Although many of you are still “young” you have probably already experienced death, loss and grief. I have talked to a few youth in our area who have recently lost close friends. I thought I would give you a little information on grieving. I too have lost someone very close to me and wonder what am I suppose to do, how I am supposed to feel, and when will it get better. Unfortunately I still do not know all the answers. I have been looking and researching this topic for myself as well as for you guys and I have come to the conclusion that there is no cookie cutter process or answer for grief. You have to take your own journey on dealing with your loss. I do know that there are a lot of resources available to help. The Dougy Center is a center located in Portland that helps youth and teens after someone close has died. Looking through their website I came across their Bill of Rights for Grieving Teens and wanted to share it with you. Although you may not have all the answers you do have rights.
The Bill of Rights of Grieving Teens
By Teens at The Dougy Center
A grieving teen has the right….
…to know the truth about the death, the deceased, and the circumstances.
…to have questions answered honestly.
…to be heard with dignity and respect.
…to be silent and not tell you her/his grief emotions and thoughts.
…to not agree with your perceptions and conclusions.
…to see the person who died and the place of the death.
…to grieve any way she/he wants without hurting self or others.
…to feel all the feelings and to think all the thoughts of his/her own unique grief.
…to not have to follow the “Stages of Grief” as outlined in a high school health book.
…to grieve in one’s own unique, individual way without censorship.
…to be angry at death, at the person who died, at God, at self, and at others.
…to have his/her own theological and philosophical beliefs about life and death.
…to be involved in the decisions about the rituals related to the death.
…to not be taken advantage of in this vulnerable mourning condition and circumstances.
…to have guilt about how he/she could have intervened to stop the death.
This Bill of Rights was developed by participating teens at The Dougy Center and does not represent “official” policies of the Center.
The Dougy Center is one option, as is Youth Outreach, but some other places to turn to include your church, your school counselor, your family and friends.
Find someone you trust and let them support you.
The only advice I can give is to take a deep breath and a small step forward.