Coping with the Loss of a Parent

Local Teen Faces the Holidays without her Father

By Marisa Russell

Through the month of December and into the New Year families cherish the time they have to spend with their loved ones. Whether it's unwrapping presents, gathering with relatives, or dusting off those old board games; families hold each other a little tighter.

One local family is finding its way through the holiday season in the face of great loss. 16-year-old Jordyn Seidman and her brother Eric lost their father to brain cancer three years ago.

Jordyn described her father as "the dreamer", pushing her to believe she was capable of anything.  His inspiration has helped her take on challenges, like running on her high school track team.  

Jordyn struggled through all of the firsts, first birthday, first holiday, first anniversary; but she says after that her life became a new normal.  Her new life now includes helping others who are experiencing loss. Jordyn volunteers with a local organization called HopeWell, a group that focuses on helping families cope with cancer diagnosis and loss, especially during the holidays.

Jordyn says she would give anything to have her father back, but he has taught her many valuable lessons and continues to have an impact on her life after his death.

Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Desmond Kaplan of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, has advice for teenagers who are dealing with the loss of a loved one over the holidays.  Dr. Kaplan recommends finding a close relative, friend or mentor to confide in and finding a way to express feelings of grief.

He says grieving is completely normal and many adolescents find comfort in talking about what has happened.

If the teenager is struggling they may show symptoms of severe depression which can include, not sleeping, loss of appetite or other uncharacteristic behaviors.  If those behaviors persist, let someone know, ask for help

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