Sadly, we’ve heard that two Jackson County teens have taken their own lives in separate incidences this past week. We have resources to help in the aftermath of such tragic losses. We also wish to share what we can about how teens grieve — whole schools have been affected. Our hearts go out to everyone involved.
This month’s topic is coping with the holidays. Listen as Susanne and Julie discuss their experience and draw from WinterSpring resources for helping those who are grieving through this difficult time. Listen here!
I heard my daughter tell a friend, “Puzzles are the only holiday tradition we have.”
Wow, I suppose that’s true in a way. After her dad died in 2004, I have tried to make the holidays special each year, but haven’t found anything the sticks year after year except our ritual of buying new jigsaw puzzles, bringing out the card table, and setting up for evenings of puzzling. As we sat down the other night, I wondered about this tradition since our loss – the satisfaction of seeing the beautiful images unfold before our eyes as we fit the pieces together, a symbolic road map through grief. Michael’s death brought a sense of chaos and uncertainty to our lives — the pieces didn’t fit in the way they had. Not much about the holidays made sense to me, either. What got us through year after year was the patient step by step, trying and failing, trying again and succeeding, bringing a chaotic mess of little pieces into something organized. And now, I’d say that life does make sense. This year we picked easier puzzles and we’ve already completed two. I suppose the easy puzzles reflect that life is easier this holiday season. We are blessed to have each other and a tradition that has helped us through this difficult time of year.
It takes lots of caring adults to help kids through grief. We had a conversation with the Medford School District this week about bringing our bereavement training into the schools — because teachers and other adults often don’t know how to help a youth in pain from a loss. It’s nice to see that this important work is being embraced in other places. See this San Francisco Chronicle article.
New York Life is doing great work for understanding kids in grief. They say in their recent study: Kids value communication about loss, but feel it’s lacking: Many say “most people don’t know how to talk to you after a loved one dies.” The study also says that schools score poorly in helping these kids cope. That’s why programs like WinterSpring’s Teen Grief Groups are so important. As school budgets get cut, kids get less and less support from staff and thus the nonprofits like us who go into the schools become even more important to the health of children, teens and their families.