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On Our Minds

Here's where we get real about all things grief, big and small,
light and heavy, serious and absurd. And we want to hear from YOU.

4 ways to cope with grief in the summerRead More
4 ways to cope with grief in the summer
4 ways to cope with grief in the summer

Summer is typically viewed as the “fun season” for teens - no homework, festivals galore, camping, swimming, BBQ parties, and afternoons at the pool or beach. But it can be hard to tap that summer spirit when we’re grieving; it can even make us feel more alone because everyone else seems to be having so much fun and celebrating. 

First and foremost, you get to feel exactly as you’re feeling. You also get to cry your eyes out, punch a pillow in frustration, experience jealousy of kids who are having fun and NOT grieving. All those feelings are okay!

AND also...

Here are four ways to help ease the struggle when you’re ready:

Get out. Seriously, the Vitamin D from sunshine boosts our levels of the chemical, serotonin, in our brain, which boosts our mood.

Give yourself to have fun. It can feel like you’re in the wrong if you feel happy when your person died. They're not here; how dare you be happy! But we promise it’s okay to have fun and enjoy life; it does not mean you’ve forgotten them at all.

Experiment with how to have fun. See if your old favorite summer activities still bring happiness. If they don’t, make a point of trying one or two new actitivites. You don’t have to commit to them. Just be curious and see what happens.

Honor your person who died. If you can’t think of anything new to even try, why not start with something your person who died loved, whether it’s kayaking in their favorite spot, ordering their favorite flavor ice scream, fishing, reading on a hammock, etc. It may have the added benefit of making you smile and feel more connected!

How can I celebrate graduation when I’m grieving?Read More
How can I celebrate graduation when I’m grieving?
How can I celebrate graduation when I’m grieving?

You want to feel all sunshine and balloons during your graduation, but the reality is that you keep thinking about the fact that your person who died won’t be there. And that truly sucks.

It may feel like there’s a big hole that no one wants to talk about (maybe even your family doesn’t want to mention it). We see you. Know that you can hold that sadness with the pride of graduating.

Also, there are ways to include the person who died in your celebrations. Here are just a few. 

1. Add their name to your graduation cap. Whether you write “Dad”/”Mom”/”Brother”/“Sister” their formal name, or their nickname is up to you. You can add their name to the top of your cap for all to see or on a slip of paper that you tape inside.

2. Wear a reminder under your gown. Maybe you wear their favorite T-shirt, a necklace they gave you, a pin, or a tie! There’s no right way to do this. Pick whatever makes you feel close.

3. Talk to them. No, they won’t be there hugging you at the ceremony. But that doesn’t mean you can’t share your feelings with them. Tell your person what you want to say in a private place or in a letter. Write lyrics to a song or make a piece of art that expresses your feelings. Or share what you’d want to say with a trusted friend or relative if you prefer that support.

Whatever you do, know that here at GRIEF SUCKS, we’re celebrating you big time and helping you hold ALL your feelings. 


What do I say when someone asks (unknowingly) about my dead family member?Read More
What do I say when someone asks (unknowingly) about my dead family member?
What do I say when someone asks (unknowingly) about my dead family member?

You know what extra sucks about grief? When you're asked a question about a family member who is dead but the person who asked has no clue. They say something like, “Why didn't your dad come tonight?”, or “Why does your mother never pick you up?” or “Are you an only child?”

Ugh, how do you respond? Do you just blurt out, "um, [that person] is dead!" You can, but let us suggest some other options from Kelia Bergin, a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in grief.

Three options:

1. Keep it short but open the possibility of a talk: Maybe you’d like to chat a bit about your person who died and think this person is sensitive. Try: “My dad died a few years ago; we were really close and I honestly don’t get asked about him much.” This does leave you a little vulnerable because they may freak out and say something weird or disappointing. But maybe not.

2. Shut it down: If you for sure don’t want to talk about it, you can say something like “My sister’s dead, and I know you didn’t know that but I don’t like talking about it.” Message clear; game over.

