Helping a Teenager Deal with Grief

Understanding Grief / Understanding Grief : Eleanor Haley

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It’s difficult to sum up how to support a child or teenager without being overly general because, just like big wrinkly humans, they are complicated individuals who think, feel, act, and react to life in their own unique ways.

An adolescent’s grief can be impacted by any number of things including but not limited to, their unique relationship with the individual, how the individual died, their support system, past experiences with death, and their own unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dealing with stress, adversity, and high emotion.  Grownups seeking to support an adolescent should try to remember that a wide range of responses are considered ‘normal’ and there’s no one formula for providing support.

Fortunately, conventional wisdom says the best way to support a grieving adolescent is to ‘companion’ them, which is just a fancy way of saying be there for them which you (hopefully) already know how to do.  You can ‘companion’ a teen by supporting them, talking openly and honestly, listening, allowing them to grieve how they want, and allowing them to decide how they will cope (with the exception of self-destructive behaviors).

Yeah I know, this sounds a lot like supporting adults.  And, although younger tweens and teens still have some work to do emotionally and developmentally, older teens (approximately 16-18) who are able to understand complex relationships and other's points of view, are likely to grieve in the same way adults do.

We advise for children of any age you do the following:

  • Acknowledge their presence, their importance, their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Be patient and open-minded. Allow them to grieve in their own way.
  • Be available – Sit with the child, listen to them, and answer their questions.
  • Let them know that a range of different emotions is normal.
  • Validate their feelings and do not minimize them.
  • Check in with other adults involved in their life – teachers, school counselors, coaches.
  • Find age-appropriate resources.  Check out our favorite resources for supporting teens and young adults over here.

Now, I know anyone who’s ever lived with an adolescent is thinking,

“Dude, I’m intimately acquainted with a teenager and they are nothing like adults.”

And you're right, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge teenagers come with their own set of grief considerations.  But it’s important to emphasize the above because at the end of the day our best advice will always be to walk with the adolescent through their grief while still honoring adult-ly responsibilities like drawing limits, providing guidance, and setting a good example.

Okay so back to those teenage grief considerations, when supporting an adolescent one should remember the following:

This may be their first experience with death: 

For many children, this is their first experience with death.  For significant relationships, children may come to define their lives in terms of ‘before’ the death and ‘after’ the death.  After a death, adolescents may experience the following for the first time:

  • End of life rituals and etiquette:  Many children have yet to attend a funeral or memorial service well into their teen years.  Rituals and etiquette may cause anxiety for adolescents, especially if they don’t know what to expect or how to act.  Additionally, teens may be uncomfortable with the feeling of being on stage as everyone watches to see how they're coping.
    • Tip: Prepare the child for what to expect depending on the type of services you are going to have.  Include them in the planning.  Talk about what, if any, elements they would like to be a part of and what, if any, they can opt out of.  Encourage them to participate but don’t force.
  • Emotions:  For adolescents who have little experience with trauma, death, pain, or stress, this will be the first time they experience the overwhelming emotions related to grief.  This can be frightening and many don’t have the self-awareness to know what types of coping strategies will help.  More on emotions later.
    • Tip:  Normalize the range of emotions grievers are apt to experience.  Prepare them for shifts in emotion and give them permission to laugh and feel happy when they feel like it.  Help them brainstorm coping strategies based on their personality and strengths.  Offer options such as counseling, journaling, and workbooks, but don’t push.
  • Questions about life’s meaning:  Not all teens are ready to ponder life’s complex existential questions, but they are certainly old enough to contemplate ‘why’s and ‘what for’s in the face of a death.  This may be the first time their worldview, religious views, or sense of immortality has been challenged.
    • Tip: Allow for open dialogue about a life’s philosophical, theological, and logistical questions.  Don’t minimize their questions and help them find their own answers.  Support them in talking to religious leaders if appropriate.  Try and remember that while you’ve had years to ponder the meaning of life and death, these are questions they are only just beginning to ask. 

Teens are dependent: 

Most teens are dependent on adults and/or their family members for one thing or another. A death in the primary support system can cause anxiety and worry for teens because there's the potential for things like family structures, living arrangements, finances, emotional support, and day-to-day living to change.  A death can weaken the primary support system/family structure in the following ways:

  • Loss of a parent:  The death of a parent can have a huge impact on a teen. Duh.  Okay, so which parent died?  Was it their gender role model?  Was it the parent who they relied on the most?  The disciplinarian?  The comforter?  The nurturer?
    • Tip: Consider the roles this parent filled for the child and acknowledge these losses.  You can’t replace the parent, but you may have to step in and fill their shoes to some degree.  You might become the rule enforcer or you might want to try to be more of a comforter (in your own way please, don’t be awkward).
    • If the deceased was their same gender parent, think about other male/female adults who could have a positive influence on them.  Spend more time with that person as a Crying girlfamily, or support the child in spending one-on-one time with them (Helpful Hint: Clue the adult in that they ‘have been selected’, may the odds be ever in their favor).
  • Physical instability and insecurity:  With the loss of a family member, physical stability can be threatened in several ways.  A few examples include loss of financial security, a change in housing, a new school, or fear of being orphaned.
    • Tip: Discuss the family’s status, decisions, and plans for the future with adolescents.  Tell them the truth and give them choices, this will help them regain a sense of control.  Some changes cannot be prevented, so hold a family conference to discuss concerns and decide how tough situations can be made easier.
  • Adult emotional instability:  Following death, teens may witness the adults in charge really struggle. Grieving parents and caregivers may present as extremely emotional, unable to care for the child’s needs, or unable to fill parental roles (perhaps their own or perhaps those of a deceased parent).
    • Tip:  It’s okay to grieve and show emotion in front of an adolescent, this normalizes feelings and sets a good example for expressing oneself.  But be self-aware, if your emotion is extreme it could cause anxiety for the adolescent and/or put them in the position of having to support you.  If you feel yourself losing control, it’s time to look at your own coping.
  • Parental discord: Grief can strain relationships, even if the death only affects one-half of the couple.  As a result of grief parents may withdraw from one another, argue, get their feelings hurt, and/or break up/divorce.  Complications in a relationship can have a profound impact on the child.
    • Tip:  Families experiencing extreme discord might consider seeing a Couples Therapist or a Marriage and Family Therapist.   If breakup/divorce is inevitable, be aware this comes with its own set of complications for an adolescent and will possibly feel like a secondary loss.

They have their whole lives ahead of them: 

Which means they have a life full of milestones and rituals like weddings, graduations, learning to drive, birthdays, and first jobs; and they likely imagined their loved one would be a part of these.  It's common for children to grieve these future rites of passage and then feel the loss all over again when they occur.

  • Tip:  When these events roll around, acknowledge the impact of the deceased person's absence.   Let the teen (or by then, adult) know it’s okay to feel sadness even though it’s also a happy day.  Discuss and encourage creative ways to incorporate your loved one's memory in the day/event.  Check out our posts on remembering your loved one on your wedding day here and here.

They're searching for their identity: 

A major task during teen-hood is the quest to define oneself.  What are their likes and dislikes?  What are they good at? What is their personal style? What are their values and beliefs?  Inevitably, as it does with everyone, the death of someone they love will impact how they define themselves in the present and future.   Consider the following:

  • They are the kid whose [insert relation] died:  It's common for a teen to be the only person in their peer group to have experienced the death of someone important.  As such, they may feel alone in their experience and/or like a novelty to teens who are clueless about grief and death.
    • Tip:  Be available to talk about their experiences.  Don't take it the wrong way if they try to ignore the loss and act like nothing has happened.  To teens, peer relationships can feel more important than adult relationships so they may prefer to talk to trusted friends rather than adults.  Offer them the opportunity to spend time with other teens who’ve had similar experiences through teen support groups or teen grief camps.
  • Do they have to take on new roles as a result of the death?:  A grieving teen may find they have to help more around the house, especially when their parent(s) are also grieving.  Teens are often asked to take on adult responsibilities like carpooling, childcare, emotional support, part-time jobs, and role model for younger children.
    • Tip:  Try to remember that younger and middle teens are not yet adults. Take a hard look at the appropriateness of the roles they're taking on.  Responsibility is good as long as it’s age-appropriate and they still have adequate time for school work, hobbies, and fun.
  • They can feel overshadowed by a sibling’s death:  Children who've experienced the death of a sibling may find themselves feeling overlooked and overshadowed.  We encourage parents to talk about and remember their deceased children; just be aware that when the deceased child gets the majority of the attention, living siblings can feel jealous and worried they don't measure up.
    • Tip:  Don’t compare.  It's always good advice to focus on individual children and their individual strengths.  Make sure your children get equal attention and acknowledge their qualities and accomplishments whenever possible...I mean, why not?

