Bereavement of a best friend's death, 6 weeks into college?

<p>My 18 year old son just spent the week home for his best friend's wake, funeral etc. He is aching this loss pretty bad. He is at a very rigorous college down south. He just missed one week of classes for this and is a Biology major with two lab sciences. I am very concerned about how he is going to adjust back to college life with this loss. His friend died of complications from H1N1 and was just starting out at college himself. Any advice?? We did not take out insurance. Are colleges understanding on make-up work?? My heart goes out to him. He is quite shaken up with the reality of this.</p>

<p>I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son's friend.</p>

<p>Does his college offer any counseling? If so, he should go.</p>

<p>Also, in the meantime, a physician can prescribe some short-term meds for your son to help him cope with this tragedy while trying to maintain his life. This is just a "quick fix" to help him with the pain and sadness, but in the long run, he may need to speak with a counselor.</p>

<p>I am so sorry. This is so tragic.</p>

<p>Please encourage your son to let his professors know what happened and why he missed class. If they are aware of the circumstances they are more likely to be understanding.</p>

<p>My older son went through a similar situation. It happened during his sophomore year but it was his first year at a new transfer school. I was the one who had to call him and tell him that one of his best friend's was killed in Iraq. It was very difficult. Son was his running buddy when he was training for the Marines. The two of them would meet about 5 times a week between 5-6am and run a few miles on the sand (from one beach to the other and back again). They knew each other since 1st. grade. </p>

<p>Son decided to stay at school because he was finishing up 2 research papers and prepping for finals. He decided to write a very nice letter to the boy's parents, put it in a sympathy card, and mail it from school. He also made a rather large donation (large for a college kid) to the local VFW in his friend's name. As with many guys, he bottled up most of his emotions. He kept insisting that the "Marine" in his friend would have wanted him to tough it out and finish the semester strong. Son redirected his feelings of sorrow to feelings of pressure to succeed in his friend's honor. </p>

<p>I did something that I thought I would never do. I contacted one of his professor (via email) and explained the situation. I wanted someone at the college to know the background of the situation just in case they noticed a change in his behavior (such as skipping classes or withdrawing and not participating). The professor responded ASAP and totally understood my reasons for filling him in on the situation. He reassured me by saying that I did the right thing in letting him know what happened and that he would keep an eye on him. </p>

<p>I would recommend that your son explain the situation to his professors ASAP. They should be able to work with him regarding making up any missed assignments/labs.<br>
Depending on your level of comfort, you could contact one of his professors and let them know about the situation. It helped me to know that his favorite professor at the time was made aware of the situation and was willing to reach out to our son if needed.</p>

<p>I am so sorry to hear of your sons loss. ( and nysmile of your son's loss as well)
Colleges are now more flexible in case of student illness because of H1N1, but this brings up a good point-what about those who are affected because of the severe illness/death of others?</p>

<p>What I might suggest for my own child- would be to drop one full time class, even if that means less than full time status if they feel they need to stay in school and muddle through.
As well as talking to the profs- I would contact teh RAs in housing, because especially at smaller schools the RAs are in contact with students and can reassure you as to how they are doing.
( Make sure he has signed all the release papers so you can recieve information)</p>

<p>I would recommend that your son contact the Dean of Students at his college. He/she can help make arrangements for counseling (which I strongly recommend),can notify professors, make sure his RA and others keep an eye on him, etc.</p>

<p>Your son should also notify all his professors, explain the circumstances, and ask how to make up any work he missed. Most professors will be sympathetic and will work with him to make sure he gets caught up.</p>

<p>If it all becomes too hard for your son (and that is quite possible) you should talk with the Dean of Students about possible ways to handle the situation. </p>

<p>I'm sorry your son's loss.</p>

<p>Thankyou to all your replys. He right now refuses counseling!! Hw was turned off by one of the grief counselors who spoke with a few of the students recently. She was promoting her book and he was upset. I am going to try to get him to seek out some religious community. My husband is Jewish and I am Catholic. He was raised catholic but any spiritual support would be fine. I just want him to not get depressed, since he will be islolated. He is not rushing or into the party life.</p>

<p>any group type activity where he can get to know peers outside of class could be helpful ( even without the loss)
sports, clubs- as well as spiritual support.</p>

<p>I am sorry for your loss, and your son's loss. I would contact his RA or the Dean of Students. And encourage him to contact the profs. If the workload is too much under these circumstances, dropping a class seems like a good idea.</p>

<p>When I lost my BFF a few years ago it was very difficult...and I will miss her forever. Her death was unexpected, and we were friends from before Kindergarten. Watch for things your son may associate with his friend, and make sure it's ok to "opt out".<br>
I will not watch the Wizard of Oz--back when there were no dvds or vcrs, this was a huge special event for us--late night sleepover, popcorn, etc. I can't see it without missing her, so I opt out when DD wants to watch it. Encourage your son to seek any counseling/spiritual guidance/activities that you think might help--even if the first one isn't the right fit.</p>