3. Change the subject (not our personal favorite but an option): Pretend you didn’t hear their question in the first place. They say, “Is your Dad coming later?” You say: “Did you watch last night’s basketball game?” or “What’s your family doing for the holiday?”  It could work.

How you choose to respond can depend on how well you know the person who asked or even what your mood is. There is no right response, there’s just what works for you. We hope it helps to at least have some options ahead of time.

I’m worried another family member might dieRead More
I’m worried another family member might die
I’m worried another family member might die

If you read no other words in this article, know you’re not alone.

After someone in our life dies, it’s so understandable and common to feel fearful about another family member dying. Our brains think, “It’s happened to us before, why can’t it happen again?” And while we can’t tell you that a family member won’t die again–death is, after all, a natural part of life–we can tell you a few things we hope you’ll find comforting.

Your brain is trying to help (even if it's not)

First, your brain loves to protect you. A lot of grieving people obsess about another person dying as a way to feel like they have some control over it. Like, if we worry enough, it won’t happen or if it does, at least we expected it. It’s okay to have these feelings once in a while (like we said, it’s very normal), but remember, they’re just thoughts and not reality. If you find you can’t shake the thoughts, we hope you’ll talk to your caregiver about meeting with a therapist so you don’t have to suffer so much.

Try to let love win

Second, be patient with yourself. Know that you’ve experienced something horrible, and your brain will tell you all kinds of stories because of that. Use coping tools like going for a walk, listening to music, punching a pillow, or even spending time with those family members you’re worried about. Unfortunately, we can’t control the timing of when anyone dies; but we can control how much we love them and embrace the relationship while we’re alive. Make plans with the person, call them to chat, and tell them how much you care about them.

We wish you hadn’t had to experience all the pain and heartache, and we wish you didn’t have to experience all the after-impacts of that person’s death. Be kind and gentle to yourself, and plenty patient too because this is a process and not something we just get over.

Your favorite grief moviesRead More
Your favorite grief movies
Your favorite grief movies

There are movies about grief that make us cringe and eyeroll because the script is so poorly written and unbelievable. And then there are some that are so very right that we have to pause in the middle of it and grab more fistfuls of tissues. We wanted to know what movies YOU think get it right about grief, and here’s what we heard from you. They are not in any ranking. And they are YOUR choices (so don’t yell at us if you don’t agree).

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

My Girl (1991)

Steel Magnolias (1989)

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Midsommer (2003)

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

Big Fish (2003)

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

Ordinary People (1980)

Up (2009)

Which ones are we missing? Let us know here!

Is it weird that my close friend died and I feel numb?Read More
Is it weird that my close friend died and I feel numb?
Is it weird that my close friend died and I feel numb?

We’ll cut right to the chase: Nope, it’s not weird to feel numb; it’s natural. 

It’s huge and shocking when someone we care about is here one day and not the next. Even though that happens to people every single day and we all know death is a reality, it still doesn’t seem possible when it happens to us.

We may dislike the weirdness of not being able to feel anything but think of it as a buffer. Your body and brain are taking a giant pause before the next part of the journey…experiencing the feels and trying to process what happened. This part can take a long while (even if your friend’s death was expected).

If you’re wanting to feel more grounded to your body, the best thing to do is move: Take a walk around the block or go for an easy hike in nature. Put on music you enjoy and shake your body parts out (gently!). Yoga and light stretching can be good for grounding. And deep breathing–slow inhales all the way into the belly followed by slow exhales–always helps. 

Most of all, be gentle with yourself. 

8 Useless Things to Say to GrieversRead More
8 Useless Things to Say to Grievers
8 Useless Things to Say to Grievers

We asked our youth advisory board to share with us some of the most annoying (or downright offensive) things people say to them after hearing they’re grieving a death. Here are eight they hope to never (ever) hear again.

  1. "I know what that feels like; when my dog died I was sad."
  2. "You'll get over it with time."
  3. "I would be sad if my mom (or whoever it is they lost) died."
  4. “I feel so bad for you.”
  5. “Everything happens for a reason.”
  6. “Things will get better.”
  7. “Wasn’t the death years ago? Why are you sad still?”
  8. "You need to talk more about the death."

