Grief changes your friendships: people you thought would hang beside you in anything turn dismissive, unable to hold their gaze on your pain. People you thought would have no capacity for stillness turn out to be consistent witnesses.
You never know who will come through and who will fade away. The only thing for sure is that grief will rearrange your address book: relationships change.
That oddness of relationship, those bizarre shifts in friendships are what I want to talk about today.
And: I pause every time I post writing from my own early days of grief. The words are raw, and often really angry. I’m not as angry now, years on, as I was in the early days. And still – the present me is not an adequate picture. To speak only of now is unfair to those who have just been thrown into this new life.
To only talk about my now doesn’t give you a reflection, doesn’t give you a foothold, in your landscape of love and grief right now.
Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Occasionally, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
This week, a post from my own early grief on this very topic: how friendships change, and the irony of going this alone. It’s angry, but that anger was valid and true. Note, this is not my current experience, but was true many years ago:
I want to not do this anymore.
I was reprimanded by someone today for being a non-responsive friend, which is fine, and accurate. The problem is that this person thinks we have been close friends for 15 years, and that is not an idea I share: grabbing tea together a couple times a year is not my definition of “close.”
Clearly, we have very different definitions of “close friendship.”
I’m failing for her in ways that never actually existed before.
I am tired of peoples’ expectations of me that aren’t based in my actual truth. I’m tired of people telling me I’m doing this wrong, a fact they claim simply because who I am right now doesn’t work for them.
My actual life doesn’t match the picture they project.
Which only really blows because the person who would totally get that, who had himself experienced those wayward expectations from others, is fucking dead.
It used to be awesome to be me. I was loved for being exactly me.
Now, being me irritates and wounds people.
All of this has me thinking about leaving this state, getting away from what other people need me to be. I am thinking again of those vows of silence I want to take.
I am tired of the effort of interaction I find exhausting these days, in a million different ways.
I am thinking that, clearly, humans and I are just not well suited to each other, and I should just bow and be on my way.
I had my people. I had my family. I was understood.
Ages ago, my father-in-law’s wife told me, “I know he is staying alive for me. I know he is only trying because I am here beside him and with him.”
My mother-in-law calls to tell me she doesn’t think she would be surviving this if not for her new partner. She says, again and again: no one could survive such a thing without a good partner by their side.
I want to, but do not, say the obvious.
Why is it that I am meant to survive this, the one closest, the one without. If this is not survivable without your partner by your side, how exactly am I meant to survive? If the only way through this is with the ones you love by your side, how exactly am I meant to survive?
That’s rhetorical and ridiculous.
I have no point, and I am just bitching now. Just bitching because this is insane, and I am tired, and I want my love back, and I no longer want to survive this shit at all.
Wait. I never wanted to.
How about you? How has grief rearranged your friendships? This post describes my experience of many years ago, and it’s shifted now – but it was so valid at the time. In the comments, let us know how friendships have been for you, no matter where you are in your grief.
Thank you for your honesty in this Megan! It’s somehow a relief to read an f-bomb on the page, and I can relate to the you that wrote this years ago.
Megan Devine says
you are quite welcome. there are plenty of f-bombs on this site. 🙂
Ms. G says
This literally spoke to my soul… I have recently suffered a loss that has my whole being broken and yet “friends” want me to still be there for their issues and problems as of yet didn’t know and want have attitudes because I’m not accessible the way I once was…I don’t even know who I am anymore. I just said in therapy yesterday I rather not be bothered because it is exhausting trying to explain myself in my grief. Thank you from the bottom of my being for your transparency and honesty. I’m glad I’m not alone. It was as if I was reading my own words. Thank you Megan
I don’t know who I am anymore..
This spoke volumes to me..
It is how I feel
100% Agreed… how do I engage, how do I respond when I don’t know WHO I am?
Same. I am but a shell of who I was before great loss. I feel like people expected me to snap back at some point, and I just don’t think that will ever happen. I have lost a couple of very close friends and a lot of familiar acquaintances. Only one friend has remained close and true, despite the changes. I feel lonely and misunderstood most of the time.
My experience is that people don’t want to deal with me at all. I’m an annoyance to them. I don’t get invited to have a coffee or a drink. I wish I had a friend.
Exactly how I’ve felt after the loss of my company , then loss of my 17.5 yr old together Service Dog, my parents split up, my dad died, my car died. Worse yet, Ive gained 45 lbs in 2 years and gave away all of my clothing. My nlond lon bob is now Silver hair to my waste. pain preventse from leaving the house.
My friends are dead. Who the fk is that foul woman in my mirror?
Thank you for speaking what so many of us grieving struggle to verbalize. I lost a loved one last year after a complex 5 year cancer journey. This loss was preceded and followed by several others…to the point I stopped telling most people about my latest losses. I was fortunate to have a grieving friend prepare me for the pain of learning who your friends are and who they are not after a loss. But, it still hurts…to accept that your expectation of others is just that…YOUR expectation. Some friends and family are blessedly fortunate not to be able to understand and others have their own unspoken barriers to “being there”. Yet, I have also been awoken to the fact it’s not always those “closest” who mean the most, who care the most. No, I was humbled and ashamed to realize my strongest supports were those I didn’t expect. I cannot thank them enough.
But I still struggle to forgive and understand those I “wanted” to be there. I still struggle (as in never attend) to join our family Zoom or friends’ FaceTime calls because, until recently, I had no happy banter to contribute. I wonder if I’ll ever feel I belong with the people I once did—or if part of healing is rediscovering yourself amongst those who share and empathize with how your journey changes and shapes you.
Sending much love to all those who are grieving and healing.
I am sorry to hear so many other people have seen those they thought would be there for them during their grief not meet their expectations.
I feel for you and understand how frustrating it can be.
I lost someone close to me last year and can count on one hand the friends who have been there for me.
I’ve felt so much anger about this for so long and it’s been eating away at me.
Know I’ll have to mention it to them at some point but can’t face that conversation as know they’ll think I’m being unreasonable and that will be the end of said friendships.
Reading of other people’s experiences makes me think I’m not going mad for being disappointed and hurt and that my feelings are valid.
Don’t feel like myself and this anger at friends has just been one other thing I didn’t need during the most painful period of my life.
I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition a couple years ago. And it completely changed my life. I’m unable to get up and walk on my own. I have severe pain, with abdominal and chest pain. These symptoms last days to weeks.
I’ve been fairly sick and hospitalized 3x this year.
I can literally count on one hand the number of people I know I can call and will help me go to the bathroom, help me make dinner for our children.
I understand a chronic medical condition is certainly different than losing people physically from this life. But I can tell you that it is absolutely devastating when the people you love the most, are the ones you want the most, those are the people who only show up when It’s convenient for them. And I’m sorry, with everything going on I don’t care what’s convenient for you. I have to think about myself and my family. I can’t worry about people who are friends like they should be. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a friend of them eventually. But yes it’s still hurts, that I haven’t seen my best friend in every year and she lives less than 20 minutes away from me.
I’m unable to drive so I’ve had to have rides to the doctor, procedures, etc. Not many people calling and signing up to take me to the doctor’s appointment.
Thank you so much for sharing this. Again I know that this type of grief is not exactly what was addressed but understand pain
Wendy Robertson says
You write eloquently. Last year I lost two close family members and three dear friends. Amidst this, both my mother and my daughter were hospitalised. My grief erupted physically after each bereavement – twice as shingles bought on by cycles of stress. Only latterly, nearly a year later have my tears emerged. They’ve been therapeutic. I was told recently by a supposed friend that I wasn’t strong and that she didn’t want to deal with my grief. I have been there for her unfailingly. She was impatient and very blunt.
She doesn’t understand that there are many different versions of strong, but there is only one version of loyal…
The only thing I can say is that nobody is strong. I don’t believe the rubbish that some people just can’t handle grief. If someone has a severe mental condition I get it. Other than that, when you are unwilling to see yourself in others’ shoes you are merely a child.
Hi sweetheart my name is Linda a warrior princess whos lost my daughter . Your words resonate in my mind . It’s been 28 years . Feels like it was just last week . All those emotions are normal . I’ve lost many friends . Even family has backed off . I was once a happy caring nurse who loved her life . I had two beautiful daughters and a husband I adored . In the blink of an eye she was gone . Shot in the head she never had a chance . So just know you are not alone . God bless you and your family . 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏❤️🩹❤️🩹❤️🩹❤️🩹❤️🩹❤️🩹
This is so familiar, I feel for you all. I lost my husband after 41 years of marriage, & very recently my lover after 12 years. One of my so-called women friends for many years, criticises everything I do, & constantly talks negatively about me, she’s very bossy, & often tells lies. It’s a long story, & I now don’t trust her at all. Its bad enough to be grieving so much, without her rubbish. 😢
Hi Linda, my name is Melinda (I get Lindy) not sure where you are but Im in Victoria Australia. My only daughter Samantha died by suicide at 24 years of age in 2014. I feel extremely lonely (selfish??) as for eg my so called best friend never rings (I ring her) – she has two daughters and whenever I do ring always talks about their shopping/getting nails done etc. on weekends together. I was not perfect as I have married for the third time but I truly tried my best, i am a very affectionate person and nurturing/love cooking animals, babies etc. I am so sad that the so called friends I had who now are experiencing their daughters having babies never contact me – it is always me and now Ive decided bugger them im not picking up the phone -they are the lucky ones and I can’t understand. Sorry but even if they feel a bit uncomfortable – who is the one that needs comforting? Sorry sounds like all about me but I am angry and so so hurt.
I lost my partner and soulmate of 18 years recently (four months ago, and quite suddenly). Some of our friends have tended to be dismissive of my searing pain by saying that “we are ALL grieving” the loss of their friend/my person. I mean, seriously?! Not the same thing. I also had to cut a longtime friend out of my life for becoming needy, clingy, and downright possessive and creepy. (I am a woman and he is a man who was friends with both me and my partner, who was a man.) I became so exhausted at this person’s unacceptable behavior, having asked him to give me my space to grieve on several occasions. Everything I said fell of deaf ears and he kept pushing me to give him my energy and attention until I finally cut him out completely. It has been a huge improvement to have him out of my life!
