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Coping with Teenage Grief

Coping with Teenage GriefThe onset of summer heralds more than just sunshine and blooming flowers. For teenagers, it means important events like proms and graduations and all of the joyful celebration that goes along with them. Unfortunately, tragic traffic accidents have claimed the lives of a record number of teens throughout our area. Instead of enjoying a special time, teenagers are mourning the loss of special friends.

As adults, it is critical to remember that teenagers understand more than younger children do, yet they do not have adult ways to cope with their loss. Fernside, an organization offering support to grieving families, reminds adults that the grieving process takes a very long time. The child will never stop missing their loved one, but the pain will gradually decrease if the child is allowed to grieve and express his or her feelings.

photoKeep in mind that there is no time limit on grief and that each child is unique. Each child—including siblings—has different concerns, questions, feelings and grief styles. Since children reprocess their grief as they move through developmental stages, holidays, birthdays and other milestones can intensify their feelings. While sometimes seemingly unaffected, other times children may ask a lot of questions or cry. This is because children grieve sporadically.

Highmark Caring Place in Lemoyne—a center dedicated to grieving children and their families—offers these tips about grief generated by other teens who have experienced it.

1.) There’s no set time for grieving—take as long as you need.
2.) It’s okay to feel sad and out of place.
3.) It’s okay to cry and get your frustration out.
4.) Try not to blame the person you lost.
5.) Try not to blame yourself.
6.) Don’t let friends or parents tell you how to grieve—you need your space.
7.) Cry as much as you want.
8.) Don’t be afraid to let loose or let go.
9.) Don’t let little things or little people bother you.
10.) Your best friend could turn out to be the biggest stranger.
11.) A stranger could turn out to be your best friend.
12.) Tell people about it—it helps to talk.
13.) Try to find people who also lost someone and share your experiences with them.
14.) Remember the good times, but don’t live in the past.
15.) You don’t have to talk about it.
16.) Find a creative way of expressing yourself.
17.) Write about it.
18.) Draw about it.
19.) It’s okay to not know how you feel.
20.) Your weaknesses could turn out to be your strengths now.
21.) It’s never too late to say goodbye.

Other resources that may be of comfort to grieving teenagers, their siblings and friends include:

When a Friend Dies:

A Book for Teens on Grieving and Healing
by Marilyn Gootman

Saying Goodbye When You Don’t Want To: 
Teens Dealing with Loss
by Martha Bolton

I Will remember You:
A Guidebook Through Grief for Teens
by Laura Dower

The caring professionals at Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services are available to assist you and your family during such difficult times. Contact us at any time for more information on how we can help.
Remembering Virginia Tech

The first decade of this new millennium has given Americans—if not the world—much to grieve. From September 11 to the fury of Katrina, to the ongoing loss of life in the Middle East, it is becoming more common to join in public displays of grief to remember those who are gone and lift the spirits of those still here.

Such was the case in mid-April when a gunman took the lives of 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty before turning the gun on himself. You did not have to be from Virginia to feel the pangs of sorrow when the story first hit the media that fateful morning.

Parthemore Funeral Home knows that grief, whether collective or individual, can generate growth. In times of suffering and tragedy, it is important for us to share our grief and show our support, even if we may not have been personally affected. To help area families and individuals through the Virginia Tech shootings, Parthemore Funeral Home recently opened their chapel for a week to allow anyone to stop by and sign memorial books and express their condolences to shooting victims and their families.


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