What do you prefer? For the most part, grieving teens opt for others just acknowledging that the grief must be hard. How? By showing interest in knowing something about their person who died, offering a hug, and/or an texting an invitation to talk or just hang out.

Have thoughts about this? Head over to IG and let us know!

Should I feel guilty if I hate going to the cemetery?Read More
Should I feel guilty if I hate going to the cemetery?
Should I feel guilty if I hate going to the cemetery?

Every griever has their own individual journey, and teens have different opinions about whether visiting their person who died at the cemetary is comforting. That was clear when we asked you the question on IG.

Plenty of teens do find it comforting to sit by the grave, and feel it’s a place that brings peace and even a space to have private conversations with their person. As one person shared with us: “Went last week! Laying down on the ground makes me feel closer to my mom, knowing the body I knew is right there.”

A few of you wish there was a gravesite to visit:

“It makes me sad I don't live closer to the cemetery - I probably would visit my brother more if I was local but rn I only go for his anniversary and birthday and that's only if I’m in town.”

"My dad was cremated and I’m always a little sad that I don’t have a grave site to visit."

But you’re not alone if you don’t like going:

“I feel guilty for saying this but it’s kinda boring. All anyone does is go and look at a stone slab.”

“I feel like there’s no point for me to go there.”

We hear regularly from teens who feel more disconnected there (“I don’t feel like that’s where my mom truly is”); who don’t like being reminded of the funeral (“I just keep envisioning my dad being buried in the casket and hate it there”); and feel “blank” (“I have memories of my sister at our house, not a cemetery”). So no, there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t like going to the cemetery, and no reason to feel guilty.

Feeling pressured to visit by family members?

1. Explain (respectfully, of course) to the person how it makes you feel when you're at the cemetery.

2. Then suggest some other ways your family can together honor your person who died. That way, the family member will know you're not trying to forget about your person; you just don't like the cemetary.  Check out some possible suggestions here.


Why don’t I get signs from my person who died?Read More
Why don’t I get signs from my person who died?
Why don’t I get signs from my person who died?

You hear about people whose relative or friend died and then send signs: a cardinal, a butterfly, a coin on the ground, a rainbow, or something else. These folks will say they know it was from their person, they can feel it. That’s great…truly…but why are YOU not getting a sign from your person?

Are you doing something wrong? Are you trying too hard? Is your person not sending a sign because they’re mad at you? Did they forget you? What the hell?

Says James, age 15, “I tell people I don’t believe in signs, but the truth is, I’m bummed that I’m not getting any. It would be nice to know that my mom is up there somewhere and sending messages to let me know she loves me.”

To James–and the many, MANY people–who are disappointed and frustrated about not receiving signs, you are not doing it wrong. 

The first thing we’d suggest: take the pressure off of yourself to locate signs. It’s not something to force; there are no action steps to take.

Also, many people define “signs”' in a way that’s limited.  It doesn’t have to be a specific symbol or written message. A sign can be that little urge you get to talk with someone about your person, look at a picture of them; hear the song they loved; or eat the meal they cherished. Maybe that little urge is just the sign you’ve been waiting for.

The whole point of a sign is to feel a connection to your person. And that’s something you can bring about whenever you want.

Hear from other teens about signs.

What should I do when a classmate says something rude?Read More
What should I do when a classmate says something rude?
What should I do when a classmate says something rude?

Your friends or classmates are talking about how annoying moms or dads can be. You're already feeling bad because your mom or dad is DEAD. Then one of them turns to you and says, "You're so lucky you don't have to deal with this!" or "You wouldn't understand because your mom/dad is dead." Like… be so freaking for real right now!

You stand there feeling shocked, like you just got punched in the stomach. 

What next? Maybe you stand there looking at your shoes, waiting for the conversation to change. Perhaps you stomp off and slam a door for effect. Maybe you say, “I have to go do a thing…” and then find somewhere to sob your eyes out.

