NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- In 2008, Michael Palmer, 30, died peacefully in his sleep, the victim of a bad heart damaged by 16 years of drug abuse.
He had found hope and a year of clean living through a ministry called Celebrate Recovery, according to his father, but the years of abuse were too much in the end.
Afterward, Michael's father, Hollis Palmer, was lost in a storm of emotions and pain. He could not move forward with his life, which includes wife Nancy and two daughters, ages 25 and 26, both in health-care careers.
"I felt as if I would never experience joy in my life again," says Hollis, 58, who lives in southeastern Virginia.
"I wondered if I was actually going crazy. I felt as if I had no hope of ever being happy again."
Two things brought him to what he calls his "new normal," or his renewed ability to function with joy and hope again.
The first were 13 weekly GriefShare support group meetings at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va.
The second was his vegetable garden.