Everyday at Detroit International Academy students and staff smile to greet one another. But some are smiling through grief. They are internally struggling with the loss of a parent.

What keeps them going? How long does a person grieve? And how do friends respond after losing someone you love?

Sophomore Angel Kincaid says, “therapy and a lot of love is what I think is required for a person who has lost a parent.” She continues, “A person should grieve for as long as they need to until they understand that the person is in a better place. I felt misunderstood because I felt like no one understood what was going on because they never knew what it was like to lose the person who had been taking care of you your whole life. I lost my mother when I was 16.”

Geometry teacher Kenton Mills, 44, lost a parent at 35. He says, “Understanding, faith, time to grieve, and a support system of someone with the previous experience of your situation [helps], for as long as they need [to grieve] because you never really get over that loss. I felt as if I was really supported because one of my friends had lost a parent so she knew how I felt. Me seeing her deal with her experience showed me how to try and deal with it.”

Sophomore Nakayela Calhoun, 15, was three when her father died at the age of 34. She says “a person needs a motivator in their life. It took me two years to grieve the death of my father.”

Sophomore Latya Houston, 16, lost her father at the age of 5 due to homicide. When asked what you think is required for a person who has lost a parent, she says, “Time and someone you could talk, to like a therapist. It's still going to affect you at any time in your life, so I don’t think it's a limited amount of time you should grieve.”