1 year ago

Guest Blog

 My students have been submitting research papers and essays as part of a final assignment. Reading a few, I noticed that certain messages were too important to keep to myself.  This piece was submitted by a 9th grade girl who recently lost someone she loves to a drug overdose.

With her permission, I share Skyelar’s thoughts on losing someone she loves:

Recently I lost a family member who meant a lot to me. This family member was my stepfather, the father to my sister. He has been in and out of jail most of his life and was struggling to change. I seen him trying so hard when he came home. He was trying to build the family we always wanted, that he never received. All his life he wanted a family but he couldn’t build it until he got home.

My mother and him were very happy and nervous to see each other for the first time in two years. I remember crying when I saw him walking down my driveway. I waited since I was 13 years old to see the man who cared for me since I was born. My sister never really knew him as much as I did because of him going to jail most of her life. He was a great dad to the both of us. He was there for me more than my own father ever was. My stepfather’s name is Brad J., Brad understood me in everyway I would talk to him for advice and he would tell me exactly what I wanted to hear. He told me to take care of my mother, my sister, and to try my hardest in highschool because that’s your life in your hands.

The reason he is so important to me is because he is the person I look up to daily. He is the person I want to prove right every day, he is the person I want to live for because my stepfather died from a heroin overdose. He changed my life a lot when I found out he was really gone, it hurt so much. I felt like I had no one to talk to anymore and get advice from to be a better person that I know I can be, and what makes me happy is that I know he wants me to do good. I want to be the person he wanted to be, a family man, a hard worker, to feel like a great dad and an amazing husband. But I’m going to be the opposite of those things because I am a female. But I put my word to him to make a family for him and let his spirit live in the family he wanted his whole life. My stepfather was a very strong man, he let people push him around all the time and he acted like it didn’t bother him. But I know in my heart he was hurting all these years.  He was the strongest man I  ever knew, he lived in a living hell. Brad was bipolar, depressed and suffered from anxiety.

My stepfather started trying drugs at the age of 13. He believed that drugs was the medication to make him “normal’’. He always said he wanted to be “normal’’, but is anyone really normal? He thought drugs would make him happy and fit in with society. But the whole time he was becoming “normal’’ he was killing himself, his family and most importantly to him his future he would never be able to live. Every time I would try to talk about his drug addiction with him he would deny that he did it. It hurt him to know that he was hurting his family and all he wanted was a family. He wanted to be the father that his father wasn’t, and that makes me so upset because I know he was trying with all his power to stay clean and be a father to his children. But at the same time he was trying to cope with the pain he had from the past from what his mother and father did to him. He didn’t want that for my sister and I. He didn’t give us a life he had, he gave us a happy life, happy memories, and his loud mouth. But in my heart I believe he is in a better place than he ever was.
Teenage grief is the reaction teens have to death with the loss of someone really close. Grief can affect the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Grief can change your appetite and sleep pattern. It can affect your everyday life and make it feel like it’s not worth living. Which brings me to say this can cause depression. The loss of a really close person like a mother, father, stepfather/mother, or even siblings can affect your whole life. You’ll have strong emotions towards a lot of things. Spiritual reactions, finding the strength from faith and religious belief. Grieving is a teen’s natural reaction to death. The way you can help a teen or get help for a teen is by just talking. To me talking is a great way of help. To me it feels like somebody is listening to what I have to say like my stepfather did for me. My stepfather made sure everyone heard what I had to say good or bad.