Ways to pay tribute to a classmate: Find support here

Published: 19/12/2023 | Updated: 20/12/2023

Losing a friend at any age is difficult. Following the loss of a classmate so young, the pain and grief can be overwhelming, but it's important to remember that you are not alone. During these challenging times, it's healing to find ways to pay tribute to your classmate's memory and support each other in the grieving process. We trust this article will provide comforting ideas and guidance on how to navigate this sad and difficult journey.

How to pay tribute to a classmate
How to pay tribute to a classmate

Creating meaningful tributes

Memorial collage: Gather photos, mementos and artwork that remind you of your classmate and create a beautiful memorial collage. Find comfort in numbers and invite your school friends to contribute their own memories to capture the essence of your friend's life.

Organise a memorial service: Talk with your school, teachers and classmates to plan a memorial service that celebrates your friends life. You might like to include speeches, music and a candle-lighting ceremony to create an atmosphere that encourages sharing of memories and sharing of grief.

Memory book: Create a memory book filled with photos, stories, drawings, concert and movie tickets and messages from classmates. Coming together to create such a cherished keepsake will not only provide comfort and a lasting tribute to your friend, it will help support you in your grief journey.

Plant a memorial tree: Consider planting a tree or flower garden in your school friend's memory. Watching it grow over time will not only symbolise the enduring impact they had on your lives but also provide a special place to visit to feel connected to them.

Artistic expressions: Encourage classmates to express their grief and love through various forms of art, such as murals, sculptures or songs that reflect your classmate's personality and impact on your lives.

Tribute to school friend
Tribute to school friend

Offering Support and Compassion

Listening and comfort: At the funeral, be there to listen and lend a shoulder to classmates who need to express their feelings. Sometimes, simply being present and offering a hug can convey your sympathy more effectively than words.

Avoiding clichés: While offering condolences, avoid clichés like "everything happens for a reason." Instead, express your feelings of sympathy, being mindful to listen to your friends' conversations about their feelings and memories too.

Practical help: Grief can be exhausting, so offer practical assistance such as running errands, bringing food or helping mates with schoolwork. Small acts of kindness can provide tremendous support during this time.

Connecting with support services: If grief becomes overwhelming for you or a mate, seek professional help. Share information about available support services within your school or community with friends or family who may need it.

Support for yourself: Remember to take care of your emotional well-being too. Grief affects everyone differently, so reach out to teachers, school counsellors or trusted adults within your circle if you need someone to talk to or if you're struggling to cope with the loss. You are not alone, please don't be afraid to reach out and talk to someone.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to support a grieving employee

How to pay tribute to a schoolmate
How to pay tribute to a schoolmate

Honouring their memory

Memorial walk or run: Gather school friends and community members for a memorial walk or run dedicated to your school friend's memory. You might like to use the event to raise awareness for a cause your friend cared about or collect donations for a charity that was close to their heart.

Memorial merchandise: Design and sell memorial items, such as t-shirts or wristbands, featuring your classmate's name and a meaningful symbol or charity logo. Use the proceeds raised to support a charity or cause they cared about.

Candlelight vigil: Organise a candlelight vigil in a significant location to remember your classmate. Invite everyone to light candles and share stories to commemorate their life.

Yearbook tribute: Include a special tribute section in your school's end of year yearbook, filled with photographs, quotes and memories dedicated to your classmate.

Preserving memories

Online memorial: Create a dedicated website or social media page where family and friends of your school mate can come together and share memories, photos, quotes and messages. This virtual memorial will serve as a source of comfort and remembrance and a place people  can frequent back to when they want to remember their memory.

In times of grief, it's important to remember that every person, young or old, life-experienced or not, processes grief and loss differently. So be respectful of each person's unique journey and offer support and understanding. By combining any of the above ideas, you can create a plan to honour your classmate's memory and provide solace for one another during this challenging period in your lives. Together, you can keep your school friend's memory alive and continue to cherish the special place they hold in your hearts.

To find support:

Kids Helpline is a free 24/7, confidential and private counselling service Australia wide specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. Call 1800 55 1800.

Beyond Blue provides Australians with information and support to improve their mental health. Call 1300 22 46 36 or visit beyondblue.org.au for more information.

Lifeline Australia provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au for more information.

GriefLine listens, cares and supports people experiencing loss and grief, at any stage in life. Call 1300 845 6am to midnight AEST, 7 days a week.

MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Life Supports Counselling provides Australians with experienced counsellors & psychologists in their local area Australia-wide. Call 1300 735...

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