A recent tragedy has made me have flashbacks to my 8th grade year in junior high school. Unexpectedly, my childhood best friend was killed in a car accident. I was 13 at the time and had never lost anyone close to me. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to cope with such pain and emptiness and I can remember my parents not being able to soothe my broken heart.

I am not writing this blog to spark bad memories for others, I am hoping that it will somehow help parents who are faced with a similar circumstance. Obviously, everyone deals with grief in their own way, but it is something a young person struggles with on a much different level.

Encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings. Internalizing the loss doesn’t make it easier on them. I kept a journal of my thoughts and feelings. I was on an emotional roller coaster and just needed a silent outlet to express myself.  Years later, I was amazed looking back and seeing the journey I had made. As a result, I was a much stronger person.

Encourage your child to speak to their school resources (grief counselors, guidance counselors, teachers, etc.). If further counseling is needed to assist with the loss, perhaps a local minister or psychologist could help.

The only silver lining I found in the situation was it made me realize the importance of telling your loved ones how much you love them. Tomorrow is not promised! My best advice is to live well, laugh often and love much.

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