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Resources for Grief & Loss:

United Community Health Center Helpful Grief Information
Community Resources Signs a Teen May Need Extra Help
Suicide Prevention Lifeline  

Helpful Grief Information

Normal Grief Reactions
A person may experience some of the following responses when someone they love dies. They are all natural and normal reactions to the loss of a loved one.


  • Find it difficult to sleep at night; frequent dreams of your loved one
  • Feel an emptiness in your stomach and lose your appetite
  • Have difficulty concentrating on a task or completing an activity
  • Feel restless, wander aimlessly, or find yourself becoming forgetful
  • Sense the loved one's presence (expecting them to walk in the door at the usual time, hearing their voice, seeing their face)
  • Feel as though the loss isn't real - it didn't really happen
  • Assume mannerisms or traits of your loved one
  • Experience intense preoccupation with the life of the deceased
  • Feel guilty or angry over things that happened or didn't happen in your relationship with the deceased
  • Feel very angry at your loved one for leaving you
  • Cry at unexpected times
  • Feel your mood change abruptly
  • Feel an urge to tell and retell and remember things about your loved one and the experience of their death
  • Feel a need to take care of the people around you who appear uncomfortable by politely not talking about your feelings of loss
  • Have a "griefburst" when you hear a familiar song, drive by a place you used to go with the person who died, etc.

These grief responses are natural and normal.  *

School-age Children and adolescents may show these behaviors:

  • crying and/or sobbing
  • anxiety
  • headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • denial of death
  • hostile reaction toward deceased
  • guilt
  • poor grades
  • lack of attention
  • loss of manual skills
  • fear of continuing friendship bonds:  might lose another friend

And more behaviors that may be exhibited are the following:

  • clings to adults
  • displays regressive behaviors (acting like a much younger child)
  • repetitively reenacts the event in play activities in younger children
  • appears not to be affected
  • thinks about it privately
  • asks a lot of questions
  • appears frightened
  • appears agitated and angry
  • appears sad and withdrawn
  • displays difficulty sleeping
  • stomach aches and somatic complaints
How to Comfort Those Who Grieve
  1. Be a good listener.
  2. Spend time away from the group and encourage the student to talk about their feelings.
  3. Be sure to have a good eye contact and use simple, direct words.  Let them be mad or express other feelings.
  4. Let the student know that you care and are concerned about what they say, think or feel.
  5. Give information about what's going to happen.  Be as predictable as possible and keep any promises made.
  6. Children generally model their responses to death according to the reactions of adults in their family.