In the After: How to Grieve in the Face of Unexpected Tragedy


Samantha Weldon

You might not have known her. You might have only seen her in passing. Maybe she sat at your lunch table, or you shared a class with her. You might have never even known her name. No matter how you knew her, Samantha Mae Weldon’s life mattered infinitely–and, now, it matters how those at Arlington High School react in the wake of her death.

Everyone is impacted by this unexpected tragedy. Even if you didn’t know Samantha personally, take the time to notice the people who did–acknowledge those who are grieving and be respectful towards their feelings. Joking about the situation is never, under any circumstances okay–this includes gossiping. The most important thing is to never lash out and to always be compassionate.

Additionally, it’s important to feel in the wake of a tragedy. Rather than pushing down your feelings, take a moment and slowly take in the situation. Although difficult, it is worse to ignore the immediate feelings you may be experiencing. Sometimes, when you think you are unable to handle the situation on your own, reach out to a friend who understands or is willing to listen.

Dwelling is also something that can be harmful to the grieving process. Initially this may seem callous, but not dwelling and forgetting are two very different things. Grieving is essential in any healing process, but there comes a time when you have to move forward.  Moving forward doesn’t involve ignoring that the incident ever happened.  It requires us to celebrate life and to help support those within our community.

More then anything, grieving is a very personal process. It’s important for us to remember Samantha in a positive light, and eventually stop only associating her with this tragedy.  We can learn from the incident and mourn about her loss, but it is also pivotal that we are able to move on with the support of one another.

Regardless of how well or even if you knew her, grieving is essential to recognizing Samantha Mae Weldon’s life and accomplishments–and remember to be kind and supportive of those around you during this difficult time.


—The AHS Eagle Staff