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A girl I know died, and I don't know what to do



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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BY CAROL WESTON ON 6/8/2012 12:00:00 AM

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