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My friend is dead but my brain says no

Dear Sam,

I found out my friend died yesterday after school. But i cant accept it. I didnt know them for long but i felt like they were always there and i could talk to them bur now... Now i cant. He died in a car accident in Sunday night on holiday. But i just cant imagine him dead at all. This just doesnt happen to me. I feel so disassociated with it. How can i realise it in all terms?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

When someone dies suddenly it can be a shock and sometimes difficult to accept. You might feel anxious, scared, angry or numb and it can take time to process what’s happened.

It’s natural to find it hard to understand that you won’t see them again when a friend dies. You might have had little or no experience before of losing someone close to you. The possibility that another young person could die will be a new situation to have to deal with.  It can be difficult to grasp that someone young or a similar age to you has passed away.

People react in different ways when someone dies.  Shock and loss can cause you to feel numb or to feel like it’s not real for a while as you process what’s happened. You won’t always feel like this. Your feelings will change over time, and accepting that they’ve died will happen when you’re ready. It’s not something you can rush or force.

You might feel more vulnerable and worried about your safety and the safety of your friends and family, or more thankful for them than you were before. Many people react by being more cautious about doing new or unfamiliar things or by being anxious about doing everyday things, like travelling in a car.

Feeling scared and anxious are a natural part of the grieving process as you process painful feelings and try to avoid further hurt. Talking about your feelings can help and you can speak to a counsellor at Childline about how your loss is affecting you.

When you can’t say goodbye it’s important to find a way to express whatever you wanted to say but didn’t get the chance to. You might want to show how important they were to you, how much you cared about them, what you’ll miss about them and how sad you feel that they aren’t here any more.

Writing a letter, doing some artwork, finding a quiet time to reflect and silently express what you want to say, or asking an adult you trust to listen, can sometimes help you do that.

You could create something to remember them by like making a video of your photos together, raising money for charity in their memory or writing a poem about them.

It’s okay to talk about the person who died, your memories of them and the time you spent together.

Remember, grieving is an individual thing. There are no rights or wrongs and no set timescales in which you’ll process what’s happened.

Thank you for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

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