Later, maybe, you regret not standing up for yourself. But it’s too late. Right? Nope.

First, you have every right to feel upset, sad, pissed off. I mean, what about a little sensitivity from a friend or peer? Let yourself feel exactly how you’re feeling without trying to talk yourself out of it or explain it away (“they didn’t mean anything by it”). You get to be MAD.

Next, take care of yourself. Maybe go somewhere quiet and cry; or wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug, or stomp your feet or shake out your arms real fast. Maybe you do all of these.

And if and when you are ready, you can pull the person aside who said the rude comment and say, “What you said earlier was rude/mean/cruel.” They might say they were joking. You can reply, “It wasn’t at all funny.” Or “Would you think it was funny if your mom died and I made a joke about it?” They might say, “I didn’t realize it upset you.” You can say, “It did. Please don’t say anything like that ever again.” They might apologize. That would be good. They might not apologize…and then you might want to consider whether this friend is indeed a friend.

And please know that here at GRIEF SUCKS, we got you. All the time.

Do your non-grieving friends know how to comfort you?Read More
Do your non-grieving friends know how to comfort you?
Do your non-grieving friends know how to comfort you?

One thing that makes grief extra hard for a lot of teens? So few friends and peers seem to "get it" about grief or how to talk about it. Many want to say the right comforting thing; they clearly just don't know how.

We asked some teens who are grieving "Do your non-grieving friends ever talk about grief or death?" 

A few said yes. Like Virginia, age 18, told us, "My friends definitely talk about death. They all have expressed some kind of grief. We know about each others' grieving experiences and how to comfort everyone in our friend group." Ann, 13, told us, "My friends talk about the deaths of their grandparents and how their grief affects them." 

We love that some teens are talking openly about grief but it seems pretty rare, unfortunately.

Members of our Youth Advisory Board told us:

"Most of my friends don't really know how to approach the subject," said Grayson, age 15. "They seem uncomfortable when I bring up the death of my brother so I try to avoid it around them. Most of them have little to no experience with grief."

"I think my friends try so hard to understand what I'm going through," Olivia, age 17, told us. "They say they do but they don't know. As the years go by, they get more used to my talking about it. They know that some days are harder than others, when I'm upset because I miss my person and that the dark humor that comes grieving. It took them a while to get used to the jokes and laugh with me. It's harder to talk to new friends because I have to explain my whole grief story all over again."

"When I bring up my father's death to my friends, said Lola, age 13, "my friends seem very uncomfortable. They try to compare my grief to things in their own lives, like their dads working a lot. I've also had to know my crowd and know if I should share a story or dark joke, which can cause conflict. Sometimes people have said just plain rude and mean comments, which makes me wonder if I should talk about it at all."

"On occasion, my non-grieving friends talk about death," added Fox, age 18. "For me, it's less about what they talk about, but the fact that conversations are always brief, making it seem like grief is a topic that shouldn't be discussed." 

So jackpot if you have friends who know what to say and how to show up for you when you're feeling bummed. But if you don't? Well, know that at least you're not alone!

What do YOU think? Weigh in on IG.

3 ways music can ease the pain of missing your personRead More
3 ways music can ease the pain of missing your person
3 ways music can ease the pain of missing your person

You know what really blows? Those mornings when we wake up and are already missing our person who died. Like, we haven't even opened our eyes yet, and BAM, we’re in our griefy feelings. On the days when all you want to do is scream, cry, throw up (you get it), something we found to be helpful is taking that grief and leaning right into it. 

One of the best ways to do it? Music. 

Put those records on and vibe:

1. Put a playlist together. You can include favorite songs that boost your spirits, remind you of your person, or ones that send you straight to sobbing. Did you know when we cry, we shed in our tears oxytocin and endorphins (chemicals that make us feel better)? For playlist inspiration, check out our "Discover Griefly" playlists over at IG (@griefsucksdotcom) and our "What We're Lovin'" section.

