My name is Jennifer and when I was 35 years old my beloved husband Zak passed away from a sudden cardiac event. We were given information about Experience Camps by our local hospice center during our intake interview for counseling services. I was extremely nervous about sending my oldest son to camp for the first time. He had never even slept away from home before let alone be away from me for an entire week. It was also very emotional because we were both having some separation anxiety resulting from our loss.
The week that he was away at camp was actually really life changing for me. It gave me an opportunity to grieve on my own and to also indulge in some self care. As an only parent to 3 kids, I didn’t realize how much I had been bottling up my own grief and not taking care of myself. I really like that the camp sent out a nightly e-mail and photos detailing what the campers did each day. It was very reassuring that all of the photos were filled with smiling faces and laughter.
I feel very blessed to have Experience Camps as a resource for my family. I feel like I have a strong support network of people that I can reach out to when we need help. I don’t feel so alone and isolated on this grief journey because Experience Camps has helped me form friendships with other families that are dealing with the same issues. My interactions with all three of my children has greatly improved since we became part of the Experience Camps family. We are able to openly share our thoughts and feelings with each other and we now enjoy sharing our favorite memories of their dad. We are well equipped with the tools that we need to conquer the hard and sometimes painfully emotional days.
There are so many things that I wish I could tell people about grief but I think the #1 thing I would say is that there is no timeline on grief. Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace but grief isn’t something that magically goes away after a specified amount of time. It is a feeling that is always present, though it does ebb and flow. It is something that will forever be part of us.
Applications are open for summer 2020. Submit an application for a grieving child today.