Tough Stuff

Helping my friend deal with loss...

One of my friends at school was in a bad car wreck a few days ago. She and her dad were injured and her eight-year-old sister was killed. I'm having a bit of trouble coping with this because some of the people at school are being really cruel about the whole thing. They act like it’s all a joke, but I actually met her sister, and I think that makes it even harder for me.

I know it’s tough for her now, and might be even worse once she comes back to school. I wanted some advice on how to help her get through this.

Hey hon, your friend is so lucky to have you in her corner. Dealing with the death of a loved one, especially a sibling, is really difficult and your friend cannot do it alone. That’s where you come in—to listen, to cry and to be the person she can lean on.

You are not alone

While it’s super-important for you to be there for your friend, it’s also essential for you to let yourself grieve. The loss of your friend’s sister is a major loss for you, too. Communicate your emotions with someone you trust, such as a parent, older sibling or your fave teacher. If it’s too difficult to talk it out, jot whatever you're feeling down in a journal. It’s natural to feel upset, confused and sad. Remember, you need support, too.

Be there for your bestie

Speak up for your friend and kindly ask your classmates to respect her privacy. People grieve in different ways and it’s possible your classmates may not even realize they’re being rude. Some people try to make light of serious situations with jokes, but this is no laughing matter. If they’re still making fun of what happened, tell a teacher or ask a guidance counselor for help.

Show your support

Now more than ever, your best friend needs you. If she wants to talk, listen. Remind her of all the good memories she had with her sister. If she can't find the words, just comfort her. Sometimes a small hug can make a huge difference. Although your friend’s sister is no longer with her, she will always be with her in spirit.

Lots of love,

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3/16/2010 7:00:00 AM