2. Release the feels by writing lyrics. Tina (see pic), age 17, experienced the death of her mom when Tina was 12 years old. One of the ways she started to heal was by creating songs, and she says, "Writing music became my outlet through every whirlwind of emotions that came my way. For every moment I felt hurt or helpless, there was a song that could come from it. It was my way of processing." (Check out her music at

3. Sing it out. If you find comfort in playing with others, have a jam sesh with family or friends who also loved your person and indulge in an impromptu karaoke session in their honor. In our professional opinion, a good scream-singing of  songs you or your person loved the most is big-time healing. Mixing silly with sad is sometimes just the ticket.

Is it okay to experience joy when I’m grieving?Read More
Is it okay to experience joy when I’m grieving?
Is it okay to experience joy when I’m grieving?

Yes. It's okay to experience joy!

We get it. It sometimes feels hard or weird or both to have happy moments when you’re experiencing loss. Maybe you feel even guilty (how dare you feel joy at this terrible time, right?).

Says Tina, age 17, whose mom died when she was 12, “Accepting happiness after all of the pain I've been through is honestly the hardest part of grief. Sometimes we grievers just have to reframe our thinking!”

How do we reframe our thinking? We plan small feel-good experiences that create life balance, give us a short break from the heartache, and remind us that good things happen. Don’t wait for joy to pop up; plan it! 

Here are three things to spark joy while grieving:
Snuggle. If you have access to a puppy or kitty, we highly recommend getting some snuggles and pets in. Whether that’s asking a friend to come over and spend time with them and their pet, spending time with your own, or volunteering to pet some pups at the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Bake. Grab a box of brownie mix and load up on all the chocolate. Not only do you get a tasty treat at the end of your efforts, but baking can be incredibly meditative.
Sing. Make a Spotify playlist (or Apple Music, if that’s your jam) full of the songs that make you happiest. Belt out show tunes if you’re a musical theater kid. Blast some Kendrick Lamar and rap along to your favorite hype song. If that seems like too much work, just check out one of our Discovery Griefly playlists on Spotify. 

Why the "5 Stages of Grief" is a Big Fat LieRead More
Why the "5 Stages of Grief" is a Big Fat Lie
Why the "5 Stages of Grief" is a Big Fat Lie

We've heard in movies, TV shows, books and casual conversation that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And once we go through these stages, we're home-free, healed from grief.

The problem: IT'S NOT TRUE, PEOPLE.

What IS true: 

Years ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, worked with people who were dying in hospice. She noticed there were five common phases for people who knew they would be dying soon (denial, anger, bargaining, etc.) She wrote about it in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. was never meant to be applied to people in general who are grieving. 

So why do we assume it's for all of us? Probably because the media loves to publish content that's short and punchy (think, "3 Ways to Drop 10 pounds," "4 Ways to Be a Good Friend," "Six ways to boost your grades)." And it just kept spreading, like juicy secrets.

The big problem?

The "5 Stages of Grief" is so stuck in our vocab that we think there is something wrong with us and others who don't experience them in order. The reality of grief? It's a messy, non-linear business. Before graduation, you might be depressed your person died. A year later, you might feel angry knowing they won't be at your wedding. You might accept the death, and then not accept it two years later. There are room for all the feels, as they happen.

So next time you hear someone talking about the "5 Stages of Grief"? Maybe let them gently know that it's not, and was never, a prescription we're supposed to follow.

5 New Year's resolutions if you're grievingRead More
5 New Year's resolutions if you're grieving
5 New Year's resolutions if you're grieving

Planning on making a New Year's resolution this year? If so, we hope you're planning for one that's real gentle and kind for yourself. If you need help thinking of one (and feel free to ditch the idea entirely), we've got some suggestions for you.

Resolution 1: Lose all the "should's" when it comes to grieving. No more, "I should go to the cemetary more" or "I should be feeling happier by now" or "I should stop feeling so tired." When it comes to grief, you just get to feel how you feel.

