While my friends were at homecoming, I was processing the death of my dad. No one seemed to understand that hearing about good times I had missed out on made me feel worse.
Ahead of my freshman homecoming, I was the only one of my friends that wasn't going. I was excited to have a weekend to myself at my dad's and I was planning to have a joke "homecoming photo shoot" with my cats while wearing my pajamas.
None of that happened, though. Instead, my dad died that weekend, and I was thrown head-first into grief. But, while my life was spinning out of control, everyone else was having the time of their lives at homecoming.
It started when homecoming ended. Everyone who had gone started texting me about hoco drama, dresses, and sent me all of the cute photos that had been taken without me. They all had assumed that hearing about the good times I was missing out on during my misery would help. For once in my life though, I didn't care, and I was furious at my friends. What kind of logical person would think that I'd be cheered up if I heard all about their fun? It took me time to realize it, but the answer is... a person who had never gone through grief.
Most kids in high school haven't grieved at all. If they'd lost someone, it wasn't a person they were really close with, so they didn't understand what I was going through. The people around me cared and felt bad, but they had no idea how to react. So, they told me about homecoming.
Once I realized this, I stopped getting annoyed at my friends as much. It wasn't just homecoming: during the beginning of my grief they all attempted to help me, and it was almost always unsuccessful. It's not their fault, though, and I realized that they meant well. And, I found that the easiest way to get the support that I needed was to ask for it. My friends didn't realize that the weekend my dad died, I would much rather have had someone stay up and talk to me about my dad instead of talking about who they danced with. As time went on, and I asked for what I needed, people also began to be able to help me more.
It can feel like no one understands. The easiest way to fix that? Talk to your friends. Help them understand. It helps.
Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks.