Student support: There are many people to talk to at EHS


Pirateer Staff

Information for students to get help and support are on a wall in the counseling office.

Destinee Enger, Pirateer Staff

    Dealing with someone who is sick can be hard. Some people find it hard to communicate their feelings. Students at EHS are dealing with this issue knowing that a friend is not well. Victor Alfaro is a strong and heart-warming teen (see story pg 4-5). He has been fighting Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects the tissues throughout the body.

      When you know someone is sick or ill,  people have many emotions on how to react about the situation.

7 Stages of Grief

     Dawn Cominsky, a counselor of EHS says many emotions can happen all at once when trying to search for answers. “There are seven stages of grief when coming to loss or state of losing someone. One; Shock, there is initial paralysis when hearing the bad news, it may seem just yesterday you were hanging out with that person, it is crazy how things can occur so fast. Two; Denial, trying to avoid negative thoughts. Three; Anger follows with a frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotions. Four; Bargaining, seeking in vain for a way out. The thought of sickness in youth is hard to comprehend. Five; Depression, final realization of the outcome.  When thinking that only the worst is to come, dealing with hurt and emptiness can follow. Six; Testing, seek realistic solutions. Trying to do anything possible to find a healing mind. Seven; Acceptance, working through hope by thinking positive and accepting decisions.”

Finding Understanding

     Understanding the Illness and the reason it has happened could give solace to someone. Cominsky says not a lot of people know that they are avoiding or trying to cope with issues of an illness facing someone in their life. She says there is help for them and they can talk to a counselor or expert who can provide them with support and acceptance. In addition, Judy’s House helps deal with loss in someone’s life.

Confusion is normal

     When coping with Illness, there are emotions that can affect anyone. The biggest can be confusion. Students can wonder why that student was ‘chosen’ to go so soon. It is difficult for many students to comprehend that in such little time, a lot can happen. Sadness and scared thoughts flow through minds in a struggle to accept the thought of losing someone you care about.

Feeling Vulnerable

      Lori Lauer, a psychologist of EMS, opens up about sickness. “When finding out about the situation, you think there is never enough that you can do help and you may find yourself wondering if there is a solution,” says Lauer. This all becomes a reality check to those facing this situation. It is important to take a step back and realize that time is short for everyone. The bad part is you never know when that time will be,” said Lauer. “A vulnerable feeling and awareness of mortality take place and it is a sign that caring for someone meant something, to not only you or them but the people affected.”

     In every individual there is a different response to this type of situation, not knowing the person or knowing them, we all deal with things in a variety of emotions. Responses can range from nervousness or the unexpected. It is a natural default of reactions and it comes from not knowing how to react. If you are needing someone to discuss this or any situation, counselors at school can be a strong support.

    Victor’s family says he is not letting his sickness get in the way of what he loves doing. Victor’s family tells friends they are spending as much time as they can with him.