This was very helpful to me and now I know that I’m not along and that this is common.so I lost my daughter’s father to gun violence dec 27 2019 and tho we weren’t together we had a bond that was so strong we were like best friends and told each other everything including about our new relationships. we had our ups and downs as well but the love was real. he had just came home from prison in November and he picked our daughter up the night he was murdered.it would be the first time we seen him since he was released. he was taking her to his house to get her Christmas gifts from him and the girl he was in a relationship with at the time.so she called me the next morning to ask me if I heard anything about what happened and I asked her not to give me bad news right away because I needed to brace myself because a week prior I lost my only aunt so I really wasn’t ready, but I knew I had to pull it together fast because she have my daughter in her care and I had to make sure he made it there safely with our daughter, and he did but he went back outside that night and was shot multiple times. so I asked her I said he’s ok right she said they said he died. I blacked out but I know my mother who is also in deceased was there with me and her spirit led my dad to my house because as soon as I got that call my dad was ringing the bell and he doesn’t come often but he was right on time cuz god knows I needed somebody. getting back on topic I have so many friends but one real close friend we have been friends for over 15 years of course we had our ups and downs never nothing I felt like we couldn’t get past. anyway she was suppose to be my support system in this time cuz she knew I didn’t really have nobody and I usually don’t need nobody cuz god got me but this specific time my car was down money was tight right after Christmas so she said she would drive me to his funeral. as she was just with me the day before.so she called me the day of the funeral a half hour before the viewing is over and I’m thinking she’s outside my house and maybe she was just running late but she hadn’t even left her house. But she called to let me know she couldn’t get the car. that’s cool too but I got upset because I felt like she could have called earlier to say that but anyway I hung up with a attitude saying I will talk to you later I have to find a way there or me or my daughter won’t be to the funeral before the casket closed. so she said I’m gon meet you there I hung up before she could finish so I got a Lyft and I made it just in time running in the funeral home. and not one of my many friends were there to hold me up I was crushed. 2 weeks pass and I still haven’t heard from her but I see her all over social media commenting every where but never once ask me how was the funeral are you ok no phone call no nothing so i text her and said it’s kinda funny how you can show love to everyone else but didn’t call your friend to see how she was doing. And she went off from there like she been waiting to argue with me. And had the nerve to use me hanging up as her excuse for her not coming to support me but we suppose to be bigger than that I thought she would understand that I was just really hurt but no we both continued to have our words but the one thing she said that she probably shouldn’t have was, that’s your daughter father why did it matter if I was there. that shit spoke volumes and we slowly but surely drifted apart I lost respect for her and all the other friends I had but her especially because I expected more from her I never missed a beat of her life everything she ever went threw good or bad I was there so I couldn’t respect or forgive that shit so I fell all the way back I explained to all my close friend that I needed time to work on my mental and I didn’t want to hang out but they can call me whenever but until I heal I will not be in the mix. Some friends understood but this one friend only cares that we haven’t went to the bar like me telling her I’m mentally not there and traumatized by being there in the hospital seeing all the bullet holes in my baby like that it ate away at me and I felt like nobody really understood why I felt that I needed to distance myself and I had no desire to keep explaining my self so I’m a loner just me my two babies and my boyfriend and to be honest it’s more peaceful that way I say fuck Em excuse my language but that’s where I’m at wit it
I don’t know what to say when your loved one dies I’m afraid of losing a new friendship I’m helping build
Jean Tucker says
The best thing you can say is : “Im so sorry. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling”. Then, if its appropriate, give them a hug.
You’re doing the right thing. You know right from wrong and you caring for yourself and your baby is the right move. I’m really sorry your friends weren’t there to support or lift you up in your time of crisis. You’re stronger than they are.
Fran Keith says
Wow! So I’m not losing my mind! I have girl friends for over 50 years – we have shared weddings children occasions together but where are they now? I lost my husband and son 6 months apart! I feel like someone has dropped me off on an unknown planet! Most days my cell never rings – it used to ring off the hook. Family members who called for everything under the sun have not picked up the phone in a year! It is the loneliest saddest part of my life.
Emily Lynn says
This really resonated with me. I lost my husband 3 years ago. He was 39. Most of my relationships from before his death have fallen apart. My phone will not ring for days. People are distant, awkward, and impatient. I have acknowledged that these relationships are never going to resume the way they once were. I hear things like “good riddance, their intentions were good so I should not be upset, etc. what I struggle with is these things do not diminish by anger towards them or the enormous grief I feel from them abandoning me during the most catastrophic event in my life. I don’t know how to mend some of these relationships if the only way to mend them is for me to take it on the chin, while they take a pass for their own accountability. I don’t want to be angry forever, but I feel that the scales are unbalanced because I end up being the one that blame is placed on, and no attempt at recognizing where they made mistakes. My mother says “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Intentions only go so far, and when the outcome is painful for the other party you cannot dismiss that fact. Unfortunately, we have all heard the dismissive response of “they meant well”. That’s nice, but what about owning that you meant well, but you ended up hurting the other person. An apology? It is mind blowing. Good intentions do not absolve you from responsibility of a bad outcome.
Exactly. This reminds me of my experience. Your words are written so clearly and to my life, I had to respond to you. Especially, owning up to “you meant well”, but end up hurting the other person.”
I relate 100% to this:
“ I don’t know how to mend some of these relationships if the only way to mend them is for me to take it on the chin, while they take a pass for their own accountability. I don’t want to be angry forever, but I feel that the scales are unbalanced because I end up being the one that blame is placed on, and no attempt at recognizing where they made mistakes.”
One of the people who hurt me the most (after my son died) was my dad. Without repeating his horrible verbal attack at me verbatim here..
He broke me heart, broke my trust and it broke our relationship.
It took years before he could say “I’m sorry”. Despite that, he’s shown little reflection to what he said, and really no accountability to the excruciating pain he caused me at a time that was already my most devastating moment I was living.
Now, now my dad is dying. Fast I’m told. How I do want to be able to forgive him before he dies, but I just can’t seem to fit the same reason I quoted you above.
My heart goes out to all those left alone during and because of grief.
Wendy Robertson says
‘People are distant, awkward, and impatient’.
I totally agree. I think just continue on the road to authenticity and stand your sacred ground. You’ll form your new tribe and those that need to be held accountable will be held accountable. That’s all you can do. I know it hurts so deeply. I’m suffering the same fate. It’s crap, but I think it’s working out slowly.
I am so sorry you are going through this. I understand and No, you are not losing your mind. I didn’t have any terrific friends to begin with, but have ones I have shared dinners with, talked on the phone to, and gone places sometimes, also pretty much hung it up. One did not contact me , for a month, after my mother died, & I told her howI felt. My father died, 4 months ago, & I’ve yet to get a phone call. I will continue that friendship. She is not a friend. People I know, think saying Sorry for your loss, On FB, does not cut it for me. I’ve dropped a lot of people. I will also not be there for them in their moment of need. Screw them. They don’t deserve me & I’m a pretty good friend. When I’ve cornered people & told them how I felt, they ended the friendship. So I guess not a true friendship. Yet, I listened to her constantly when she went thru cancer, (she is fine now), slaved over a hot stove all day to make her a huge pot of soup, and make packages for her. I understand exactly what you are going through. I see a therapist, and the grief groups are good if you can find one. Everyone is on the same page & does understand . The friendships did not last after the group but it was a reprieve for me. Now, I can’t find any. It is a lonely existence. I have found I cannot count on friends & what little family I have . I am Jewish & we sit shiva after the funeral. After people left from the shiva, I sat alone the rest of the entire day, night, & weeks.
So sorry… feel the same I still fight at some point still hope that friends and family would step by, instead of texting “ I’m here when u are ready “ …… ready for what ? I miss my old life. I miss my naive me who thought friends and family would help and understand and love me for what I am now. Why is this so difficult?
This seems to be normal now that friends of 38 years choose to ignore and avoid you. The shock of losing my husband 9 months ago was bad enough but this is something else. Empty promise of a day out, birthday card shoved through the letterbox.could nt even knock and say hello. My phone never rings. I ve written them all off now. Without my son I would see nobody. I have one friend in America who chats to me every day online and a lady whose husband died from covid ,same as mine when he caught it in hospital. I would have been there for my friends .
So true. I get the ‘I know you’re not ready but I’m here when you are…’ What? The part where strangers are more empathetic than close I was closest to is another loss I wasn’t prepared for.
Oh my God that’s exactly how it is with me, I’d suggest we meet for coffee, to get me out of the house and be sociable again but a year on the replies were “do you think you’re ready”. My adult kids are great they tell me me I’m good company and very kind, and that they’re proud of me. 🥰. We can do this, keep smiling ☺️
I’m in the same boat as you. The sad part is I never had many friends to begin with. I lost my mom and everyone scattered. My phone never rings and my father blocked me from calling him because he said I am too sad and he is 76 years old and doesn’t need stress in his life. He is remarried. My best friend of 36 years is complaining I am not the same person anymore and just dropped me and said “It is not all about me” and that through my grief I am being self centered. I feel so alone and like someone dumped me in a foreign country.
What a bunch of shitty self centered friends and relatives you had in your orbit! I’m so sorry! I had similar soul suckers in mine. My own mom and ex tried to legally take my son from me two months after my partner died and I decided to go inpatient for mental health help after my family abandoned me. That was the real coup de gras of their hurtfulness, trying one last ditch effort to kick me into submission while I was down. There just isn’t forgiveness after that. Some people are roads, and they reside openly in plain sight amongst our families until raw grief happens and they expose themselves completely. Sorry we have similar family toads.
I know how you feel.i was abandoned by 2 friends I had known for 38 years . We used to meet about once a month for lunch and go to a garden centre or shopping . I was expecting some support from them and was shocked when they did not ring me or ask if I needed any help or meet for a coffee. It made me really ill. I was rescued by a lady at the craft group I went to. Her husband died a month before mine, suddenly and I was supporting her when my husband died suddenly from covid. She encouraged me to come out. I hated sitting in the house ,the phone never rang. It was hard to go out in a taxi the first time but now I have 3 decent friends who care about me and we meet in town or they come and see me. I have dumped the original friends as I realise they are selfish and feel so much happier. I reached rock bottom because of them. If people avoid you don t waste your time on them. Get in touch with bereavement groups which are sometimes attached to hospitals because they will understand your suffering. Also try and join a club to do something you are interested in.i still have sad days but I have days to look forward to.
I’m going through something similar now. I used to have tons of friends. Then I got divorced and it really messed me up. I lost 19 family members from the divorce, and now a girlfriend group I had for 30 years doesn’t talk to me. I want to give up. There is nothing worth living for anymore.
Fran! My husband of 44 years died, and my closest (i guess not, now)friend could not travel the 90 miles to be with me. “Not worth it” to come out and then around and go home. “He wasn’t a believer, so I’m surprised you’re doing anything at all,” I didn’t “explicitly” invite her…etc etc….
I am crushed, and she is now ignoring my birthday.
