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How to be a friend to someone who has lost a loved one

Help a friend who has lost a loved one

Losing someone can obviously be a traumatic experience. Often this also also leads to a loss of trust.  “Teenagers might find it difficult to talk to other people and make new friends when they've experienced trauma,” says Radhika Sharma, counselor, who has previously worked with counseling centres such as Arpan and Ummeed.

When you want to support a friend who has lost someone remember you will also have to deal other things than just sadness. Sometimes there is also fear, lack of trust, or depression.

1. You will have to be patient. It might take your friend some time to open up to you. 

2. “Being curious helps. Asking about what they like doing, and their activities can be good conversation starters,” says Sharma.

3. For your friend to trust you, you need to accept resistance. If they don't want to join a party, give them space.

4. Accept their feelings by being accommodative.

5. Ask them what they would like to do in their free time, and join them. Choice is integral. 

6. Another indicator is using language that is non-judgmental. Whenever your friend shares something close to their heart, acknowledge it in a way that makes them feel accepted. 

If you think that your friend's condition is not improving, you can talk to a trusted adult or call on one of the helplines mentioned in Yellow Pages on this website. 
 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Even the vacuum he left behind is too precious to let go…

Khubi Amin Ahmed pens how she dealt with the loss of a loved one

As I sit to write a piece about me surviving the loss of my Nanu, my grandfather, my parent, my best friend, my confidant, my guide, my philosopher and more; I am not sure losing which of those hurt the most. It was an irreparable loss is all I know.  I am not sure – for the first time as a writer – how to pen this emotion down. I lost my paternal grandfather. That is just how blankly I can put it.

No one from my family had the courage to break the news to me. They waited for me to reach home and see it for myself. Once I saw him there – wrapped in white (a color he had always preferred), his face as peaceful as it always was – I can’t say what it felt like. I didn’t feel anything. I was numb. I probably cried. I have no memory. I remember feeling nothing. If that nothing qualifies as pain, I don’t know. I wonder if it was denial (one of the stages of grief).

I remember I held his face in my hands, told him to not leave me behind alone. That is me being as selfish as I had always been with him. I couldn’t believe he had left without meeting me. I don’t really remember any more of that day. Come to think of it, I don’t remember days after that. I think I kept sleeping in Nanu’s bed, wrapped myself in his blanket and tried to hold on to his essence for as long as I could.

One day, I remember being woken up and told that more than a week had gone by. I was reminded that I have a job and that I have to decide if I plan to go back to it. An aunt of mine also asked if I was ready to meet boys for my wedding. I remember not knowing how to deal with her.       

However bad the hurt and however devastating it may seem now, loss and grief they said is a part of growing up. We all lose people along the way and learn to accept it eventually. “Time heals all wounds.” “We are designed to recover.” “You need to move on.” “Let go.” All that and more was being thrown at me with much love and pity. While I trust their intentions, I could never get them to understand that it is the very thought of having to let go that is the most painful part! “I won’t let go of him I had said.” 

I still haven’t. I never will. Why would I want to let go of the most precious part of my life. I will cherish him and hold him close. I will keep him alive in my value system, in my beliefs. I owe him everything that I am today. I will live life like he taught me to. I will not let life weigh me down. I will live life to make him proud. He lives on in me, more than he does in his immediate kids. I will hold him close and keep drawing positivity and inspiration from him. He is the source of my faith and will always be. He is alive in me, and in my name.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.