Adolescence and the Loss of a Close Friend

This article/reflection is a little bit different than the ones which I usually write on this blog. This article is based on actual events that occurred recently and the discussions I had with some of the people related to these events. To maintain privacy, the identities of people and places will not be mention in the article

How differently it felt when you lost someone beloved or even someone whom you just met for a while? I believe many will say that it depends upon the amount of time spending and engaging with each other. However, sometimes a person whom you meet in a while would have left an everlasting impact on you than people whom you know since ages. Most of us wish they could be so lucky to finds a best friend at least once in our lifetime. But the question is why a great gift when it occurs, becomes a significant pain when it is lost?

Last year, one of my students shared that she lost her best friend in a car crash, and she was devastated about that. She considers her as a family even they know each other for a couple of years only. I simply counsel her and start giving advice like don’t avoid the pain, remember you aren’t alone, remember all your great memories etc. When she left, I felt relax that somehow my words might ease her pain until recently when I felt the same pain. Whether it’s a friend, a sibling or even someone you just sort of know, the loss of their life can make you feel like you have an enormous hole inside yourself.

Recently, I lost a friend in an aeroplane crash that occurred a couple of days ago in my country Pakistan. I have never imagined that she would leave this place that soon, and the amount of pain she would have left behind for her loved ones. She was a healthy, young, professional and skilful person who have list down all the things that she wanted to do in her lifespan. Interestingly I only started to know her recently, so imagine how is her death impacted the people who know her since that long, especially her parents and young siblings. It’s especially difficult for young people to experience the tragic and unexpected loss of a friend like a sibling because it happens at a time when you are feeling like you’re getting your life under control and none of this “bad stuff” could happen to you. The shock of seeing that it actually can happen to someone close to you can make you feel pretty vulnerable yourself.

It also happens at a time where you’re usually putting some distance between yourself and your parents, who have been your primary source of support. You may feel you need them more than ever, but your quest for independence also makes you not want to depend on them too much. This can result in significant feelings of confusion. So, there is a lot goes on in your mind, body and heart when someone close to you dies. According to an article written by Madge Alberts, “Grief is a weird thing it affects every person differently. Like adults, teenagers grieve in their own time and in their own way. It may not even seem real to you at first. You may just feel numb and not really be able to react at all. For most people, this numbness will eventually go away, and your body will feel the pain…You may feel like you’re crying all the time, and at the same time, another family member or a friend may not cry at all. You might feel angry with them because it doesn’t seem to you like they’re grieving enough, or taking the death of your friend seriously enough”.

She further states that “Some people grieve by wanting to take care of everybody else and make everybody else feel better. Some people just act completely crazy. Some people get caught up in thinking, “Why didn’t it happen to me?” Odd as it may seem, some people laugh a lot when they are grieving.” There are all kinds of physical and emotional symptoms you may experience as a part of grieving. Almost all of them are normal, especially at first.

An essential aspect that people, especially young people, need to accept that you will never forget what happened. If you are afraid to heal because you think you might forget your friend or a sibling, no need to worry, you will never forget. You will always have their memories; the time well spent with them. You’ll always be sorry that you were unable to share life with your deceased loved one for many more years to come. However, in time, you will remember the happy memories more often than the painful ones that fill your mind now.

I pray that all the one who lost their lives in the plane crash, including my friend, their souls rest in eternal peace. I pray that their loved ones will find courage and strength to bear their loss.

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