A girl in my seventh-grade class just died in a terrible car
accident. Everybody is a mess. I wasn’t very close to her, so it didn’t hit me
so hard that I cried all day, but I did cry a little. I’d like advice on how to
help other people get through this.
Dear Sad Helper,
What a tragedy for the girl’s family and your community. Her
death will probably leave a permanent mark on her family members and closest
friends. It will make some think long and hard about their own lives, and it
will leave others feeling very heavy-hearted.
Everyone has different ways of grieving. Your classmates who
feel terrible are allowed to, while the kids who didn’t know her so well
shouldn’t feel guilty about having fun in the hallways between classes. Don’t
avoid the saddest kids—include them in conversations. Then, in a quiet moment,
you might say, “You must really miss her.”
Since the school year is winding up, maybe your principal
can honor the girl’s memory in a formal way. There could be a service or tree
planting, or everyone could write or draw a page for a book. Mourning takes
time. This girl will never be forgotten, but when school starts again next
fall, even her friends will be able to think about her with affection and not
just heart-wrenching pain.
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