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Old September 22nd, 2007, 17:10
Calypso Calypso is offline
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Location: Midwest
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Default Friends are often the forgotten mourners

I've noticed that friends are often forgotten when it comes to the grieving process. I know that when my best friend died, people didn't know quite what to make of me. A few even said things like, "It's not like you were partners," or "You act like she was your sister or something." It was as if being "just" her friend didn't give me the right to grieve so long or so deeply.

Has anyone else ever felt like their grief wasn't understood or supported after losing a dear friend?
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Old September 28th, 2007, 09:01
Priscilla Priscilla is offline
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Not only are we forgotten, sometimes we are expected to 'take over' meals, housework, furneral arrangements, etc, so the family is able to greive properly. As if we, as friends, are not expected to mourn.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 07:50
azaleaeight azaleaeight is offline
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I know what you mean about that.

There's also another "angle" to friends' grief.

When I was 20 I was in a car accident that killed my best friend since childhood. Although I had no idea of how mothers feel about their children, I did, of course, know that her mother was going through something so big and so horrible there was no way I could imagine it.

I saw being the friend as requiring "knowing my place" when it came to grieving, and I kept telling myself that no matter how rotten I felt, it was nothing near what her mother (and family) were feeling. I almost didn't let myself acknowledge the depth of grief out of respect for her mother. Looking back, I think how that didn't make sense. (You should see the big post I just wrote about losing my cat last year if you want to see whether I can acknowledge grief. ) When it came to losing my friend and looking at the life we had assumed we'd keep sharing for a good long time, I had some kind of disconnect between how I really felt and how I thought I should keep my loss in perspective. Somehow, though, I got pretty much over it, as we tend to do.

Still, when I got to the stage in life where my own children were the age of my friend when she was killed, I suddenly became truly aware of the horror and grief my friend's mother really must have gone through. I became aware of how young she really was. I looked back at all the years I'd had that she didn't, and I could see how that blank future she and I once looked ahead to together had been filled in for me - but blacked out for her.

That phase passed too, and maybe there won't be more surprise grieving phases from now on - but it has been decades. My children have heard my stories of youth that all include her name, and I still find that I have just that hint of wanting to keep her memory alive any time it seems at all appropriate to tell her story.

The loss that friends experience should not be underestimated. I have to say, though, that much of sadness a true friend experiences at the death of another is not for himself/herself, but is over what the friend has lost or gone through.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:18
Taggart Taggart is offline
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Azaleaeight, I just replied to the post involving your cat. I seem to be following you today.

My wife and I are now in our 40s and about 10 years ago we moved into a condo. The lady across the hall gave us a welcoming pot of coffee as we were moving in.

Last year she passed away at the age of 85, and she'd become my wife's best friend. She was remarkable. She had a career as a nurse, was very independent and her DVD collection included classics and more recent shows like Lord of The Rings and The Bourne Supremacy. She pre-ordered Harry Potter books, was part of a quilting club, had two cats (one of which is now living with us) and would be liable to knock on our door any time with a plate of cookies for us. Often we'd return the plate with some leftovers from a meal we'd made, because she didn't enjoy cooking meals for herself.

In her last months, we did give her regular rides for grocery shopping and helped her with things around her condo, which I'm very glad of now.

Someone said to me that she must have been like a grandmother. That's absolutely not true. Despite the 4 decades difference in our ages, she was our best friend.

I guess my point in this post is to agree that people often don't understand the friendships we cherish and how me may be grieving their loss.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:47
atula atula is offline
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I remember feeling tha same when my closest friend's mother passed away. When I heard the news I was totallyshattered because being so close to my friend, I could understand her feelings at that moment.

But when I grievd her loss, there were many who found it very strange as they thought I was just acting that way to grab attention!

Yes, she was my friend's mom...but she meant something to me too...she was a very affectionate person...didn't I have the right to rember this person in my own way when she was gone???

I was really hurt by others comments....
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Old March 29th, 2008, 07:20
Nicola Nicola is offline
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At the end of the day, " friends are the family that we choose for ourselves " so friends should be expected to mourn just as much as the family if not more x
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Old March 29th, 2008, 08:45
skatss skatss is offline
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I think you're right about the fact that friends are forgotten. People are concerned with relatives that often the friends aren't noticed. In a strange way I understand that, the relatives are important. What I've done when my friend died, was to have a little get together or my friend's other friends and we sat together talking about her and how her death affected us. It really helped and we even shared a few laughs. It was very nice and very healing.
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Old March 29th, 2008, 09:03
Nicola Nicola is offline
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That was a great idea, im sure your friend was looking down and laughing with you all x
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Old March 30th, 2008, 02:39
cathyinfo cathyinfo is offline
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Yes, I've felt that way. My senior year in high school my boyfriend's mom died. He was going through some issues as his father had already passed away a couple of years prior. We were on the verge of breaking up. His mother and I had become close during her struggle with cancer and with his problems.
I always felt torn between my love for him and my admiration for her. There were things I felt really bad about and things I wish I could have fixed or done differently.
He stopped speaking to me the day his mother died and he pushed me aside. We had been dating for close to 3 years. At the funeral I sat in the back (the soon-to-be-x-girlfriend) watching him suffer and feeling so alone and out of place. I've never felt more helpless than at that moment.
My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer two weeks later.
He ended up in jail three weeks later (he turned to drugs). He stayed in jail for about 5 years after that. I met a wonderful, caring man soon after and we are still together today. I have no idea what happened to my x. I hope he is happy.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 19:52
loyalpuppy loyalpuppy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 16
Default I cannot begin to know how it feels to be a friend grieving a friend

I did lose my husband April of this year. I did find out a few days after the funeral that my husband's best friend in school was trying to reach him. He had actually gotten in touch with my husband a couple of months before hubbie's death through myspace. I went out on the website a few days after the funeral and found a post there from the best friend. I felt so bad. In my own grief I never gave it a thought that people out of state didn't know about the accident. I had his phone number and called and he was devastated. I could not make up for the fact that he missed his friend's funeral but I made sure to keep emailing him to make sure he was OK. We have become friends ourselves and in the process have helped each other in this grieving process. I invited him to my home and he went over to hubbies gravesite for some closure. He said it helped him alot.

If you know a person and they pass away, I don't know why whether they be friend or family they should not be allowed to grieve them. As I said before in my defense, is I was so lost in my own grief that I had overlooked those not close by. I have tried to rectify it and hopefully I have done that for my husband's friend for it was not done intentionally.
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