They may mask emotion or emotional expressions may look different: 

Teens experience and express emotions differently than adults. Again, duh.  Your teen's emotional expressions may surprise you, they may seem over dramatic or conversely they may seem repressed. Where emotions are concerned teens:

  • May be embarrassed about their feelings:  Often, adolescents want to fit in and go unnoticed. ‘Grieving’ may differentiate them in a way they're not comfortable with. Younger teens especially (12-14) tend to feel there is something of an imaginary audience watching what they do; for this reason, they may be cautious about how and when they sad boyexpress emotions.  Teens, just like adults, may choose to grieve privately and may downplay their grief in the presence of others.
    • Tip:  Allow the teen to express their emotions when and how they like.  Don’t make them feel guilty for acting as though nothing is wrong, this doesn’t mean they don’t care.  If they’re open to your assistance, help them find ways to grieve they're comfortable with.  Some adolescents may find comfort in the privacy of a journal, book, or a one-on-one grief counselor.  As always, be patient and follow their lead.
  • Expression of emotion may seem volatile:  Adolescents can shift moods pretty rapidly; one minute they're happy and the next minute they're distressed.  To some degree, these shifts in mood are due to increased hormones and their developing brains and bodies; but the extreme emotions of grief can have the mood-swing-effect on teens and adults alike.  You may find yourself scratching your head wondering what made them so upset, but they may not even be able to identify the trigger (just like adults).
    • Tip:  Try to put their emotional expression into context.  Understand the wide range of emotions associated with grief and anticipate teens may be more likely to express emotions like anger than sadness.  Try to be open, accepting, and validating of their emotions and make sure they know you're available to talk. Seek outside help if you're worried they've been distressed, withdrawn, depressed, or destructive for a prolonged period of time. Check out our post on normal vs not so normal grief.
  • May seem self-focused:  Adolescents, in general, can be very self-focused.  Younger teens especially (12-14) have a hard time taking other’s perspectives into account.  This is a skill that has to be learned as their brain develops and so they often come off looking self-centered and lacking in empathy. It follows that younger teens will have difficulty understanding other's grief reactions when they are different from their own.  Jill’s things are important to me, how could Dad clean out her room?  I’m still sad, how could Mom possibly think about dating?
    • Tip:  Be patient.

Teens are invincible superhero’s (in their mind) i.e. impulsive crazy people: 

Generally speaking, teens are far more impulsive and willing to take risks than their adult handlers.  Younger to middle teens are especially apt to feel invincible and immortal. Both teens and adults employ destructive coping mechanisms like alcohol, substance use, sex, antisocial behavior, and withdraw, but teens are less like likely to accurately assess risk and use good judgment.  Conversely, they are more likely to experiment and take perilous chances.

  • Tip:  Sometimes when a child experiences the unthinkable pain of grief, adults feel compelled to go easy on them in ways that are overly permissible and enabling.  Sometimes adults are too distracted by their own grief to notice what's going on with their children.  Don't let this happen - don’t hesitate to ask questions and medal when it seems necessary. Remember, as a parent, caregiver, or concerned adult it is your job to draw lines and set limits.  You won't have control of them for much longer, so set limits while you can.
  • If you're worried about how your child is coping, you may want to speak to their doctor, school counselor, or a child psychologist.  If they ever express thoughts of harming themselves or others you should call 911, go to your local emergency room, or call a local crisis response team.  In the US you can seek support 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Do you know someone helping a teenager deal with grief?  Send this article their way.  And of course, subscribe to 'What's Your Grief' (over on the right) to receive posts straight to your e-mail inbox.  

Prefer to listen to your grief support?  Check out our podcast on supporting a grieving teen.

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

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75 Comments on "Helping a Teenager Deal with Grief"

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  1. Hanna  July 9, 2022 at 4:41 am Reply

    Many years ago, my boyfriend died in a car accident. He was 16 and I was 17. I didn’t have articles like this to help explain the complexity of my experience, but I’m so glad they exist now! The experience was so traumatic for me that I still experience issues at 43 years old. I think you made a great point: your teens are a time for a lot of “firsts”. First loves, first funerals, first experience of grief… Because of that, you can’t help but use them as measuring sticks to everything else that comes in your life later. Important milestones create situations where you may bounce back to the trauma and wonder how your life would have been different had this not happened. I think it’s wonderful that more reset is being done on teenage grief and I’m looking forward to seeing more. My suggestion to parents and friends: this sort of thing will redefine who they are. And since it’s happening during a super sensitive time of (already occurring) growth, down the road they may come back to analyze “what happened”. This isn’t malingering. It’s incorporating a huge trauma that happened too soon into their ever changing life journey.

  2. Monika  June 28, 2022 at 3:33 pm Reply

    I lost my mom 3 years ago. It wasn’t easy my mom was also one of my best friends. And just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse my fiancé and father of my two daughters died in a car accident. He let his son from a previous relationship drive and his son had been drinking and lost control of the car. They went to the store and where taking long so I called and it went to voicemail. I started to locate them when I was getting a call back from him and when I answered it was his son screaming that it was bad. I arrived at the scene before anyone else and what I seen I will never forget. I have been with this man for over 21 years and now he’s gone. He was my other best friend. His son had just moved in with us and is still staying with us at our house. I have so many mixed feelings and it hurts me so much. I’m broken and and I can’t be. I have two daughters and my oldest is about to have a my first grand baby. My other daughter is in jr high so I can’t be broken, but I am.

  3. Carmen  March 11, 2022 at 7:40 am Reply

    My husband just passed away. My 16 year old son and I have a very close relationship. We can talk about anything. He has a few close friends. They spend time gaming, and chatting. However, they’ve never really spoken about personal things. I’m friends with their Moms. Should I let them
    Know if my husbands passing so they can let his friends know? Or should I let my son let them know when h s ready?

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. Carmen

    • Litsa  March 11, 2022 at 7:45 pm Reply

      There is no right answer, but I would ask your son what he wants. 16 is old enough to feel very hurt and betrayed if your mom does something “for” you behind your back, especially about such a sensitive topic. I would just say something like — “hey, I’ve been thinking about your dad and how there are some people I wish knew what’s happened, but I really dread the thought of having to tell them myself. I’m sure telling some of your friends about your dad might be really hard. You can do it whatever time and way works for you. But I just wanted to offer that, if you telling them directly feels too hard right now, if you’d like me to tell their moms so that their moms can tell them, I would be happy to do that if that would make things easier. Would that be helpful?”. That way he can decide. Again, there is no right answer and this is just my two cents so a big part of this will be doing what feels right for you since you know your son best.

  4. Michael Appel  February 10, 2022 at 7:34 pm Reply

    I am going through pain and suffering as well as I just lost my Dad to COVID and Pneumonia and I’m still only nineteen years old with four younger siblings. My life has drastically changed because of this. my Dad and I were super close and he was my number one supporter. With his enthusiasm I was able to succeed to where I am today. With him gone I feel lost more than I was before he passed. The past few weeks I’ve been sad or down most of the time and it’s caused me to miss a lot of classes in college and miss days from work to where I may have to quit because I’m missing so many days. My Mom wants to move in a few months from where I’ve grown up all my life and where my parents especially my Dad raised me. Im leaving everybody that I’ve known for 15 years in my community and I’m not ready for this change. now my mindset is to take a break from college this semester and do things that make me happy and possibly quit my job since the hours are crazy and so I don’t have a whole lot of stress since I already have a ton of anxiety even without my Dad passing. I’m still trying to find myself that defines who I am more than ever and I don’t want to fail my family.

  5. Patricia Bradley  November 29, 2021 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I am a great grandmother. It was my daughter that passed away from Covid 19. I am curently taking care of my 2 great grandsons who my daughter had adopted. They are 16 and 13. This is the 2nd child I have buried. Her brother, my son, was killed instantly over 30 yrs ago by a drunk driver on the week before his 22nd birthday. This article helped alot

  6. Alice  November 15, 2021 at 3:10 am Reply

    I need help i dont know If writing what i feel here is okay but im hurting inside I lost my mom this year to her sickness uhmm..last month on the 28th and i haven’t Been able to cope or sleep well because i didn’t get to say goodbye to her and i miss her so much i cry every night to bed i just wish i did things differently with her and we didn’t fight so much
    I would give anything to just have 5mins with her i have alot of things to tell her and i want to apologize for times we fought over irrelevant things
    I really miss my mom and I’m slowly slipping into depression i can’t focus in school anymore because it all still feels like a nightmare to me
    I just want to see my mom again

    • Litsa  December 27, 2021 at 5:05 pm Reply

      Alice, have you talked with a school counselor or other therapist about this? Though we cannot change the immense pain of grief, we can learn ways to cope with and carry the grief and to manage depression. Getting support can help tremendously – please consider reaching out to a counselor or, if you have one already, talking with them about how you’re feeling right now.

    • Nick  January 20, 2022 at 4:34 pm Reply


      My name is Nick and I’m a 34 year old father of two daughters who are losing their mom to COVID & pneumonia. I know what you’re feeling, I lost my mother in a house fire when I was 19. I’m so sorry for your loss. What you’re feeling is what I felt. I strongly suggest you talk to a therapist or a counselor (I talked with a therapist and it really helped me). I think it would do you good to write down the things you wanted to tell your mom, say them out loud, and then burn the paper so you can move on. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my mother either and not having that closure is hard. It took a long time for me to realize that I was lucky to have had a mother for 19 years (not child gets that). I think music can help too. Music has always been a way for me to work out heavy feelings. I know it doesn’t seem like it now but I promise you that you can live a happy life and still keep your mom in your memory.

