NO, cases are climbing, hospitals are overwhelmed, and more people are dying. We are confused about what to do, go out or stay in and it feels out of control again.

Several of the parents in Heartbroken – Grief and Hope Inside the Opioid Crisis, the book my co-authors and I published last year, had that same feeling about their child. Their child’s substance use disorder had been treated successfully and they were finally doing so good. Until “NO!” Their child used drugs again and lost their battle. Eric’s mother, Laura, describes it this way on page 148 of the book,

After those months of Eric being clean, I was caught off guard. If it had happened before his treatment, I was ready. Prepared, I was always expecting that call. Not this one. This didn’t make sense. Couldn’t be.

Diana Cuddeback, Heartlinks Grief Center Director and co-author of Heartbroken, explains how this type of shock causes traumatic grief in the book. She gives useful advice on the part stigma plays in the parent’s grief and ways to cope with traumatic grief.

Grief, not just traumatic grief, can feel this way, too. A feeling like it’s over. A string of good days or weeks, where things feel like they are more “normal” and then SHOCKER!, it feels like day one all over again. Like you hadn’t been through months of pain already.

When we get this out of control feeling, this shock, it’s hard but important to recognize that it’s a normal part of the grieving process. Kind of like aftershocks from an earthquake. They come, and eventually, they stop.

It’s hard to keep faith that our strength is enough to get us through, though. Please know that in Southwestern Illinois, you are not alone.

Heartlinks Grief Center, based in Belleville, IL, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, can help with techniques to manage grief, like group support, and individual counseling, mindfulness and meditation. They serve all in the Southwestern Illinois region. Even in this pandemic, Heartlinks staff is here for you – with group support and individual counseling via virtual techniques. They’ll be back in person when it is safe to be together, too.

Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay. If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email

Proceeds from the sale of We Lost Her and Heartbroken are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center.

Be blessed,


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