PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Dealing With Death: From The Mentors

From Elizabeth
My father passed away when I was just turning six. It was a really hard time for me, and I still haven't gotten over it. The biggest problem was that after he died, I became very anti-social and afraid that everyone else would leave me too. I didn't have a single friend until 6th grade because I just couldn't allow myself to let people in. When you do that long enough it just becomes a habit, and you don't even think about it, you just do it. Eventually, I learned that people were good, that they weren't going to die or leave, and I found some really great friends. Another aspect of my father's death that was hard for me was I became afraid my Mom would die, too. In fact, even now I'm dealing with that. But now I realize that death is random. It's a horrible thing that happens, but if you spend your whole life worrying about people dying, you're not really living. You have to enjoy the people around you and let the good come with the bad. I learned the hard way that when you try to keep the bad away, you keep the good away too. Death is very hard to deal with, but you have to keep going. You have to be strong and look at all the people around you who are still alive, and that you're still alive, and you have to live the best life you can.

From Leah
When I was little, my grandfather died from Alzheimer's Disease. It was very difficult to watch him decline and even harder after he died. I was close to him, but as he got worse, he didn't remember my name anymore. I still miss him, but it's not the same longing it once was. The night before my 16th birthday, I learned that a close friend had passed away. It was especially difficult because he was just days from getting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. At first, just thinking of him made me tear up and cry, but as time has gone on I more readily talk about our friendship and about him. It's very hard to lose a loved one. It may feel like the world is ending, but it's not and with each new day, time heals wounds. A few things that have helped me are: keeping a journal and writing to that person what I would have normally told them in a phone conversation or letter, and talking to a parent or friend who I trust and will listen to how I feel. I have also talked to others my age about dealing with death, and this really helped. Allow yourself time to grieve, because there isn't a set time limit, but don't stop living your life. Life does go on.

From Joyce
Ever since I thought I knew what death means, like when I was six or seven, I became extremely afraid of death, and the fear attacks me especially at night when I'm all alone. My grandpa died of cancer less than a year ago. It didn't come as a surprise, for he had been struggling with cancer for more than a year. My mom told me that he had died peacefully, and happily. But still, the notion of death kept haunting me, and for almost a month, I wept into my pillow every night. I was afraid that I'd forget him when I grow up. I don't know yet, but I hope I'll remember his voice, his face, his jokes forever. I kept mentioning him in dinner conversations, pretending that he's still around. In that way, I can keep him alive in my mind.

To be honest, my grandpa's death didn't disturb my mind as much as my own close encounter with death. Last summer, while driving on an interstate at full speed, the family sedan went out of control and flipped over twice on a patch of grass alongside the highway. No one suffered severe injuries, but you can imagine that it was quite a fright! For a short moment, I thought I was going to die. I kept thinking, "I'm not meant to die in this ugly way! I'm still too young for death!" Then the thing was over and I was still alive. Half a year has passed now. Things have gone back to normal, but the event still appears in my dreams, haunting me every now and then. My way to cope with this dreadful feeling is to keep writing about it in poem and prose. After expressing my feelings out, I feel relieved. The accident reminded me of the value of my life, and I've decided to work harder in school so that I may achieve as much as I can with all the time I'm given.

From Jaron
Unfortunately, I can say I have had to deal with a death of someone close to me. It was the hardest thing that's ever happened to me, but I had to remember one thing: it happens, it's life, and someday it's going to happen to me too. I lost my uncle to cancer, and it affected my life in many ways. I didn't want to do anything besides sit there and be sad. Fortunately, my family and friends were there for me, and I could always turn to them for help or guidance or sympathy and caring. I was down for a while, but as time passed and I started accepting the fact that nothing I could do would bring him back, my life starting becoming normal and everything was picking back up. My advice to others is this: Positive feelings will get you through everything. Be strong and move on. Talk about it with your family and friends; venting always helps. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.

From Danielle
Two years ago, my great grandparents died. They were the backbone in my family, so when they started to get weak, so did we. They would come to every one of my dance performances, every one of my brother's baseball games, and going to those events and not seeing them will never be the same. I cried a lot when I found out that they died, and so did the rest of my family. In truth, it is hard to give advice on how to grieve after someone dies, because everyone grieves in a different way, but I do have some thoughts. There is nothing wrong with crying. Cry all you want if it makes you feel better; talk to your friends and family, they will give you the support that you need. Let your teachers know, they'll understand and help you. Write your feelings in a diary or journal, because sometimes putting your feelings down on paper makes them go away. Just do the best you can, and in the end you will understand that the person you lost will always be with you.

From Tiffany
I have dealt with my several near-death experiences in my family. Every time someone in my family is faced with death, the rest of us usually gather to pray and reminisce about better times. When several friends lost loved ones, the only thing I could do was offer support. I made sure to let my friends know that I was there for them no matter what. If they needed me to listen as they talked about the death, I would. If they needed me to lend my shoulder as they cried, I would do that also. I have thought about my own death. But, once I realize I'm thinking about it, I stop myself because I think it's morbid. I've even talked to friends about it and we've all agreed that we want to live happy and healthy lives, and once it's our time to go, hopefully it's peaceful. Some positive ways of dealing with death are: talking, remembering, and expressing how the death affected you to others.

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