A fun and safe place for grieving children.

STORY SHARE: Teryl Bowen

 

On Mother's Day 2016, my husband Richard passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was 42, and he left behind our 3 beautiful children who were 6, 8 and 12. The days and weeks following were such a blur. Our thoughts/feelings/emotions were all over the place - ranging from profound sadness, to anger, to shock and disbelief, to feeling overwhelmingly hopeless and helpless.

 

Thankfully, we were surrounded by our wonderful family and friends. However, I couldn’t help but feeling, at times, that we were all alone and that no one truly understood the grief journey that awaited my children and me. I had been with my husband for over 20 years, and I just could not imagine my life, our lives, without him.

 

A couple of months after my husband’s passing, a former colleague reached out to me about Comfort Zone Camp. She had lost her husband several years prior, and her boys attended this camp and benefitted greatly. I was amazed to learn that CZC offered a FREE overnight grief camp for children practically in my backyard! In October 2016, my 8 and 12-year-old attended their first camp in North Carolina.

 

 We were all so nervous and didn't really know what to expect. However, despite our fears and anxiety, CZC did an amazing job throughout the intake process. They matched my children with the perfect Big Buddies who looked out for them the entire weekend. I knew that I had made the right decision after picking them up that Sunday. On the way home, my children could not stop talking about their fun-filled weekend, their amazing Big Buddies, and all of the wonderful connections they made. More importantly, they no longer seemed to feel isolated, and they were able to share with others how losing their father had profoundly affected them.

 

Since then, all 3 of my children have had the opportunity to attend CZC. We have also participated in CZC’s one-day family program, which is another amazing resource designed to help the entire family understand and address their grief.   Through these programs, I have connected with so many other widows, many of whom are dealing with their own grief while raising young children alone. Furthermore, I have recommended CZC to several families with children who have, unfortunately, experienced the loss of a parent or sibling.

 

As for my children and I – we are doing well. We miss my husband more than words can convey. Each day we choose to celebrate his life while doing our very best to move forward. I’m extremely blessed and grateful for my family and friends. I’m grateful for Comfort Zone, an organization that has given my family hope and a way to heal by connecting with others in a safe and caring environment.

 

Please, consider volunteering your time, heart, and if you can, funds, to support this amazing organization.

 

Sincerely,

Teryl R. Bowen

 

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