Claudia Kinser – Sophomore – March 1, 2017
What is the worst feeling that anyone has to go through? Grief. Whether it’s losing friendships, finding out you or someone you love is sick, or losing someone close to you in death, grief is unfortunately something we all have to face at one time or another. I have had more than my fair share of grief. My heart has been trampled on by people many times, my former best friend has treated me poorly, my grandmother was diagnosed with and died from cancer; my cousins were killed by a drunk driver; my uncle died of a heart condition and 2 of my in-laws committed suicide; all within about 6 years. As a result, I have learned how to be alone and do not trust many people.I have never talked to anyone about the situations and feelings I’ve dealt with. Grief has affected me so much, that I wanted to address this topic so other people don’t fall into the same situation I did. I wouldn’t wish grief on my worst enemy, but if you do have to face it or already have, I hope these tips can help you cope.
Confide in someone. Do not keep to yourself. My biggest regret is that I always isolated myself. That is the worst possible thing to do. Go to people who care about you and vent your little heart out. Cry if you need to. But don’t hold it in. You become a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at anyone who happens to be in the way.
Stay active. This is another thing I didn’t do. I stayed in bed all the time. If I had exercised more, I think I would have coped a lot better and felt more closure. Moving keeps your thought at bay, helping you, not to forget, but to continue living.
Don’t dwell on the negative. By thinking of what could have been, you miss out on what is happening right now. Trust me, I know it is so hard to stay positive, but there is one somewhere. Just search for it.
Admit that you feel sad. That one was not easy for me at all. Someone I had never met came up to me during one of the really hard times and said “Are you you okay, sweetheart? You look like you’re about to cry.” I didn’t let her know, but she was spot on. I convinced her I was okay, while fighting back tears.
I interviewed two teachers and two students from Harris County High to get a few different perspectives on grief. Here are their stories in their own words:
Mrs. Hall– She has faced grief the three times her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. “Grief sets in when you realize that nobody’s gonna be with us forever, even our parents.” How did she cope? By “talk [ing] to my sisters and my dad, and they helped me feel better about it. As I got older, [my mother] and I were able to talk about it. When you are worried about someone, and you are scared for their life and what’s gonna happen, that’s all you think about and you can’t focus on what other people need. All you’re thinking about is spending time with that person and being with your family.”
Willis, Senior– “I have lost a daughter, a few family members, been told I can’t play soccer anymore, just things like that.” To cope, “I try to not think about itand do things that make me happy or I talk to people about it. After awhile, I just feel better. It really affected me a lot [at school]. I went from a straight A student to an A/B student. I wasn’t focused really, but I got over that; I overcame that.”
Mrs. Pierce– “When I was in kindergarten, my grandfather passed away. I was five, but I just remember being sad. About 4 years ago, my younger brother passed away. I was actually teaching at the time, so it was really difficult to have to deal with that and help my parents and take care of funeral services and then still show up to school everyday. [My husband] was always there to listen to me, whether it was me just working through my grief and being sad or if I just needed to cry, or if I was having a hard day at work trying to cope with everything at once. Also, I did go to therapy for a few months afterwards. I actually feel kind of bad for the students I had the semester that my brother passed away because I don’t really remember what I taught. I’m going to assume that I did a really good job because a lot of my kids passed” their tests. “I know it affected my performance at work because I can’t remember what I did at work for those six months because my mind wasn’t really on being Mrs. Pierce, it was on my family and myself and helping my parents.
Natalie Kinstle, Sophomore– “In the past few months, my great-grandma passed away and in 7th grade I had to move from my best friends, which put me through a phase of being really upset. I was not the same for a really long time. Recently, like the beginning of the school year, I moved again, after I had just made new friends, so that was a lot of grief. I talked to family members. I kept in touch with those people. I listened to music. I read. Really, I just kept to myself. I didn’t really, I still don’t really talk as much. I’m introverted and I just have trouble talking to people and getting close to people because I felt that things wouldn’t last and that I would only be leaving. I couldn’t trust people.”
If you know someone going through a hard time, be available to listen. Don’t talk. Just listen. Really pay attention to what you’re being told. It’s not easy to hear, but it’s a thousand times harder to talk about.
You can’t always fix the situation, so don’t try to. Just let them be sad. It goes against your instinct, but let them come to terms with their negative emotions.
Encourage them to continue living their life. As a daughter and sister, it was painful. I felt like my job was to be happy for my family, but I wasn’t, nor could I pretend to be. As a student, it was incredibly hard to focus, and I just didn’t care. I got kicked out of a class because I was failing. I can only imagine what it’s like to be a teacher while facing such a mounting challenge, especially if you teach more than one different subject daily.