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Grief is a normal response to a loss.  It includes all of the intense feelings and reactions that follow death of a loved one.  The following are normal reactions to the grief/loss.


 Common Grief Reactions

  • Shock or Denial
  • Feeling numb
  • Postponing or avoiding death
  • Sadness/crying
  • Anger
  • Mood Swings
  • Fear of forgetting your loved one
  • Guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical pain
  • Change in grades
  • Isolated or withdrawn
  • Relief
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Fear of Death





If the following signs are present and grieving seems very difficult, you may need extra help.  Talk to a trusted adult about what to do and reach out.  If you feel any of the following thoughts or feelings, talk to someone, REACH OUT.

  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Not taking care of yourself-bathing, brushing teeth, hair, etc.
  • Engaging in drugs/alcohol
  • Extreme eating or sleeping
  • Aggression/Anger
  • Depression (Lack of energy, not wanting to get out of bed, lack of interest in friends, family, sadness, loneliness).
  • Ongoing grades dropping/ongoing problems at school
  • Risk taking behaviors


Tips for Parents


  • Be there and listen
  • Don’t’ judge or tell them how to feel
  • Answer questions honestly-based on their maturity level; know what they can/cannot handle.  You will not always have answers.
  • Reassure them it is not their fault
  • Ask them to share their favorite memory of their loved one
  • Encourage activities and routines
  • Allow time for grief-there is no allotted amount of time
  • Encourage them to attend the funeral but give them choices about their participation.  Offer to attend with the teen in order to provide support. 




 How to Help a Grieving Friend



  • Acknowledge their loss
  • Listen
  • Offer to spend time
  • Send a card
  • Attend the funeral or memorial service
  • Send flowers, food, cookies
  • Offer a hug/cry together
  • Encourage normal activities
  • Remember holidays and special days will be difficult especially during the first year
  • Ask them how they are doing at different times and share good memories of your loved one


  • Act as if nothing happened
  • Avoid talking about the loss
  • Say, “I know how you feel”
  • Tell someone how you feel
  • Expect the to “get over it”




How to help yourself


  • Give permission to grieve/cry/be sad
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Write your feelings in a journal
  • Write a song or poem about your loved one
  • Go for a walk/run
  • Talk to friends to trusted adults
  • Create artwork which allows you to express your feelings
  • Exercise or play sports
  • Eat well and get enough sleep, take care of yourself
  • Participate in a grief support group with local agencies or with your school counseling program.
  • Write a letter to your loved one about things you would want them to know about you



The information is taken from A Guide for Grieving Teens.  2003.  HomeReach Hospice: Ohio Health.

Sheridan Middle School
8660 Sheridan Road
Thornville, OH 43076

Phone: (740) 743-1315
Fax: (740) 743-3319