Grief seminar helps students, staff find ways to heal
Everyone grieves differently, but the outcome is always the same - it will be OK.
That's what Brian Burns, a therapist with FamilyMeans, told some New Richmond High School students and parents Monday night at the grief seminar.
The grief seminar was scheduled by the high school's counseling staff to help area families deal with forms of grief. Recently, staff and parents have been dealing with students grieving the death of Erik Ness, a junior who was killed in a car crash in October.
At Monday's seminar, four students and two parents attended to learn more about the grieving process and what they could do to help others.
Regardless of the circumstance, it takes time to heal after losing a friend or family member, Burns said.
Generally, there are five different stages of grief: shock/denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance, he said.
The stages might not happen in that order and might reoccur, he said. It's all normal and is a healthy way of grieving.
Some feelings include disbelief, feeling numb, pain, anger at life in general, a desire to fix what was lost, withdrawal, low energy and a lack of interest.
There is no timeline to grieving and it varies from person to person, he said.
The most important thing to do while grieving is to talk about what you're feeling. It's unfair to think that people will understand what you're going through, but just talking about it will help you feel better.
When Ness died, students wrote memories and stories down to give to the Ness family at the funeral. Burns said that's one way to help the kids heal and say goodbye to their friend.
Burns suggested several ways to help people heal after suffering a loss: drink water; exercise; avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs; talk to others; write in a journal; sleep; have fun; and find ways to say goodbye, whether it's attending the funeral, writing a letter or poem, making a scrapbook or visiting a special location.
New Richmond High School counselors are available for any students struggling with a loss.
At the meeting, one parent said she was impressed and thankful for the support the school's staff were giving the kids. She said everyone -- from the school's counselors and the teaching staff -- have been very supportive and understanding.
Support, Burns said, is something everyone needs when they're grieving.