Everyone Grieves - Coping Strategies for Young Ones

Original post by Katie Militello, LMFT. Author gave permission to post. 


When a parent dies, your world is literally turned upside down, and not only for you, but also for all family members around you.  Suddenly nothing seems normal or safe, and you often feel like you are observing everyone else from a distance because they seem to be going on with life as if nothing happened.  Whatever was important to you before the death seems insignificant and unimportant, but you want to get back to how things were before.  Here are a few suggestions to deal with your feelings.

Let yourself feel what you feel.  You are grieving and it can come over you like a wave in the ocean.  It can be triggered by smells, special places and someone who reminds you of your loved one. Know that being “flooded” by this sad painful feeling is normal even though you feel out of control.

Take a moment at some point in the day to remember the person no longer present.  It can be when you wake up, before you go to sleep or when you eat breakfast or lunch.  You can acknowledge them by just closing your eyes and thinking about a memory, writing them a note or lighting a candle in their memory.  By actively doing something, we honor that person.

Recognize others in your family will grieve differently than you.  Everyone grieves in their own way based on their past experiences and their unique relationship to the loved one.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Some members of your family may appear to not be grieving, but they will eventually or they may be doing so privately in hopes of not adding to the sadness.

Be with others your own age, who are experiencing a loss. They can truly understand and relate to how you are feeling and what you are going through.  Sharing experiences and making connections with others are the ways to healing.