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By Patti Gislason

When a student dies everyone in the school is affected. How deeply you feel will likely depend on how well you knew the person who died. Everyone is different and therefore we all have ways to deal with death. Chris’ death was particularly shocking because it was so sudden. When we discovered street racing caused his accident, it then opened up a whole new layer of grief, realizing his death was totally unnecessary. There’s nothing easy about death and dying but there are things you can do to help make the grieving easier.

Teenagers have a particularly difficult time dealing with grief. Usually death in high school is the first time teenagers have had to face these issues of mortality. Let’s face it, being a teenager is tough and we are filled with emotions and hormones and day-to-day living can be tough enough for some of us so when you add sudden death, things are understandably more complicated. There are a lot of things you can do to help get through the grief:

Talk about what you’re going through. Talk to a friend, family or even teachers about how you’re feeling. When you’re dealing with the death of a fellow student and friend, it’s likely you are not alone. Share your feelings, it will help you understand how you are feeling and possibly help others identify what they are feeling about the loss of the person they knew.

You must realize that life goes on. It’s not all going to feel okay right after the death. You have to allow yourself time to feel bad but you must also realize that life does go on for the living. Focus on things you like to do and don’t feel bad for wanting to enjoy yourself. Concentrate on feeling better and when you can, include a memory of your friend to the moment.

It’s a really good idea to do what West Central did and have a memorial service. A way for the entire student body to get together and remember the person is a good way to heal. Share memories, celebrate life and mourn death of someone you cared for. This is also a good way to realize you are not alone and that others are feeling as bad as you are and that it is perfectly normal to feel sad.

Healthy grieving leads to resolution and acceptance. Although you may never feel as if death is fair, you must realize that it is final. You are left in the world of the living and you have to do your best to carry on. Remember your friend with happiness and believe that you deserve to be happy again.  We all learn from life and sometimes it’s tough.

You can get through it.

Take care,

Patti
 
 

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