So I guess I did okay with this helping my kid through the death of her friend. It probably hit me a bit harder as it was so close to Sara's sweet 16. I could never imagine losing her at this point in her life and to think of Avery's parents still breaks my heart. Their pain must be unimaginable. SO as part of Sara's birthday last night we did a few things.
I struggled with what to do at the party for the kids and with the help of a few others I think I got it.
1. We set up a table for Avery. This way everyone who came could pay their respects and remember her for a bit.
2. On the table was a giant card for everyone to sign. This card will be going to her parents today at the funeral. I hope it brings them just a little comfort as well. *
The table also included a few things that would happen at the end of the party. We had balloons all with special meaning. The hearts were for love, a princess balloon because all teen girls are princesses, a smiley face because the girls said she was always happy, and the flowers in memorial. The last half hour of the party was just to honor their friend. The balloons were released with a ton of tears. I watched these kids circle around each other and hug and cry. They spilled out love and hope all over each other and it was truly beautiful to witness.
As they sat down crying on the ground I handed them a notebook and markers to pass around. In the notebook they wrote their goodbye letters. Later this week I'll take the girls to the bridge where Avery died and we'll leave the letters. *
Watching all these kids go through this isn't easy. I wish no parents ever have to see their kids deal with grief and loss of a friend at such a young age, but sadly it will happen many many times to many many families. I hope these posts will help people help their children. Please if anyone has any more ideas please add them to comments!
*I will not put close up pictures of the card nor the letters as these are the private thoughts of the girls and I don't want to put them out publicly. I won't even read their goodbye letters!