Resolution 2: Say your person's name who died. When our person dies, it often feels like everyone stops saying their name out loud so that you won't feel sad. Well, you probably DO feel sad; and it may help to say your person's name and tell stories about them to help keep your person alive.

Resolution 3: Don't apologize for crying. Do you sometimes burst into tears in front of others and then feel embarrassed? Well, guess what? You get to be a human who is feeling sad and missing your person!

Resolution 4: Accept the fact that some friends suck at showing up. We wish all our friends knew what to say or what not to say, that they'd check in and keep inviting us to stuff. But the reality? Some won't. Try telling them what you need (for example, "I know you might assume I'd like to be alone but it would feel better if you called me to see how I'm doing.") If they still refuse to show up, it may be worth considering whether they're a true friend.

Resolultion 5: Say yes to help. You don't have to carry grief alone, and we recommend you don't. When someone offers help, go ahead and say yes if you could use it. Yes to helping with errands, studying, driving you somewhere, taking you for dinner. Not everyone will pull through, but some will, and that's enough!

Any resolutions you either want to try out oor that you'd add to the list? Go to @griefsucksdotcom on IG and let us know!

We actually LIKE these sympathy cards!Read More
We actually LIKE these sympathy cards!
We actually LIKE these sympathy cards!

Ugh, sympathy cards are the worst. Well, maybe not getting any card or message at all is kind of worse but the cards are still real bad. All of that glossy gold lettering and pastel flowers and talk about sending blessings and “things happen for a reason.” And what are we supposed to do with them after reading them? Because we're definitely not saving them!

That said, we recently came across these awesome sympathy cards from a company called Em and Friends (and no, we didn’t get a penny from them for promotion). They are so great!

You can find the featured card here.

Other sentiments we love from the collection:

"No card can make this better. But I'm giving it to you anyway."

"I see you. Not in a creepy "watching you from afar while hiding behind a tree" kind of way...more like a "I know you're going through some stuff and I'm here for you kind of way."

"I know this day really sucks for you. I'm thinking of you."

Check out their whole "empathy collection" here. 

Cheers to the founder and illustrator Emily McDowell, who created the line in 2012 and then joined forces with the brand "Knock, Knock" in 2018, "uniting two sister brands under one kickass umbrella." We love your umbrella.


Do you talk to non-grieving friends about your grief?Read More
Do you talk to non-grieving friends about your grief?
Do you talk to non-grieving friends about your grief?

One of the many reasons that grief can make teens feel alone is that their friends who haven't experienced it often don't know how to talk about it. They don't know what to say or how to act, and so they might even ignore the person grieving, for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Here's what some of our Youth Advisory Board shared with us about their friends:

"They try so hard to understand what you are going through and say they do know what you are going through. But they don't know. As years go by and if I talk about it, they get more used to talking about it. The people that saw me go through grief and were friends before are more comfortable and want me to talk about him. They know that some days are harder than others and you have bad days and are upset because you miss your person and they are there for you." (Olivia, age 16, dad died)

"My non-grieving friends never talk about grief and my father's death. They look at it as uncomfortable and something to avoid at all costs." (Yehuda, age 17)

"Yes, my friends talk about how they are happy they don’t need to deal with it." (Bobbie, age 16, father died)

"My friends definitely talk about death, they all have expressed some grief. We all know about each others' grieving experiences and know how to comfort everyone in our friend group."  (Virginia, age 17, father died)

"Not really. Most of my friends don't really know how to approach the subject of my brother dying. They can be uncomfortable when I bring it up so I try to avoid it around them. Most of them have little to no experience with grief as well. At the most they will talk about their most recent loss like a grandparent." (Greyson, age 15)

"When the subject of my dad's death is brought up, my friends seem very uncomfortable. My friends sometimes try to compare my loss to things like their dads working a lot. Sometimes people have said just plain rude, and mean comments, which makes me wonder if I should talk about it at all." (Lola, age 12)

Do you talk about your grief with friends who haven't experienced death? Why or why not? Go to @griefsucksdotcom and let us know!

