(Ferndale Schools newsletter, http://www.ferndaleschools.org/districtnews/documents/Ferndale_eNews_Mar15_2013.pdf, March 20, 2013)
As we mourn the loss of 16-year-old FHS Junior Mario Campbell, we remember that Mario left behind grieving family and friends, many of whom are young and this may be their first experience with the death of a loved one.
Here are some tips, as compiled by the organization Common Ground Sanctuary, to assist families during times of difficulty.
Common Ground Sanctuary is a nonprofit crisis intervention agency with a mission to provide a lifeline for individuals and families in crisis, victims of crime, persons with mental illness, people trying to cope with critical situations and runaway and homeless youth. The 24-hour crisis hotline for Common Ground is 800-231-1127.
To support your grieving child, try the following:
LISTEN – Establish yourself as someone your child can talk to. Accept his/her feelings without judgment or argument. Encourage expression. Talking and crying provide relief to a grieving child. Some children benefit from creative expressions such as drawing or role playing.
BE FLEXIBLE – Maintain normal routine and rules, but be flexible on unnecessary chores or activities. Work with your child on how to best structure time.
OBSERVE – If your child is showing signs of extreme disturbance or serious depression, seek professional help.
EDUCATE – Help your child to learn effective, safe ways to cope with pain. Share your experiences with loss and how you coped. Help him/her find ways to help the living. Young children often believe that death is reversible, that the deceased will return. Help them to accept the finality of death.
BE PATIENT – Your child is struggling to cope. He/she will need lots of reassurance, support, love and care.
LEARN – If you feel overwhelmed by the stress of caring for your grieving child, consult with outside resources. Talk with other parents, a mental health professional, school personnel, or your clergy for support and new ideas.
Remember, although these are tips geared toward young people, all of us, especially the adults who taught and coached Mario throughout his years in the Ferndale Schools, will benefit from these support strategies.
EDITOR’S NOTES: To read about Mario’s death, see our previous story at http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/03/15/fhs-mourns-loss-of-standout-student/.
A PaySchools account has been established by Ferndale High School for anyone who would like to make donations to support Mario’s family with funeral expenses. The link is: http://www.payschools.com/cat.