How Watching ‘My Girl’ Taught Me Coping Skills for Life and Grief

 Two days before Christmas my great-grandma passed away, and I needed something to help me cope with her passing so I decided to go on Netflix and search through the newly added movies. And there it was, a 1991 movie, My Girl which follows the story of 11 -year -old tomboy named Vada Sultness who lives with her father who is a  funeral director and her grandma who has Alzheimer’s disease in the summer of 1972 in Madison Pennsylvania. Vada is also the outcast of her group of classmates and it didn’t help that her best friend was Thomas J.Sennett is a boy. 

From the second I saw Vada pop up on my screen ridding her bike with Thomas, and getting into trouble while trying to find this to occupy their minds for a long summer I had fallen in love with My Girl. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen as Thomas and Vada do many things together like go to the lake and going to the ice cream shop to share an ice cream. 

How watching My Girl helped Me

It’s OK to Cry!

Although Vada seems to be having the summer of her life, she is struggling with the death of her mother, who died before she was born and asks her friends and family a ton of questions about her mother. Throughout My Girl, you see Vada and Thomas friendship blossom into a typical pre-teen romance. Thomas and Vada become inseparable but unfortunately, Thomas passed away after having a severe reaction to a bee sting while walking into the woods alone. Doctors couldn’t save him from his death, but while watching My Girl, I learned it’s okay to cry and grieve for as long as I need to. 

When it comes to grief there is no time period on when we can stop grieving and stop missing your loved ones and the memories you shared with your loved one that is no longer with you. 

But My Girl also teaches you although your loved one isn’t physically with you on earth anymore they are with you. They’re always with you in the memories you have with your loved one, therefore they’re never gone. As long as you carry on the lessons that you were taught by that loved one, their memory will never fade away. 

It’s OK to Put Yourself First

I learned from watching My Girl that it’s okay to take breaks and cry and then come back to everyday life when grieving. Your self-care and mindset come first before anything else, and you should take care of your self when grieving before doing the task you would normally do.  

It's okay to put yourself first when you're grieving

Your health is important while you’re grieving, and you shouldn’t put others before you when grieving, because you have to make sure that your mental state is okay before worrying about anything else. Watching My Girl taught me it’s okay to show emotion and not to be afraid to cry if you need to as well.

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

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