I can’t even imagine losing husband and son. That amount of painful grieving is something most people would not know how to handle. I don’t think people are even honest with themselves about how and why they cut you out of their lives when you’re trying to get through intense grieving. I doubt it’s even a conscious decision on their part–it’s fear-based and reactionary. We’re not really cut out to face it. Our brains almost immediately reject and redirect when faced with the unthinkable–we have very efficient defense mechanisms in place to distract us…until the time comes when it must be faced. A dear, good friend of mine said she could imagine it and I told her I really don’t think that’s possible. What we’re not equipped to imagine is the unrelenting nature of this kind of loss and the permanence that has to be tolerated day after day.
Just read your story. Lost my husband of 45 years and 8 months later, my son, to the same disease. One of my best friends was there and has now pulled back because she insists I need therapy. There are a few precious ones. It’s hard; remaining son moved 2300 miles away. I am sorry for your complex grief. I understand!
If anyone had told me a year ago after both of my sisters deaths, that I would be experiencing this, I would have never believed them.
And yet, here I am.
Friends whom I thought would be in my life forever, who I could always count on, and was practically inseparable from … who held me up during the initial loss, suddenly gone without a trace. Texts and phone calls go unanswered, and life seems to have gone on for them, without me.
I hear you Kasey. I lost my dad almost 3 weeks ago and I’m stunned about the few people who have reached out to me. And it’s not the people who I considered to be part of my inner circle, not the long term friends who I have always been there for – they have been nowhere to be seen. Not even a text to see how I’m travelling, just a deathly silence. I had started to re-evaluate my friendships a couple of years ago to rid myself of oxygen thieves, and think I need to do another big cull to rid myself of people who just don’t care enough to get over their own discomfort, dramas or egocentricity.
But know this, only people who have walked in your shoes can ever know the depth of your sorrow and emptiness that comes with the loss of someone you loved with all your heart.
It is such a cruel added twist of the knife when friends you thought would be there for you at your toughest time turn their backs on you and walk away with their ‘better’ friends. I guess it’s not feel-good to comfort a grieving person and people have busy lives, but you don’t expect them to vanish into thin air as if no friendship existed. It is so cruel and cowardly that they end up with the fun gang of mates and you suffer and grieve alone.
Sorry to each and every one of you – if there is any fairness good friends will come your way in time.
Linda Jones says
I feel lately as if I have entered the Twilight Zone. I am 69 and was born in 1952. In 1947 in Cardiff, Wales, my parents had a full-term stillborn. She was taken away from them unseen and buried somewhere and they were never told where despite asking. They are dead now and I am the only living child. At the end of August 2021 miraculously in two days with help from a Cardiff cemetery I learned that my sister had been buried like thousands of others over decades in an unmarked mass grave in that cemetery. I have been crying almost nonstop, at first thinking that my parents died not knowing where she was and giving up after asking over and over again in 1947. Eventually we immigrated to Canada. I have now decided that it is best that it is me who has discovered this grave and will visit in the spring since I don’t think my mother especially would be able to stand at the gravesite knowing that she never would’ve chosen that for her child. I have written to several of my so-called longtime good friends to tell them this. At least four of them have ignored the emails but answered other things that I wrote in the emails. One even asked me today if I could send her transfer photos from some trips we took because her computer had crashed a long time ago. I wrote her that I had no energy to do this since as I had responded in an earlier email I was laid low by finding my stillborn sister’s grave. But nobody ever refers to this horrible discovery. Some people tell me that it is because some people cannot find the words but my heart and my intuition tells me (much to my utter confusion) that they are self-absorbed and the universe or God is showing me that I need to move on. I AM moving on but my confusion and hurt is great. I feel like my two cats are my best friends and I pretty much feel happy with that since I have lots of activities to get me out and around people.
Nancy Ertter says
I lost my David In 2018. My great love. It stings everyday. But I had 13 years to say goodbye to him. He was sick that long. But you have to go on even though their gone. I wish all you girls n guys the best.
Jonathan Pogue says
I’m going through some serious problems since my wife died last April. Everyone has disappeared or made it clear that we were not friends anymore because i was still grieving! I have no one.
I lost my love soulmate a few months ago it is very hard. He was not close with his family but through the grieving process I became friends with his brother and we were helping each through this. I brought my loves brother around my childhood best friend, then I realize they are falling for each other they are being affected in front of me and she wants to tell me all what is going on with them. I told her and him this is a hard time for me and if you can just give me time to process what is happening with you two, but right now pls don’t do all that in front of me and I told my best friend I don’t want to hear what is going on with you and him like he is just some other guy. To top it off he has so much resemblance Of his brother it is just to hard for me right now I am grieving. Well my friend made me feel like shit for feeling this way and said I should support her and I guess torture Myself. Am I wrong?
You are not wrong at all! I have almost the same situation with my best friend and my recently deceased boyfriend’s best friend.
These people should be supporting us I think not rubbing our noses in it!
It went on for the first few weeks after he died and then his best friend realised he had been taken advantage of somewhat while he was grieving himself and kicked her to the kerb.
Now she thinks I am interested in her upset that she has been let down.
Sadly for her I am not!
All of my life I have had few friendships. I usually only had one best friend at a time. Then all of my best friends died. One by one. Then my brother disappeared in Mexico. And now just two months ago my soulmate/ life partner killed himself the same way as another of my closest friends did. Before he died I was still grieving and struggling to make new friends for several years. It was hard enough to lose my 3 closest friends. I thought that after years of therapy something would help. It only got worse and my partner became my everything. I didn’t care if I had friends outside of him because he actually understood me and was so real and down for whatever. My rock. My trusted ride or die companion. At least that’s what I thought. Now I want to go with be them. I am tortured by the thought that the only people who really understood me non-judge-mentally were all taken from me. Now I can’t even talk to people. And meeting new people feels painful. Like I can’t even begin to believe something can bloom because of my grief. I have reached out to people on social media to see if anyone cares because I know I cannot get thru this alone. I asked for help but no one came. No one cares. Life is an ocean of suffering. I want my family to accept the fact that my suicide is inevitable. I want a friend who doesn’t think I’m a terrible person for wanting this. I had several but they all did themselves in
I don’t even know you but I care. Don’t do it. I am here in case you need someone to talk to. I recently lost my 21-year-old brother to suicide, who I loved deeply, so I think I can begin to understand your pain. You are not alone.
I would love it if you’d reach out to me and let me be a listening ear. My email is email@example.com. I’ve just suffered a miscarriage and I’m dealing with my own grief but if finding this site and this post could somehow help you, it would help me through this too.
Hi 👋 I care about you! You are not alone in this world. You can contact me and I can also be a listening ear. Info@transvoiceservices.com I know what depression is, I’ve felt alone and have lost 2 friends. One from suicide at 27. I’ve have also been able to look forward to life, work on myself, believe in myself and be in a grateful state of mind. It can be done! You are here for a reason, you are as important as anyone else. You are capable, you are wanted. Don’t do anything to harm yourself. Power through, you don’t need to do it alone! Reach your hand and you will find people who want to help you. Reach out!🤝
Thank you for describing about how your friends left. I was thinking I was crazy,
hateful, disgusting because why else would all my friends abandon me because my Cohabitator of 12 years died. The pain, grief, anger of losing the person you love the most is unbearable but then all your friends stop coming by, no one even
calls except when they want something of his since he can no longer use it! I even
considered killing myself but then if I do that I would go to hell even though I feel
Like I am in Hell already. From what I have read on this site, people that lose
loved ones also lose many if not all of their friends. My beloved only died two months ago and I believe I only have 3 or 4 friends left.
I’m so sorry for your loss. 😢 I lost my mom 2/23/2020. I’m also grieving friendships that I never thought I would. Not even a casual acknowledgement from them on social media. It’s so painful. Reading up on how to respond is helping a little, but I’m wanting to lash out and tell them exactly how it feels.
omg. I lost my husband feb. 23, 2020 respiratory he had real bad asthma 52yrs. my friends were his too. he did alot of community paintings and artwork for friends churches and I have not even a handful of true souls that have been to see me with sincere thought. I want to blast bc that ok n social media too. I thought I was wrong for being angry and feeling s oh try for myself that I have no friends . F the world trust no one my husband would say sometimes when he looked back at how his kindness and skills were taken advantage for ones own desire but when calling upon for help they are too busy –
STEPHANIE Strumberger says
My husband died 1/8/2020 in a car accident. Our mutual friends seem to have “moved on”. They dont talk about my husband anymore, they dont ask how I’m doing. They almost just pretend as if we can skip over all of this and move on. I’m not ready to laugh and joke like normal.
That’s exactly how I feel. The thing is these people don’t understand you or your new “journey” because they haven’t experienced it. I find myself so angry at everyone because the biggest loss they’ve experienced was the loss of someone not very close to them – losing a partner means losing your best friend and your future. So while they’re over it because they weren’t close to them, you never will be. Honestly, distancing myself from certain friendships has been very helpful because having to fake it around those people is just too much. Sometimes being alone is better than being in bad company.
Hi , I read your post i lost my mom in January 2020 . I feel like I cant relate to my friends anymore
I know you only truly understand when you go through it .
I wonder if Ill ever feel happiness again
I had a friend who claimed we were so close we were like twins and it had been that way for years. When my partner of 6 years who was also my best friend for 19 years passed away of cancer at age 27 I attempted suicide and had become very mentally unstable I started going to therapy and taking medicine it was slowly getting better at first this friend was still there for me even when eventually their mother passed away and we started supporting each other it honestly felt like it was going well I was mentally and a good place at least that’s what I thought. Until one day they’ve disappeared from my life all together even deleted me off of social media sites with no explanation it has been two years since then and I finally got another friend to tell me why they had done that and the reasoning was was that I was being very bad and it was hard for them to be around me because I reminded them of my partner even those I haven’t seen them for 2 years it hurts knowing the truth I thought I was doing good but I guess I was just too much for them I don’t even really know what to think to be honest I have lost a lot of friends and people that were like family after losing my partner and has been almost too easy for me to get over those but not this one friend it’s weird.
Me too. I was told by my bestie that I was triggering her and nothing she did seemed to help. I refuse to feel shame. I didn’t know they rules had changed. Kind of sorry no one will see this bc an old thread. This discussion is awesome. I want to talk t,o these people.
Had a friend say to me (9 mos after my dad died), “You used to be so dynamic. What happened to you?” How do I explain that the light part of me died when my dad died and only the dark part of me exists now.
There’s a lot of this mentioned in this book I just read, it’s mind-boggling how widows, especially the young, are treated by friends and family.
Sheila Bergquist says
Oh, how much we can all relate to this! This hit home for me because it’s exactly what I feel these days. I read all these grief sites that say “ask for help”, “you can’t do this alone” and “be with the ones you love”. All the ones I love are dead, most of my “friends” turned out be fair weather ones, and I am alone basically. So, when I read these things, I cringe…like you said, if you need someone to help you through and there is no one, what then?
