Q. I am 16 years old. My mother died of cancer when I was 12. I am still grieving deeply about it. What can I do to feel better?


For children and teens who have lost a parent, feelings will be continue to come up as you get older. As a 12 year old, the death of your mother was extremely difficult for many reasons that are personal for you. As you are growing and experiencing different life events such as turning 16, driving, going to high school events, etc., you may experience increased feelings of grief.

There are several things you can do to cope better with the loss of a loved one.

Allow yourself the time and space to grieve. During significant moments in your life, you will feel a range of emotions and intense feelings, and these are typical and are part of the grieving process. Give yourself the opportunity to acknowledge these feelings and work through them at your own pace.

Reach out to supportive people in your life to help you manage through these difficult times. Friends, family, teachers, coaches, school counselors, are all people who may be available when you are in need of support. While some of these people might be better at listening to you, others might be helpful by taking you out to a movie or dinner. Both types of support are equally important. Reaching out to a grief counselor or joining a support group for teens who have lost a parent could also be helpful.

Plan for special days or holidays. Your mother’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and your birthday are all days when you may need additional support. Planning a way to honor your mother on these days may help you in your grieving process.

Here are a few additional resources on coping with loss for you to read: