Healing Your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens

Healing Your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781879651333
Publisher: Companion Press
Publication date: 09/01/2002
Series: Healing Your Grieving Heart Series
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 285,215
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Healing Your Grieving Heart

Journal for Teens

By Alan D. Wolfelt

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Copyright © 2002 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Megan E. Wolfelt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-879651-33-3



Surrounded by my memories ... I took my pen and began to write.

Kuki Gullman

This guided journal is a safe place for you to express your many thoughts, feelings and memories. In part, it is an exploration of how someone's death has changed your life. Our hope is that this journal will help you in your healing and honor your relationship with someone who has been a special part of your world.

Your unique grief journey will be shaped by many things. No two deaths are ever mourned in exactly the same way. Don't think you should grieve in a certain way. Your grief is what it is. It's your right to express it.

Despite what you may hear, you will do the "work of mourning" in your own way. Be careful not to compare your experience with that of other teens. Consider taking a "one-day-at-a-time" approach. Doing so will allow you to mourn at your own pace.

This section of your journal will allow you to explore some of the unique reasons your grief is what it is. Following each "why," we have created some questions for you to answer. As you journal out your responses, we believe you will discover more about the uniqueness of your grief.

You can do it — just write down some of your thoughts and feelings following the questions in the spaces provided.

Why #1: Your Relationship with the Person Who Died

As you know, your relationship with the person who died was different than that person's relationship with anyone else. For example, you may have been "best friends" or "Daddy's little girl." Or perhaps you loved the person but had lots of hard times with him or her. Maybe you were separated by physical distance, which kept you from being as close as you would have liked. Whatever the situation, you are the best person to describe your relationship with the person who died.

Who has died?


In general, how would you describe your relationship to this person?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How attached were you to this person?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Describe how you showed this attachment to each other:

__________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ __________________________

Can you remember times when you felt very close to this person? Please describe/explain.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Were there times when it was hard to get along with this person? If so, give some examples of those times. If not, write about why you think you got along so well.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

What did this person look like?

Approximate height ____ Approximate weight ____ Hair color ____ Eye color ____

Other distinguishing characteristics

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Place another favorite photo of the person who died right here:

Write about two special memories you will always have of your relationship with the person who died:

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Why #2: The Circumstances of the Death

The unique circumstances of the death of someone in your life can have a real impact on your grief journey. For example, was the death anticipated or was it sudden and unexpected? How old was the person who died? Was the death painful or painless? Do you feel like you should have been able to do something to prevent the death? Even when you know someone is dying, you can never really be prepared. We're never ready for the death of someone we love. If the person was sick for a long time and you knew that he or she was going to die, the death may still feel unreal and shocking to you.

Describe the circumstances of the death:

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How did you learn about the death?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Was the death something you expected to happen or was it sudden and unexpected? How does this affect your grief?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How old was the person who died? ____

How does the age of the person affect your grief? __________________________ __________________________

What questions, if any, do you still have about how or why the person died?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Who could answer these questions for you? (If you have questions, ask! It's not good to let them fester inside you.)

__________________________ __________________________

What other thoughts and feelings come to mind when you think about how this person died?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Why #3: The People In Your Life

As you have already learned, you need help from others if you are to heal your grief. Without really good support from your family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc., it's hard to do your mourning. Your healing needs and deserves lots of gentle, caring encouragement and love.

Friends are especially important during your teenage years. And when you're grieving, your friends can be extra especially important. We realize that you may not feel like being around people when you're sad or depressed over losing someone. But now, more than ever, friends can come to your aid. Even if you have nothing to say, or your friends don't know what to say to you, their mere presence can help you feel loved and supported.

What about your family? You may or may not feel like confiding in them right now. That's normal for teenagers! But still, we hope your family loves you and wants what's best for you. During the course of your life, your friends may come and go but your family is forever. Let your family be there for you. Let them in, even if it's hard for you. Try to be open and honest with your family about your grief.

Do you have people in your life whom you can turn to for help and support? Who?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

What qualities do these people have that make them seem approachable and "safe"?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Are there some people in your life you wish you could turn to for support but you don't feel you can? If so, who are these people and why can't you turn to them?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you live far away from some people in your life who could help you if they were nearby?

If so, who? __________________________

Perhaps you could arrange to talk to this person by phone or by e-mail or maybe you could plan a special visit. What ideas do you have for reaching out to this person?

____________________________________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Are you willing to accept support from friends and family?

Yes ____ No _____ If not, why not?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Sometimes well-meaning friends and family will hurt you unknowingly with their words. They may tell you:

• "I know how you feel." (They don't.)

• "Get on with your life." (You're not ready to.)

• "Keep your chin up." (You have every right to be sad.)

• "You're young; you'll get over this. (Nobody ever "gets over" grief.)

• "Time heals all wounds." (Time helps, but you're feeling bad today.)

• "He/she wouldn't want you to be sad." (Death and sadness go hand in hand.)

Have you had anyone say things like this to you?

Yes ____ No ____ If so, write out an example and describe how it made you feel.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

What are some things that people have said or done that have been helpful to you?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you have a school counselor, teacher or coach you can turn to for support? Yes ____ No ____ If so, describe this special adult and why you feel they can help you.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you have a clergyperson or friends at church or a place of worship you can turn to for support?

Yes ____ No ____ Describe these people and this place.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Grief support groups are a safe place for many teens.