      All the best,

  7. Petra  October 30, 2021 at 11:15 pm Reply

    Reading all of these comments has made me feel somewhat better about all of this. I’m 14, and my dad has had colon cancer for a little over a year. We expect him to pass sometime in the next few days. He struggles to speak, he doesn’t remember his favorite books (which he loved enough to name me from his absolute favorite), he is hallucinating, and he struggles to move. I try my best to spend time with him, but he is either asleep, or doesn’t want to see me. When I do, it is painful to watch him barely be able to say 2 words, try to take medication that isn’t there, or ask me how to change the movie we are watching (he was a computer engineer). Today I watched the new Dune movie with him and my mom. He wanted me to read the book less than a month ago, and explained everything in detail when I asked. Today, he had to ask my mom who the main character was. Heck, 6 weeks ago he was telling me about quantum physics (in particular spooky action at a distance, the base for a communication system. If you know your sci-fi, do you know what book I’m named from yet?) I’m ready for it all to be over, but I know that the things I will miss the most are the things I don’t notice now. To but it shortly, I’m simply terrified. I scared of how it will feel to come home to just my mom, to not hear him listen to music at night, and to not be able to have him there for concerts, graduations, (hopefully) my wedding, maybe even my kids. I won’t be able to tell him about my amazing day, where I pass my test in physics (my most difficult class, his favorite subject), or the bad days, where I need help with math. I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize how scared I was till I wrote this. I glad I’m not alone in all of this (though no one wished for the death of someone’s parent).

    • Katie  December 21, 2021 at 8:04 pm Reply

      Hi Petra,

      I was browsing this article for information to help a friend’s daughter who is struggling with recent losses and her father’s cancer diagnosis all at once, and I came across your comment. It struck a chord with me, because so much of it reminded me of my thoughts and feelings when I was 16-17 and my father was deteriorating slowly from his battle with lung cancer. I am sorry you (and so many others commenting on this article) have to learn to live with immense grief at such young ages. I spent a lot of time after my father passed (just before my 18th birthday and 6 months before high school graduation) feeling devastated, sad, and in a fog.

      I don’t really know what exactly I wanted to say, other than I feel for you and keep going. There’s no wrong way to do grief. You will be changed by it, in the way that the important experiences and people in our lives have the power to change us. I wish I could have had my dad at my wedding and introduced him to my husband and children. It breaks my heart still that I have to tell stories of him to my children because they never got to know him. However, I am who I am today because of everything I have done and been through in life. I hope eventually everyone here finds peace in their own way, but all of you matter and the way you grieve is valid.

  8. Kashish  April 6, 2021 at 9:46 am Reply

    I am Kashish my father died two years ago, I am 17 now. I am just not able to cope up with it, we were extremely close. I get very different feelings mostly sad sometimes angry and even sometimes I feel guilty. Like everything happened because of me. I tried to explain my feelings to my mom but she doesn’t understand it instead she says that I am wasting my time thinking rubbish. Please help me to overcome these feelings.

    • Sarthak Jain  May 5, 2021 at 10:38 am Reply

      Hii Kashish! You are already awesome to handle it for so many years and it’s difficult to ask for help. I am 17 years old too and I can’t imagine me losing my father. I hope you do well and just in case if you ever feel like talking with a stranger you can send me a message [CONTACT INFORMATION REMOVED].
      All the best!

  9. Marcelina  September 18, 2020 at 12:31 pm Reply

    I need help. Two years ago I lost two siblings to still birth I also have four miscarriage siblings but this happened when I was younger so it doesn’t hurt as much. I’m currently 14 and because of their deaths two years ago my mental health has gotten really bad. I developed OCD but I have managed to win my battle with that luckily. However, I experience panic attacks a few times a day about my dead siblings. I need to get help but I can’t tell my parents because they don’t talk about it and honestly, they never offered me support about it and just figured out that I have dealt with it but I haven’t. My mental health is getting really bad and I really need help. Thank you.

  10. Keeley  August 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm Reply

    Hi my name is keeley, i am 13 years old I had a little cousin who died 4 days before my birthday last year (25th April 2019 ) he died of cancer he was only 6 when he died . I was with him through hard times he always wanted me to be there with him but sometimes i couldn’t be there cause of school I didn’t get to say I love you because I was at a shop with my nan i wanted to be there when he died but didn’t. Quess he waited for the right time to die because there was no kids I’m the house when he died i wish that i was dead and not him our last vacation was to Disney land Paris it wasn’t much but it was fun when he died I gave him a cuddle I held his hand he held my hand back it felt like he didn’t die I was his favourite person its beem a year and a half I havn’t been eating probably I have depression I’ve been trying to kill myself . My friends think I should stop thinking about him but I can’t. When he held my hand I said “I love you ” he smiled when I said that . My mum wants me to talk to someone but I can’t . I have told my friends that’s i want to die . Everyday I try and think positive but I can’t . I cry myself to sleep .if there is anyone to help me then thanks.
    Thank you

    • Marisa  September 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm Reply

      Hi Keeley,
      Please know that your little cousin for sure knew that you loved him, even though you didn’t get to be there like you wished, when he died. As you said, you guess he waited for when he went. Even my mom, when she died 12 years ago, none of her 6 children were right there at the time (my dad was though), and we think she could’ve chosen that time, it was on Christmas Day also. She loved Christmas.
      And even though our bodies die, it’s true love that lasts forever and cannot die and it sounds like you loved your cousin very much, and he loved you. Keep proud that you were there for him during tough times and you his favorite person. How fun that you got to go to Disney Paris! I’ve always wanted to go there. Sounds like an amazing time. I’m happy that he had you as his cousin and that you had great bond.
      I’m sorry that you’re hurting so much and can’t eat properly and crying yourself to sleep, that breaks my heart, and that you feel like you want to die. The thing is, you have so much life ahead of you to live and the world and your family would suffer such a great huge loss if you weren’t here. I bet your little cousin would want you to live a wonderful life and experience more fun and cool times. He wouldn’t want you to die as well. I know this is so so painful, all this you’re going through. With loss, the grief and pain really doesn’t go away all the way. We always miss them. but we learn somehow to live in spite of it. So when your friends say you should just forget about him and maybe be getting over it, that’s not how it works. In fact, you can think about him everyday and keep his memory alive! Talk about him etc. Maybe get a beatiful candle that you light for him sometimes, find some flowers in his favorite color for him and have a little spot on the bench. Etc.
      I was also thinking that although you don’t want to speak to someone professional, I wonder if you could could consider to maybe just try it, even once? They might have a few practical tips or tricks to help. And you don’t have to say what you don’t want to them. I’m sure your mum loves you very much and knows you’re hurting a lot. I’m sorry this is long, and I’m not a professional. I have a 13 year old daughter too, and when I read this, I really felt for you and can tell you’re an amazing person. Please hang in there, brave and lovely girl!

  11. Hanna Maria Havam  May 31, 2020 at 1:48 am Reply

    Hello, i’m Hanna and i’m 19. I know i’m not exactly a teen anymore but i lost my mom yesterday (30th May 2020). I don’t know if this is the right thing for me to write here but i need comfort from somewhere and somehow. Until the beginning of my teenage years my mom was always the one taking care of me since my dad worked. In my teen years she started drinking due to the loss of her dad and i started getting all sorts of abuse from her (in worst cases it was a bit physical but nothing too serious).. It created a deep anger inside of me, i didn’t understand why it was being taken out on me.. Our relationship was rough.. There were good days and there were really rough days.. Beginning of this year, sometime after her 55th birthday she started getting very sick, she was forced to go to hospital to be taken care of. She spent a month there and got released home, she was weak, akinny and just looked extremely different. She slowly became incapable of doing things on her own and needed help though she rejected any sort of help we tried to give her. She ended up getting very weak and confused again so we called an ambulance due to not knowing what to do.. It turned out her kidneys had failed due to her liver not functioning.. I saw her on the 28th of May, and i remember it killing me, seeing her hooked up to all those machines and not being able to talk clearly.. it HURT me. I spent two hours with her until i had to go, i remember awkwardly hugging her (i was scared of hurting her or ripping something out) my last words to her were “I love you so much, please get better” and hers to me were “i love you too”… I feel guilty i didn’t see her more but due to the whole Covid-19 pandemic it was very hard to get visitation times.. Just thinking of the fact i don’t have her physically by my side anymore, hurts.. I saw her lifeless body yesterday, a few hours after her death.. it broke me, it hurt to see her lifeless like that.. And i’m struggling to cope.. I have really bad mental health and this is just making it horrible for me.. i’m blaming myself for a sickness she had caused by drinking.. i keep blaming myself.. am i in the right to feel this way? should i not feel guilty? i’m so lost.

