At first, you think, "no way, it can't be true. It isn't true!" Then you hear from more and more of your friends that it is. Many of you came to our home the first couple of days and saw for yourself that the worst has happened - your friend was gone. Just like us, you couldn't believe it. Just like us, you wondered why he did it. Just like us, you wondered why he didn't say anything to you. And just like us, you might have had thoughts that started with, "if only" and "what if".
This week, Tim found a blog that was started by one of Josh's friends and had a couple of posts - expressing real grief, anguish, confusion and pain. We received an email from one of Josh's best friends who shared that the blog has helped as he could relate to many of the feelings that have been shared. And lastly, I got a surprise and welcome visit from someone who knew Josh in elementary and middle school - who also felt that life has not been the same since that fateful week and finds the blog postings and comments helpful.
Tim and I went to the cemetery today to view the grave stone that had been ordered. It was so hard to see it, as it is something else that makes Josh's death real and not just a terrible nightmare. When we were there, I picked up a few pamphlets that were written to help deal with grief. One of the pamphlets was called "Teenage Grief" written by Kelly Baltzell M.A and Karin Baltzell, Ph.D. I found the words on the cover to be very poignant and have quoted it here:
Being a teenager is an emotionally vulnerable time in one's life. Being a grieving teen can make you twice as vulnerable. Death can make you grow up in a hurry. You may find you are no longer invincible. Beware that the adults in your life may not be available to meet your needs.The authors shared some tips on how to deal with your grief such as:
- Write a story about the person you lost.
- Journal - put your feelings, thoughts, worries and fear down on paper, for your eyes only!
- Talk to your friends and family
- Keep physically active
- Talk to counselors at school or someone outside of school
- Lean on your faith
I would highly recommend a journal - it has helped me to write about my feelings, thoughts, questions and emotions every day, so much so, that I bought a blank book for Gillian so she can start.
Talking to others is so helpful. This blog has been our lifesaver. Maybe this post can be a special place where Josh's friends can share comments with us and with each other. If you are not comfortable with posting on the blog, but want to share your thoughts and feelings directly, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that Josh's friends grieved deeply at his passing. We witnessed this firsthand in our home and at the memorial service. I suspect that many are still grieving and are finding these feelings hard to deal with or understand. Please know that we feel the same way. If you want to visit, our door is always open. If there is anything else we can do, please let us know.
It helps us to know that you are still thinking of our beloved son - may he rest in peace.
Josh's Dad and Mom