Dealing with grief in high school

Abby Karlin, Business Manager, Opinions Editor

Everyone has some stuff that they’re dealing with in High School. Recently people started passing around health surveys about stress, and the top things that caused people stress were academics, extracurriculars, and family reasons.

Personally, I’ve been dealing with a lot, especially since this summer. My grandpa, my dad’s father, has been dealing with cancer for the past two years. It’s been hard, but he made it into remission sometime last year. He’s still been more easily susceptible to illnesses, etc. but we went to visit him during Christmas, and we had a great time. This summer, the cancer came back, and he passed away about a week before we were set to go and say our goodbyes.

It was really hard to deal with, especially two weeks before the start of school. There was a nice memorial, and it was good to see my grandma again, but I, being a procrastinator, had a lot of summer homework that I had yet to complete and I wasn’t exactly in the environment or the headspace to be reviewing Algebra or writing essays.

The past two weeks have been busy ones for me and my family between my sister’s soccer and hectic school schedule, my Cross Country, PPA classes, Crew, Speech and Debate, and Choir Auditions. But around two weeks ago, my parents found out that my mom’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The odds are all actually pretty good, they caught it early and I’m pretty sure I’m only freaking out because I associate cancer with death. I found out two days ago, and pretty much had an immediate mental breakdown at the last play. It was just too much too soon on top of everything else I was dealing with. She’s getting ready to have surgery as I’m typing this, and my hands are shaking.

So here I have some ways that I’m going to be using to try and deal with the stress of normal life added to this additional stress. (It’s important to mention here, that no one in my life is acting as a stress on purpose. Sickness, especially things like cancer are out of other people’s control, and you should be helping them as well as dealing with it yourself.)

  1. I’m going to write to my grandma a lot. One of my biggest regrets with my grandpa was that I didn’t see or talk to him as much as I would have liked before he died.
  2. I’m going to work on connecting more with my immediate family and friends. My friends have stepped up and watched out for me, and I appreciate that so much. It’s okay to rely on other people sometimes.
  3. Keeping busy is pretty much my first coping mechanism, and sometimes it’s a good one. At other times, it’s not, because I’ll run myself into the ground. I’m going to try and do a better job of knowing when to add more things to my schedule and when to let what I’m already doing be enough.
  4. Take some time for myself. I like listening to music and writing (as you can see from this word count) and reading and running. Especially when stuff is coming at you from all around, it’s great to take a minute to focus on yourself. Taking this time is actually going to make it easier for you to be productive.
  5. Really focus on school work. It’s good to distract yourself with other things, but maintaining good grades is still important.

Update: It does get easier. It’s been two months since I wrote the first draft of this. My grandma is doing better, and for the most part, so am I.