How can something that happens every day seem so foreign when it enters our world? But isn’t that what death does? It comes roaring in like a lion and leaves a deep scar on everyone it touches!
And somehow, as a parent, you feel you need to have the answers to help your teen deal with the loss of a friend. Please know that sometimes, initially, the best answer for your teen is to have no answer at all except to hold them and cry with them or yell with them or do whatever it is your teen needs to do to survive the moment. And yes, it is about surviving it especially early on.
We were not created to die and that is why it feels like the very fiber of our being is literally torn to pieces when we have to deal with death. And when the death of a young person enters your world, it seems to make even less sense.
You have spent the majority of your teen’s life protecting them from the hurt of this world. Now you can’t, but you can give them a safe place to feel and heal. Often parents go into survival mode and try to make their teen deal with this event quickly so that they can get “back to normal living.” But even Jesus felt the grief that death brings. It states in Luke that Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus.
This is a time in your teen’s life that maybe they just need to know that you are there with or without answers. Because the questions eventually come, but the tears need to come first.
There is one all encompassing feeling that all of you will feel when we talk about this topic though. It is fear. Fear of what to do should this happen, fear that it will happen again, and fear that you won’t be able to help your teen if and when it does.
And fear can cause us to react instead of respond. It can make us react during a crisis in a way that would totally surprise us.
Do you know what you would say or do if a friend of your teenager would die? Have you ever had this discussion with your teenager before? Our teens truly believe they are invincible and often it never enters their thought that someone their age could really die.
I know that these things are hard to think about and next to impossible to talk about, but it doesn’t make it go away if we pretend it can’t happen.
Don’t allow fear to keep you from being wise regarding this issue. You will probably be surprised at the questions your teenager will come up with if you have this conversation with them. And you may never know the strength you will give your teenager should this ever happen in their lives.