Peer Grief Support 


November 2021
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Kim Powers delivering harm reduction supplies

She Remembers Their Names and Faces
By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor
When Kim Powers is haunted by memories of people she tried desperately to save in her years as a harm reductionist, she turns to a journal she keeps with pictures, stories, and anecdotes about each one of them. “There are 167 faces and stories in it from seven years of work in Hyannis -- and I will never forget any of them,” she says. Sometimes Kim grabs a picture from the obituary or from Facebook, but the important message is that it’s healing for her to look back and remember their names. She never forgets their faces.


Hamblin’s bog by Kerry J. Bickford

Balancing Grief with Gratitude 
By Kerry J. Bickford, VOICES Editor
Gratitude is a word that comes up often this time of year. Although it is a reverent expression of grace for some, it’s also a word that can trigger conflicting emotions for others. We can be grateful for the food on our table while others go hungry. We can feel grateful for a roof over our heads when others are homeless. We can be grateful for our children’s success while other children struggle, fail, and even die. How do you reconcile gratitude with the agony of such tragedies, and how do you balance it with grief?

Darlene Mersereau and her son, Christopher Chase
Peer Grief Helper Profile: Darlene Mersereau
By Kerry J. Bickford, Voices Editor
Darlene Mersereau grew up in South Boston in a family where addiction was always a factor. She watched as members of her family struggled, either due to personal use or the impacts of others’ illness, and does not recall ever receiving any support from “outside.” Years later, when her son Christopher Chase began to struggle, she remembers that “all my energy went to fighting addiction” but without knowing where and how to find the right support. When his battle ended, on October 15, 2016, Darlene moved “from external quiet and internal chaos” to complete quiet. There was nothing left to fight, and a new occupant had taken up residence in her heart named grief. 


Former NHL Player Tells it Straight
By Kerry J. Bickford, Voices Editor
Conversations are opening up about addiction in ways we could never have imagined. It took a national health crisis and a catastrophic rise in overdose deaths to open the closet door and let the stigma out. When people we admire (athletes, musicians, scholars, etc.) do finally “come out,” it seems there are several messages.


Holiday Bill of Rights Offers Choices to Bereaved
By Tanya Lord, SADOD Director
They’re here, no matter how much we might wish they weren’t. The holidays, I mean. While everyone else seems to be looking forward to celebrations, observances and gatherings, many are adjusting to the fact that this holiday will be quite different from those in the past. Invitations begin to arrive, but those who have lost a loved one are not in the mood. Oftentimes, a well-meaning friend or colleague will try to coax someone into attending the festivities and “forgetting about that (grief) for a while.” Anyone who is grieving will tell you this is not possible.

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