Your writing is so honest and so much more real that it just soothes my heart in a way that nothing else I’ve ever read does. Thanks, Megan.
Megan Devine says
so glad to hear it helps, Sheila.
Susan Kaufmann says
My husband passed away 6 years ago.well my mother in law.never calls to see how I’m doing or any other family on my husband side.i was going through cancer treatments all around the same year my husband passed.i put that all aside so I could focus on my health getting better.yes I’m a cancer survivor .yea.i have found my own strength to climb mountains through prayers.good family support my family and listening to good positive music .and positive thoughts.never give up
Yes exactly. Thank you for writing this. I lost my will twin sister when her children were babies suddenly by and tragic medical Accident.
Just over a year later I lost my partner .
I was happy social active before all that happened. 18 years later, I keep waiting for life to gradually morph back to what it used to be like.
It does get better… But it’s a different life.
I can relate to this so much. I’ve fell out with nearly all of my friends and relatives since my wife passed away two and a half years ago. The websites that suggest that such support is essential really annoy me and I wonder if it’s a case of well-meaning “experts” portraying their misjudged conceptions. One-by-one I fell out with loved ones mainly because they expect you to be your old self after a few short months. What shook me to the core was the number of people who started getting annoyed and snappy with me even though they weren’t like that before. It’s well best to take the journey alone. For those who have experienced otherwise, my best wishes sincerely go out to you, you’re so lucky even if you don’t feel it.
YES, THIS! Last year, nine months after losing my partner and best friend, a so-called friend decided that I was being “cold and distant” because I was taking too long with my grieving. It still hurts. Our friendship turned out to be All About Her, and when I was no longer emotionally available to support her because I was dealing wtih my own trauma, she turned on me.
Megan Devine says
Ah, the old “you’re so unavailable to me” friend. I’m sorry that happened to you. Argh.
Thanks, and thanks for your blog. It helps to know others have been through it, too.
I am fortunate that I have other friends who have been supportive. But the experience with the negative friend made me reluctant to be open with them — which is not good, since I think they really do “get” this.
I’m going through grief now with my mom’s terminal diagnosis of glioblastoma (brain cancer). I’ve been angry, sad and unavailable to a couple friends, who for the first two months were there for me. Then I hit a patch of feeling like I was drowning – my mom was failing quickly (she’s since rebounded and is doing fairly well considering), travelling 12-hrs each way to see her twice a month, trying to look into information and advocate for her while caring for my mom daily when at her house, maintaining a job, trying to interact with my husband, etc, etc, etc. My friends started drifting away and it was very obvious. I’d try to talk to them and got nothing. Finally I asked to call one of them (I live overseas and no one seems to want to pick up a phone even with free calling through messenger apps), and she gave me some ‘things to think about.’ Essentially it was that I was not being a good friend (granted was also on the verge of a loss that I didn’t know about because I was so crushed by the weight of my own situation) and that other people she knows has also lost loved ones – yet none of them have been like I have. I acknowledge that I’ve not been a great friend, but really? To tell me that I am not handling it like everyone else? No one knows the stresses or specific situation I’m going through – that any one person is going through – in a situation. It made me so sad to read that because if there was a ‘right way’ to get through this, I’d appreciate knowing. Some days I can barely get out of bed I’m so stressed and sad and angry. It’s not that I don’t want to be a good friend. I just have nothing to give right now outside of what I’m giving to my mom.
I am in a very similar situation to yours. Its incredibly isolating isn’t it? I can emphasise with the stress and exhaustion you describe. I hope things get better for you and for me.
I am sorry for all you’ve been through. I’m reading this dec 2019. I have a friend who is dealing w her mom stage 4 uterine cancer, and her dad being ok, suddenly died of a heart attack. How can I be a good friend aside from the calls, texts? What can I do to be present for the months to come?
Besides losing my husband of 47 fabulous years, I also lost who I thought was my best friend. As many of you have said, it was a relationship based on her drama, her desires, I was her rock. When I needed her emotionally, she also just wanted to smile and chat like nothing much had happened. I really feel like I was stupid and used in this relationship, but I also am stupid and needy enough right now to miss it. Too much loss…too much…I hate this painful journey.
Same scenerio here – except I don’t miss her much and I wish I did. Know her since HS and both families were close (I think I miss that more) Glad I know who I can turn to in time of crisis – just wish I had know this a long long time ago.
someone who i thought was a true friend became passive & said when i have time write to her! WTF my husband passed away why should i write to her when i’m over my ‘grief’?!
Amy Locke says
I lost my husband almost 4 years ago. So much has happened with that loss, I lost my home, family and friends. I was just sitting here thinking about how lonely I truly am. I have my children and I am so thankful for that. I got up this morning, I showered and got dressed. I did my hair and my makeup and made so many different plans in my head. I then sat on the edge of the bed and I waited. I watched my Television time out. I watched my children come in and get lunch. I watched my daughter come in and get ready for work. I watched the day slip away. It is now late and I am tired, I waited all day to be reminded I have no one. In my grief and the anger I went through from all the horrible stuff my husbands family put me through, I guess I pushed everyone away. They couldn’t be bothered to not give up on me. Your words were exactly what I was feeling. Thank you.
💔 😥 I care. I am sorry. Sending you love & light. 💜Diana xo
Oh, how painful. I’m so sorry. If you need a new friend, I’m here. Hugs.
Amy – how are you doing?
I lost my son not quite a year ago. I cry everyday. I’m Ok one day and distraught and fast the next. I kind of get where you are. Not the same type of grief but similar in that I’m pretty much going through my grief in a similar way – family (brother) was really cruel. .
I think about everyone in this loneliness called grief and it is fucking lonely. I’m hanging on by a thread but I know what works for me is to just get out and find a purpose. If I have a commitment, it pushes me through another day. There are times when I just want to sit and be with myself and so I am. I have decided I don’t really need friends as they can’t help me and sometimes they make me feel inadequate and worse than I already feel so, I shed them. I will make new friends who don’t know the ‘old me’. It’s easier that way. They shed because we are miserable or ‘not the same’. Our fun chip has been removed. What motivated them to like us then is no longer there. True friends will stay the course. I have a few of those and they are, friends I have known for years. You mustn’t be on your own. Find a way to connect with the world on your terms but you must connect. You know it’s a slippery slope but there is some hope – you are at least getting out of bed and putting your makeup on. Find a course to take or something new to learn. Something that forces you to get out of the house and commit. It’s hard when you are totally disconnected.
If you need someone to talk to, I would be happy to listen. I know how much I need that from others sometimes – but it is simply not there. We could all help each other through this shit. We are the only ones that understand each other.
Hi I lost my son 20 weeks ago. I would love to chat to someone who understands
Lost my wife July 2, 2020. Wow! You get it, of course.
Hi Sam.. I lost my son 13 months ago..
Hi Sam, I just came across this today. I lost my daughter 3 years ago and I truly understand.
I lost my 15 year old son in July……the loss is overwhelming. I speak to him all the time..I wish I could hug him….the loss of a child is beyond the loss of a parent, unless you are a child…..my heart is with you…all of you….and friends….the good ones show up, the rest fall away
I am friends with someone who lost their husband four years ago and we did not become close until after her husband died. My family and I love her and her family. But, she has lashed out and pushed me away. I love my friend like a sister and would do anything for her, but she has blocked communication with me and avoids me now. I lost my mother during this time after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and my cousin (car accident) who was as close to me as my own sisters. I wasn’t my best either. I have tried to talk to my friend, send her cards, treat her kids like my own, invite her to things…only she never responds. I told her recently that I accept her decision to not speak to me and that I will be there should she want to talk again. I see her at school functions and she talks to others there, but not me. All on the surface small talk…but she avoids me and my family.
How do I proceed? I am the friend that has stood by her in these few years when others have left her or talk about her behind her back. I am the friend who wants to be there in the good and bad times. I am also the friend who set boundaries on her lashing out at me when it crossed the line. I held her when she sobbed and when she asked why God took her husband–but when she cut me down in a fit of rage–I had to stand up for myself. Ever since then, she has had nothing to do with me. Her own family is asking her why she has shunned us and she says nothing. I am praying that there will be a time when she will be opened to talk again. Thank you for listening and for any advice.
I have a similar situation to you Ellen. I am struggling to be supportive to a friend. Five years ago my best friend lost her partner to suicide. He was also a close friend of mine. We both fell into our unique grieving periods. I made sure to hold her up and be there for her however because even tho he was a good friend to me I can’t imagine what she must be feeling and going through loosing him as a partner. I had to be there for her and I wanted to. A year went by we both moved out of the town where it happened. I went back home to look after my mom who had also attempted to kill herself. I spent two years living near my mom and then decided to re join my friend in a new city. When I moved in with her things went south she was in a very (understandably) angry stage of grief. She was hard to be around she was mean. the friends that were there before me had left cus her anger was too much. I stayed but it was challenging. Her anger lessened and we still live together but there are a lot of hurt feelings between us and a huge rift in our friendship has formed. I feel like I stopped being supportive and closed myself off to her. Because I was hurt. but I don’t like that I did that. I know our friendship will never be the same but I would like it to feel healthy again. Any advice?
Thank you for your comment. I have just ended a lifelong friendship because she expects my responses and enthusiasm to be the same as before the death of my husband. I can’t muster the enthusiasm or be supportive of situations in her life that on my new measurement scale are unimportant.
Corbiegirl~ I know this is an old post but I lost my husband 5 1/2 months ago to COVID19. My bestfriend of 15 years who experienced the death of her husband a few years ago little by little showed her true colors. She said I am not the same person and guess what? I’m not and she should know that better than anyone. No one comes out of this the same. I have learned so much from his loss and if my circle gets smaller that’s ok, I don’t need the negativity in my life.
Wishing you all much love, light, and healing!
Thank you for this, Megan. Grief has dropped a bomb on all the friendships I thought I could rely on, too. Losing a loved one shakes your faith in absolutely everything, and I find myself questioning how close I ever really was to any of these people, if they didn’t understand that when my world imploded I would need my friends to be here, no matter what. They weren’t… And yet I’ve had support from people I barely knew before this. It’s confusing and painful, at a time when you need no more of either. Some have bowed out completely now, others are trying to rebuild bridges but I find myself defensive and untrusting… I don’t know if there is anything left to repair.
I have had a similar experience. Well said. 🙁
Same for me, even family ran for the hills. Or just didn’t show up. I’m beyond hurt!
