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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

How to grieve: It’s okay to not be okay

One+of+the+best+ways+to+process+grief+is+to+find+someone+%26%238211%3B+a+group+or+specific+person+%26%238211%3B+and+talk+about+the+loss+alongside+them.
Courtesy of Emma Lawson

One of the best ways to process grief is to find someone – a group or specific person – and talk about the loss alongside them.

It is never easy to say goodbye to loved ones, but many individuals face this heartbreak sooner than expected. Thankfully, no one has to grieve alone. 
For college students who are experiencing the loss of a loved one, grief can be intensified with being away from family support groups and can in many cases cause prolonged grief disorder lasting longer than six months, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information. Grieving can be difficult for students who also have different responsibilities they must upkeep while experiencing the grief process. Individuals looking to find community in the bereavement process can reach out to local support groups, such as Mending Hearts in College Station, for assistance. 
In the United States, one-third of college students have suffered the loss of at least one family member or friend in the past year, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information. COVID-19 has increased this number and led to more cases of prolonged grief disorder. In students, this can cause poor grades, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. 
It is important for students to process grief for their own mental health, said Hillary Oswald, director of Mending Hearts Grief Center.
“If you don’t work through your grief, it’s just going to continue throughout your life and a lot of times, you’ll develop negative coping mechanisms,” Oswald said. “Unprocessed grief can show up in different ways, like anger.”
Biology sophomore Gale Dworaczyk said their family pet died, which is something they still have not fully processed.
“We put Taz, our first dog, down three years ago,” Dworaczyk said. “I can’t even mention him in passing without crying.”
Dworaczyk is able to focus on school and work, but when something reminds them of Taz, the grief resurfaces. Currently, they said they are using self-reflection as a way to cope with the loss.
“Let yourself process those feelings,” Dworaczyk said. “You can learn not only how to work through those feelings, but you can also learn a bit about yourself along the way.”
Because everyone’s journey with grief is different, Mending Hearts Grief Center’s mission is to provide grief support, help create connections and work on specific activities, such as managing anxiety, Oswald said. All Mending Hearts services are free for families, children and adults.
One of the best ways to process grief is to find someone, whether that be a group or specific person, who is able to talk about the loss alongside them, Oswald said. 
Mending Hearts provides different support groups based on the situation the individual would like to process and their demographics, Oswald said. For example, there is a cancer support group for those taking care of cancer patients or struggling with cancer themselves, a Spanish grief support group for Spanish speakers called Healing With You and a di-vorce care group,  Oswald said.
“We also have our young adult grief group, and that’s a relatively new group,” Oswald said. “We meet twice a month on Sunday evenings, the first and third Sunday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and we provide a free meal. It’s tailored toward college students and young adults.”
During the grieving process, Dworaczyk said it is important to remind yourself about the future past the timeline of the death.
“I feel like, when somebody or something dies, lots of people who are grieving feel like they have died themselves,” Dworaczyk said. “Although feeling that way is horrible, you have to remind yourself that you’re not the one who has gone to rest. You still have your whole life ahead of you and you can’t let it consume you.”
The group “Til we Meet Again” is for people who have lost a spouse, Oswald said. “Without fail, they meet. They’d also go to lunch together and some are even planning a cruise to go on together because they always planned to travel, but then they lost their spouse.”
Students looking to sign up for Mending Heart’s services can email Hillary Oswald at [email protected].

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