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Heal loss of loved-one with Love

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: I'm having a really hard time. One of my friends died. Her name was "Kristin." She was 16. Her boyfriend, who was 30 minutes from being 21, also died. He was drinking and driving, they hit a tree and the car completely wrapped around the tree killing them both on impact. I'm writing because I'm scared that Kristin's sister, "Emily," is going to do something dumb. Emily is 15 and is in two of my classes. What can I do to make her feel better so she won't go do something stupid? - Amber, West Virginia From Megan 18: Emily is going through the hardest thing a sibling will ever go through - and you are going through a hard time, too. For this reason, you should all stick together. Love is the best form of healing, as corny as that might sound, so make sure she feels the love you had for her sister and knows you are there for her. From Michael, 16: One of my good friends passed away recently, and I was worried that his brother might get involved in the drug scene. I decided to approach it differently from the "we need to talk" thing you see on TV. Talk to Emily the way you would normally talk to her - and most importantly, don't accuse her of her actions. From Nicole, 17: I'm sorry for your loss. I know how it is. Spend time with Emily. It is important for her to be able to talk to someone who loved Kristin. From Hannah, 16: I recently went through that kind of hurt and I've learned that one never really recovers. My friend was also young, he had much more to live, and he, too, had siblings. There is no quick fix, so just be as available as you can to the little sister and keep an eye on her. I found that I had to come to terms with the fact that even if I could be there every single day and say everything possible to the sibling, he would still do what he wanted. From Shelby, 15: This happened to me, too, and I couldn't figure out what to say to the brother that would be meaningful and not offend or sadden. If Emily has best friends, let her be with them, but make sure she knows you're there, too. Whatever you do, don't say, "I know how you feel," or, "Everything is going to be okay." Dear Amber: My heart goes out to you and Kristin's family. Many of us at Straight Talk have been in your shoes recently and I hope our words are helpful. Your love for Kristin is the key to Emily's healing. Words like, "I love you," and "I'm sorry," cannot be said too many times. You can never, even months or years later, send too many letters, messages, gifts, remembrances, or offers of help. Those in mourning may not respond, they may look pained, angry, bored, they may start crying, but believe me, your clumsy, loving words and actions do comfort them. Nothing is harder for those in mourning than being left alone or feeling that nobody loved the deceased - or worst of all, that the deceased will be forgotten. Sadly, this happens too often because people are afraid to "bother" or "remind" the bereaved about their loss. But the bereaved really do want to be bothered and reminded of their loved one. Shelby gave examples of phrases to avoid. Also avoid telling Emily that you consider Kristen your sister, too. You may, but you have lost a friend and she has lost a sister and siblings can be very sensitive about this distinction. I would also avoid blaming anyone or anything. The situation is what it is and cannot be reversed. By dropping blame, true healing can begin. Write to Straight Talk at www.StraightTalkForTeens.com or PO Box 963, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.