The woman I feel is my closest friend is going through grief over her nephew who has serious cancer. I have tried to be a friend, at first calling to find out what they were finding, what was developing, to be supportive. I love this friend and we have been close for half a century. In that time, she has lost others and I have lost those closest to me. In my times of loss, as I look back, she wasn’t really present. But without looking back, I have lately tried to be here for her. Then, silence. Then an email saying she’d talk to me when she felt up to it. Since then, nothing. I do not mean to be selfish, but feel as if I am pushed so far away that I feel grief, too. I am deeply aware that our friendship will never be the same and do not know if I said wrong words, was too present, was pushy, or somehow just wrong. I ache for her pain. I would like to do anything to make it better, but know it isn’t possible. Still, it hurts from this side, also. Loving others does not make it easy during their grief, I am learning.
If you were my friend I would feel lucky to have you and not expect you to be perfect. Who I thought was my closest friend basically just communicated a prosaic lack of regard like I was a non entity. You clearly care about your friend.. that’s enough. Hopefully she will see that when she’s in less of a fog
Thanks for sharing. It’s hard to be patient when the friend you we’re supporting needs space. I just keep trying to remind myself it’s not about me. I’m struggling for sure, too. Maybe I just don’t fit in her new life.
So my husband died in Sept of 2014. Heart attack, hiking age 55. Helicopter, the news the whole works. My in laws were in within 2 days and one brother wanted me to “keep the building in the family” we owned in the hometown he lived in and we had left. The other chased me around my basement trying to get me to sign things for him to manage my money. This was less than 48 hours after my husband passed. When I said no to both there was hell to pay. We don’t speak to them at all. An older man I know said something very wise. When there is money on the table the rats come out.
Reminds me of my stepdaughter. Some months after my husband died (her dad who I was married to 41 years) she was at the house and I mentioned in passing I was going to have to hire a hauler to remove a few pieces of furniture, dresser, night stands, desk. She said ” why dont you give your “grandsons” ( her three 20 something sons ) a little money and they can move it ” . Really ? I have to pay my “grandsons” to remove a few pieces of furniture, for their grandfathers new widow ?! No. If I have to pay, I’d rather pay a stranger !
Another time she was over we were discussing the future. I mentioned to her if I get sick when I get old at least I have my house, I’d just sign it over to the County and they can put me in a home. ( I said this because I am now all alone with no living family). She said, ” we’d kind of like to keep dads house in the family.” Its not dads house as there is still a mortgage which I am paying. What nerve, I’d have to pay her sons to move a few pieces of furniture but she wants ne to leave her/them a $250K house ! I said nothing to her, but I haven’t seen her since, it’s been 18 months.
Kendra D Johnson says
My son transitioned on 01/22/20. My only child and this is indescribable to say the least. I have decided to preserve my mental strength, I’m attempting to take a much needed sabbatical for my emotional wellbeing. There’s one friend, whose a trigger for me, I need space from her weird energy. Well, she texted me on the holiday as if we speak daily. She has a lot of dialogue about me, just not to me. I don’t want to be contacted by her for now or maybe never in the same capacity as before. I think she lacks empathy and sympathy, she doesn’t cry around me and is uncomfortable with the tears of others. A lot of her commentary is out of pocket and not solicited. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and now we are over 45 years old. I don’t have any energy for anything that isn’t conducive to helping me to get through another day without my son. This shit hurts deeply and that’s being kind, paralyzing pain.
@Kendra D Johnson, You mentioned something that made me find a way to describe my best friend of 36 years. You said “weird energy”. Yes!!! This is what I am feeling when I am near my best friend now. I want to stay away from her weird energy because I am exhausted and she is someone who is always full of drama and personal chaos.
Right before my mother died she started getting addicted to weed. The day my mother died, when I was standing outside the hospital on a corner in shock, she handed me edibles and said “just get high”.
I am not a fan of drugs and it pissed me off. Ever since my mother died, every time I need someone that is level minded to talk to, she is always high.
She can’t even text me a coherent sentence because she is always stoned. I started to avoid her because that “weird energy’ gives me bad anxiety and tires me out. Now she is mad at me and said I am a shitty friend because I barely ever talk to her. She told me I am self centered and the world doesn’t revolve around me. I told her it bothers me that every time I want to talk to her she is high and she got angry with me and called me all sorts of names.
It is 10 months after the loss of my mother and I am still grieving heavily and now I am about to lose someone who I thought was a sister to me. I feel like I am losing everything and everyone now.
I had a good friend of 14 years, we are no longer friends, I think she cant handle my grief nor her own, we all worked together, maybe im a constant reminder to her of henry. cant blame her. other people I thought would never be my friend turned out to be really good, supportive friends to me. when a tragedy occurs you find out who your real friends are, and I have a couple of awesome ones.
My elderly father died 7 months ago and brother has been speaking horribly about him after the funeral then becomes very sad and tearful about how much he misses him.
When I try to tell him how I feel he tends to change the subject or say something sarcastic about me and tells me to stop talking about any feelings or memories I have.
His ability to show empathy to me or my family has disappeared and he is all brisk and business like.
I have missed him but find I am calmer since having less contact over the past few weeks.
He is angry with me about not being in touch so often and gets curt in spite of my efforts to try and call him.
I am lost at times and don’t know if I’m grieving for my father or my brother or both? I would like to find a way to get to a better place and peace in my heart and my head
Sheila Rose says
My grief counselor told me if I had lost anybody but Ron…I wouldn’t need him…because I’d have Ron. So true.
My friend of 20 years got upset with me because she felt I wasn’t sharing enough with her…”it’s not all about YOU” she said…and I thought…yes it is! We are no longer friends….
😭 I’m too going through this I recently lost my dad he was my life my everything,, my best friend couldn’t even be bothered to visit him on his deathbed and that was fine but she didn’t even turn up to my dads funeral she kept making excuses up,, when my dad passed so did my friendship.. I was always there for her if she was in need for something I would go out of my way every time to help but I couldn’t get a best friend to help me through my worst days,, how is this possible that you think u know someone to learn u didn’t.. friendship doesn’t have any value anymore..
I’m so sorry for your loss JJ.
Pat Greenberg says
I call them my step forward friends and my step back friends. And it’s always a surprise as to who ends up in which column. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. They just can’t deal with your grief. It terrifies them and they think it might be contagious. Once they step back you seldom hear from them again because deep down they’re ashamed of and feel guilty about their inability to be there for you. They don’t understand it until it happens to them. They’re people who don’t have the ability to stand in another person’s shoes and if they try it scares the piss out of them. All that said, it still really hurts to lose people you thought had your back and it’s very difficult to forget. I think my real friend list is down to about 4 or 5 people and my husband hasn’t even died yet. Not sure what that number will be when the time comes. Much love to all of you in this thread in your struggle and on your journey.
Jane Harris says
I like the idea of ‘step forward friends or step back friends’.
http://www.beyond goodbye.co.uk My own grieving journey started 10 years ago when my father was diagnosed with dementia and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he died. My mother had had a stroke caused she said by the strain of being dads sole carer. When my son died a few years later and then my mother in law my ‘step forward’ friends took over from my ‘step back’ friends. Who disapproved of my grief behaviour which was at times angry. My address book is now forever changed. . Grieving starts way before the actual death of a loved one. Illness can also be transformative.
I feel everything that you wrote. Especially this “Once they step back you seldom hear from them again because deep down they’re ashamed of and feel guilty about their inability to be there for you.“
I understand much of what is being said here. I also lost a friend of 30 years when my husband died a few years ago. In some ways I blame myself because I know I was irritable and upset. She is a psychiatric nurse and she was becoming very bossy and I told her I wanted her very much as a friend but not as a therapist (since I already had a psychiatrist and a therapist). I never heard from her again. Totally ghosted. I sent her three letters but she never replied. I know I have often been in a bad mood and have expected something from a friend that she could not give or could not understand. And for that I hold myself responsible. On the other hand I have one friend and when we’re both in a horrible mood we can just laugh about it. The other thing is that I cry all the time if I’m with more than one person or someone I don’t know. Since I’m a writer I am Working all day and of course I get a lot of rejections. So it’s a bit of a hard profession to be in during this time. Anyway I’ve rambled a bit but thank you so much for your post and your responses.
You are a very wise person. It has taken the death of my mother, multiple miscarriages, other difficult times and years since to realise so few people are able to or want to know, and the ability to not take it excruciatingly personally is probably the hardest part of the losing friends process. Realising your own expectations are wrong is incredibly difficult too as it’s wrapped up in hope of others which is natural but precarious. Thank you for this.
This is so true. I relate to the in laws bit. I now don’t speak to mine at all and it’s put a huge strain on my marriage, since my daughter died. They are so insensitive it’s staggering and despite being very close to my daughter they are the ones taking offence that I can’t do the family stuff that we used to. They can’t see what they have done wrong (all about them!) despite being told. My sister in law is the same. That’s been harder than losing friends as it’s another way of grieving for the life I had. I wait for a time when I’m less angry about it. Thank you for speaking the truth x
Jimmy Edmonds says
Trouble is how ever hard, you can change your friends. But what about your relatives. Mercifully I have only a few. And those who should be closest, my two brothers have been seriously crap since my son died 4 years ago. Walking away from comments like ‘I thought you’d be over it by now” (6 months) and ‘haven’t you found closure yet?’ (18 months) is really hard especially when I’m the only one who ‘s left to look out for my Mum (97 with advanced dementia) and can no longer share my grief. How I wish sometimes that I didn’t have those brothers !
I wonder if a good test for friendship would be this – ask them if they can remember the anniversary of your loved ones death? We remember birthdays don’t we, what about deathdays?
Thanks for your postings Megan xxx
thanks for this Megan, I am going through something similar. My inlaws are brilliant and friends I haven’t seen for a long time or have met since Steve died have been amazing, as to be honest are most of my older friends. Two notable exceptions are Steve’s best mate, best man at our wedding. Haven’t seen him since the funeral 2 years ago this month! And recently another old friend has taken exception to some activities I do to fill my time, he doesn’t agree so in his mind it is wrong. So now am avoding him which is a shame ….. Much love to you all xx
Joyce June says
following the death of my 39 year old daughter, I’ve been left totally alone … I thought with this being my first Christmas, I would be visited … I was not! I’m trying to stay very busy with my business so I don’t have time to think. Thinking leads to crying and I have to stop crying!
It was my experience too, that people who said they would come back and visit after my mom’s funeral, didn’t. One kept rescheduling and rescheduling until finally I just stopped asking, and the other dropped off the face of the earth. I never realized how isolating an experience grief is. It’s awful. I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter. I’m 26, my mom died less than a year ago, and it’s awful.
