You’d love Dina the second you met her. She has an easy smile, a warm openness, and a calm manner. Dina is a midwife but, most of all, she is Dillon’s mom. In 2016, Dillon passed away on his 24th birthday from an accidental opioid overdose. Dina came to Community in Crisis (CIC) wanting to help other parents who had also suffered the same tragic loss and offered to host a monthly grief support group specific to substance passing. She named it ‘Bereavement and Beyond.’
Over the course of the past year, the group has been meeting monthly at the Community Hub, home of CIC. The group has been small – maybe 4 or 5 people at a time – but Dina hasn’t stopped trying to reach more people who have lost loved ones to an overdose. She knows they’re out there hurting, often trapped in a nightmare of grief and stigma.
Then Covid-19 hit. Dina immediately worked with CIC to set up a virtual meeting which was promoted with paid advertising on social media, thanks in part to funding from the Horizon Foundation. Not only has the group tripled in size, but the group has also decided to ‘meet’ every two weeks. Dina says, “Our grief support group at Community in Crisis has created a new space for families who have lost loved ones to overdose. It is groups such as ours that have helped so many through their losses to find the “new normal” way of living without our loved ones. Ours is a group that none of us ever wanted to be a part of, but I am so grateful that we have made a space for each other through our grieving.”
Covid-19 may be a cloud hanging over us all, but it certainly has a silver lining. Dina is a hero who has taken action to make a difference in the face of adversity and turned her own tragedy into positive action.