How will they know they are healing? Grief is an emotional roller coaster. One minute, the grieving teen feels really sad, possibly even crying for no reason they can pin down. The next minute a friend tells a joke and they laugh.It can pass as quickly as it came.
“The more I opened up about the loss, the lighter the weight became. As I look back, the sadness, obviously, did not go away or fade; it just became more endurable. It became something I could live with instead of preventing me from living.” Chelsea, age 16
This roller coaster ride can continue for quite a while, but eventually the ups stay longer and the downs become shorter. They will know there is healing when the sun seems to shine brighter, when they can feel happy longer.
Documenting today will help them tomorrow. It is recorded in black and white that they are healing.
They will know there is healing when they can look back at things they had written or drawn and see how they have changed. They can reflect back on conversations they had in the beginning and realize that their moods are improving.
For this reason it is important for youth to document how they feel physically and emotionally each week. Watch for small improvements you can point out to them. Tracking improvement can be very encouraging. They need someone that is on the outside looking in to help them gain perspective.