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When I go into schools and deliver presentations on grief and loss in health classes, I always give out index cards. At the last fifteen minutes of class, I ask the students to write an anonymous question about grief or loss, or write something that they want to share. I tell them I will read them out loud after collecting them all in a box, and if the students don't want me to read them out loud, they can write "Do Not Read Out Loud" on top of card.
Here are some of the cards I have received from high school students in NJ:
Here are some of the "Don't Read Out Loud" Cards:
"I lost my uncle about a month ago and was very close to him. He lived around the corner. He was in hospice at the young age of 47. He had been paralyzed from the neck down."
"I was really lonely, scared and angry when I was forced to move from China to U.S."
"One of my friend's dad has been sick for a while and I just found out he is in the hospital as of yesterday. I am really worried for her and he's such a nice guy. I really don't want anything worse to happen to him."
"My aunt has recently gotten breast cancer so my mom is always at her house, which is about thirty minutes away. My mom is hardly home anymore. I know she is trying to help my aunt's family but it hurts me that she isn't with us."
"4 years ago I lost my grandma who raised me for the first 5 years of my life"
"My grandma is in the last stages of cancer. IT seems that every time she visits our house she gets sick and has to go to the hospital. I feel bad for how angry it makes me. I don't like seeing her sick and it is upsetting to have to visit the hospital all the time. She is very important to me, but I am tired of it all."
"My mom had cancer three years ago and I still think about it every single day and worry it will come back."
"I feel isolated from my friends and sometimes all alone"
"Is it normal to still be upset about your parent's divorce even if it happened over a year ago?"
"I used to be a cutter but I'm going through a lot of boyfriend trouble and I am thinking of starting it again."
"My parents got divorced and my dad remarried a woman who hates me and my sister. She is threatening to take away our rights to see our brother"
"Last year before finals a girl that was my best friend and close to since childhood, took her step father's gun and committed suicide. My father did not tell me until after finals when I had plans to see her."
"My parents are going to get divorced"
"Life really sucks for me. My mom left us to be with her boyfriend. Some times I want to hurt myself or not eat for days"
"My mom died when I was very young and I can't even remember her. It still upsets me that I don't even know her. Are there any good books for people who lose people who they never got to know?"
"My brother has a heart condition and I worry about him constantly"
"Is it normal not to have grief after a loss"?
"I am starting to realize that my dad my not be able to stay with my mom."
"I am scared that my dad is going to die. He is old and has been in and out of the hospital. I want to talk to him about it but I am too scared."
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These are cards that I have read out loud and commented on to the class:
"During the summer I think my friend had an eating disorder because seh went from being big to think very quickly."
"My grandma just lost her bestfriend and my grandpa died about five years ago. My mom and I think she is depressed and don't know how to help her."
"Crying real does help relive stress"
" I am scared that my dog is going to die"
"I moved from Italy to the US and then moved twice. It was really difficult to understand English and really scary."
"I was fighting a lot with my parents and they sent me to a therapist. It is really good."
"Grieving is hard for me. When something hard happens I usually can't feel any emotion and I think eventually I will but it never happens. I try to force myself to feel angry and hurt for it. Is this right?
"My friend has an illness in her family and is always having to do chores and has so much stress at home."
"How can I lesson my curiosity about my friend who killed himself since he never told anyone anything and he didn't leave a note?"
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