Youth Forum Dialogue Circles – Grieving, Coping and Dealing with Loss

Grieving, Coping, and Dealing with Loss


+Recognized throughout entire school throughout day, not business as usual

+talked about it in classes, personal experiences, less homework


-need time off to grieve, didn’t bring people together enough

-“go see a counselor”

-business as usual after 1-2 days, like it never happened

Natural Loss vs. Suicide

  • Losing great grandfather – parents grieving
  • Suicide is more sudden
  • Natural loss-growing old, had heart attack and might pass away
  • Natural loss – sad but expected, where as suicide is tragic “a lot heavier”.
  • Suicide – caged animal that has been set free – don’t’ know what to do, who to talk to
  • Suicide – you feel like there was something you could have done to help them, know what they are going through, maybe could have been prevented.
  • Suicide @ Paly – my grade, my school didn’t know him.
  • Was smart and people liked him, sad that I will never get to know him
  • Still effected even though didn’t know them personally.
  • Didn’t do anything to remember him, sometimes wish I didn’t know who he was
  • Just wait until we get over it.
  • Didn’t know the person, still effects us, every human connected, we all have similar emotions, our souls are connected, we still feel that loss, still feel connection, think about what he had to deal with in the past, feelings like potato you buried an now have to dig up and deal with .
  • Community – good way to deal with natural loss but not suicide, brings up emotions of other things in your life.
  • Stronger explanation of 5 stages of grief – elements of grief, bounce between.
  • Emotions are a jumble
  • Helpful to see on paper – okay to feel it
  • Helpful if there was no homework for a week; how can you deal with it and focus on homework?
  • Rather than prioritize things to do afterwards, prioritize what we can do to prevent it in the first place.
  • Homelife comes into play.
  • Academic stress – gap between what causes stress and initiates – help before it begins.
  • 4-years-ago stress was one of the things that led up to it
  • Be personally affected, everyone is to be acknowledged where they are at.
  • Guidance counselor office open all day, before or after school the day it happened. People walking around trying to monitor and ask if people were ok – found it annoying. Adults should be there if needed but not forced. After a few days – watch from a distance and come back
  • Every teacher should address it in the classroom, a few didn’t.
  • Gunn – all addressed it , wore red for a day, in it together, somber day, affected us.
  • Like buddy in kindergarden, have a buddy after-school. Walk path with a friend, easier to do it together. Check in with someone.
  • Guide dogs (therapy dogs)
  • Natural loss – dying old age, medical problem, lose them, kind of expected to happen.
  • Grieving – natural, know what caused it.
  • Suicide – you know how the person was killed but you don’t know why, there is missing info. Shock, hopeless feeling. Maybe I could have reached o8ut to that person, and it wouldn’t have happened.
  • Natural – still sad, but not as tragic.
  • No closure. Sick – can spend time, suicide is sudden and unknown.
  • How do you personally grieve?
    • Very hard, used normal escape mechanism of computer and games, distract myself, let process in the background, hard initially, learn to live with it.
    • Funeral and service happens quickly, psyche is still catching up, don’t want to accept i.
    • Aware of feelings when alone, go for walks, listen to music, write, share memories with other people about them, being together time alone.
    • When you didn’t understand it, harder when older.
    • Filter things quickly, accept quickly and move on
    • More experience we have, more able to regulate feelings
    • First experience, didn’t know what to do.
  • Help
    • People need their space sometimes, sometimes people need to be together.
    • Cope with loss – remember the person, celebrate the person’s life
    • Found disturbing “We Love Cameron” on roads and bathrooms
    • Figure out how much space is needed.
  • We also talked briefly about the five stages of grief. Someone mentioned that they all kinda happen at once. It is difficult to know because everyone grieves differently and you need that support.
  • We talked about the different ways you could celebrate lives (especially a difficult topic for suicide). Do we publicize and remember or… is that disturbing? romanticizing? (kinda ties into the stuff about the aftermath of cam with the chalk everywhere)
  • some people said oh no I wish I was able to meet them and bond before they died, but others said I wish I didn’t know them so I wouldn’t have to go through so much pain
  • all the suicide responses are different and maybe we just need to accept that some people have different personalities and popularity/connection levels and that some people’s deaths are going to get a more emotional response than others, and that’s okay because all of the lives were valuable
  • also I thought an interesting point was how people said the school and adminstration was actually confused and didn’t know how to support students afterwards, that’s why they tried such different policies after each suicide
  • Someone said that instead of a funeral after someone she knew passed, there was a memorial celebration with songs and stuff and an overall happier tone.
  • also, (just for general grief not suicide) lying to save the emotions. One student’s father died when he was one and there was no transparency. He was told that he just “wasn’t there”

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