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If These Tears Could Talk — Reflections on Grief as a Mental Health Issue

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Teens from Kate’s Club speak up about grief through writing and collage. 


By Lounda Rizo, 15, Chattahoochee High School

I want people to understand that I’m not sad 24/7 just because my mom died. When I bring up my mom’s death, I don’t want them to coddle me like a baby. I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. Because of past experiences where people treated me like I was a small, fragile child, I am never able to talk about my mom the way I want to. I wanna be able to talk about her smile, and her voice and the way the skin around her eyes wrinkled as she laughed at something I said. I want to be able to speak about her without hesitation or fear of what the person I’m talking with will think. There are so many people that romanticize the journey someone goes through after a loved one passes away and I feel they don’t understand exactly how much it can hurt them. They had to go through all the pain and all the tears after realizing that that person isn’t going to come back. The journey is hard and it’s tough, and it most definitely isn’t beautiful. No one has the right to judge how someone feels or how they felt after someone special to them died in their life, and that’s what I want people to understand about my grief journey and myself.

“Breathe” collage by Kaiya Pringle, 14, Providence Christian Academy


By Eddie Matthews IV, 15, Westlake High School

Shades of gray, shades of gray, shades of gray, shades of gray

I never told you what I wanted to say, but it’s okay, it’s alright

That all this time I knew you were by my side

I touched the view,

But I already knew

Walls were built to tear them down

I looked around to the same old thing

With things that have already changed

But so many opportunities, things have really changed for me

I’ll never be the same

Collage by Dominick Hardin, 15, Hillgrove High School
Collage by Dominick Hardin, 15, Hillgrove High School

By Mckenzie Bustillo, 14, Cooper Middle School

Still Here

One day you were here

The next you’re gone

All it took was one night and a morning

Through it all I’m still here

Still achieving

Still believing,

I never gave up

Yes, it’s been hell without you

But I still am breathing

Through all the days, months, and years

Of crying and fighting,

I stand here strong

Through the medications and whispers in my head,

I’m still here.

Through all the bullying and abuse,

I’m still here

Through the suicidal thoughts and attempts,

I’m still here and always will be

No one’s puppet, no one’s toy.

I am strong through it all.

Collage by Moriah Loyal, 14, M.D. Roberts Middle School
By Moriah Loyal, 14, M.D. Roberts Middle School


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By Jessica Spurgeon, 14, Druid Hills High School

Past Today

I feel my heart ripped in two

I see the light start to fade

I can’t tell when my life will begin again

I try so hard to make it past today

I try so hard to be my again

I never imagined life was gonna be this way

When I’m sad and lonely,

I cry in the corner

People passing by

Not even bothering to say ‘hi.’

I’m not okay, I want to scream,

But they don’t seem to notice me.

So I cry, cry, cry.

I cry for hope

I cry in sorrow

I can’t help but feel this way

I just want to make it past today


By B. Cobb, 16, South Gwinnett High School

What I want people to understand about my grief journey is that it is not freaking easy, because my mom died three years ago.

“What would I do if she died?”

I said, “Imma die too”

She said “No! You are gonna be there for your sisters”

It is beyond difficult to fake a smile at school, concentrate on your schoolwork, and stay out of trouble when people try you. If Imma’ be able to get over it, it’s gonna be a very tough time. I have been through hell man, I try so hard not to give up, so I think of my mom and it gives me some type of hope. It feels like just another thing to deal with in this life I live.


VOX at KatesClub 2017Want to speak up through VOX?  

VOX’s Atlanta Teen Voices program offers workshops where teens can speak-up, write, and create art and media to be shared on To collectively impact our community through raising and sharing teens’ voices, contact

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