Grief counselor provides support tips after tragic death

Published: May. 8, 2019 at 10:35 PM CDT
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LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Licensed professional counselor Paula Davis said she understands what it means to lose a child tragically.

“My daughter’s been deceased for 15 years and I still have moments where I don’t want to leave and I don’t want to do anything,” said Davis.

Neighbors living around the Laurel High School area are still trying to process the death of a 7-year-old boy to a tragic accident Monday night.

Laurel Police Department Chief Tommy Cox identified the boy as Princeton Moody.

Cox said at the moment, charges will not be pressed due to the circumstances surrounding the incident. He descried it as a “tragic accident."

“Me, personally, I have grandchildren and I fear for their safety,” said one neighbor.

Davis said based on her own personal experiences, she suggests people express their emotions when it comes to grieving.

“Cry as much as you need to cry,” said Davis. “You know, the more you cry, the less you’ll have to cry but go through the process. My daughter has been deceased for 15 years and I still have moments where I don’t want to leave and I don’t want to do anything. So, you process and you go on."

She said when grieving, it’s important to go through the process.

“You go through ‘If I did anything wrong’ or ‘Was I the best parent?'” said Davis. "It’s common to go through those. It’s like the five stages of grief where you go through the denial part first. There’s the anger. Then there’s bargaining. Then you go through depression. Then, there’s acceptance.

She said while everyone grieves differently and in different orders, those surrounding the affected persons need to let that individual know they are not alone.

“They’re going through something that’s new to them as well,” said Davis. “So, they don’t know how to reach out. They know they need help and they know they need somebody but they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to hear ‘It’s going to be alright.' They don’t want to hear all the cliche words that people use. So allow them to come to you.”

Davis said small gestures such as holding the individuals hand or offering a hug is enough to show your presence.

“All I can tell them is to just allow themselves to grieve,” said Davis. “When it gets to a point where it’s interfering with their daily activities or their functioning life, then they need to seek some professional help.”

Davis said when it comes to speaking to children regarding death, she suggests parents be honest and transparent.

“Be honest,” said Davis. “Because a lot of times with all the media’s misconception of death with all the violence in the media on games and things, it’s doesn’t portray death as being permanent. You want to tell them exactly what it is because they’re looking for the truth and not something to make them feel good."

School officials with the Laurel School District said they are offering counseling support to help students deal with the untimely death of their classmate.

If you or someone you know is in need of professional help, you can go to to locate the closed counselor in your area.

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