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Coping with Loss/Weirdness after four years


A few years ago my friend introduced me to her cousin Olivia. My friend and I were both 12 at the time, and Olivia was 15. I only saw her 2 or 3 times because on November 26, 2008, she was hit by a truck and died. I saw her the night before, so about 15 hours before she died. When I found out, I wasn't real sad because I didn't know her that well, but I was shocked. For the next few days I saw glimpses of her everywhere I went. I quickly got over it and hardly ever thought about her. Well every year around this time I think about her more and more, but I'm not usually sad about it. Well this year, I think about her constantly and there are some sad feelings. I haven't cried or anything but it bothers me that the feelings are different. Is it normal to think about her this much even if I hardly knew her? Do you know why I might be thinking about her more this year? Why do I think about it so much and feel sad if I didn't see her that much? Sorry it's a strange question. Help anyway you can. I'm just confused why after four years it changes. Is it possible that I became closer to her than I think?

Hi Anna,

First off, my whole heart to you for reaching out and asking questions as you try and understand what is happening for you.  I'm so sorry to learn of Olivia's death.  It's very hard for me to say what the answers to your questions would be because, well, every single one of us is so unique.  The answers to these questions will be unique to you.  I wonder if there is an adult in your life who you could sit and chat with about these kinds of things?  A parent, teacher, mentor?  Often it helps to just have a caring person hear us out and offer ideas from their own experiences.  

I can tell you that there is a LOT of materials out in the world that talk about how death and grief affect us as children and then over time as we develop.  When we are younger, we don't always have the emotional skills necessary to fully process what has happened.  So as we grow and develop other new skills along the way, we may revisit death and grief experiences to see them with our new skills, to re-understand or re-interpret them now that we have some other life skills.  It's a very normal thing to do that.  And it is also very normal to have these re-visits on the experiences come up around anniversary dates like the birthday of the person who died or on their death date each year.  Very normal.

The Centering Corporation has a whole section of wonderful books for teens on topic of death, dying, and grief:

In particular they have an interactive workbook "Fire in my Heart, Ice in my Veins" that I've used in workshops and it has seemed helpful to the process of coming to understand our feelings and reactions:

That book and some of the others there might be good sources for you to begin reading and gaining some language around how to express what you are experiencing.  Even better would be to let a trusted adult in your life know that you are wanting to explore these materials and then share your exploration with them.  It just helps to have another person and feel connected to them as we learn and grow.  I so encourage you to approach a few different people in your life and see if one of them might be willing to buddy up with you as you read and do the creative prompts in the workbook and all.

I hope this is a helpful start.  If I can be of service in any other way, please write back to me again, okay?  You are not alone.  Many, many people have these kinds of very normal reactions to grief and how we integrate all we feel around death, dying, and grief.

Sending supportive vibes your way!

Coping with Loss

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Kara L.C. Jones


My specialty is using creativity to address grief, loss, and death issues. Creativity is not necessarily about being an artist, but rather about being willing to let go what we think we know and get a different perspective using creative tools such as writing, drawing, body mapping, painting, smashing, wrecking, mosaic, heART journal,and many other techniques. I can answer questions about how to have permission to grieve in your own way, how to become your own best advocate as you learn to live life again, how to approach a creative way of being even when you think you are not creative. Afterall, it takes a lot of creativity to find reasons to get out of bed the day after someone you love has died. I am glad to answer any questions about how to embrace that creative approach when we otherwise feel totally tapped out by the grief experience.


For 14 years, I've been studying grief and creativity specifically and have been part of bringing the emerging field of grief and creativity to the fore in our world. I worked for a decade with the MISS Foundation offering support to families around the world who are enduring the death of a child due to any cause from miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, accident, disease, suicide, whatever the case. I also co-founded The Creative Grief Studio with Cath Duncan from Remembering For Good as a brand new vision on the training, accountability, and development of the Grief Coaching and helping professionals fields. And probably most important, I've endured the death of three of my own sons and am always learning to live creatively with that reality. For more information, see:

The Creative Grief Studio, Grief & Creativity groups on both LinkedIn and G+


Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Three-year Mentorship with Fred Rogers and Hedda Sharapan of FCI producers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Certified Reiki Master-Teacher, Certified Whole Systems and AI Coach (key model being The Hero's Journey)

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Confidentiality and a sense of ethics will not allow me to share private client information ever! If you are interested in testimonials from people who have worked with me and given full permission for me to share their experiences, please see:

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