Sometimes it's easier to talk to other kids whose lives have been touched by death than it is to talk to adults. Have you participated in a support group? Yes ____ No ____ If so, describe this experience:

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

If you haven't been to a support group, could you find out if there may be one in your area? Your school might have a support group. If not, your place of worship, a hospice or a funeral home may have one. Name an adult who can help you find out about teen grief support groups and arrange to attend:


Why #4: Your Unique Personality

No one else is just like you. Your unique personality is a big part of your grief. For example, if you are kind of quiet and shy, you may express your grief quietly. If you are outgoing and talkative, you may be more expressive with your grief.

Other things, like your self-esteem, your beliefs and the ways in which you have responded to other losses in your life, also play a part in how you respond to a death. Let's have you write out your responses to the following questions so you can better understand how your unique personality shapes your grief.

What are some adjectives you would use to describe yourself?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How do you think your unique personality is influencing your grief? __________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How have you responded to other life losses or crises in your life?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Are you responding in a similar way now, or does this loss feel different somehow? Explain.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you think your personality has changed as a result of this death? Yes ___ No ___ If so, how? If not, why not?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How is your self-esteem right now? Why?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Why #5: The Unique Personality of the Person Who Died

Just as your unique personality is part of your grief, so, too, is the personality of the person who died. For example, it may be that the person was someone you found easy to like and admire. Or it may be that the person was hard to get along with; you may have loved the person a lot but you may not have always liked them. Check off the following personality traits that seem to describe the person who died:

____ accepting ____ active ____ adventuresome
____ aggressive ____ annoying ____ anxious
____ argumentative ____ artistic ____ big-hearted
____ calm ____ caring ____ charming
____ clever ____ cold ____ compassionate
____ competitive ____ conceited ____ confident
____ controlling ____ cooperative ____ courageous
____ creative ____ critical ____ demanding
____ dependable ____ detached ____ direct
____ dramatic ____ dynamic ____ emotional
____ energetic ____ enthusiastic ____ fair
____ forgetful ____ friendly ____ funny
____ good-natured ____ graceful ____ honest
____ hyperactive ____ imaginative ____ independent
____ inflexible ____ influential ____ insecure
____ interesting ____ inventive ____ irritable
____ jealous ____ logical ____ loud
____ moody ____ nervous ____ nurturing
____ opinionated ____ outgoing ____ overprotective
____ overwhelming ____ perfectionistic ____ persuasive
____ playful ____ protective ____ punctual
____ quick to anger ____ rebellious ____ resourceful
____ rude ____ romantic ____ scatterbrained
____ self-centered ____ sensitive ____ shy
____ sincere ____ smart ____ spiritual
____ spontaneous ____ stubborn ____ temperamental
____ tireless ____ troubled ____ trustworthy
____ two-faced ____ warm ____ wise
____ witty ____ wonderful ____ worried

Now, in your own words, describe the personality of the person who died.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Place a photo of the person who died here that you think expresses his or her unique personality.

What roles did this person play in your life? (For example, best friend, mentor, caretaker.)

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How did this person's unique personality affect the roles he or she played in your life?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Which personality traits of this person's did you enjoy most?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Give an example of a time when these positive traits were expressed by this person.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Which personality traits of this person's did you least enjoy?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Give an example of a time when these negative traits were apparent to you.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Why #6: Your Cultural Background

Your family's culture is an important part of how you experience and express your grief. When we say culture, we mean the values, rules (spoken and unspoken) and traditions that guide your family. Often these values, rules and traditions have been handed down generation after generation and are shaped by the countries or areas of the world your family originally came from. Your family's culture is also shaped by education and political beliefs (religion, too, but we'll get to that in a minute). Basically, your family's culture is your family's way of being in the world.

What is your cultural background?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How does this background influence your grief and mourning?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Ask a trusted adult about your family's culture. What did you learn about your family's cultural background?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

How might this help or hinder you in your journey through grief?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Why #7: Your Religious or Spiritual Background

Your faith or belief system can be a big influence on your grief. You may discover that your religious or spiritual life is deepened, renewed or changed because of this death. Or you may well find yourself questioning beliefs you used to take for granted.

The word "faith" means to believe in something for which there is no proof. For some people, faith means believing in and following a set of religious rules. For others, faith is a belief in God or a spirit or a force that is greater than we are.

One important point we want you to remember is even if you have faith, you still have a need and a right to mourn. Your religion may teach you that God is all-knowing and that this death is part of His plan. It may also teach you that the person who died has gone to a better place and so you should be happy for him or her. Even if these things are true, an important person has been torn from your life and you need to mourn the loss.

The following questions may help you understand how your religious and spiritual beliefs affect your grief journey.

Did you grow up with certain religious or spiritual teachings? Please describe them.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you believe in God? Yes ____ No ____ What do you believe happens after death?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Has this death impacted your faith? How?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you have people around you who understand and support you in your belief system? Yes ____ No ____ If so, who are these people and how can they help you?

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________

Do you think that your faith, religion or spiritual background will play a part in your healing process? Yes ____ No ____ Please explain.

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________


Excerpted from The Healing Your Grieving Heart by Alan D. Wolfelt. Copyright © 2002 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Megan E. Wolfelt. Excerpted by permission of Center for Loss and Life Transition.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Healing Your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This journal was a great tool in helping a 14 year-old client process the grief she was experiencing over the loss of her father.