Bereaved Ask, Could It Have Been Prevented? Three key questions can affect people’s grief in the wake of a death caused by drugs or alcohol. Two of those questions — “Why did my person die from substance use?” and “Did my person intend to die?” — were covered in previous issues of VOICES. The third …

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Sarah Morse


“It is their voices I hear … each day” By Sarah Morse, Guest Contributor “Did you hear about Ben?”  I had been both expecting and praying I would never hear those five little words for 14 years. That one tiny sentence was enough to bring me to my knees. You see, nothing can ever prepare …

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Tristan and Kathryn


Peer Grief Helper Profile: Kathryn Stygles Peirce By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor In 2017, Kathryn Peirce was approached by Natick 180, “a community coalition that brings together a wide range of people and resources from around Natick to address the factors that contribute to addiction.” They asked if she would be interested in sponsoring …

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David Kessler Sr and Jr


Kessler’s “Finding Meaning” Follows Loss of Son David Kessler has spent thousands of hours with people all over the world studying, witnessing, teaching, and writing about grief, and he is the co-author of On Grief and Grieving with Elisabeth Kubler Ross, whose On Death and Dying has been studied and critiqued perhaps more than any …

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Love Ceramic Display


Meaning Is Found in Acts of Love By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor Back in 1975 when I was a psychology major in college, I took a class, “On Death and Dying,” where I was introduced to the five stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her groundbreaking book by the same name. It …

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Thanksgiving Word Cloud


Find a Source of Comfort on Thanksgiving Day By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor This year, traditional Thanksgiving gatherings are being altered by safety protocols designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic. For those who are already grieving the loss of a loved one, the increased isolation can mean facing even …

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Kathy and her son


Peer Grief Helper Profile: Kathy Leonard By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor On December 16, 2014, Kathy Leonard and Jonathan Testa, her only child, were having a heart to heart talk about addiction and their seven-year journey together through the ups and downs of recovery. Jonathan was lamenting the time he had lost and feeling …

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Mom and Son


Mother Tells Story of Grief During COVID By Judy Kelly, Guest Contributor Losing my 28-year-old son Geoffrey to substance use disorder at the beginning of the pandemic was a heart wrenching and turbulent experience that is still difficult to bear six months later. I didn’t think I could possibly survive the devastation and heartache I …

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Hiker on Summit


He ‘Walks the Walk’ in Memory of His Friend By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor There are approximately 22 million Americans in recovery, which makes it inevitable that most of them have lost someone they know to overdose. It’s hard to know exactly how many people are grieving the loss of someone while working on …

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Man reflected in mirror


Helping the Helpers Deserves More Attention In the midst of the overdose epidemic, it is troubling how little help is available for providers who support people in recovery. Because of the high risk of overdose and death among the people they serve, it is vital to look at how healthcare providers can be supported after …

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