The true need is for children such as Charlotte and Samuel Roberts, whose 36-year-old father Randy died suddenly and unexpectedly when they were ages six and two, respectively. Thinking back, their mom Sara realizes how quickly it all took place. The children woke up when the ambulance arrived, but a friend kept them busy in a bedroom. “I told them Daddy was really sick, and I needed to go with him.” By 6 a.m., the ER team had done all they could. Around 7 a.m., Sara returned home to tell the children of the loss that would change them all. She took Charlotte outside and then rocked Samuel as she said the words, “Daddy died.”
Sara also recognized that Charlotte and Samuel would need counseling to understand and cope with their grief. She was familiar with The Bethany Center from its very start, and Charlotte started therapy there about a month after Randy’s death. “The services for children are wonderful – the play therapy and the chance to talk to someone objective about what they’re feeling. Some weeks we went to the Center in Auburndale, and some weeks, her counselor visited Charlotte at school. ” A year later, Charlotte attended Camp Brave Heart. “That really leveled the playing field for her,” says Sara. “To see other kids going through the same things. Grief is universal, and the Camp showed her she wasn’t alone. She wants to volunteer at Camp when she’s old enough.”
As a toddler, when his dad died, Samuel had different experiences and memories. He started play therapy at Bethany Center when he started talking. Sara notes, “He was very interested in emergency vehicles and said, ‘it reminds me of Daddy.’ Right now, Samuel doesn’t want to go to Camp Brave Heart, and that’s okay.”
As we look into the life of the Roberts family, we can see how the Bethany Center has played a crucial role in the process of helping each person effectively develop coping skills to handle the loss of a family member.
Charlotte and Sam Roberts now