If you are suffering grief for the death of a teenager, you have my deepest sympathy. I hope that some of the information on these pages may give you a glimmer of hope. Many of the general pages on how to deal with grief may also be useful to you.
The death of a teenager, for whatever reason is a tragedy. Parents feel particularly guilty when it is an accident or suicide. You have to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t your fault. You allowed them the freedom to live and grow. You only gave them this life.
Just because parents bring children into the world they do not own them. They are on loan from the universe. They have to be allowed a certain amount of freedom and be allowed to grow up with an element of risk.
Remember if you’re grieving it’s because your teenager was loved. No-one can hope for more than that.
Celebrate the life and talk about the memories.
There will be tears, but there will be lots of laughter and anecdotes
too. You have to be happy for the life they had. Do not be scared to
talk happily about your teenager and celebrate the life he or she had
and the friends they shared. If
a birthday arrives, don’t sit and mope. Give the family a lovely meal,
invite the friends. For more help see “Grief and the Holidays”.
Make a happy life now for yourself and other family members. Forgive yourselves, grieve, cry but then wake up!
Remember the wonderful years with a happy child. The holidays, family meals, parties. Learn to celebrate the life they had, the love you had for them.
The major cause of death for teenage boys is accidents. They think they are indestructible. Skate boards, bicycles, surfing, rushing everywhere, so full of life. Many parents have the urge to wrap them in cotton wool, keep them safe.
All parents can do is point out the dangers, give advice on safety gear and let them be free.
Life can become very difficult for late teens and young adults. Unreasonable expectations of becoming fighter pilots or wealthy businessmen, or actresses or fashion models are dashed. Reality steps in when trying to study for exams, find a job or get into university.
They have the pressures of first love and being accepted by the “in” group. Adulthood is looking scary. Peer group pressure is paramount at this stage. Fear of failing and anxieties about being accepted mount up.
Parents can be aware of trouble and can try to reach out to their son or daughter, but when the worst happens and a suicide occurs, whether drugs related or not, the guilt can be overwhelming. However, it is not your fault.
It takes years of training and experience to recognise teenage depression in an individual. Even consultant psychiatrists get it wrong many times.
Parents can only do what they think is right at the time.
Smoking, drinking, drugs, self-harm or anorexia. These are all life threatening. Whenever a family member dies in circumstances of self-harm, the grief can be very strong. There is a lot of guilt. You must forgive yourself. You could only do what seemed right at the time.
The individual may have had many reasons which we couldn’t have understood. Even specialists have had difficulties in recognising these types of problems and how serious they have become. Society is a cruel place for kind, sensitive children. You can only do what you think is best at the time.
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