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Dear Lisa,
My best friend's mom just died and I don't know what to say or do. Any suggestions?  Sarah (17 years old)
Dear Sarah,
I am so touched that you wrote to ask me, as it says a lot about what a caring friend you are. Please acknowledge your friend's loss. Say, "I am sorry about your mom. I can't imagine what it is like for you. I am here for you". Talk about it with her, share your own feelings of grief. Tell her favorite memories you have of her mom. Listen to her and be there for her. Allow her to express all of her thoughts and feelings when she wants to. Don't push her to talk.  Often teens feel guilty that they didn't spend enough time with the person who died, or that their last interactions were not positive. Encourage her to talk to you, as well as a trusted adult. She may want to look at my web site for information about teen grief as well as for some books or resources. Know that there is no way to speed grieve...although our society would make us think that. Know that holidays, anniversaries and certain times are going to be hard for her. The best advice is to be patient, caring and treat her as the best friend that she still is. Teens don't like it when people treat them differently. However letting her know that you are comfortable and willing to talk about her mom will help her to talk when she is ready. One of the things that is most hurtful is when friends say things like," aren't you over it yet, are you still thinking about her, or even "it is time to move on".  We never get over losing a person who we loved. We miss them forever. Eventually we do heal and we find a way to integrate the loss into our lives and to find and make meaning out of it for us in our own way. That takes time though. Thanks for being a friend who cares. She will always remember that you were there for her.

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