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Coping with Grief and Loss with Andrew Duffy

December 19, 2019

The Check-In Project Team sat down with Andy Duffy, the school social worker at Harmony High School in the Osceola County School District to discuss coping with grief and loss. 

It is important to respect our feelings and acknowledge what is making us feel upset. It’s okay to let yourself have a moment to feel and share it with somebody if you feel safe doing that. When we're dealing with loss, it's important that we honor the memory of what we've lost and go through the grief process. 

What if I am having a hard time being away from school during the Coronavirus pandemic?

If you're having a really hard time with not being at school right now, it's okay to let yourself spend some time thinking about the things that you miss about being at school. You may miss seeing your friends, your trusted teachers, walking from class to class, or getting to eat lunch with everybody. We've had to go through a situation in a way that is not ideal.

One strategy is to think about friends, family members, or celebrities that have gone through really hard situations. A lot of those people have come out on the other side not just surviving but feeling stronger and better because of it. 

If there is a silver lining, try to find what it is, because that can help to make you feel a little bit better.

What if I am having a hard time dealing with someone’s death?

When we've lost somebody in death, it's really important that we honor them in a way that feels genuine for us and for that person. Think about the relationship that you had with that person and do some sort of action that feels like it's honoring their memory. 

For example, if you’ve lost a loved one who always cooked, then maybe cook a recipe that you enjoyed together and think about them while you're doing it. Let that be a time that you get to feel a connection with that person, even though they're not here physically anymore. 

What if I am struggling with someone moving away?

Set up a routine where you reach out to that person maybe once a week or once a month so that you keep your connection. A lot of times when people move away we say we will stay in touch but it fades away, which can feel like a really sad thing. It’s important to put it in your calendar or know that at the beginning of each month you're going to check-in with that person to keep that connection alive. 

If you are having a hard time with grief and loss, there is group therapy and support groups for individuals who have had similar experiences. Humans are social animals, so talking with other people who've gone through the same thing as you can feel very powerful. We can do a lot of things by ourselves, but the power of joining together can be pretty incredible sometimes.

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