Podcast Episode 130: Widowed at 41 to Accidental Overdose

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 130 of The New Family Podcast where we talk to a widow about dealing with the loss of a spouse due to accidental overdose and the strength it takes to carry on.

I’m joined on this episode by Sarah Keast, who wrote a very powerful 1,000 Families Post for The New Family recently in which she shared her experience as a newly-widowed mom of two small children. Sarah and I dive into a very important aspect of her story. You see, Sarah lost her husband, Kevin, very suddenly to accidental overdose related to his addiction and his struggles with mental health. He was just 36.

As our country grapples with its opioid crisis, it’s more critical than ever for us to understand the grip of addiction and it’s total disregard for age, gender, ethnicity or income bracket. I also feel it is important for us to talk about these issues and promote places where people can get help, like at https://enterhealth.com/ for example. Kevin’s story is a tragic one and we should do our all to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Accidental overdose, no matter the class of drugs-legal or illegal-is something that can happen to anyone. There were times where Kevin was strong enough to overcome his addiction and if you put a 5 panel drug test in front of him, he would have passed with flying colors but then his emotions would get on top of him and he would fall down a very slippery slope.

Some medications can be extremely harmful if a dose that is too high is taken. Additionally, overdosing on prescription medication has the potential to result in death. Indeed, almost any substance can be toxic at too high a dose. Correspondingly, just as powerful prescriptions have the ability to heal, they also all too often have the power to result in permanent injury or death if they are not administered properly and this can have serious personal, financial, and legal consequences for everyone involved. With this in mind, you can find out more here about the legal consequences of prescription errors and overdoses.

Sarah’s strength in the face of devastating loss is remarkable. Case in point: She has somehow got it together to launch a blog called “Adventures in Widowed Parenting.”

Here are some resources related to my discussion with Sarah.

Sarah’s 1000 Families guest post

Sarah’s blog

Sarah’s book recommendation, Confessions of a Mediocre Widow: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity by Catherine Tidd

Sarah’s book recommendation Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman

Sarah’s podcast recommendation, Terrible, Thanks for Asking hosted by Nora McInerny

Related Episode: An Earthquake Survivor’s Parenting Story

Related Episode: Parenting Through The Unexpected

Sarah’s Advice On How To Help Someone Deal With Losing A Loved One
“I would say ‘Say something.’ If you feel like you are going to say something and you don’t know what to say anything because you think you are going to feel awkward-it doesn’t matter. Just say ‘I don’t know what to say but this is horrible, I love and I’m here for you.’ Saying something like ‘Let me know what I can do to help,’ that is not helpful. Say ‘This is what I want to do to help you. When can I do it?’ So I’m going to bring you dinner, can I bring it for you tonight or tomorrow?’ Or ‘I’m going to the park tomorrow afternoon, can I take your kids with my kids?’ Saying what you are going to do to help is far more helpful.”

Additional resources:

Andrea Warnick, a well respected grief educator/consultant in Toronto

Dr. Jays Children’s Grief Centre

GRASP, a grief recovery group for people who have lost a loved one to substance abuse, including an active Facebook group

MyGrief.ca, online tutorials

Sponsor for this Episode:

This episode of The New Family Podcast is brought to you by COOSHA, the modern calendar app for today’s busy modern family. Start 2017 off right and download it for FREE in the App store or on Google Play! Learn more at

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by