I needed to read this today. I feel like I am walking away from all of my relationships. Either because they remind me of my son no longer being here or because I don’t know how to be around them. I don’t know if
I’m withdrawing further into myself, however I feel better when I keep a safe distance from people. My friend I leaned on, probably too much, well I had a true break down at her house a couple of weeks ago. It was during that week that all the grief, sadness and confusion came rushing in, I seldom open up to people when I am feeling like this. That day was too much, so I went to her house and talked to her. After that day I really only heard from her once. She did send me a valentine’s card telling me she was grateful to know me and then a slip of paper that had a grateful meditation on it. For some reason that has so pissed me off, It’s difficult to find things to be grateful for and a couple times a week I have my own way of reminding myself the good things I’m thankful for……but I have a hard time when someone tells me to be grateful. I feel like a bitch and so often want to react like one. I hope this is just a phase.
Ella T says
I feel you. I wonder if people really get that when you lose a child that their cheesy often ignorant (masking as well intentioned) be grateful affirmations blow up something inside us that takes over? What I have discovered it is the ones that send those are the ones that really aren’t there when I forget how to breathe and am curled up in a ball and just need someone to hold my hand.. I am learning how to let go of the expectations though. I am learning to do this for myself. Sharing it here with others who get it? that helps. Today, I am sending you light.. and love and just a bit of encouragement.
Kimberly Carroll says
OMG! I hate it when I hear: “Make a gratitude list.”
Like dude (I feel like saying) that is totally off topic. I am still struggling with grief, PTSD and perimenopause from hell. My Psychiatrist says I am the Perfect Storm….yikes…lol
And yep, I only have a couple of friends….
Terese Backshall says
I can so relate to all of your comments.I lost my Dad and my partner within 18 days of each other.One of my so called friends told me that I was exhausting and another that I was too difficult to be around.This was 4 months after my losses.I have moved to another town now as I was doing it alone anyway and so changed the venue.After 8 mths. even those who bother to ring me never ask how I am coping.It seems to be a taboo subject and it seems people prefer my silence on the subject.Yes I am angry and yes I feel totally unsupported.I am sorry if they don’t know what to say or how to act but surely they have had to deal with some sort of negative emotions in their lifetime.Yep my grief is all about me and I see thier silence as a very sad reflection of a society that turns it face away from the stark reality of death.Grief hurts and I am sorry to say but most of my so called friends made the pain worse.I do not have an address book anymore….
Elizabeth George says
It can be irritating when people remind you to be grateful as though they are chastising you. I often remember during the day all that I am grateful for and sometimes there is a gentle way and I am reminded by someone. But there’s a certain moral smugness In the way many people remind you to be grateful —or possibly if they are tired of hearing about your grief.
Carol Garrick says
So true, Elizabeth. The moral smugness of their comments to practice gratitude makes me not want to share my feelings with them. From now on, when asked how I am, I plan to say “fine” and leave it at that. I lost my husband of 45 years last October to Lewy Body Dementia. As far as I’m concerned certain “friends” can keep their comments (which come off as critical) to themselves. My grief is still raw and I don’t need that kind of input.
Kathy Kunce says
True in so many ways. I crave validation and feedback, and feel lost when I don’t get it.
Ella T says
This.. This has been one of the harder aspects of loss.. I mean as if death isn’t its own asshole self.. you get spun by the ones that cannot “stand to see you grieve”, so.. they too go away. Damn. That is what my nearest and dearest friend had said. months after my daughter Kimmie died.. she told me that she couldn’t deal.. she was used to my being the strong one, and did not know how to deal that she didn’t know how to take my anger, at some point I may thank her for that.. but in the 4 years since I rather felt betrayed and abandoned. 6 months after Kimmie died, I lost my lover in Afghanistan. He died in a bomb blast. Another close “friend” said.. “Your life is like a bad soap opera” (needless to say, friend no more), the final blow came from none other than my mom. telling me a mere 6 weeks after in the midst of my rage and pain.. when I reached out to her and asked why she hadn’t called me.. she said “It hadn’t occurred to her to call me” Really? MOM??
4 years feels like forever ago and seconds ago.
Yes, death.. changed me.
In it I learned so much about myself . I was always that girl.. the yes girl, the take care of everyone else girl. Never asking for anything for myself girl.
In the days following so much loss… I had to learn how to love me.. care for me. I had to learn how to be gentle with myself in the midst of the chaos of grief without being chaotic.
I had to be willing to let go of “friendships” that neither built up or encouraged but only took.
I had to accept that I was worthy of love especially when I was ooozing pain.. even if the ones in my life at that time could not or would not love and accept me.
Today, the circle is small.. tiny. very few that I hold close.. but the ones that I do? they love me. deeply. My pain and grief is neither shocking nor appalling.. I am accepted right where I am.
IT is because of spaces like this, heart like yours Megan that I began to seek connection, a depth and finding acceptance that this my shattered heart has begun to be knit together. The holes that are there? well, I like to believe that they are there for each of us to let more light in. Thanks for giving us.. giving me the space to share.
Regina Rosenzweig says
Your articles and sharing have helped me tremendously. I am the “friend” of someone who tragically lost her seven year old. We were acquaintances but when she lost her son, I was drawn in to be there for her. The first years she was vulnerable and open but now she is closed and distant. I try hard to not take it personally and then I read your posts and I am inspired to keep loving her. I am not sure we would have ever been friends but I have been compelled to open my heart to her. This couple have become our dear friends and watching them through their process has actually been a privilege. I have learned so much about compassion, love and true friendship. Thank you for sharing. My young 23 year old daughter is the one who found your website. Thank you so much.
Grief has really shaken a lot of my friendships. I was just connecting with some new people, literally days before my mom died, and then I disappeared. And it’s taken almost 10 months to start the connecting process over again with just one of those people. I became flaky and unreliable, which is the complete opposite of me. And now, not that I’m “better,” but feeling like less of a bottomless pit and looking for my friends again, friends I’ve had for years flake on me. One “friend” I hadn’t spoken to in a year came to my mom’s funeral, and then was mad at me afterwards when I didn’t tell her what she could do to help me in the days afterwards. I told her I could probably use a friend to go out with, or drink with, or talk with at some point, but in the first few weeks, I was a walking zombie, going through the motions of life. I didn’t know how to answer the question “What do you need?” because the answer “My mom not to be dead,” apparently wasn’t the right answer. I wanted her and everyone else to offer something to me – “Hey, let’s go out after work,” or “I’m coming over with a bottle of wine,” but apparently it was my job to reach out to her and others in my time of need, and I failed. As a result, I feel very much alone and isolated from people I was considered “close” friends.
I find it really hard that a lot of people seem to expect me to give them guidance on how to deal with me.
I don’t know how to help them, and I feel it’s not my job to help them.
And even if it was my job; I can’t do it. I don’t have the energy to help them help me.
It’s such a relief to be able to say these things ‘out loud’ somewhere, even though i do still feel ‘guilty’ for not being simply grateful they want to help me in the first place.
Felicity Dark says
You said it, “i don’t have the enegy to help them help me”. I have found unexpected friends & reinforced old friends, the old friends are the best. I’ve been hurt & confused by others. Most, except 1 or 2 are distant & i can call. I realise I’m lucky, I feel more peaceful now but realise how we have lost valuable social rituals around death that would help us to connect… Socially, communally & personally. We need to express our pain, celebrate the lost one, express the tragedy & joy of existence but our society is in denial about Death.
This was helpful to me… Grief is not too popular… Neither is withdrawing… And i have found no friends able to go there. None. It is a very lonely experience. Thanks for sharing.
sheila rose says
can you please send me the post about carrying the backpack…with all the painful things sticking out…and how we need to learn to carry it ourselves. I am co-facilitating a spouse loss group and I want to share that very poignant post with them.
I lost my husband Ron two years ago in June…you have helped me so much!
sure, sheila. I was going to repost that next week!
may I have that quote please?
This article really spoke to me 7 months after the sudden passing of my dad. It seems those who i had known for less time or not as close with have before have stepped forward and been there for me. Able to witness my pain and do, not just say. The slightest indication I am down and they are there for a talk, walk or coffee. Dads family are closer to me than ever before. I love that they share their stories and pain openly. But those who i thought were closest, who would really be there, aren’t. They can’t or dont want to see my pain so they dont let me talk about dad. Focus on themselves and then wonder why i dont respond to their texts or calls. So i open up about my pain to try to explain and i dont get a response. Its hard and it makes me angry. My life didn’t go back to normal after the funeral like theirs did.
My experience has been that some fall away but others you never expect to step up. As if the Universe fills a void for us. Our best friends disappeared when my husband’s cancer came back with a vengeance. I told them he was terminal and they said I had no business saying such awful things. Our truth apparently offended them. The husband threatened to tell Tom what I had said. As if Tom and I weren’t having that conversation. 40 years of friendship. It still hurts. When Tom died, they emailed that they didn’t know how they were going to cope without him – such a long friendship – yadda yadda – they were MIA the entire time I needed them. But…there were others who stepped up and still stand beside me and I am so thankful for them. Some people cannot stand in the storm. We have to let them walk away.
Erna Stassen says
Thanks Megan, this hits a sore spot with me too. I don’t know if it’s just me, expecting way too much from other people, or if they just don’t know what to say, or do and simply give up when I don’t comply with their kind of ‘support’. I don’t have the energy or the desire to reach out. I don’t know where everybody went. I feel so lonely. Days go by that I don’t speak to another person. The consequence is that I am lonely, angry, sad, resentful ( not all the time). Not very promising for maintaining or starting friendships. My family just tells me they are so glad that I am doing so well. I don’t know why they think that, but who am I to change their mind as they don’t want to hear my side of it.
Dealing with loss is unique for every one, and it takes courage and unconditional love to support some one who has lost a loved one. That is a lot to ask for, to let go of all judgment, to let go of all fear around death and losing some one dear and near, and to be willing to be vulnerable enough to say I don’t no what to say or do, and I am scared but here I am. I understand that my family wants me to be okay, but saying it doesn’t make it so. I find it harder now, two years after I lost my partner. It is a very lonely journey indeed. Your writing is very raw and honest, which helps a lot of people because by doing that you give us permission to feel and express that what we were afraid to admit and express. So thank you for giving the space to feel and express what is real at the present moment. It can be such a relief…..
I have to concur with all of the comments that have been made since the sudden and tragic death of my Son.. 31and 1/2 years young;((.
He died by Homicide while serving his country up in Ct.. Stationed at Groton Submarine base..it is mind boggling to deal with this horrific and painful loss in and of itself and then your entire family disappears and abandons me and my husband within the 1st year of mourning..
