Suggestions from Teens at Ele's Place

Rapid growth as teenagers approach adulthood is hard enough.  In a period of life where no one wants to be "different," suffering a significant death can make a teen feel and become isolated.  At Ele's Place, everyone has experienced the death of someone close to them and can relate with many common difficulties that come with learning to navigate life after loss.  Teens at Ele's place frequently comment on the fact that they like being with people who just "get it," who understand the emotions they are going through, and who understand how quickly those emotions can change throughout each day.  Week after week, these teens meet at any of our four Ele's Place branches to share their stories, the story of the person who died, and talk with each other – about their lives, about good days and bad days, things that help and don't help, and everything in between.

The teens at Ele's Place suggested the following helpful/unhelpful items to help them as they grieve.

Things that help:

  • Send a card or flowers
  • Come to the visitation and/or funeral
  • Talk about the good memories of the person who died
  • Offer to listen – and let me talk if I need to
  • Listen – Some days I may want to talk and other days I won't. Some days I won't know what I want, but I will try to communicate my needs
  • Ask how I’m doing, but don’t press for an answer
  • Acknowledge days that are special to me
  • Understand if I have a bad day
  • Treat me normal

Things that don’t help:

  • Don't avoid me
  • Don’t ask a lot of questions
  • Don’t be “mushy” about it or baby me
  • Don’t walk on eggshells around me
  • Don’t tell me things like, “It’s going to be okay” or “I know how you feel”
  • Don’t talk about your loss while I grieve mine
  • Don’t act like I’m grieving just for the attention
  • Don’t assume I’ll have problems or act out
  • Don’t make me talk about it unless I want to
  • Don't change the subject when I talk about my loss