In Marcellus last week teens gathered at their school's football field-- all there to grieve the loss of 16 year-old Matthew Norris. Only a few days later, teens gathered along a Mexico intersection to grieve the loss of their 14-year-old friend Gary Witkovsky.
"And when my mom woke me up for the second time, she told me it was real. We all just started crying," said Witkovsky's friend Ethan West.
Grief can mainfest in tears or in silence, according to Dr. Alice Sterling Honig.
"If your kid isn't crying as a teen who has lost a peer to cancer or a car accident that a kid-- as a parent of school counselor-- isn't doing their mourning," said Dr. Honig.
Teens grieve differently from adults because thier brains are different. Like the prefrontal cortex.
"So if you have a grief, you might not be containing it or dealing with it as maturely as an adult who knows all things wither and fade away," said Dr. Honig.
The prefrontal cortex controls ones executive functions like self control. Still-developing, a teen's prefrontal cortex can only exercise so much self-control.
"The other thing is deep in your brain you have a small almond-shaped creature called the amygdala," said Dr. Honig.
The little almond-shaped creature that controls your emotions, like fear. In a teen, the amygdala is hyper-active.
"Whereas an adult might be able to say, I miss my best friend horribly, I was my auntie lived longer, a teenage is going to feel those feelings-- because the amygdala is very active-- of fear and loss more strongly than adults feel it," said Dr. Honig.
In the adolscence years, how one perceives their "alliances" shift from family-centric to peer-centric. Mix the shifting perspective with a hyper-active amygdala and you get a complicated experience.
"My peer died and I'm the same age. What if something like that happened to me," said Dr. Honig.
While teens are biologically different, prone to feel grief more intensely, each person's grief response varies says Dr. Honig. She says with the help of parents and counselors, teens can develop tools to help them through the grieving process.
"And they could do something with the grief that will make life better," said Dr. Honig.