Dear Grieving Teen,
It’s been a hard year. You’re not hearing that here first, and there are probably plenty of words you can think of in addition to “hard” to describe how this year’s been for you. Difficult, confusing, isolating, frightening, frustrating and unfair are some other words that come to mind, especially if someone important in your life has died recently.
Are you also dealing with the added frustrations of well-meaning adults telling you what they think is best? Most of the time they’re just trying to help, but they aren’t always sure how to help or what’s best, because the truth is that you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you.
Maybe you’ve heard that you need to talk about how you’re feeling, but maybe you prefer to journal about your feelings and take a walk to deal with negative energy. Maybe they’ve been worried that you’re spending too much time alone in your room, but that’s the only place you feel like you can deal with your feelings without also having to be careful of everyone else’s. Maybe they’ve tried to get you to “talk to someone” or told you that you need to find a place to express your feelings because it will help make you feel better, but the thought of being honest and vulnerable around strangers makes things feel even worse.
I don’t know exactly what’s best for you. I do know that being around other people who understand what it’s like to have had someone in their life die is an inclusive space, and one that doesn’t always exist in our daily lives of school, sports, clubs, and other social activities and responsibilities.
A peer-grief group is a place where you can share what’s on your mind and how you’ve been feeling, or where you can participate quietly by respectfully listening to other people share. You never have to answer any question you don’t want to, there isn’t any homework, and it’s up to you if you want to share with the adults in your life about what you did or didn’t do during the group time. That time is for you to be around other people who want to be in a similar place, where you can access your difficult feelings and know that no one’s going to tell you you’re wrong for feeling the way you do.
Grief is complicated. This past year has made everything more complicated. So we’ve created a virtual space for grieving teens to come together and talk – or not talk – about whatever they’re feeling and however they want to describe this past year, on every Wednesday evening in March. If this sounds like something for you, talk to your grown-up and have them call Kelia Bergin at 781-373-6570 or email KBergin@CareDimensions.org for more information and to register you for group support.
Children’s Program Coordinator
Learn more about our grief support programs for children.