The secondary losses compound the worst loss and I literally found myself thinking I was going insane.. A few dear friends stuck by me while most disappeared as well.. If not for my husband and grief counseling I would have been buried next to my Son a long time ago..July 1st will be 7 years I had to say goodbye to my only child..the people who have hung in there all of these years are my angels ..
But I have spent most of my days alone and even when others are present, I feel alone in my grief and am so sad.. I don’t know who I am anymore..I just want my Son back.. I would trade everything I own for my child to be alive…FUBAR !
Tracey Gordon says
Its amazing how many people say if there’s anything I can do, just let me know if you need anything blah blah blah then you never hear or see them again. It’s definitely true that a crisis separates the genuine from the fake
Thank you so much Megan for opening up your pain and touching so many.
I am blessed to have my husband but know so many who face life without there’s and I’m sorry for that pain which must be overwhelming.
I lost dad in 2008, then on Valentine’s Day 2013 my healthy fit mum (my only parent) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, given 3-6 months, my whole world changed overnight. I told two friends only who both said ‘I’m here if you need me’ (what part of my mum dying means I don’t need you now and as we know we don’t know what we need apart from someone to stop it all). Mum died in three months, her destruction was shocking, it was total complete hell, awful. She cried for the first time ever to say goodbye.
I was 39. Vulnerable, isolated, alone.
I felt let down by my friends, I then dealt with the funeral, estate, clearing treasured goods, and then my cat got poorly having to be put to sleep (he meant the world to me). Inbetween this I got married, very small wedding and it was only booked in the hope mum would hang on (she had died three months earlier).
My friends were nowhere.
Then after the house completed I stopped (this was late October), first time since February and it hit me, I was diagnosed with PTSD and sleeping tablets, I didn’t want to live. My ‘friends’ said at that point ‘you can’t say it’s been a bad year because you got married’. One day in a year of hell.
That was the end of our friendship, I quietly backed away and I’ve never looked back.
I’m sorry for the long post, it’s lovely to be able to share.
Hugs to all xx
I am just reading this many years later. I hope this finds you healing. Your story breaks my heart. I am finding some comfort on this site and I appreciate your article, Megan. I have been through continuous tornado of loss and it’s sad to see I am not alone ont his site. Bless all your souls.
I lost my daughter two years ago, aged 40, my youngest. Gradually over two years friends just seem to have vanished, some there in the beginning wanting to know all details, now don’t hear from them. Suppose l am lonely but don’t have the energy to seek them out again. I am hurt about it, but l don’t think they realise l will never get over the death of my child, even though she was a grown woman .
My middle-aged nieces couldn’t handle my pain, with one telling me on New Year’s Eve – 6 weeks after my partner of nine years (who was/still is the love of my life), died unexpectedly – that I was crying too much over facing a new year, and the rest of my life, without him. So, she said she was going to call the authorities to put me on a psychiatric hold for the night. Seriously? I guess I wasn’t allowed to cry in her world. Her sister also told me to chill… that she didn’t have a date for New Year’s Eve either. Clearly neither of them were going to help me through this anguish.
My beau’s best friends were his ex-wife’s brothers, who have been supportive, but they’re not exactly family. And many of the folks around town that knew him, because he grew up here, no longer seem to know me without him by my side, even though I certainly know them. So, this makes me feel very lonely as I’m shut out of relationships, close and casual, that I’m no longer a part of without my beloved.
But I have been blessed by my old friends, who have been with me every step of the way, and some new ones who saw my pain and wanted to help. I’m learning who the “safe” people are, the ones full of love and compassion, vs. the toxic ones who can’t see past the nose on their own face. I hope this devastating loss (and I am still utterly lost and shattered) will at least make me into one of the kind people who can reach out to help a friend in need someday.
It seems a lot of my friends have simply taken a step back; waiting for me . For what though? For me to get back to ‘normal’? For me to give them instructions on how to deal with me?
It’s exhausting, drives me insane. I need people but I don’t want all these complications, and I don’t have enough room to deal with all their akwardness on top of my own grief.
So perhaps the distancing is the only sensible option.
I want my love back
I want my love back,
And my mom!
And my baby brother,…
…some grief places are telling me to fortify my other relationships but,…
There are 3 more ppl in my life close to going, too,..
…kinda just dont want to be close and dont want to talk about it,…dont want to be mad, sad, lonely,…
…I want my love back who I thought was my soulmate…
Maybe just kidding myself!
I will never be the same and dont want to be. I dont have energy for others…..I’m sorry. To those who are hurting here,..
Hugggggs and love
We are changed.
Patricia Constantinou says
Monday to Friday friendships
Has grief ended my friendships?
Yes – and no…
My husband and my soulmate died four years ago.
I’m not sure if my own grief has ended friendships or if has it revealed a very few, and I mean two or three, true friends to me? I’m trying desperately to be positive and choose the latter. I know I’m angry and cynical but perhaps I’m seeing for the first time that friendship can be a shallow concept.
There are friends who want to make everything all right again (bless them – it won’t happen, as much as they want it)…
There are ‘friends’ who change the subject, if I mention my husband in conversation , which makes me ‘clam up’ and try to make it all right again for them…I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable!
There are ‘friends’ who can only meet Monday – Friday for coffee because weekends are for ‘family time’… This, I find is very painful. I function Monday to Friday at work and don’t speak to anyone – apart from shop assistants – over the weekends, if I can be bothered to go out.
After 4 years, I’m faced again with the reality of ‘friendship’ and that includes close family members. I won’t say more about that simply because I don’t want you to have to listen to a rant.
Enough to say that time passes for everyone else? Not for us.
We had a small wedding 15 years ago but the ‘close friends and family members’ who attended have put it behind them now.
This has all been highlighted because my husband’s sister has been in touch faithfully on almost a daily basis. She doesn’t speak English but she calls every day to say ‘I love you’! (I’m living in a country away from home).
You so rightly say ‘I’m tired of the effort of interaction’. I’ve tried to support friends, who have since been bereaved themselves, but that can be a one-way process: they have sons, daughters or partners still who ‘keep them going’, as they tell me.
I have no-one , since my husband died.
I feel lonely, isolated and, yes, bitter. What can I do?
Sometimes, I try to be pro-active and try to arrange to meet up with ‘friends’. I tried again this holiday weekend only to be met with the response ‘Sorry, have family coming, but let’s meet up during the week’… Monday to Friday…
Sue Barthel says
I, too, am alone. You are spot on. I lost my husband 4 years ago and I feel I have no one to talk to. A friend of 40 years does not understand what I am going through nor does she want to. She just wants ME back. How can you have ME back when I am missing a huge part of me?
I too, am told that weekends are for ‘family’. That slices me again and again because I feel so isolated. My husband was my family. I have no one else. It brings home the fact that I have no one now. I am not the person I used to be. I am so angry, bitter all the time. I don’t think I can get through this
I had a terrible ending of a ‘ friendship’ 7 months after my husband suddenly dropped dead. She sent me a reprimanding, shaming email, after I didn’t show up to a dinner at a restaurant she had arranged with her friends. I called and said I couldn’t make it. I was depressed and weak and couldn’t do social things without feeling deep pain. She told me I had to get my act together, and various other things about how I was supposed to behave. Her words were forceful and biting. Almost casually cold. It was the biggest shock save for losing my love and partner. It hurt me deeply. I tried to explain to her how hard things were for me, how hard her email was, and she continued to press me and argue and defend herself and make her same points. The friendship didn’t continue and it took me nearly 2 years to deal with the sharp pain of her rejections and lack of empathy. She had been an important friend since I was in another country and didn’t have many. I’ve never understood how someone could behave the way she did. Sometimes I see her on the street and she treats me coldly. I think you learn a lot about how a person deals with another’s suffering. How generous, kind and wise they are, or are not. The friends that have become closer, are the ones who just can be, not having to do anything except relax and let things evolve. The ones who listen and are gentle and simple. How tender that support has been.
Joan Herwig says
Thank you for posting this very honest declaration of how you were feeling. I can resonate so clearly with this especially right now so I found this to be very helpful and validating of my own frustration. I am always told to lean on my loved ones that are still alive and that will give me strength and purpose to get through this – trouble is, I have no loved ones, no family, no close friends. My loved one/partner and best friend is dead. It is just assumed that I have other family or loved ones but I do not. Even the good friends that I thought would be there for me have just disappeared because the husband hasn’t even been able to say, “Sorry for your loss” or mention my loved one’s name when I saw them of the first time after her death. Now 4 months have gone by and they haven’t even called.
You’re so right…in 9 months my address book has changed so much. I have so many new friends; who truly and deeply care and I am so grateful for them.
I have old friends; the before friends, who are no longer friends, in the true sense of the word. Because if you cannot find the courage to acknowledge my daughter, despite the fact that you knew her so well…if you can sit at a table and speak of your own children but not acknowledge my daughter, then you are no longer a ‘friend of mine’.
Every day I find the courage to SURVIVE. All you need to do is find the courage to say her name and ask me, meaningfully, how I am, knowing that the answer will not be one you want to hear!
I totally understand what you are saying. My older daughter who was 39, died suddenly due to hyperthermia due to alcoholism. Even though most of my friends had never met her, I still expected to receive some kind of message of sympathy; one sent a text, that’s it. And these were people who I spent a lot of time having fun on the weekends, doing things. I also have 2 nieces who I was very close with who never acknowledged she had died, and she was their cousin.
I have nothing to do with any of them. If they can’t acknowledge my daughter’s life and her horrible death, and the fact that I lost my daughter, then screw them. I don’t want to have any contact with them. Is that wrong?
No it isn’t wrong to feel like that-it’s a very human need, to have your indescribable pain acknowledged.
My partners death was sudden & traumatic(due to alcohol abuse) & my relationship with my siblings is forever changed as I feel that anyone who could treat me with deliberate callousness when I was unable to function, must be deficient in normal human compassion.
This is so raw for you- there is nothing “wrong” with how you feel.x
Yes, I feel the way you once felt. And I have lost friends – those I have not been able to contact. Manygfriends have not reached out to me after an initial sympathy card in the first days, and I just don’t know if I can be safe with them now. I lost my mother-in-law after an outburst on my part in a text message to her, I was hurting and lost and angry – she blocked my phone number.
I got a total of 2 cards. People don’t even go to that length anymore.
My brother committed suicide recently and I would love nothing more than to run away to a monastery and never speak to another human again for the rest of my life. But I can’t as I have a 12 year old orphan to look after now and my husband and elderly mum. I crave escape from any human interaction.