Does your generation grieve differently?Read More
Does your generation grieve differently?
Does your generation grieve differently?

There's so much talk about how generations think and behave differently from another. Like, is Gen Z really that different from Millennials? How is Gen Alpha going to be different that Gen Z? It got us wondering, how do teens say their generation grieves differently than their parents' generation? We asked a group of grieving teens from across the country, and here's what some of them said:

"My generation is more emotional towards death. In my parents' generation there was obviously death and sadness but it didn't impact their emotional systems as much as it is for us." (Janiyah, age 17)

"I think different generations grieve differently because of the impact that social media has on our society. Also the different recourses to access." (Virginia, age 18)

"I think we have more resources and are more open about our feelings. We are able to share our experiences with others and grow together through them. We are also taught that is good to talk about grief and express our emotions. Our parents' generation is not as comfortable talking about grief or expressing their feelings." (Greyson, age 15)

"My parents' generation were kinda of told to get over it and move on. This generation allows us to grieve a little more." (Jaylen, age 14)

"Since me and my mom both lost our dads at the same age, we have lots of similarities but at the same, there are many differences in how we each grieve. For one thing, I got to go to grief camp; plus there are more music, books,films, tv shows, and social media platforms that are made to help deal with grief then when my mom was a kid. I think the conversation of grief is not as avoided as it used to be." (Lola, age 12)

"I don't know a lot about how my parents' generation grieves, but I know especially with my dad's side of the family, generally they are very quiet about it. They seem to do it in private a lot, that's just how they grieve." (Kristiana, age 17)

How to honor your person who diedRead More
How to honor your person who died
How to honor your person who died

by Louie C., age 14

I lost my dad when I was six, and he was my best friend. I find that honoring him can be incredibly hard yet enjoyable at the same time, and both of these feelings are completely normal. Experience Camps taught me the saying, “It is okay to be okay,” which I totally agree with–especially on the anniversary of your person’s death.

When the date of my father’s death comes around, on October 3rd,  I am never sure whether or not I would like to ignore the date or recognize it. I don’t really enjoy talking about his death on the day. It isn’t like I’m ashamed, I just find it hard and exhausting to try and explain what this day means to me because I am already sad about it. Plus, they don’t always understand.

So instead of talking, I choose to find an activity to honor my dad. For the past few years, my mom and I have been planting flowers to celebrate his life. We like to do this because it gives us an activity that we both enjoy doing, and I can put my emotions into planting flowers instead of struggling to talk about it with people. 

How can you pick a good activity?

There are many things you can do in honor of your special person who has died. It does not have to be gardening like my family does. To help you figure out what you would like to do, think of something your person was known for. It can be something as simple as listening to music they liked, or visiting a place they loved to go.

In the past, when my family lived in NYC, we would visit a park my dad loved every year. We even had the park’s management department engrave his name and a little saying onto a bench in the park, and we would invite others to have a picnic there. 

So, when the day comes around for your person who died, let it all out: cry, feel everything, and even lay in bed all day. But also try to find some time to celebrate your person’s life in ways big or small. 

Should I post about my person’s death on social media?Read More
Should I post about my person’s death on social media?
Should I post about my person’s death on social media?

It can be confusing figuring out if we should post on our social media about our person who died. Will we feel better after posting? A hundred times worse? Get weird comments and regret it? Feel pressure to respond to comments, even if we don't feel like it? 

Here's the truth: there is no right or wrong answer about whether to post about your person who died. What’s important is that we take the time to think about our choice with intention because there’s no taking it back if we do post. 

Here are thoughts we heard from teens…

Aari: “I share things on social media about my father who died because I feel like by sharing a little bit of my story to my followers, it brings light to reality and the topic of grief that so many people push away.”

Ali: “I posted a picture of my dad when he died—it was one of my favorites. I didn’t have any deeper reasoning, it was just nice to share a photo of him out of love.”

Kiki: “I don't post. The people I tell about my loved one’s deaths are super close to me, but social media is super expansive, and I’m not close with everyone that I follow or am followed by.”

