This is Sam and this is always how I’ve remembered him.  He is a part of Ian’s crew and the Live Hard Movement.  We got word yesterday that Sam passed away.  Because of our responsibility to staying healthy we collectively find ourselves unable to gather, care for, and hold each other when it matters most. Is grief supposed to be quarantined also?

Nearly 3 years ago, Sam and what felt like hundreds of Ian’s friends and their mom’s showed up at our doorstep when the news broke about Ian’s suicide. Our house was so full, that kids spilled out onto the back lawn.  Honestly, there is very little I remember about that day, but I remember Julie, Sam’s mom, and the words she shared with me.

I met her in the grass and as she hugged me she whispered in my ear that I was part of a club now for which there was no invitation or rsvp required.  It wasn’t some sort of elite club and no one wanted a membership. She told me to feel everything, and that I probably wouldn’t know yet what that meant.  She knew.  Having lost her other son Jackson a few years back, she knew what she was saying and how she would quietly guide me through a shit storm of child loss in the most unimaginable ways.

In these moments of devastating loss we want to be useful.  We want to find ways to show our love and support to a grieving family. We want to show up to be seen, heard and feel our feels together.  But we can’t do that right now. Social distancing and grieving is an evil oxymoron.

As a teenager you already have an adult understanding of death, and even though you have been exposed to a great deal of it, you may not have been able to work on well-intentioned coping skills. You may be feeling super angry and lash out at your family or siblings and even show little patience for family pets.  You could also feel impulsive and want to be a little reckless right now.  I mean I get it, the only people that understand how you feel are your friends and you can’t be with them right now. You may question your faith or understanding in the world and just plain don’t know how to feel summing up to feeling a little {or a lot} lost. All of that is okay x 100% normal and expected. 

Some ideas that are safe for you to do right now to care for yourself is to go for a walk or a hike, rearrange your room, listen to music or read a good book, cook a meal for your family or host family game night, go for a drive, schedule a group video chat with your friends, watch your favorite show, check in on a grandparent.  My personal add would be to write Sam or his family a letter, we can make sure it gets to the family if you need help.  Or you can simply save the words for yourself.

As parents we feel a little lost too. But we got you. We will undoubtedly mess this all up. But we will apologise and resolve to be better. We still got you.

Back to blog