Coping with the loss of a loved one
About two weeks before he started his freshman year of high school, Jason Carriveau's father died of a fatal illness.
Almost two years pass. The high school sophomore is active in student council, FBLA, basketball, and football. He helps his community as a part of the Fargo Fire Explorers. Jason and his friends hang out at home, tunes playing. Smiles all around.
In between, however, was a difficult journey for Jason. Shortly after his father's death, Jason began Hospice of Red River Valley's Youth Journeys Program where the focus is to safely bring young people through their grief journeys.
"Part of the role of a guy is being tough - you can't cry," Jason, 16, said. "Journeys helped me out with some of the emotions."
Jason attended support groups at his high school and Hospice. He also received individual counseling. In confidential group meetings, the teens discussed their losses and emotions. "It's hard not to have a father figure around, to just play catch in the yard, go for rides, have guy talks, do stuff together... I can't really do that now," Jason said.
Sharing his emotions and hearing stories from other teens in similar situations helped him through the toughest times. Now, he acts as a mentor to students in his school, talking to classmates who are struggling with the recent loss of a loved one.
Although skeptical at first, Jason said the program has had a lasting impact on his life. "(The Hospice people) are willing to help. They make you feel better and give you self-assurance."
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