  12. Katrina  May 26, 2020 at 3:23 pm Reply

    My name is Kat and I’m 16. I don’t know where to start, but my mom told me that I should write here. My dad died 5 months ago, on December 23rd, 2019. Him dying has been the worst and most traumatic experience that I have ever gone through. His death was very sudden and no one found him for a long time. To backtrack, my dad was an alcoholic who moved out of my home in 2017. I am an only child and I live with my mom. In 2019, he decided he was going to retire early and move back to his childhood home, which is across the country from where I live. I remember saying goodbye to him when he was moving, I didn’t cry, I just hugged him and told him that I loved him. That was in July of 2019. He texted a lot, but I didn’t reply. He only called once, and it was on my 16th birthday – November 13. I hung up on him because he was drunk. He asked me to visit him but I always made up excuses because I wasn’t ready. He texted me saying that he sent a Christmas present for me on December 13th. I texted back several times over the next weeks with no response so I was starting to get a little worried. On December 23rd my mom told me that my dad’s brother had found him dead in his apartment. He had died because of his alcoholism 2 days before Christmas. I still feel the exact same way as I did the night that I found out. I am so angry. I am pissed off at God because he never let me say goodbye. I’m angry at myself because I was upset with my dad. I’m mad at my dad because he never stopped drinking.
    I have had depression for years because my mom has bipolar disorder and it got passed down to me. I was finally doing better right before my dad died, and now I am at my worst. I have no one to talk to who understands. I am mad at everyone. I started self harming again and being clean means nothing to me anymore. My dad’s birthday is in 2 days and I have been doing terribly. I haven’t been sleeping or eating, and I cry all of the time. I don’t know if he can hear me when I talk to him. I used to pray but now it feels useless. I just miss him and wish that I could have told him that I loved him one last time.
    If anyone is reading this, I hope you got something out of it. It was helpful to vent about my life because I usually do not talk about it. Thank you.

    • Megha Shabu  October 5, 2020 at 4:48 am Reply

      Hi I just want to send you a hug for all that you went through . It’s not easy but I please be gentle with yourself. Don’t blame just learn to love forgive yourself and others who are still alive. Love

  13. Nikole  May 11, 2020 at 10:10 am Reply

    I am a 15 year old girl. My dad had me when he was 18 almost 19 while my mom was 14 almost 15. My dad was 34. He died exactly 26 days ago as of today. He died on April 15th just 9 days after his 34th birthday. My dad did a lot of heroin. He had a heart attack and had kidney and liver failure. When he was having a heart attack my dad was staying with his mom my maw-mal and a man was staying with them as well. The man that was there walked past my daddy’s room when he was having a heart attack and told my maw-mal to call 911. He didn’t want to because he was on drugs and was high at the time. My maw-mal waiting a long while until she called 911 because she was scared. So when she did call 911 and the ambulance got there it was almost to late. They were able to save him for a short while. When they arrived at the hospital they had to put him on a ventilator. How ever a couple hours later they took him off of it because he was brain dead. So he died. I am in foster care and I have no family to talk to. My parents rights were terminated in the middle of the year of 2017. I haven’t seen my dad in person in over 4 years and I never got to talk or see him in almost 2 years. I used to sneak around in the 8th grade last year and talk to my dad on skype we would both cry because we haven’t seen or talked to each other in a long while. He went to prison for 2 or 3 years and I never got to see him than. Than when there rights were terminated in 2017 being that it is now 2020 I haven’t been able to be in arms since 2015 to early 2016. It’s hard you know. I already have bad anxiety and bad depression. I didn’t need this in my life. So far 3 of my family members have died within the last 3 months. I take medicine to help with my anxiety and my depression but I don’t think it works any more. I have been on it for almost 5 years now. I cry a lot sometimes. I don’t feel comfortable talking to my foster parents about it, Even though I have been living with them for almost 3 years. My dad meant everything to me. He was the only person I truly cared about except for my cousin aunt and granny. He was in the top 4. When I first got into foster care I tried commit suicide. Some of them I was hospitalized for and some of them I wasn’t because no-one found out about them. The last time I tried to Commit was almost 2 years ago. I have been doing a whole lot better since than. I haven’t tried commiting any more and I don’t plan on it either. Since my daddy is gone I have been making A Honor Roll have been doing good with chores and things like that. But I have been staying in bed a lot. I am in the 9th grade as of right now and I plan on being the first to graduate from Highschool and to go to college and complete that. I want to get my high school diploma and my College Degree for my dad. I know I should do it for my self but if I do I wouldn’t work as hard for them. So I am going to do it for my daddy. I know he would want me to do it for my self but TBH in my opinion it’s not that simple. Anyways… Who ever is reading this thank you for taking the time to read my story based on my dad and myself. this helped me a lot to vent and get most of my feelings out. So thank you.

  14. Roxann Monette  February 7, 2020 at 3:54 am Reply

    My son is 22 we lost his dad he was 17 5yrs ago.
    It was a suicide we were all in total shock.My son was an elite baseball player everything fell apart for him.He would always say I’m ok wouldn’t talk or open up.Saw his doctor and a psychologist they signed that he should not continue school. He did was always at home games and with his girlfriend spent all his time at her place did not want to have much to do with us. Worked e few jobs nothing consistent quit all.pulled away from baseball friends because of girlfriend.was excepted at university last sept. and never went.partied a lot drinking a lot just out of control.
    Tried putting limits and being their always we had many fights and no respect towards me. Not a bad kid offered every help available.Just started a nw job selling thermo pumps door to door has got himself into a huge credit card debt has no money and says he will make money.
    He closed the door on school and I just don’t know how to get him through I hurt so badly for him and he is hurting badly.Has started talking does it with friends when he has drank and cries a lot. Being at friends called me twice 3:30 in morning needing to talk about his dad and crying.
    Never talks when he is sober.
    I haven’t stopped opening my heart to him. He has good friends who listen.
    Where do I go from here he regréât all theirs years and he lost all his dreams baseball and he always said he wanted to go to university.
    Hé does not know how to get him self out of all of this.
    I want to help how do I do this.

    • Jodie H  August 22, 2021 at 4:02 pm Reply

      My oldest son was 17 when his dad passed away suddenly 5 mos ago in March 2021. He was his father’s Golden Child as my husband was a Narcissist. We have a son who had just turned 14 a wk before my husband died. It’s been the hardest 5 mos of my life and sadly it’s because I lost my spouse which I found out had been having 2 longterm almost for 5 yr affairs. I can’t believe I didn’t sew he was having full on physical affairs. I suspected & questioned him several times in the past 4.5 yrs but thought he was emotionally unfaithful instead. His Covert lies always turned it on me like I was crazy thinking or overly jealous or it was just small talk to a classmate, etc. Anyway he was totally in love with his #1 Sarah & had pretty much deserted his family to go text, message, call or visit her any chance he got. Looking back on how the lack of his presence started my kids into a downward spiral before his death and they would do anything to get an ounce of his attention. Yet as their mom I had to do everything big and small, I always made myself available for my son’s but they obviously knew that mom wouldn’t go anywhere or always fight by doing anything to be part of their lives. I spoiled them rotten and they got pretty much anything they wanted from me, dad rarely bought 1 gift a yr if that for our kiddos. I must’ve made myself so known I’d always be here that they didn’t have to fight for my affection. Looking back they must’ve been desperate for their dad’s attention and went out of their way to please him which is understandable for boys to gravitate towards their father. My husband had been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to me for 16 yrs of almost 19 married. I stayed for my children 1 because I was the only nurturing parent & only one responsible for their Healthcare needs. My youngest has heart disease and glad I stayed because my husband died of the same exact heart disease passed on genetically without ever caring enough to go to my son’s Cardiology appts nor even listen to what we learned at ea visit as he progressed to needing a risky open heart surgery. My spouse was more concerned with his girlfriend’s vs following up on getting his meds filled for battling yrs of extremely high blood pressure. So if he couldn’t care for himself then how could he ever start caring for his escape goat child (2nd best & he did not hide those feelings). 2nd I didn’t leave as I know a Narcissist needs a victim, so my youngest likely would’ve endured the hateful wrath I did. I felt better me than my son to be the attacked. 3. My oldest said there was no way he was going to chose to stay with me & would tell his little brother to chose dad too, I couldn’t imagine my life without them. 4. Numerous other reasons not part of where I’m headed… after my husband died my oldest changed into an even more hateful, disrespectful, out of control child. He was 10x worse than his father’s most hateful attitude towards me. He eventually has been turning my youngest son on me & it’s breaking my heart into pieces. They have taken on their father’s pathalogical liar traits & went as far to make up a false smear campaign to Children’s Services. My oldest dates a girl whose father is a revolving door foster parent & should not have a license or allowed to foster any child. This dad has not texted, called, visited or any contact with myself after my spouse passed, but he has coached my oldest how to “get away from his mom”. Of course my son sees it as an opportunity to live full time with his girlfriend who also are sexually active- therefore what a dumb father to let the 2 high school kids have a full 7 nights & any time off from school to have free reigns of their sexual life free for whenever. The father loves it because my oldest rarely will come home & does all this man’s farm chores, yardwork, handyman helper & SideKick. Heck that dad has the greatest young man & helper ever & obviously going to coach him to get the little brother so he can have even more free labor. Yes this man is known for obtaining boys to foster working the heck out of them and in some cases goes thru several young boys ea year. The boys either early on or within mos stop doing the chores as he expects or not up to his demands, those who refuse to work hard he turns in for being disobedient to get a new one. He is a sick man & I can’t believe CPS is so messed up they haven’t caught on. As for myself my oldest hasn’t lifted a finger to help his mom in any single way & says I don’t deserve his help. I have never seen such an anger ridden child, full of rage, swears non-stop now, screams, makes up all sorts of huge hurtful lies about me to our small gossip community. He acts as though he has no heart. Even often says to me “he wishes I were dead or else asks me to take my own life asap – he doesn’t care if I’m alive as I mean nothing to him”. Wow, talk about stab in the heart when I used all my money to buy his cars, all his gifts (lots of expensive ones too), throw big birthday parties, planned all our family vacations so they were to be extra fun, took them to fin places: parks, Chucky Cheese, activities with my family for many yrs as my husband stayed home to sleep since his job/schedule was demanding. When we financially struggled it was only me who made sure we would have enough to scape by, my spouse never opened mail, looked at bills nor paid them. I made ALL their meals as my spouse bragged he wouldn’t ever cook (not even grill). I kept the house clean, dishes done, even took care of outside & inside home maintenance. Yet here I’m left with 2 son’s who knowing their father was cheating on me for yrs but feel I deserved it! He was the perfect father and I’m viewed as “the worst mother to live” they say. My youngest was the most loving, kind, helpful, talkative young child/pre-teen but his brother finished warping his mind against me. I feel so lost that it’s not just me grieving for my boy’s sadness over losing their dad but moreso I lost my son’s when my spouse passed away. I’ve tried everything to talk to them, read numerous books, researched online, counseling for me (my kids refuse individual & group therapy), etc. The only conversation they will have with me is to tell me what an awful person I am & can’t remember any of the good times we had – acting as those all the good memories are suppressed forever. I can’t mention “dad or my spouse’s name”, can’t touch any of his stuff and can’t even sell his truck which he took out a hidden loan over the amount it’s worth. He had hidden IRS debt, forgot to turn in his Evidence of Insurability to make his life policy valid so we have nothing there, depleted almost all his 401k in 5 yrs & died with not even $1 in his wallet. Here I’m trying my best to keep my boys in a home that for most requires 2 working adults to pay, keep up with all the bills without any dime expect for my income & my youngest social security income. I am not eligible until age 70 for my deceased spouses soc security – just loads of his past due debts & hidden loans. I too am lost and wouldn’t wish this life on any widow or widower. If I were homeless but had my son’s love, nothing else would matter. I only wish they wanted to be part of my life and at least like me enough to spend time with me even if that meant they would only talk to me. I’m desperate to find out if anyone has any suggestions. So far everything I’ve read & tried from so-called experts has only dug me into a hole. CPS has ruined it further as they are convinced via the boys lies that I’m a psycho or depressed mother who is the only one needing help or therapy. They failed my son’s as they should’ve recognized this family need group therapy at the very least. Honestly we all need individual therapy but unfortunately the system doesn’t feel the kids need anything. Guess they don’t understand the effects of a teenagers grief & longterm consequences of losing that parent to whom they felt closest to. That system is beyond messed up & definitely hires uneducated people. I can’t believe in the biggest event kids face in life CPS isn’t aware of how it can affect a child to intervene so they don’t get ptsd or worse!

