If anyone knows what Cooper Nemeth’s family is going through, it’s Karen Wiebe.
Her 20-year-old son TJ was murdered in January 2003. Along with her late husband Floyd, Karen started TJ’s Gift to help raise drug awareness.
Wiebe has reached out to the Nemeth family in the wake of the death of 17-year-old Cooper. She says getting over the death of her son was aided by the support of friends and family.
“Those people are experiencing this right along with you and want nothing better than for this to be over for you and for you to be able to get your life back. You can never, ever underplay the importance of family and friends. It’s not short-term for them, either. They need to be around forever. They need to be ready to listen and not give advice and not talk.”
She says the grieving process is different for everybody.
“It’s a journey that is individual for every family and every individual. I know when I was doing okay, Floyd was depressed. When I was depressed, he was okay. It sometimes made it easier and sometimes made it worse.”
Wiebe says that as much as people want to give advice, sometimes words that are intended to help ease the pain come across as insensitive.
“They try so hard and sometimes they say the wrong thing and then they’re aghast at this thing they said, they didn’t mean for it to sound that way but it did. One of the worst things anyone can say is, “I know how you feel. My dog died.’ The only right thing to say is ‘I’m so, so sorry. Just know that I’m here for you.'”
The body of 17-year-old Cooper was found early Sunday morning. At a smudging ceremony Monday night, Cooper’s father Brent said the support they have received “shook the world.”