It is difficult enough to lose a parent, especially a father, when we are adults and readily able to accept loss as a fact of life; now, imagine the difficulty when the loss affects a child. This is something that seems difficult to fathom, isn’t it? Sadly, in today’s era, the trend of losing a parent is all too real. It is estimated that 1.9 million U.S. children receive Social Security benefits from the death of a parent and in a good many of those cases, the children have lost their fathers.
If you have children, the very thought of having to explain the loss of a parent is something that no one understands, but you; no one understands your children as well as you. In this situation, there are so many questions to ask: How do I grieve and still console my child? How do I show my child that his/her life can still be fun? How do I teach my child that his/her father is still there in “spirit?”
While Daddy’s Spirit, a non-profit organization based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania may not be able to answer all of the questions, specific to your own unique situation, the organization, founded by Ron Opher, will ensure that your child is still able to live as normal a childhood as is possible, given such a tremendous loss.
Providing services for children (ages 8 through 12) whose fathers have passed away, Daddy’s Spirit, through donations and volunteers, allows children within the Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland region to experience various recreational activities, such as baseball outings, while providing other necessities such as musical instruments or sporting equipment.
The purpose of Daddy’s Spirit does not end with assisting grieving children. The organization alsooffers monetary support to the families of these bereaved children. After all, losing the father within a household often means losing the primary source of the family’s income.
Ron Opher, Executive Director of Daddy’s Spirit, has first-hand knowledge regarding the hardships of losing a father at a young age. (Opher’s father died when he was just 15 years old.) Forced to become the “man” of the house, while still a teenager, was something that left, the then-adolescent, Opher, in his words, “conflicted.” However, the “conflict” Opher felt in the remaining days and years of his childhood was also the motivating factor behind his decision to form Daddy’s Spirit.
With the goal of assisting children who are faced with the same delicate and painful position that he had experienced in 1981, Opher and the volunteers of Daddy’s Spirit strive to create positive outcomes in the lives of grieving children by helping them to preserve the memories and fun times they shared with their fathers, as the children move forward with their own lives. After all, just as we, adults, who have lost our fathers, have learned, Daddy’s Spirit does help us to move forward.
For more information regarding Ron Opher, the Daddy’s Spirit Organization, or other ways in which you may assist a grieving child, please visit: http://www.daddysspirit.org.
© 2008 – Jill Eisnaugle. All rights reserved.
Jill Eisnaugle is the author of the poetry books, Coastal Whispers and Under Amber Skies. Her work has been published in various magazines, both in print and online.
She resides in Texas City, Texas with her family and pets.