  15. Jeff  January 21, 2020 at 3:08 am Reply

    My daughter just turned 14. A year and a half ago she lost her big sister/hero to an overdose a week before her 22nd birthday. They were so so close. For almost a year it seemed as though my daughter was doing ok. I was alarmed that she was hiding her emotions and I was right. Over the last year she has developed severe phobias, anxieties and panic attacks. She pushes away anyone or anything that gets close to her for fear of losing that person or thing. She is very withdrawn and has social anxieties and fears. She just started counseling a couple months ago and she was put on Wellbutrin. Recently she tried vaping and marijuana which is out of character for her. After finding this out and talking with her I discovered that the psychological toll and situation is much worse than I thought. She desperately needs a friend but won’t allow people to get close. She has become more isolated and depressed about lack of trustworthy friends. Teens can be so cruel and it breaks my heart for her. Besides counseling is there any other recommendations to help get her through this like books. She’s mad at God so church is not available at this time. She doesn’t open up or want to talk about it with Mom and me. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

  16. Nancy  December 26, 2019 at 4:29 pm Reply

    My daughter almost 19 lost her father suddenly at age 14. She was close with him and always enjoyed the holidays and special days with him. We were divorced since she was 8 years old. She has a hard time showing her sadness and discussing feelings. I don’t know what to say to her or how to talk without her getting upset with me. We’ve had counseling for divorce and then for the death of her father. I feel she’s always angry with me. I can’t do anything right in her eyes. What can I do? She knows I love her but she’s so distant.

    • Cristal  January 8, 2020 at 6:28 pm Reply

      Hey, i lost my sister at 12 and lost a close childhoodfriend at 16 resently, so I know I dont know anything about looseing a parent even if my older sister was like a mother at times. What i do know is that, like how you described, I find myself mad at my mom whenever she trys to help me. At times i would find myself yelling at her and i dont even know why. Ill be mad at myself later, wondering why i would do that to her then hate my self for pushing her away. Its something i still do. At times i would twist everything she says and get mad. For the most part i dont realy dont know what to tell you. Its confusing. The thing is at times i wished my mom would keep trying. She would end up leaving me alone and i always ened up crying in silence. I would wish she would come back and see me crying, know im hurting. I would pray for someone to come comfort me yet no one would come. I still dont know how to tell her i want her around when im like that. I hope this helps you possible understand what to do.

      • LINA  February 8, 2020 at 9:38 am

        Oh honey!
        My father passed away when I was 14, and as a mother of two little girls I feel for your comment! I am no professional, just couldn’t help but to comment. How about you show your mum this article and the comment you wrote? To think of you crying alone in your room breaks my heart, and I’m sure your mum would want to be here for you if she only knew. Wishing you all the best!

      • Jacquelyn  February 19, 2020 at 11:47 pm

        I’m very sorry that you have had two too many loses at your age. Your mother suffers because of your sibling please don’t shut her out. It’s easy to be mean but takes effort to be kind. She is the only one that can offer you solace… son just lost his best friend tonight and I so heartbroken for all. I want to be there for him. This sucks and is unfair. Take care.

      • Jodie H  August 22, 2021 at 4:17 pm

        Thank you for sharing this. As a parent with my son’s acting out in awful ways towards me I can relate through a parents eyes. Please tell her honestly what you wrote, it would salvage so much future time lost & further isolation between you both. If only my son’s would say something or anything to me besides how much they hate me, everything I do & have done in their eyes is wrong, wish I had passed & not their dad… It’s hard as a parent to struggle seeing our kids suffer but not letting us in or taking out their anger on us Only makes everything harder to mend. Ask for parent/child counseling- the therapist will help you both talk in ways you are too afraid to admit to one another or don’t know what to say or do. All this time lost & the fear of estrangement is devastating causing more undue suffering. A mom doesn’t give up on their child easily, we love you/them unconditionally thru the good AND the bad even though you might not see that. Researching & being told by 97% of today’s advice tells us parents to leave our children alone, let them grieve in peace, don’t be pushy & let the kids come to us. I’m so glad you disproved these silly so-called experts advice. I thought it seemed crazy plus yet has not helped by letting mine grieve without me pushing harder to get in. It sounded crazy the 1st Pastor who said it but that silly advice was verbally given or read in so many articles & books. Thank you a million for your comment & opening my eyes plus probably many others. Communication is the key to a happy life & future relationships in life. Lack of communication I feel has always been the cause for any breakdown in a family, friendships, workplace and society. The sooner you can open up the faster you also learn what good adulthood relationships are based on. Biggest hugs & best of luck to you. My heart breaks for any child to lose their parent early in life. It’s one of the hardest challenges a child/teen & heck even as an adult one could face. Wish I could give you a big hug & help you.

  17. Barbie  October 11, 2019 at 2:12 pm Reply

    I lost my mom when I was 9 years old and I’m 18 now. It’s depressing when I couldn’t even say goodbye or go to her funeral. I wish she didn’t have to go so soon, she had so much to look forward to in life. I miss her so much. She died October 25th, 2009 and I still can’t get over her death. She made me a baby blanket before she passed away and I still have it and I have to sleep with it in order to fall asleep. Why is it so hard to get over her death? She was my best friend and lost her out of nowhere. She was only 45 years old.

  18. Barbie  October 11, 2019 at 2:09 pm Reply

    I lost my mom when I was 9 years old and I’m 18 now. It’s depressing when I couldn’t even say goodbye or go to her funeral. I wish she didn’t have to go so soon, she had so much to look forward to in life. I miss her so much. She died October 25th, 2009 and I still can’t get over her death. She made me a baby blanket before she passed away and I still have it and I have to sleep with it in order to fall asleep. Why is it so hard to get over her death? She was my best friend and lost her out of nowhere.

  19. Dawn B  October 4, 2019 at 9:12 pm Reply

    I am so blessed to have read this article. This put everything into perspective for me in watching my teenage son deal with his friends tragic death. Everything you wrote in the They Mask Emotions & Emotional Expression section is right on. I needed some direction as I am very confused by his disconnect. Thank you.

    • Jacquelyn  February 19, 2020 at 11:22 pm Reply

      Hi my son just lost his best friend in a car accident doing something that my son and him normally do but my son was working that night instead. I am so heartbroken words cannot describe how sad to loss someone that would have graduated in several months. I hate cars.

