Eilene Zimmerman on Losing Her Ex-Husband to a Secret Drug Addiction

Grow Through It: Family Secrets and Loss & Grief

Eilene Zimmerman, author of the memoir Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy tells the story of losing her ex-husband to complications of a secret IV drug addiction. Peter hadn’t seemed right for some time before he died — he behaved oddly, lost weight and hair, looked unhealthy, and kept losing and forgetting things. Since he was a hard working partner in a prestigious law firm, the last thing Eilene suspected was drugs. (more…)

Carolyn DeFord on Growing Through Her Mother’s Disappearance

Grow Through It: Loss & Grief

Carolyn DeFord’s mother Leona Kinsey disappeared in 1999. She went to the store to meet a man and never returned. At the time of her disappearance, she was in active addiction. Law enforcement did not investigate immediately, as her mother was over 18 and had the right to go somewhere else if she so chose. A member of the Puyallup Tribe, DeFord learned about the cycle of life from her mother. She tapped into missing persons support groups online and shared her story with others. She discovered the MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) movement. DeFord learned about responding to trauma, about the system, the risk factors for hurt and harm, and to forgive her mom. She suggests being persistent and not giving up if someone you love disappears. Deford recommends honoring your feelings and walking the healing journey with others.

Anjum Coffland on Growing Through the Trauma of Losing Her Daughters

Grow Through It: Loss & Grief

Anjum Coffland describes going through a divorce and her husband killing her two teenage daughters Tiffany and Brittany before shooting her in the legs and then killing himself. After the murders, Anjum went into survival mode and gets through it day by day. She pushes herself in hopes that she will be with her girls again one day. She advocates for changing gun laws so that it is not as easy for someone to get a gun when they are going through a divorce and in an upset state of mind. She believes that one phone call could have saved her family. She acknowledges that it takes time to heal and encourages anyone going through something similar to keep going, keep pushing. “Don’t give up on yourself,” she says.

Joelle Wright-Terry on Surviving COVID and Becoming a COVID Widow

Grow Through It: Health Issues & Illness and Loss & Grief

Joelle Wright-Terry, retired Detroit police officer and hospice chaplain, tells her story of surviving COVID and becoming a COVID widow. She grew through it by the grace of God. She learned how to trust in God, survive, and take over her husband’s business. She encourages everyone to take everyday as it comes and tell your loved ones you love them.

Gabriel Nathan on the Loss of a Dream

Grow Through It: Loss & Grief

Gabriel Nathan, Editor of OC87 Recovery Diaries, describes the loss of a dream when he pursued a career in law enforcement in his 20s, ultimately dropping out after failing a required physical test. Over time, he came to a place of acceptance, instead of disappointment.

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