...it was gone, for good, never to return.
Been there done that!
When you get it back before you log off check the "save session for future logins" checkbox. When you log back in everything will be the same as when you logged out. This time when you logout make sure that the "save session for future logins" is unchecked. That way when you lose something ( and you will ) the next time you log in you will revert to that previous working set of session settings.
Another tip. You can kill applications with ctrl-alt-esc then placing the skull and crossbones that appear on the application you want to kill. BEWARE you can kill the task bar, desktop and any thing else you accidentally click on.