  20. Alli  September 22, 2019 at 10:21 am Reply

    I lost my mom to cancer when I was 16. It was a terrible time in my life and I didn’t know how I’d live through it. I spent years developing a belief system about life and death that has helped me find my way. It’s been 30 years since she passed and I’ve used this believe system to get me through. I believe she is still with me, guiding me and watching over me. I’ve come to a place where I realize that her death propelled me to become strong and persevere. I would give anything to have her back but would never trade in the lessons or strength I’ve come to understand and adopt. You can do this. It’s not easy but strength can be a great reward for our grief. I lost my husband to suicide a year ago. The belief systems I had in place over the last 30 years has saved me with this devastating loss. Read, study and understand the ideas, concepts and beliefs out there that can help you formulate your own beliefs that can get you through. Hugs to all you out there struggling with grief and loss

  21. Alyce  September 4, 2019 at 7:32 am Reply

    My name is Alyce and my mum passed away 5 days ago of cancer, I’m only 16 years old and I miss her so much, I think I’m still in shock because I feel like I’m just going to come down stairs and see her sitting on the couch. My mum and dad divorced when I was really young and my siblings and I don’t have much to do with him at all. When I was 8 my mum remarried and now my sister and I live with my step dad. I miss my mum so incredibly much, we were so close, but I hating seeing her in pain. I just don’t know how I’m going to go on without her. I never realised how in denial I was of the whole situation until I received the news that the doctors could no longer do anything for her as the cancer was out of control. I hate the thought of my mum never getting the chance to meet my future kids or getting to see me get married. It’s not fair that my mum was taken away from her loving family at only 47 she had so much to live for, she would have celebrated her 48th birthday on Monday the 16th of September. I also have this feeling of hate towards God, I have prayed every night for as long as I can and I just can’t believe he took my beautiful mum away from. I know a piece of my heart will be gone forever but I truly hope that one day I’ll manage to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Anne  September 8, 2019 at 4:15 am Reply

      Alyce, I am so sorry you are going through this right now. I am 28, and lost my mom when I was 14 from cancer. It will be 14 years December 27th. I normally don’t comment on things but after reading your post, I felt I had to. I need to give you advice that I wish I had been given back then. Please, please, feel your feelings right now. I know it is hard, probably the hardest thing to do right now, but do not shut them off. Journal all your favorite memories of your mom, cry as hard and often as you need, and know that it will get better. You never stop missing them. I think about my mom everyday, but that stabbing pain you feel right now fades. Try to see a therapist as soon as possible. It would have saved me from a lot of issues I am currently having to deal with and process now if I had been able to talk to someone and not just shut my feelings off and be on autopilot for years. Find people you can confide in that are safe. You are very vulnerable right now, just be aware of that. Stick with anyone who you consider a possible anchor for you. Keep your head up when possible, but don’t invalidate your feelings and definitely don’t let anyone else. I wish you the best. I’m really sorry you had to join this club. It’s never something a child or teenager should go through, but there are a lot of us out there that have been there. So never feel alone. You can make it through this and your life will still be amazing because your mom lives on through you.

  22. Mavis  August 30, 2019 at 8:25 am Reply

    My grandson lost his mother in the last two days, she went t Cape Town to celebrate her birthday, she fell inside the lift ND paramedics tried their best it was too late, my grandson is not coping at all and my two other daughters, they have not eaten since we received the news, also my husband is not coping at all, he is also not eating anything only drinking juice

  23. Marisol  May 15, 2019 at 3:34 am Reply

    Hi my name is Marisol,I’m 13 years old when i was 2 years old my dad got deported to mexico.and in 2016 from his family she died of kidney failure and it crushed me and 3 weeks ago i tried taking my own life i have depression and social anxiety disorder and i can’t let him go i miss him so much how do i grief i had to be rushed to the hospital i talked to my mom about it but she said “you need to let him go” it’s make me upset seeing my half sister with her dad and all my friends with their dad what do i do?

    • KC  May 17, 2019 at 12:07 am Reply

      Dear MARISOL -I am so sorry about your fathers death. I hope that you understand no matter what he is in heaven protecting you. Please remember the good times and embrace the good. Your father would have wanted you to get a good education and succeed in life. Life is too precious to end it early. I also lost my father when I was a teenager and I am 35 now. All I remember now is the good times we had. A part of your father is living inside of you, you need to keep it alive. God bless!

      • Jenny  November 20, 2019 at 5:10 am

        Please how did you cope…because my Jr bro is just 15..we lost our dad recently…he couldn’t cry on the burial day cos he didn’t want to look weak…but I think its effecting him….I don’t know how to get him to communicate how he feels or what’s going on with him… He just kips falling sick… I’m worried…

      • Rebecca  January 18, 2020 at 9:04 am

        I’m 19 and my younger brother is 17, and we lost our dad last month. He is very similar to your brother in that he doesn’t want to open up about how he feels. One of the best ways to connect seems to be saying “do you remember when…?” and remind him of one of your favourite memories with your dad. But it’s also important not to push too hard, because that could push him further away. If he doesn’t feel ready to talk about it, it’s important that nobody forces him to. And it’s possible that he’s talking to friends or someone else in his life about it without you even realising. Ultimately, he is fifteen and he wants to have control of his life and how much he shares with others, so there’s only so much you can do. Do everything you can to be there for your brother if he wants to talk, but also remember it’s not your responsibility to direct his emotions towards healthy grief – we can’t always help other people as much as we would like to, and that’s okay.

    • Cheryl  June 16, 2019 at 1:34 am Reply

      Dearest Marisol, I’m so greatly saddened at the loss for you of your father! Being age 13 yrs old at times has its own challenges without having to grieve the loss of your Dad. It hasn’t really been that long ago for the loss, therefore it is normal to still feel his loss, especially if your Mom doesn’t know how to just let you talk about him to her. If your school has a counselor you should go talk to her/him and let them help you with channeling your feelings towards a positive result. Maybe you have a Dr. who is seeing you for your depression, if so, talk to the doctor to help you handle how you’re feeling. I do not know if you have any belief in God, but if you do reading the New Testament: example: 1Corinthians 13, Romans 15:2, Galatians 5 -The Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 6:10, and many more words of help, comfort, and knowledge. Turn to God, talk to him in prayer, he will by his Devine providence provide help to you if you Trust and Believe in him and do his work. You will learn about what God wants for you, if you read his Word. God has given each of us talents or strengths to help us in our life here on earth. You’re at the age where you should begin to understand what some if not all of your skills are in for your own life. I knew I was good at reading, drawing, and helping people by the time I graduated high school. I wasn’t sure, but I knew I could succeed at one or all of those skills. Trust yourself to believe that you have God given talents!! Your Dad believed in you, but as hard as it is to understand, God knows you, and if you will trust him, and live your life as he wants you to do, the pain and loss you feel for your Dad will turn into something wonderful! Your father will then be extremely proud of you because you went on and shined as he wants you to do! It will honor him with your using your God given talents which he will see from heaven!! I will pray continuously in my prayers that you find your way which will be a glory to our God, and to your dad! Best wishes, Marisol, now and in your future life here on earth.

    • Jacquelyn  February 19, 2020 at 11:50 pm Reply

      Maybe you can research his life and family tree and make a scrapbook about him that reminds you that you have a dad in spirit.

  24. marlene cox  April 23, 2019 at 11:51 pm Reply

    my Sons grandfatehr passed away Oct 26 after a long hospice care in our house it was stressful and draining .. @ days after Grandfathers funeral My Sons father grandpas Son that cared for him passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack .. My Sons gries is immense and I do not know what to do hes been to counseling church nut it seems like it is consuming him I feel terrible and wishn it was me that died

    • Cristal  January 8, 2020 at 6:51 pm Reply

      Hi, i lost my older sister at 12 and i rember not getting help for the longest time. I didnt go to my mom because of how she was handling the death and no one around me understood what i was going through. I hope that you didnt express your wishes of death to your son but to a consular instead. As it can make it harder to go to you for help. He prabably is going to do what I did and not get help. I let it consume me for so long. I was lucky enough though to have been raised to know when enough is enough and i now go to the student consular that my school offers. With your son though you should be his suppot not the one he has to support. Also i strongly recomend getting him to a consoling that works for him. The church one you mentioned might give him a feeling of presser or anxiety he doesnt need. Make sure you let him know its ok to tell you how he feels. Dont be pushy in a way that feels forced but bring it up often enough to show you care. Support is something that we teens need. Even if he pushs you away at first, your dedication of coming to him often shows you care and eventully he should accept your help. I hope this helps. Also make sure you take care of your self aswell. It can show him that if you can get better than he can too. Teens notice things like that even if we dont realise we do or acknowledge it.

  25. Rhonda  February 10, 2019 at 6:58 am Reply

    I lose my daughter and granddaughter some years ago now my DAUGHTER’s now teen DAUGHTER is acting out in school at home I don’t know which way to go because don’t and won’t really talk about them and there death but I she her heading the wrong part and I can’t stop it or help her. Looking for answers. Yes I am working on counseling for her.

