Peyton’s Story

Peyton's Story

Peyton and her brother

My name is Peyton and I am 14 years old. My story is sad but not unique. My father died suddenly when I was 9 years old and my entire world was turned upside down. I went from being a happy, popular child excelling in school, music, and sports, to a withdrawn, deeply sad child who could no longer focus on school or playing. Instead, I spent all my energy on trying to not cry and on trying to fit in with kids that I now felt I had nothing in common with. My home life went from that of an average child to constant stress, lack of stability and what seemed to be and unending stream of tears. I lost my dad that dreadful day, but I also lost the mom that I had known all my life. She was destroyed by his death and struggled to handle her own grief and all the new responsibilities of now being solely responsible for 2 small kids. She tried her best, but in the early days following his death, she simply could not be the support system my brother and I needed to deal with our grief.

I tried to turn to my friends but they alienated me because they didn’t know how to handle what I was going through. I also tried to turn to my teachers, but they were not trained in how to deal with children who have lost a parent and were no help at all in my grief journey. My grades dropped and I no longer found joy in any aspect of my life. My brother, who was 5 and in his first year of school, was being bullied for not having a dad. He was so little and vulnerable and turned to me for help but I was only 9 and didn’t know what to do. I cannot adequately describe how much my world changed that dreadful day and how incredibly distraught and overwhelmed I was during those months following.

Peyton's Story

Peyton, Rob and Alex Barsel

My mother knew how difficult my dad’s death was on us and put my brother and me into counseling within the first week. We saw a child psychologist for 5 months but our work with him did not help us much. Fortunately, my mother found an organization called Adam’s Place that helped me realize that I was not the only child who has gone through a profound loss. The three of us started attending meetings 6 weeks after he died. We went there every other week for 2 years (my brother for 3). The healing that comes from being able to share your sorrows with your peers and knowing that you have the support of other kids who understand your pain is immense. I learned coping skills and felt “normal” again by going to Adam’s Place. Having the support of my peers at Adam’s Place helped me tremendously and gave me the courage to eventually rejoin life.

After benefiting so much from Adam’s Place, I knew that I had to give back to my community (the community of kids who were grieving) and 3 years ago, I went through the facilitator training to become their first Youth Volunteer Facilitator. I have since been working with the 5-8 year olds every other Tuesday.

-Peyton


Anna’s Story

Hello, my name is Anna and I would like to share my experience with Adam’s Place. My daughter Grace lost her father due to tragic circumstances during the summer of 2016. His sudden death was a shock to his family and friends. But for my 6 year old daughter, his death has impacted her life on a daily basis.

My daughter’s school counselor referred me to Adam’s Place after her father’s death. Upon meeting the founder Kelly, I felt confident with allowing my daughter to attend the bi-weekly meetings for her age group. Grace immediately felt a bond with the other children who shared their stories of losing a loved one. She has learned to share and talk about the loss of her father in a way that is comforting and normal in a group setting. The group is lead by a trained volunteers who give the children support through games or activities that promote dealing with feelings. Grace looks forward to talking and playing games with the other children in her group every other Tuesday.

The first birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Father or Mother’s Day, graduation, or dance recital after the loss of a parent is so hard for the child and surviving parent. I experienced all of these after the death of my daughter’s father, and Adam’s Place gave me support and the tools to handle the situations in a positive way for my daughter. Adam’s Place offers group meetings for the adults and that has been a life saver for me as a single working mom who has struggled with daily issues on my own. After the death, I felt anger, sadness, frustration, shock, and struggled with the mess her father left me to figure out and make right for our daughter. Adam’s Place gave me the support and resources to handle financial, legal, and emotional issues in a positive and effective way to benefit me and my daughter.

The gratitude I feel in my heart for Adam’s Place and the volunteers is endless and has changed the life of my daughter in a positive way. After a tragic situation, Adam’s Place has given my 7 year old daughter Grace a positive and happy place to learn how to heal from a great loss and just be happy child with a happy mommy. Please give Adam’s Place the opportunity to receive funding to continue the positive and generous work that is changing the lives of children. Thank you for your time and reading about my experience with Adam’s Place.

Sincerely, Anna 01/23/17


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