Dealing with Teenage Death

This past week I was watching the news about the disasters in Japan while getting dressed one morning, and I could not help but reflect on how blessed I am to wake up in peace with my family by my side while many people around the world are waking up to what they wish was only a nightmare. These disasters are very real and very painful for much of the world.  However, because we are constantly bombarded with information about people around the world who are struggling to survive because of this or that, it is common to grow caloused to the seriousness and the pain of death. That is, until it happens in your own neighborhood.

Yesterday, Marcus Freeman and his girlfriend were headed home on I-75 from a dentist appointment. On the way home Marcus lost control of the vehicle and was killed shortly after the impact of the crash. With news and technology in todays world, news travels faster than ever.

Within an hour of the accident you can see concerned teenagers posting comments on Facebook asking for details and asking to know that everything is OK. Then over the process of a few hours you can begin to read the shock and heartache in the comments made by friends and loved ones as the news spread.

Marcus passed away leaving behind countless friends that are trying to understand how something so tragic could happen to someone they knew so well.

Many times we understand that those things happen in the world we live in, but not to us! Not in our neighborhoods. However scripture says in Hebrews that: “it is appointed unto men once to die”, and the Psalmist wrote: “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?”

There are two main issues that occur for a teenager during a tragic death:

1. The teenager grieves over the loss of a friend, or acquaintance.

2. The teenager is stunned at the realization that death is possible even at their age.

 

So the question is: (With the hope that you never need to ask it)

How can we help teenager grieving over the death of another teen?

1. A teenager needs unconditional love and patience during a time of mourning.

2. A teenager needs a listener not a teacher during a time of mourning.

3.  A teenager needs adults to understand different gender responses:

– Guys tend to hold things in and respond out of anger. Provide a safe environment for guys to be emotional.

– Girls will generally have very obvious emotions. Provide support and appropriate physical comfort.

4. A teenager needs the people closest to them to be available for communication and support.

5. A teenager needs to understand the importance of being honest, open, and transparent about their emotions.

6. A teenager needs to be encouraged and told that it is a good thing to seek help and counseling.

7. A teenager needs people to be OK with silence and give them space if they appear to need time alone.

8. A teenager needs to be able to continue with as much normalcy and continuity in life as possible.

9. A teenager needs to share the good memories and funny stories about their deceased loved one.

10. A teenager needs to be encouraged to think about others and not only on themselves during a time of loss.

 

Take some time to pray for the Freeman family and the O’Boyle family today and post any prayer requests of other tragedies that you may need prayer for in the comment section below.

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with Teenage Death

  1. When it hits home it really hits home…I know this all to well. My heart has been heavy all day for this young boy’s family and friends as well as for the young girlfriend. My prayer is for God to strongly show Himself to her through her recovery/healing. I am praying for her friends that go to Suncoast to shower her with love and empathy.

    It is a shame that it takes a tragic death for Christians to bring to light the very dark reality of Heaven and Hell. I am praying that we (to include myself) no longer wait for such an event to happen, but rather bring our testimony to light each and every day.

  2. Thanks so much for reading Nicci!

    I agree with your comment, however I don’t think the issue is that “now people are willing to share the message”, as much as it is that, “now people are willing to listen.”

    It is times like this whenever people remember that life will end, and we need to be ready whenever it does.

  3. Thanks Pastor Lee for your post. My heart goes out to these families and friends… Being there to listen to them in their grief is HUGE. It is so important to let them work through it with safe and unconditional support. God bless you and your leaders with His Strength – especially during Atomic Bonds tonight.

  4. I know all to well about grief. On july 26th 2009 the phone rang. The worst news for a parent . A phone call from my daughters boss. An accident, they are trying to get Ashley out of the car. 5 phone calls to 911 no one calls you back. You find out all three of the other children are going to Docters hospital so I get in the car jump on I-75 N. Passing by mile marker 200 in the south bound lane you see the accident. A sheet over the passengers seat. It cant be Ashley she promised to drive, is the thought I had. Walking down the hall Police waiting. Ashley Lynn Cafaro did not survive. My daughter was in the car as I drove by mile marker200.. I still look for her in a crowed… A student also of North Port High School. She graduated in May of 2009. She had started taking classes at MCC. Now she is in heaven with all of the other youth North Port and the surounding area has lost… Grief is a way of life for my family as it is for all that have lost a child..

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