This is an article I had hoped that I'd never have to write. And hesitate to even do it.

Our town experienced a loss that we wish we'd never have had.

As a mom of 6 that has gone through the teenage years so many times, it's not easy to watch. It was not easy when I was a teenager either.

There were many sleepless nights that as a mom that were filled with worry and prayers. It doesn't get easier even though all of my kids are now over the age of 18. I still pray and worry about them, it's in the mom job description.

I do want to speak to all of my dear teenage readers that are reeling right now. I know many of you are hurting, and asking the "Whys" and "What ifs" and that's okay to do that. That's a normal response to ask those questions. Sometimes you will never get an answer to those questions.

Right now you might be in the lowest spot that you can ever remember being, what you feel is grief.

Grief is a tricky thing. In grief, there is no one simple way to handle it. The most common form is, of course, crying. Everyone understands that when they see tears something is wrong. Tears are a good thing.

Sometimes you experience pain so deep that all you can do is go somewhere and scream and sob, that too is alright, it's also part of healing. Sometimes there is a pain so deep that words just can't express it.

If you are like me, you need to find someone you trust that you can talk to. Friends like this are priceless. A true friend will listen. Even at my age, I've always wanted to talk to someone older and wiser than I am. Life experience is a good thing to look for. If you have an adult in your life that you can talk to, go to them, they can handle your grief. If you have a teacher you trust, talk to them. If you have a pastor or youth leader, they are always good to talk to. But talk. Sometimes it might be awkward to talk to your mom and dad, but trust me, they want to know if you're hurting.

Journaling is also good. Sometimes the hurt you feel needs to be let out, and you might have trouble talking to anyone about it, and you just need to let it out. writing is also a good way to get the hurt out, there's something about writing that relieves the pressure of some of those feelings.

The high school is offering a place for you today, in the Media Resource Center. There will be pastors available to talk to, there are teachers there willing to listen as well. Don't EVER feel like you are bothering someone, you aren't.

Be sensitive to your friends around you too. If you see someone struggling talk to them as well. It's okay to make new friends at this time, as well. Some of my dearest friends were made at the lowest times of life.

Perhaps you are in a good place right now, but see someone who is really struggling, you have got to walk alongside those kids in your life, take their arm and stay with them. Listen to them. Ask them how they are doing, it's okay to be nosey. Bug them until they talk to you, it's alright.

We're on a mission to bring everyone through this together.

There are several resources that are in the community where you can go.

Every Friday night at the Revolution Building the Blessed Hope Community Church offers a safe place for you to hang out from 8-11 p.m. There are really good folks there that would love to listen if you need an ear, or if you prefer to just have some fun and be distracted, give it a try.

There are several agencies and resources in the area that are there to help you as well and I've listed them below with their contact information:

Abbe Center for Community Health 472-5226

Benton County Social Services 472-4743

Catholic Charities 364-7121

Crisis Textline text 741741

Families Inc 472-4081

Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis 247-0030

Foundation 2 Success 1-800-247-0030

Horizon's, A family Service ALlianxe 398-3943

Iowa Help Line 1-855-800-1239

Chat text 1-855-800-1239

Riverview Center inc. 319-540-0080

Seeds of Hope 888-746-4673

Suicide Hotline 800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433

Pathways Behavioral Services 235-6571

Vinton Counseling Services 472-4499

Seasons of Life Family Therapy 774-3392

Therapeutic Innovations, PLLC 540-5643

Keys to Living 319-377-2161

True Reflections Christian Counseling 319-329-5757

Celebrate Recovery Revolution Building Wednesday nights @ 6:00


Mindful of the Light - Practical Help and Spiritual Hope for Mental Health by Stephen Critchlow

Minding the Heart - The Way of Spiritual Transformation by Robert Saucy

Boundaries - When to Say Yes and How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb

Shattered Dreams - God's Unexpected Path to Joy by Dr. Larry Crabb

The Pressure's Off - Breaking Free from Rules and Performance by Dr. Larry Crabb

RightNow Series

Mental Health with Dr. Jeff Baker

Compass and Light - A Series on Mental Health

We're all in this together. Look out for your neighbors and friends. And though we may not know all of your names, know this, this community is pulling for you, we're praying for you and we love each of you. It will get better.

If you find that you need help, don't hesitate to ask. Call one of these numbers above. If you see someone that's struggling, step up, help them. If you need to tell an adult that you see someone in need of help, do it.

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Comments (3)

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now to make sure all these amazing kids read this article. As a community we are all hurting for the parents and family, his friends and the entire school. Hopefully these kind words and advice will sink in and be helpful as everyone tries to cope and begin to heal from this. There is always an open door and a willing ear to listen and talk you just have to ask.
By: Nichole McKenna on October 4th 8:03pm
Wonderful article. Your words are right on task. Sometimes all we can do is listen. We don't need all the answers, we just need to listen.
By: Jennie Anderson on October 4th 11:25pm
Wonderful, heartfelt piece, Valerie. Itís so important for everyone to know what resources are out there and you have the perfect means for spreading that information.

By: Christine Studer on October 5th 4:43pm

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