<p>So tragic, one freshman died of the same at D's college. he got sick 10 days after starting classes, spent 3 weeks in ICU, I still cannot get over it, although I have never known him. He was OOS and did not have a chance to go back home.
On a note of making up, my D. has been able to do so for different reasons (religious holidays), they shoud be understanding. Another question is how you S will handle it. Start of college is pretty stressful w/o additional complications on top, on the other note, it is better for him to be busy now. It is very personal decision. Maybe he needs to drop class or two for this semester. I would go with whatever he feels doing.</p>

<p>Instead of dropping a class, your son may be able to arrange to take an Incomplete (or more if necessary) for this semester, and finish the work later. Policies on Incompletes vary, at some universities students have up to one year to finish the work.</p>

<p>Yes, happymomof1, the Dean of Students will be able to explain all of the possible options for your son and taking an incomplete is a good option if he finds he cannot complete his work. It is imperative that the professors be told about possible trouble now, they do not tend to be sympathetic to problems when they hear about them the day before a midterm or final. Most college professors are happy to accommodate a student when tragedy strikes. Your intuition is telling you he needs someone to keep an eye on him so take the advice to contact an RA or someone at the university. Sorry for your loss.</p>

<p>So sorry to hear this! If your son took any AP courses that his college gave him credit for, this might be a time he could take a lighter load.</p>

<p>I think your son can make up one week's worth of classes, even in spite of the ongoing grief. My DH passed away last year, and our kids (one hs, one college) missed two weeks of school and of course were very shaken and distracted for quite a while. Both passed with good grades. HS teachers and college profs were (mostly) all very accommodating with regard to helping them catch up. I'd try that first.</p>

<p>I am so sorry this has happened and my heart goes out to your son. I lost a friend my sophomore year of college and did not cope all that well. I am not too surprised that he won't go to the grief counselor hawking a book! I would not seek counseling at the time. It was just too painful to think about, much less talk about to a stranger. I did have a trusted professor who was extremely helpful. He was not a trained therapist but he was a compassionate man. Your son will be fine if he can have anyone with some age and perspective to help him sort things out. As far as grades go, my professor spoke to the professors of classes that I was struggling with. Everyone was as flexible as they felt they could be for me. It took about six weeks for me but your son may take longer or shorter. I wish him all the best.</p>

<p>"I think your son can make up one week's worth of classes, even in spite of the ongoing grief."</p>

<p>I can not predict how anyone would react to grief. Every person is different.</p>

<p>Fourteen months ago, S2 saw his two best friends die in a car crash. He was in his truck following them down a curvy road. They were speeding, missed the curve, ran off the road,flipped the car and were thrown out (no seat belts). S2 stopped, call 911 and waited there. One was killed instantly. The other died after being airifted to hospital.
S2 was supposed to be in the car with them but was late meeting them so they left without him and he caught up driving his own truck. </p>

<p>They had been friends since preschool. It was awful...on the news,in newspapers, police questioning,everyone in town talking,speculating,asking questions.
S2 needed to get away.</p>

<p>He started his freshman yr. of college exactly four weeks after the wreck.
He had no prof. counseling..refused. He did drop one class after the first week and carried only thirteen hours. </p>

<p>He put on a brave front and had us convinced that he was doing pretty well under the circimstances. He was not. He was depressed but hid it well. He slept through a lot of classes and just gave up on one after getting so far behind. He ended up failing three classes. S told his advisor everything was "fine". Told us the same.
His roommate was a good friend fr. h.s. who was also very close to the boys who died. They leaned on each other.</p>

<p>As important as classes may seem, be more concerned with your S's heart, his state of mind..the grief that he is feeling that he is in no way prepared to feel. This is not supposed to happen. Eighteen yr. olds aren't supposed to die. Boys that age are not good at expressing emotions or showing "weakness". It's just really hard to push it aside and move on like it didn't happen.</p>

<p>S2 retook the classes he failed the next sem. Then went to summer school to get caught up. He is back on track now. He will never be able to forget what happened that night but he has worked through it and is moving on with his life. It just took some time.</p>

<p>Everyone is different but grief is real and can't be pushed aside even when you really want to. It hits you when you least expect it, when you thought it was gone.</p>

<p>Give him all the support you can. Let him work through it in whatever way works best for him. Get help through the college if he will allow. And if he doesn't do the greatest in his classes this sem., cut him some slack and be very glad that he has the opportunity to go back and try again.</p>

<p>I want to thankyou all for your advice, support and your shared stories. I will have him read them when he is settled back at school. He is changed now and will be starting a different chapter, always carrying around his grieve. I will always be there for him. The biggest problem is his friend was so damn good. He will be so missed by him. He was a special person. I appreciate your thoughts. It helps so much.</p>

<p>Since your son is Catholic, is there a Catholic chaplain for his campus, Newman Center, or nearby parish? Priests are usually very good with handling grief, and those who assigned to a college are really "in tune" to young adults.</p>

<p>When my husband lost his best friend to a flash flood drowning, my H had a really hard coping until he was told that his best friend would not want my H's life to fall apart because of his death. Once my H realized that his best friend would want him to have a successful life, he was able to put things in persective after grieving.</p>

<p>PackMom has made many excellent points - please read her post carefully and consider all of her points. As she states your son's grief may hit him when he least expects it. He will need your support and care.</p>