Before and After: How One Teen Is Coping After the Loss of Her Dad

Special thanks to guest author and Comfort Zone Camper Samantha Worman for sharing her story with us.

Coping with the death of a loved one can be hard, especially if you’re a teen. There are thoughts and feelings that are hard to explain to other people, even to your own family. One of the best ways to face these feelings is to find a support system that understands you, and allows you to grieve and grow at your own pace.

One teen, Samantha, shares a blog post she wrote after her father died. She talks about feeling that she wished she had been able to do something to save her dad, who was in the house with her when he died. Her words may sound familiar, since many of us have faced feelings of guilt and isolation after a loss.

Samantha also shares another blog post, written just a few months later. By this time, she had come to Comfort Zone Camp, a weekend camp for kids and teens who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caretaker. She met other teens who had lost parents, and who also had some feeling they were struggling to come to terms with. Having found a place and a community that truly understood and supported her, Samantha also found some new ways to support herself.

Somedays (August 13, 2010)

Some Days I think about that night that I lost my dad, I think about all the “What ifs…”

What if my music was turned down lower…

What if he had called my name and I couldn’t hear him…

What if it I had come out of my room sooner and would have been able to get him help…

What if he was in pain…

What if it was because of me that he died, because I was cleaning in my room with my music so loud that I didn’t hear him calling for me…

These are the things that periodically pop up in my mind, and I try to keep them down, push them away when the thought begins but there are always going to be those What ifs…

Comfort Zone Camp (November 8, 2010)

This past weekend I attended Comfort Zone Camp for the first time. I was anxious about going and sharing my feelings with this new group of people. Once I go there though, I felt less anxious. I had this most AMAZING big buddy. We clicked right away (kudos to CZC peeps for matching me with her.)

This past weekend I was able to open up about a lot of things that I was holding in. A lot of my walls came down over these three days.

The Bonfire was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. The little kids and the older ones, it was special. Very heartwarming

Coming home I didn’t think that I would feel much different, but waking up this morning, I woke up as a new person. I felt as if a huge weight was off my shoulders. CZC provided me with some closure on my Father’s death. I learned ways to help me cope and different feelings that I didn’t before put words to.

This place made me a new person, I woke up happy, and relieved. Smiling all day that I have this new feeling that I haven’t seen since before my Dad died.

Thank you CZC for everything. When I’m older, I plan to come back to camps to be a Junior Counselor and eventually a Big Buddy.

At Comfort Zone Camp, I feel bonded to each and every person.

It’s funny how one thing can change the course of our grief, and help us to manage feelings of guilt and isolation. What are some things you’ve done to help you cope with your feelings after a loss? What are some ways you haven’t tried yet, but think could help? What advice would you give to someone who wasn’t sure how to ask for support in their grief?

Photo Credit.


  1. Sonia Alvarez said on April 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm ... #

    I am looking forward to watching this with my 9 yr old grand-daughter who just lost her mother in a car accident. I myself just can’t accept my daughter is gone. So I am happy to hear that this is going to air for those in need.

  2. Rosalyn Sheppherd said on April 13, 2010 at 7:47 pm ... #

    Wow! I am at a lost for words…ever since my children, Alexus, Darren Jr., and Brittany have attended Comfort Zone Camp in 2008, there appears to be so many windows and doors that are opening to express and educate the public on what it is to deal with grief. I am a much stronger person for my children because of God and Comfort Zone. What a Blessing to have this topic Aired on national tv.

  3. Karen Hoeve said on April 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm ... #

    I am so happy that Sesame Street is making this resource kit available to parents and caregivers of young children who have experienced the loss of a parent. My 7 and 11 year old daughters have also attended CZC. Their father died unexpectedly one year ago yesterday. They both want to watch this special. Even though Sesame Street is for a younger audience, they think it is “cool” that family grief is receiving attention on PBS. Of course my 11 year old said that she would also like to see the challenges of losing a parent dealt with on TV shows targeting the “tween” and young teen audiences.

  4. Sheryl Hardesty said on April 14, 2010 at 9:54 am ... #

    I am so glad we have come this far in life to recognize that children do grieve. Three years ago when my husband passed unexpectedly I had no idea what to do or say to my children, I really hope this show will bring more people to understand and help the children and families in general, cope. This camp has helped my son Danny in so many ways and I just want to say, Thank You.
    From the Hardesty Family

  5. Leah said on April 14, 2010 at 11:51 am ... #

    my sister went to CZC for the first time last summer and it was amazing for her! what CZC does is so important for young people and their families! and i’m looking forward to watching the special tonight. though teens and young adults do tend to get over looked by tv and social type services for grief. grief knows no age boundries. anyone can be hit with grief at any time. losing a parent at a young age is very difficult. yes children are supposed to bury parents (not visa versa) BUT not when they are in their teens and 20’s. children are supposed to have their parents at their graduations and weddings and other life milestones. having to go through those w/o that parent is very difficult. CZC has definitly been a great help for my sister.

  6. Linda Woodard said on June 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm ... #

    after reading this I feel so much better and encouraged. I am heading a grief support group and I was wondering if this will be good for the community but after reading your article, if just one person is uplifted like you were, it will be worth it! Thanks

  7. Miriam Genise Miller said on September 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm ... #

    When families grieve The kit, I would like to order several of the kits when families grieve for our head start/early head start classes room.

  8. Anonymous said on January 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm ... #

    to cope i started 4h

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