ATLANTA --It's the thought that comes to the minds of many parents when they hear the story of the Prince family: How do you get through that?
The family of five is now grieving the loss of one son and the apparent loss of another. Divers are still searching for 13-year-old Griffin Prince, who is presumed dead. His family's boat was hit by another boater Monday night on Lake Lanier. A Johns Creek hair salon owner has been charged with boating under the influence.
The community has rallied around the Prince family, with flowers at their doorstep and touching memorials on a special Facebook page. Dr. Nadine Kaslow, a professor and family psychologist at Emory University, said that support is crucial. But she says the family needs to be able to move at their own pace. The media attention on this case in particular doesn't help.
"For most families, they don't want their lives to be an open book to everybody, their feelings, their actions," Kaslow said. "And so I think the most respectful thing all of us can do is give families their own space and their own time to allow them to grieve and ultimately to heal."
Meg Avery knows the grief of losing a child. She lost her only son to a sudden suicide when he was fourteen. She said the pain can be "overwhelming, and physically painful." She said every family's story and grieving process is as different as the personality of their lost child. But they face some of the same obstacles.
"The first year is very hard because you have to make it through all these holidays, all these events," Avery said. "And then the second year can be hard because you've made it through the first year. And you can't look back and say 'Last year he was alive.'"
Avery said while the support of family and friends is important, many grieving parents need to hear from others who know exactly what they're going through. She turned to The Compassionate Friends, a non-denominational support group for grieving parents. They have a large network, with chapters all over Georgia and other states. When she met parents who shared her experiences, Avery was able to start moving forward, slowly. She treated every day as its own different accomplishment, until she was able to move through her life again.
"A lot of people say, 'I don't know how you can do it,' but you can't live your life every day, boarded up in your house," Avery said. "You never get over it, but you can get through it."