  26. Olivia Paige  February 7, 2019 at 4:20 pm Reply

    I apologize for all adults that do not listen to their children in this age and time they need someone to talk to and even understand what they are facing in this they took prayer out of school now our children are facing being bullied, accousted by sexual perversion and everybody else has rights what about the rights of the righteous. What will it take for us as a parent to do something inorder to help ALL the children.

  27. Noah Harris  January 15, 2019 at 11:01 am Reply

    My father passed away in early October of 2016. I’ve kept my emotions all bottled up and tried to hold it in and it’s caused me to get in a lot of trouble and no one understands how hard this actually impacted me and I need help to learn how to release my feelings in a non violent and safe way to where I don’t feel pressured or frowned apon for how I truly feel.

    • Chris  June 13, 2019 at 3:14 am Reply

      Dear Noah, I’m sorry for your loss. Truly.
      Death of a loved one is the hardest thing ever!
      There is nothing that will take away your pain and suffering. Without trying to minimize your grief. In time you will learn to cope with the loss. I know that does nothing to help you now. I can say from experience. I lost my mom when I was 15, I’m 49 now. I grieved years, over her loss. I experienced so much sorrow, as I’m sure you are now. I hope you know that his spirit will remain with you always. Please don’t allow the pain to overcome you. Keep fighting. It’s important to keep moving forward positively. I’m sure your Dad would want that from you. It’s not going to be easy. You will have to challenge yourself to be the best you can be. Of course I understand it’s much easier said then done. Whatever you do don’t allow yourself to surrender. You will make it through this. Try to be good. Find outlets for yourself. Perhaps join a team. Get a pet if you don’t have one. Dogs are awesome companions. Talk to friends. Become more spiritual. Stay connected. Remember he is alive in you !

  28. eric meyers  January 3, 2019 at 9:31 pm Reply

    I am dealing with the death of my sons mother. i have not seen son in 7 years he is 13 he has a sister that has a different father and she is 19 i am in a struggle about taking him from her. she is asking me to let son live with her and to prove she can take care of him. mind you she has a very young child herself. i dont want to break my sons or her heart but i feel it is best if i take him. please help need to help her understand. she wants to fight me for him in court if need be she has told me.

    • Stacy  January 11, 2019 at 11:02 am Reply

      Hi Eric. I’m so sorry to hear about your son and his sister losing their mother. I’m not sure why you haven’t seen your son in 7 years but that’s a really long time and you don’t even have a relationship with him. At 13, he could easily rebel if you try to force him to go with you. I think at 19, his sister will have a lot on her plate to keep him but she sounds like she is very close to him and is willing to fight for him. If she can prove to the court that she is stable and responsible…and your son desires to live with her, she could very well win legal custody since you have been MIA for seven years. You should think long and hard about why you want custody of him. Is it for his best interest? Because his best interest would have been to have an involved father the past 7 years. Maybe start slow and build a relationship with him and who knows..he may decide to go live with you on his own. It’s never to late to try to mend a relationship but that’s the first step. Good luck.

  29. erika  October 26, 2018 at 5:32 pm Reply

    I am looking for assistance and help with my teen daughter. Her father passed away from overdoes a few months ago. They where so close. She holds her feelings in and is acting out in negative ways. Not like her

    • Katie Badders  February 13, 2019 at 10:26 pm Reply

      Hi Erika,
      What area are you located in?

  30. Caren Corcoran  October 24, 2018 at 4:59 am Reply

    My best friend was shot to death by her husband in 2015. They had moved to Arizona a couple years prior to retire. My friend was from Alaska, where her family lives. When it happened, I sought out her daughter, who is an only child. She was living in a motel with her daughter. She has two other children, boys. I helped my friend’s daughter through her loss of her mother and her stepdad’s trial and conviction. Eventually she was able to buy a house and car from receiving her mother’s estate. She had everything she needed to provide a home for her two school age children, a daughter and son. Her husband was incarcerated when she bought the house. When her husband was released from jail, I encouraged my friend’s daughter to stay sober and became close friends with her. I had been in her children’s lives as my best friend would care for her grandchildren regularly. And I had also through the years.
    Last weekend I took my friend (daughter of murdered best friend) to the hospital as she wasn’t feeling well and was hallucinating. She had started drinking alcohol again when she discovered her husband was partaking even though so far he has spent the majority of their 8 year marriage in jail. Two weeks ago when we ran errands, I noticed she was a shade of yellow I had never seen before. It was as though she had used yellow day glo paint on the white’s of her eyes. Since then it was getting darker and her skin color changed to orangy yellow. So, I take her to the emergency room and they immediately started working on her. They told me she was really sick and then we went through recording her drinking history and symptoms now. I stayed with her throughout the night as they did multiple tests and moved her to ICU. When they drained her belly is when they told me she is in end stage liver failure and may not make it through the weekend. Then they sent me home as at the time, she named me her advocate as she doesn’t trust her abusive husband and they said they needed me to be rested and ready for the big decisions coming. I went home and couldn’t sleep. I waited until the morning to call her teenage children and let them know what had happened to their mom. Then I called her husband and told him. Forward 3 days and now her husband is her advocate that she DIDN’T want to happen.
    The doctors called us all together (her two youngest children, her husband and myself) today to let us know she is not going to recover, most likely. She has end stage liver failure. She is 42 years old. She has a heart of gold and I’m blessed to have known her and been able to be a guiding figure of sorts in her life since she’d lost her mother three years ago in such a horrific way. It’s taking alittle longer for my brain to wrap itself around her dying than when my own mother died four years ago and my father’s death two years ago. I am only 60 myself.
    What I’m confused about is what my role is in all this sorrow. We talked every day and sometimes in the middle of the night. Her husband is an alcoholic and had introduced it again into their home last year and drinks heavily himself. Last week in the middle of the night, he tried to drive to the liquor store but ended up driving their vehicle, which he cannot legally drive (license revoked for life), into the lake they live on. I pulled the vehicle out of the lake. Two days later, he took the vehicle again and totalled it into a light pole and was charged with Felony DUI. I picked him up from jail. She had gotten her own DUI two months ago so I was her ride and helped her navigate through the court system. She was supposed to appear in court today for sentencing.
    If she is not going to live, I feel a responsibility to be there for her kids. And have been doing so since Saturday. I did not sugar coat what I told them was wrong with their mother but it hit home today when the doctor stated her rapidly failing health. I will be there for support as they go through their mother’s end of life trauma. Her daughter is underage and now will be without a home and parent. Her stepdad obviously cannot raise a child, by his own admission. Do I step in and take her in? Both of her younger children had moved out when they discovered she had started drinking again, ages 18 and 17. Her son graduated from high school this year and her daughter will graduate this spring. She has a boyfriend she is living with right now. Her son lives with his girlfriend and her family. They are both great kids despite the struggles in their family. It is heartbreaking that my friend will not be here for her daughter’s graduation and beyond. It is heartbreaking her children will not have a place to call “home”, a safe place to get away to reenergize, to talk with their mom. I’m having a hard time feeling sympathy for her husband as he seemed hell bent on destroying everything they have with majorly bad decisions over and over again. I don’t plan on confronting him about his actions at this point but did give him an earfull while pulling their vehicle out of their lake in the middle of the night. He is now or continues to have no transportation and we do not live in the same area of the town. Should I continue helping HIM after my friend is gone? She was our link and I have no desire to expose myself to his seedy lifestyle. But I believe in God so it’s hard for me to walk away. It would not be in my best interest to become closer to him as he also abuses drugs and steals merchandise from stores. At least that is what my friend was dealing with and trying to get him out of her home. He ends up with a home he did nothing for and now can run wild. Where do I break off my help?

  31. Pamela Benson  April 19, 2018 at 8:02 pm Reply

    My daughter turn 20 April 12,2018 and her Babyboy died April 13th ,2018.he was 2 months and 29days old.the most healthy loving baby anyone could ask for.When she called me and told me he was breathing.i was furious with her.i love my daughter don’t get me wrong but I love the baby just as much.he was my world.i have been there since day one.i helped deliver him he lived with me and I stayed up many night soothing him while she slept.I tried to teach her how to be a good mother and I wanted her to feel the kind of love I felt for him and the bond I had with him.he thought I was is mother and cried when I wasn’t around him.I feel like I let him down in so many ways that it’s hard to live with myself.I just kayed him to rest yesterday and I don’t know how to live without him.i have cried since the day I was told he didn’t make it.i sleep in his nursery crying myself to sleep holding his blanket because I feel I should have protected him more.they ruling it as S.I.D..S.but he was so healthy not a mark on him.not even a daiper rash.. I need peace to know he didn’t suffer so I can live with myself.Im not sure I can even live with myself then.He was my baby even though I didn’t birth him but I was there helping her birth him and everything he has I made sure he had it.There is a hole in my heart that will never be feeled unless I have him back in my arms.How do I go on without him.Im at lost of life,I’m mad at the world,God,my daughter,everyone ,Why do I feel this way.Its the worst heartbreak anyone could endure and I’m scared of what I might do to get to him.i don’t won’t to go to hell if I kill myself to be with him.but I want him back in my arms so much.i didn’t even get to tell him I love him.please what do I do

