For many teens, the death of a grandparent is their first experience with loss. Grief affects people in different ways. Some teens may feel angry, others devastated, and yet others may be numb or in disbelief.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one. The most important thing is learning how to heal and move on.
Understand the Five Stages of Grief
Many teens who lose a grandparent will go through the five stages of grief, but you may also experience other emotions.
The five stages of grief include:
- Denial and isolation
You may not experience these stages in this order, or you may not go through certain stages. You may go through these stages at different points in your life. Many people never reach the acceptance stage simply because we are not afforded the time to properly grieve a loss.
It’s common for bereaved grandchildren to feel:
- Emotionally numb, or to have difficulty crying. This does not mean that you are not affected by the loss. It just means that it is taking some time for you to accept that it is real.
- Alone or forgotten. You may feel like your friends and family don’t realize how much you are hurting. You may feel that your parents and your surviving grandparent are receiving more support than you, and that others don’t realize that you also need help.
- Guilty for not spending more time with the grandparent. You may have so many questions or things you’d like to say to your grandparent.
- Anxious about death, particularly if this is your first time experiencing a loss. You may feel anxious for the safety of your loved ones.
Take a Time Out and Talk About It
Many people will tell you to keep busy after the death of a loved one, but it’s important to instead take time out to process and work through your emotions.
If you try to rush right back to school, you may find it hard to be in the present moment and to pay attention to the work. Give yourself at least a day or two to work through the initial shock and grief.
Stay close to your family, and talk about your emotions. Sometimes, talking through it can help you process what you’re feeling.
Understand the Estate Settlement and Probate Process
The death of a loved one is difficult enough as is. The last thing you want to think at such a time is the legal steps that need to take place.
As a teen, you won’t have to worry too much about the logistics of making funeral arrangements or having to deal with the probate process or hiring a probate attorney. Depending on your family’s preferences, you may be asked to be present during the reading of your grandparent’s last will and testament. During the reading, you will find out what you inherited from your grandparent, if anything.
Support Your Family
Be there for your loved ones. Understand that you are all grieving the loss of your grandparent. Check in on your loved ones. Ask how they are doing, and provide as much support as you can to those around you.