Unexpected Life Events

For those experiencing grief from unexpected life events











Following the experience of a traumatic event, the survivors can experience anxiety, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, along with possible sleep disturbances and appetite changes. Many times the symptoms will resolve within a month but if it does not then the survivor may be experiencing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Kathy Cherven

Individual counseling

for Adults, Adolescents, and Children

Family Counseling

for up to 8 family members

Parents Counseling

Grieving the death of a child

Unexpected life events:


 Job loss:

When an unexpected job loss is experienced, the person’s self-esteem, sense of purpose, and identity could be affected. If the person who lost their job was the main source of income, the insecurities of paying the bills and household expenses is threatened which could cause conflict within the family. Since self-esteem could be lowered, looking for another job can be challenging. The above reactions need to be addressed to help the individual adjust to the current situation and to look for another job with confidence.



When a couple marries it’s with the expectation that the marriage will last through the good times and bad as the marriage vows stated but when a marriage fails , the hopes and dreams are destroyed. When a partner asks for divorce and the other had no idea, it can be traumatic. There is often a sense of failure and/or betrayal causing one to question the quality of the relationship from the start.

Divorce is even more devastating when children are involved threatening their sense of security and many times feeling as they should be taking sides.

A break up of any kind affects identity and sense of purpose, along with trust issues in other relationships. Counseling provides a safe environment in which to confront those concerns, learn from the past and make healthy decisions in the future.

Disenfranchised grief:



Death by suicide is very tragic because there are so many unanswered questions for survivors. Many times a survivor feels guilty that they could have missed signs that their loved one was so depressed and feel the suicide could have been prevented.

Survivors of suicide are also hesitant to share their grief bec of the perceived stigma associated with suicide in our society. Some survivors also feel angry for their loved one for “abandoning” them and a sense of betrayal for not trusting them enough to tell them how broken they were.

Many survivors also feel uncomfortable sharing in a general grief support group comparing their loss to others whose loved ones died from other causes. Some feel embarrassed to share feeling they themselves will be judged by others for being a “less than” parent, friend, or partner.

Survivors of suicide need a safe place to work through all of the unanswered questions, forgive their loved one and carry on their memory with love and compassion.


Death due to addiction:

As soon as the family learns that their teen is addicted, the dynamics of the family changes from one of normalcy to one of chaos, affecting the entire family. The results of addiction are devastating as the family grieves the loss of the hopes and dreams for the teen and entire family. Much of the time and effort is spent in and out of treatment centers, with hopes rising and then crashing when the teen relapses.  There is no escaping the reality they could receive a call telling them their teen has died from an overdose.

When that call does come, every parent would exchange the death for the chaos of the addiction.

Again, there is the stigma associated with addiction and a fear that the parents will be judged as failures and more importantly fear their child’s image will be tainted because of their choices.

The grief for these parents and families is very complex and complicated because they started grieving with the discovery of the addiction but the focus was on saving their child. Now, the family grieves all of it; the failed treatments, the calls from the police saying their teen has been arrested, court dates and sometimes incarceration;  the family dynamics and now the death to which it feels like the grief will never end.

Since many parents actually find their child dead in their home, there is the PTSD that occurs. A parent will initiate CPR until EMS arrives and they have that memory of those moments of terror forever ingrained in their brain.

Specific groups are offered to families providing a nonjudgmental environment in which to share stories never shared and to feel a connection to other family and friends who understand.

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103 E. Jefferson St., Morris, IL  60450  |  (815) 416-9036

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