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21-Dec-2015 12:05

The complete survey of more than 1,000 respondents, set for release later this month, was funded by the New York Life Foundation on behalf of Comfort Zone Camp, a nonprofit provider of childhood bereavement camps.

Among the findings: 73% believe their lives would be “much better” if their parents hadn’t died young; 66% said that after their loss “they felt they weren’t a kid anymore.” Childhood grief is “one of society’s most chronically painful yet most underestimated phenomena,” says Comfort Zone founder Lynne Hughes, who lost both her parents before she was 13.

Adults visit physicians, speak of depression, but are never asked if a childhood loss might be a factor.

New research suggests it’s time to pay closer attention.

Herman’s yearnings, saying they, too, would trade a year of their lives.

Their responses, part of a wide-ranging new survey, indicate that bereavement rooted in childhood often leaves emotional scars for decades, and that our society doesn’t fully understand the ramifications—or offer appropriate resources.

“I’d give up a year of my life for just half a day with my parents,” says Jonathan Herman, a 33-year-old health-care executive in New York.

He lost both his parents to cancer before he was 13.