I was already dealing with my mom’s death. Now a global pandemic has taken away my senior year

Written by: Renee Lund, Guest Blogger

Renee Lund is a 17-year old senior in Vista, California. She finds comfort in writing about her grief, as well as what it's like being a teenager in America right now. Other than writing, Renee also enjoys playing field hockey, reading and spending time with friends and family.

In the span of a year, my Mom died and now there’s a global pandemic. My senior year has vanished. I’m supposed to be celebrating college acceptances and hanging out with my friends. I was looking forward to this year as a way to be a teenager again. Now instead I’m stuck at home, missing my Mom, and in shock that these terrible things have happened.

In addition to all of this craziness that’s happening, instead of being straight up with me, or letting me sit with the sadness I’m feeling, adults keep telling me that things will get better or that I’ll be alright, which I know I will be, just in that moment I’m not.

17-year old Renee, on the right. With her Mom and sister.

It’s the same when I go online. Every website I find about grief has the exact same advice from adults trying to reassure me that everything will be okay. I already know everything will be okay so it’s not reassuring at all, and it’s so impersonal too. Plus the internet is a big place and can feel intimidating, especially since I don’t really know what I'm searching for. Lots of people have also suggested therapy for me, but I'm more of a listener than a talker, so it's not a good fit for me.

There are some things that are helping though. I was going to a support group with other teenagers, but COVID-19 has shut down support groups, for now anyway. I’ve found a few small quotes on Pinterest and Instagram that have been helpful, but the thing that’s helping me the most are the text messages I get from Grief Coach. I am not always comfortable being open about my grief, with the people I’m close to, so the texts have been perfect for me. I feel like they are private and just for me which I love. They help me process what I am going through by myself, which helps me feel this sense of security and validation of what I am feeling.

This time has been very weird for me. I was just getting used to the fact that my mom has died and was creating a new routine for myself. I was finding a sense of normalcy. Then suddenly my friends, classmates, and family members are all feeling a new kind of grief. Everyone is grieving, thanks to COVID-19. I've started noticing similarities between my grief over losing my Mom, and now the new grief of a big loss in the world. When my Mom passed, everyone was telling me that everything will be okay, and now the senior class is being told the same, that we will be okay and things will be normal again. All of us know that things won’t be however. Senior proms and even graduations have already been taken away from seniors around the world. I wish adults would acknowledge our pain right now, instead of sheltering us. Honestly it’s okay if we’re feeling sad and stressed right now. It’s a sad and stressful time.

Another reason why Grief Coach has helped me so much is because they are honest. They acknowledge that things suck and they get to the point, yet the texts have specific tips and suggestions too, which is great. Instead of just saying “you’re okay,” the texts give me ideas for things I can do to help me become okay.

I miss my Mom a lot in these times, and now I miss my friends that I got to see almost everyday. We will be okay, I know that, but my senior year is nothing like how I thought it would be. I am now grieving a new loss and it’s hard, but I'm so grateful to have found some things that can help me.

Next COVID-19 has taken away funerals, grief support groups, and visits from friends. Just when we need them the most