Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide

When I was a little girl, my mother died. Although she was sick and in and out of the hospital, as a nine-year-old, I wasn’t prepared for her death. She was my best friend, was always there for me, and gave me the warmest hugs. The sting of her death hit me immediately and I got fast-tracked into adulthood.

While I was growing up, my family members tried to be there for me as best they could but understandably could not really be there for me 100% of the time. I was also in counseling and that helped, but again the counselor could not be there for me 24/7. So, I learned the hard way that it was up to me to learn how to be there for myself. I had to find positive, healthy, and constructive ways to cope with and navigate through my grief.

What worked for me was watching movies that had fictional characters who had lost a parent, too, and watching the way they coped through their grief on the big screen. Seeing characters on the big screen going through what I was going through made me feel less alone. Plus, the movies were always there.  I could revisit and re-watch them time and again, where the people in my life couldn’t always be there.

Aside from watching movies with parental death scenarios, and later finding TV shows as well, I turned to books with the same type of plot and characters. It might sound odd, but watching these types of movies and reading these types of books actually helped me get through the ups and downs of my childhood without my mother.

Later I learned about bibliotherapy and cinema therapy and realized that what I had discovered on my own when I was young was actually something that exists academically and psychologically as a form of therapy. Looking back, I see how much those movies and books helped me through my darkest moments.

I highly recommend parental death related books and movies for grieving families especially for children and teens as they might be able to relate to the fictional characters to help them through their darkest days as well. I offer helpful suggestions in my book published by Rowman & Littlefield titled, Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide, as well as multiple book suggestions, movie suggestions, and TV show suggestions on my Pinterest page. You can also email me atfortheparentless@gmail.com for more ideas, resources, and helpful suggestions.

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Michelle Shreeve

Michelle Shreeve has been a published freelance writer for the past 11 years and has written for various local and national newspapers, magazines, blog sites, and other online publications. She has two undergraduate degrees in psychology and two master's degrees in English and creative writing. Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide is her debut book where she revisits losing her mother at a young age to try and help other youth who are currently navigating parental death of their own.
Michelle Shreeve

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