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Salley’s husband died after falling off the roof of their house while cleaning the gutters. Their 17-year-old son has since attended a Comfort Zone camp. When my father died, I didn’t know anyone who’d lost a parent.
I was alone.” The weekend bereavement camps, held in five states and serving 2,500 children a year, are designed “to catch kids at the beginning of their grief journeys,” Ms. About half of the camp’s 5,000 volunteers are adults who lost parents when they were young.
Support groups, which grieving adults often find helpful, seem less beneficial to bereaved children, says Holly Wilcox, a psychiatric epidemiologist who led the Hopkins study.
Children are more apt to be buoyed by engaging in normal kid activities with supportive peers, and by receiving attention from adult relatives or friends who encourage them to talk about their feelings.
“I’ve had friends complain that they have to drive to see their parents for Thanksgiving,” he says.
“I tell them: I’d do anything to spend Thanksgiving with my parents.” When polled, 57% of adults who lost parents during childhood shared Mr.
She says she is worried that educators, doctors, and the clergy get little or no training to help them recognize signs of loneliness, isolation and depression in grieving children—and in adults who lost parents in childhood.
Students are often promoted from grade to grade, with new teachers never being informed that they’re grieving.
” One in nine Americans lost a parent before they were 20 years old, and for many of them, this sort of question has been in their heads ever since.
One 10-year-old girl told the others about a day when she was 5 years old and got mad at her father.
He came into her bedroom to kiss her good night, and she pretended she was asleep because she didn’t want to talk to him. “She’d been carrying this story with her for five years,” says Mr. “It’s so powerful to see the raw emotions these kids share.” Some activists say it’s vital to start helping young people even before their parents die.
Donica Salley, a 50-year-old cosmetics sales director in Richmond, Va., understands well the ramifications of losing a parent.
When she was 13, her 44-year-old father drowned while on vacation in the Bahamas. “My mom tried to fill the void and the hurt by buying me things.” Two years ago, Ms. “There’s something about being with people who’ve been through it.