Avner: “I chose not to make a post about my father dying because it is not something I felt I should be trying to make public. People who know me knew what happened, and it wasn't necessary to tell everyone about it.”

How do YOU feel about posting on social media about your person dying? Good idea? bad idea? What wisdom can you drop on this? 

Go to @GRIEFSUCKSDOTCOM on IG and let us know!


Top 4 comfort foods for when you’re bummed outRead More
Top 4 comfort foods for when you’re bummed out
Top 4 comfort foods for when you’re bummed out

We asked many grieving young people for their favorite comfort snacks at times when they’re feeling particularly griefy. We liked the weird and super specific responses, like "tuna fish sandwich with potato chips mashed up in the tuna for extra crunch" and the simple ones like "spoonfuls of peanutbutter right out of the jar."

But when it comes to the most common go-to treats, here are the most popular favorites: 

#4 Chips (bring on salt, you told us)

#3 Chocolate (bars, brownies, cake, cookies, mmmm, melty, sugary chocolate of whatever kind)

#2 Ice cream (um, can you believe vanilla, plain VANILLA, is the #1 flavor pick in the U.S.?)

#1 Pizza (Did you know teens are the age group to eat the most pizza in our country?)

Where do you stand on these four faves? Do you have a different go-to comfort food not listed above? 

Tell us @GRIEFSUCKSDOTCOM on IG and let us know. This is important info!

Super cringey things people said to cheer me upRead More
Super cringey things people said to cheer me up
Super cringey things people said to cheer me up

One of the hardest parts about grief: when people tell you things to "cheer you up" - and those things happen to suck. Like, they make you want to scream or cry or hide in your closet. 

Granted, it’s hard to know exactly what to say to someone who is greiving. But below are a few things many of us don't want to hear. Like, ever. (That said, we know what might upset one person can feel exactly right to another.)

“It’s all part of God’s plan.” Says Gina, age 12: “I mean, seriously? God wanted my father to die in a horrible accident and that was part of some big master plan? I don’t think so!”

“You will get over your grief.” Says Max, age 17, “Ummmm, no, I won’t! We’re talking about my BROTHER who DIED. I’m not going to get over it.”

“Let me know if you need anything.” Says Frank, age 15, “What am I supposed to say back to that? Could you do my homework for a month? If you want to do something nice for me, cool, do it! Don’t make me come up with something and then ask you for it.”

Are there cringey things people have said to YOU? Share it.

Go to @GRIEFSUCKSDOTCOM on IG and let us know! Bonus points if you tell us what you wish they would say!

Had a weird grief dream? Here are 3 ways to calm down.Read More
Had a weird grief dream? Here are 3 ways to calm down.
We recommend 4-7-8 breathing!
Had a weird grief dream? Here are 3 ways to calm down.

You wake up in the middle night - heart racing - because you just had a dream about your person who died. Maybe it was a sweet dream where you felt overjoyed to spend time with them again. Maybe it was a nightmare where something awful happened (ACK, not again!), or you learned in the dream they've gone on a long trip and were not actually dead this whole time (yep, this is a common one). It can be disorienting at best, and totally disturbing at worst.

How do you comfort yourself in the middle of the night when there's no one to talk to and also not enough distractions?

Here are 3 ways:

1. Breathe. Try a breathing exercise such as "4-7-8 breathing" (inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds).

2. Ground. Get your body grounded (meaning, you want to feel solidly back in your body) by using your sense of smell: take a long sniff of a scented item you find soothing, such as an essential oil, scented lotion, or even your favorite shampoo. Maybe keep the scented product by your bed for this very reason.

3. Release. Move your body to get rid of stressful energy. Walk around the house, shake out your arms and legs (no one is watching), jump up and down a few times. You can also just stretch gently if you don't want to wake yourself up even more.

Had a weird grief dream recently or in the past? Share it with our community so we can support each other.

Go to @GRIEFSUCKSDOTCOM on IG and tell us about it.