  32. Pamela Benson  April 19, 2018 at 8:02 pm Reply

    My daughter turn 20 April 12,2018 and her Babyboy died April 13th ,2018.he was 2 months and 29days old.the most healthy loving baby anyone could ask for.When she called me and told me he was breathing.i was furious with her.i love my daughter don’t get me wrong but I love the baby just as much.he was my world.i have been there since day one.i helped deliver him he lived with me and I stayed up many night soothing him while she slept.I tried to teach her how to be a good mother and I wanted her to feel the kind of love I felt for him and the bond I had with him.he thought I was is mother and cried when I wasn’t around him.I feel like I let him down in so many ways that it’s hard to live with myself.I just kayed him to rest yesterday and I don’t know how to live without him.i have cried since the day I was told he didn’t make it.i sleep in his nursery crying myself to sleep holding his blanket because I feel I should have protected him more.they ruling it as S.I.D..S.but he was so healthy not a mark on him.not even a daiper rash.. I need peace to know he didn’t suffer so I can live with myself.Im not sure I can even live with myself then.He was my baby even though I didn’t birth him but I was there helping her birth him and everything he has I made sure he had it.There is a hole in my heart that will never be feeled unless I have him back in my arms.How do I go on without him.Im at lost of life,I’m mad at the world,God,my daughter,everyone ,Why do I feel this way.Its the worst heartbreak anyone could endure and I’m scared of what I might do to get to him.i don’t won’t to go to hell if I kill myself to be with him.but I want him back in my arms so much.i didn’t even get to tell him I love him.please what do I do

  33. Kathi  April 6, 2018 at 12:44 am Reply

    I would appreciate any guidance you can give on helping my 12 year old great-granddaughter. She lives with me, my husband and her brother. She is unable to live with her mother due to her work schedule. Her parents were never married. Her father was in prison the first 3 years of her life. Her father had a drug abuse problem and he overdosed 3 weeks ago. She had a rocky relationship with him during the last 9 years. She spent time with him, but he frequently went out while she was there, leaving her with his then current girlfriend. She had a heated conversation with him a few days after Christmas due to his behavior, and again 2 weeks before he died, where she repeated things that she had said after Christmas, that she now can’t take back. She feels very guilty that she refused to take his call a week before he died and the missed call shows on her phone. She won’t talk about it much, so all I can do is hold her when she cries. I am honest with her, telling her it will be hard the first year, but that the hurt will lessen gradually. I do not tell her everything will be okay, because it won’t. I also do not tell her to get over it, because she never will. But I need to know if there is anything I can say to her to comfort her. Thank you.

  34. Kathi  April 6, 2018 at 12:44 am Reply

    I would appreciate any guidance you can give on helping my 12 year old great-granddaughter. She lives with me, my husband and her brother. She is unable to live with her mother due to her work schedule. Her parents were never married. Her father was in prison the first 3 years of her life. Her father had a drug abuse problem and he overdosed 3 weeks ago. She had a rocky relationship with him during the last 9 years. She spent time with him, but he frequently went out while she was there, leaving her with his then current girlfriend. She had a heated conversation with him a few days after Christmas due to his behavior, and again 2 weeks before he died, where she repeated things that she had said after Christmas, that she now can’t take back. She feels very guilty that she refused to take his call a week before he died and the missed call shows on her phone. She won’t talk about it much, so all I can do is hold her when she cries. I am honest with her, telling her it will be hard the first year, but that the hurt will lessen gradually. I do not tell her everything will be okay, because it won’t. I also do not tell her to get over it, because she never will. But I need to know if there is anything I can say to her to comfort her. Thank you.

    • Stacy  January 11, 2019 at 11:09 am Reply

      Hi Kathi,
      I hope that you have gotten your granddaughter into counseling by now. As far as what to tell her, it’s fine to tell her everything will be ok because it will. Losing someone you love hurts deeply but we must go on and live our best life. Tell her to forgive herself for not taking that call and for saying certain things to her father. Her father had a drug problem and wasn’t the parent he needed to be and she reacted with hurtful words but I’m sure he knew she loved him. Most importantly, none of it is her fault and she needs to be reminded of that. Nothing she did or didn’t do would have changed the outcome. Counseling will help her come to terms with his death and be at peace with the situation.

  35. Sharon  December 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Would appreciate any further guidance on helping my 15 year old daughter. Has repressed all her emotions and feelings since her dad took his own life 2 years ago,
    So heartbreaking standing by unable to make it easier.. if that’s even possible.

  36. Sharon  December 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Would appreciate any further guidance on helping my 15 year old daughter. Has repressed all her emotions and feelings since her dad took his own life 2 years ago,
    So heartbreaking standing by unable to make it easier.. if that’s even possible.

  37. Ollie  July 30, 2017 at 1:35 am Reply

    I recently turned 14 and my mom left me and my younger sisters right before i turned 13, which caused us to get split up. I live with my dad now, and even though its been a long time since she left I’m still struggling with it. I’m not sure how to get my feelings out, or how to deal with it. It’s not like experiencing the death of a loved one, mainly because she’s still alive, but it feels different. We were really close and I thought we were all happy, but then I went to my dads house for visitation, then my dad told me about the whole situation (which is very long and a lot more than her just leaving)

    • Stacy  January 11, 2019 at 11:17 am Reply

      Hi Ollie,
      It’s been over a year since you posted. I hope that you are in a much better place now. A parent abandoning a child hurts deeply and in a way, it’s similar to a death. Your mom has issues she needs to work out and I hope that she has by now. Whatever they were/are, they aren’t your issues. They are hers alone and you are not to blame. I have a 14 year old daughter and reading your post…breaks my heart. I also have a 13 year old adopted daughter who her mother gave her up when she was 12 to the foster care system. Then her mother suddenly passed away one day. Life can be so hard sometimes but just know that whatever you are going through in life…it won’t last forever. “This too shall pass” is a sentiment that I have often repeated to myself. You are a strong and brave young lady and you will be fine.

  38. Laura  February 8, 2017 at 1:29 am Reply

    My sons lost their Dad on Jan 2/2017
    Their dad was 52 and it was A sudden heart attack
    My sons are 17 & 15
    I have been estranged from my oldest son for four years, my 15-year-old has not spoken to me since January 2, I’ve sent emails texts and phone calls -gone to the school to give a sympathy cards and offered a gift card to both sons, I’ve had nothing but silence ….I am hurt as I’m the biological parent and being shunned

    My kids are staying / living with the girlfriend at my former spouses residence and I’m getting concerned because of the lack of communication from the other family to me ….
    We have gone through a terrible divorce.

    I’m not too sure how to proceed …. Or to contact my sons

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  40. Leah Coates  January 1, 2017 at 7:44 am Reply

    We lost my sister on December 26th. She went to sleep on Christmas night and never woke again. My nephews (Ryan age 23, Dillon 19 and William 17) found her. She was a single mother. We have reached out for support but are finding that no grief counseling places are open during the holidays.

    My mother is moving into the home to keep from uprooting the children but I am worried that the memory of finding their mom may be too much plus my mother is grieving the loss of her youngest child. The youngest son William has a heart defect and I have noticed how pale he is. We have an appt. with his doctor on the 4th. Please, if anyone has some suggestions or tips, we could sure use them. The children have had a flock of friends surrounding them (which is remarkable) but I know that these young men have many tough days ahead and as their only Aunt, I really need to be educated on what to say and how to help these boys.

  41. Kirstyn  July 18, 2016 at 11:28 pm Reply

    My daughters grandfather is about to die after a long battle with cancer and she’s becoming withdrawn. She is almost 15 and this is her third experience with death. When she was six, we lost my mother (with whom she was extremely close) and then four years ago my sister (her aunty who she loved deeply) died suddenly. Her first reaction when we told her that her grand dad was sick was, “oh my god…..not again!” She was always open to talk about her feelings with past experiences but is now quite different and doesn’t want to talk. Im worried and just want to help my beautiful girl?!

    • Eleanor  July 19, 2016 at 10:07 am Reply

      Hey Kirstyn,

      I’m so sorry about the illness in your family and the deaths your family has endured in the past. I can imagine your hearth aches for your daughter. You know her best but I wonder if maybe her hesitancy to talk openly about her emotions has anything to do with her age? There is a big different between 11 when she experienced the death of her aunt and 15. As I’m sure you well know, many times teens are very selective with when, who, and how they open up about their feelings. Again, you know your daughter best, but we always suggest people take developmental stage into account when thinking about supportive a grieving child. That said, do you know if you have any grief centers in your area? Quite often grief centers focus specifically on supporting grieving children and teens. Different centers offer difference services but in general their groups and camps provide a space where kids are able to connect and open up to people their own age who have been through similar experiences. If you haven’t looked into the resources in your area, this is a good place to start.

  42. ens  May 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm Reply


  43. Maria  March 6, 2016 at 7:55 am Reply

    Can you help me on the themes i can do each session For eight session to ten sessions with my members they are also teenagers age 11 to 15. They are all orphans dealing with loss of their parents.

  44. Ross Vaughn  September 21, 2013 at 11:17 am Reply

    It is scary for a teen dealing with teen depression, it can be a simple episode that they’re upset over a breakup. Or, it can be a constant depression that can destroy lives. As a parent of two preteen boys I keep an eye for warning signs that mine may have teen depression … The scary truth about teen depression

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