Andrea Allen says
From my experience I found the repeated loss of friendships hard to cope with. Friends would step forward & help for a few months or a year and then disappear only to pop up a year later & say they’d been thinking of me. That was of no help at all. This continued ebbing & flowing of support was hard to anticipate as I would begin to trust people & feel they understood my story & my pain and then swoosh, they were gone. Now 4 years later I expect nothing of anyone & find I’ve become numb & uncaring to anyone’s advances. I’m sure I’m trying to protect myself from future pain & disappointment. This grief shit doesn’t provide anything of value in my life and is a total waste of these past few years. Thanks for listening to my whinging.
Linda Kidd says
It’s 4 months since my 25 yr old son took his own life. I thought I knew grief. My Mum died suddenly at 52, two days before my son was born. 25 years ago now. My ex-husband took his own life nearly 10 years ago three days before my son’s 16th Birthday and 12 months later my Dad lost his battle with Cancer. I thought I knew grief and then Dan died.
Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate being able to read about an experience that I have not lived myself. It provides an important perspective for the ‘outsider’. I am coming from the ‘friend’ side of the story. I am just curious about being a supportive friend through grief. I have a couple of friends who have suffered great losses and I want to be there for them in any way possible – but also give them the space they need to get through each day with our their loved ones. But how I can be supportive and involved without being pushy, suffocating or clingy? I worry sometimes that being there is too much, can be overwhelming when my friends may need time to reflect and be alone. I am accepting of this but also want to be connected, I value the friendships so much, I want them to evolve, rather than dissolve… any advice on relationships that have endured during times of loss? Thank you, all of you for sharing your stories and perspectives.
Sigrid Vira says
You sound like a wonderful friend. I’m sure you are doing well. Just be there. Friends, that weren’t even our best friends, just came over to sit with us In The days after we lost our son. They understood that there is nothing that can make things better. But their presence meant so much.
We are only two months into our grieving….and like others have already lost friends…..and perhaps, they never really were friends. It’s hard to not only to lose a loved one, but to then realize harshly that your “ friends” really don’t care, is unbearable and feels cruel.
The kindest things people have done is to just send cards or texts letting us know they are thinking of us. We have heard from people we don’t even, or probably never will know. A hug in the grocery store – a phone message mentioning our sons’ infectious smile and laugh, a sweet story including him….those things are worth gold! It’s not the time for advice or admonishments or trying to “fix” things. You can’t make us feel better….no one can…..just be with us and share our loss.
Your sensitivity and willingness are admirable. Your friends are lucky indeed!
If only those of us grieving were all blessed with such a friend!
To be alone, and feel so alone while grievingmy brother is the most emotionally exhausting year of my life. To me, the most harmful things that have been done to me is to simply not acknowledge my pain and loss. To not check in, to not care enough, to leave me with my grief. I have friends who didn’t even call or message when Tommy died. Their comfort being more important than stepping out of their comfort zone to offer a hand, a shoulder.
Acknowledging that their lives have changed, that they are in grief, and that it’s ok, expected! This is the most helpful, and gives those of us who are grieving the loss of a loved one the right to continue to struggle through this.
People who have never experienced grief and loss think that this is a mindset, that we choose to stay in grief. No one wants to be here, it is the worst of places to be, deep in grief. Just be supportive, and reach out, and you will be doing so much!
What a beautiful human being you are. They are lucky to have you. ❤️❤️
Mary Ann says
I just found this site and came across this post. It truly resonates to me. My husband died 9 month ago. My best friend quit talking to me 2 months ago because I don’t reach out to her. Her posts on FB are about how it takes two people to make a frindship work, how each party has to participate, how it is not fair when only one person is reaching out. My husband died and she can’t understand why I can’t function?
It makes me so angry that she thinks this is about her. This is about being in the darkest place I have ever been in in my life.
So now I not only grieve the loss of my heart and soul but the loss of my friend. This shit stinks.
Sigrid Vira says
I hear you. Our best friends of 43 years have been sorry , but “so busy with the grandkids” that they have been unable to even telephone us since the sudden death of our 34 year old son a few months ago. While we live 12 hours apart, they would have come to our sons’ memorial “if they didn’t already have plans for that weekend”— Hell! I think we all had plans for that weekend—— including my deceased son! Their text hurt me so deeply, and I told them. Now two months later, we have heard nothing more from them. They sent a donation in his name to an organization we specified in the obit…..and I wrote a thank you, but had a hard time not saying “do you think throwing a few dollars at us will make everything better?” I think they need to be out of our life…..43 years…….
This is GREAT ! My husband died 4 months ago, and I’m feeling a bit uneasy now with being myself. I lost my best friend; probably really the only person in the world who loved me for who I am… who loved me in spite of who I am. He accepted my forward nature, as I did his. He took the lead around people, because I don’t really like them. But I liked him; I loved him. Now I feel like if I have any chance of connecting with people, I have to change who I pretend to be. I’ll never be a different person, but I better learn to play a part, or I’m going to be alone. UNLESS… maybe I could get imaginary friends. That’s an idea! Thanks for this post.
Imaginary friends are sometimes the best. <3
I lost my mom in February, 2018 and I lost my baby boy in November, 2018. My baby was stillborn and he was a full term baby. For my mom, she was oversea and my friends didn’t change their behaviors. For my son it was completely different! During the first couple weeks after losing him, people were supportive but after that I didn’t know where everyone went to. I just found myself alone like that until today! One of my so called friend sent an invitation to me asking to participate in the baby shower of her daughter in law. She never asked me if I was ok to go. She never asked me how I was feeling! She just sent it without any accompanying word! I didn’t know why she was inviting me like that. May be she wanted me to pay her back what she bought during my son’s baby shower. She never talk to me this whole time. I just bought a gift and sent it to her but I didn’t go. I realize that during my grief, I am lonely and I don’t want these so-called friends in my life anymore! I will love to have new friends for now because that what I think will be part of my healing. Loneliness is really and very painful during a sad time of grief!
ABeautiful Mess says
So what to do? Everyday Im feeling like I cant even look at my friend without being angry at the universe for taking her mother away! Nobody deserves this! How can I not take it personal when my best friend loses her mom and her world comes crashing down?! I was there! I held her down during this devastation but when do I grieve? What about how hurt I am about her being hurt? Im angry! Im sad and Im so terribly sorry! You guys are right I CANT TAKE IT! but how can I? I totally understand where you guys are coming from but its hard to see your close friend deal with death. I remember not wanting to talk about my mom around her so she wouldn’t be reminded of not having hers. 🙁 Its hard especially for someone who has never dealt with such a pain that death comes with. We were getting through it together but, somewhere drifted apart.. and I think about her everyday! I see her with her “new friends” and im happy for her to have people that “can take it” but I just don’t believe they can relate to what we’ve been through, which is why its so easy for them to be there…. I dont want to waste anymore time but hopefully with time our friendship restores. Am I selfish? Am I a horrible friend for not having the words? Am I wrong for taking her negligence towards me personal?What happen to us? Is It Me? Should I remain silent or should I speak? Did death kill us? Im speechless literally. help
The “Circle of Grief/Ring Theory” has helped me sort out this confusion when faced with such a situation. Hopefully you will find it helpful. This is a difficult position to be in. I understand.
Sam R says
Thank you for your post Megan, it really resonated closely. I lost my mother very suddenly and unexpectedly eight months ago. It’s only now that I’m slowly opening my eyes to which of my friends were really there for me and which not. I have been that person – when a close friend of mine lost her parent ten years ago, I didn’t know what to say or do. And now I know how awful that must have been for her. A friend I considered dear to me that I had supported through every life stage – engagement, wedding, kids – could muster only a “stay strong” while a friend of 20 years kept announcing she would call me and yet never did. Is it just me or does your capacity for BS/flakiness just go down dramatically when you’ve experienced such a deep loss?
it definitely goes down!!
Thank you for your incredibly honest post. It’s 16 months since my husband of 36 years passed away. I noticed right after his celebration of life that our friends vanished. I reached out a few times saying how much I missed them and they just quit calling and never came by. I have spent so much time wondering – waking in the middle of the night asking myself and God what I did to them. I talk to my husband and beg him to come back. Somehow. The disappointment of being dropped by people I thought were like family is almost too much to handle. It’s hard lesson to learn. His family doesn’t keep in touch at all. I tell myself I need to move away someplace far away and become Me again whoever that is.
This is spot on. I continuously ask myself that elusive “why?”. To fully understand my situation you must know the back story. When I was 21 years old I fell so hard and fast for a man who was the world to me. We had our ups and downs like anyone else but we loved each other so fearlessly, as if nothing could ever rip that love away. We shared so many life experiences the best being our daughter who is now five years old and such a blessed mixture of the both of us. Now here I am at 32 and he has been gone almost a year. I moved on pretty quickly after his departure. It wasn’t that I didn’t still grieve, because I still do, but because I was slipping into someone I didn’t want to be or someone my daughter didn’t need me to be. I was slipping into that treacherous depression that grips your very soul. A man who had been a friend of mine for many years helped me find the first step to getting out of that grief. Call me what you will but just shy of two months of the death of the man I loved, the father of my child, I was starting a new relationship with the only person who could seem to make me smile again. And please don’t think me a bad mother but when I looked at her I just saw him and it hurt me more. I love my daughter more than I love anyone on this earth and I would move mountains for her but it was my now fiancée that pulled me from the brink of losing all grip on reality. Before I had gotten with him I had so many people I always thought would be there for me in my corner, or so I thought. Come to find out once I chose to move forward in life and live again, like I knew he would have wanted, I was shunned by almost everyone. I have lost friendships that were decades long. Friendships that stemmed from childhood these are the same friends that I introduced him too. If it weren’t for me would they have ever known him? Maybe but that’s beside the point. I watch them act like they cared when in all actuality weren’t there for him in the ten years we were together. But I feel like everyone in this whole town thinks of me as the person who didn’t care. It’s taken some time and it still nags at me occasionally, for when I’m invited to the kids birthday party and I feel I have to stay on guard or when I can’t go to one of my favorite restaurants because this friend who hates me now (even to the extent of telling my mother this) hates me now, but I have learned to live with it. I now stay to myself and don’t venture out much. I surround myself and immerse myself in family. I could go on and on and on about this but hey what does it change? Nothing, it changes nothing…. he’s still gone, they have shown me their true colors and I’m just over here trying to make the best out of this life.
Hi Ginny. I’m so happy for you and glad you’re taking care of yourself and loving life. I think a lot about my own life being single now and how odd it is to me. I’ve never lived alone since I left home at 17. Now I am alone and there is no one to come home to and no one to share life with. We aren’t supposed to live like this.
Hold your head high and Live and Love. Forget cruel people who haven’t got a clue how you can grieve and move on at the same time and choose to Live. Xoxo
This explains exactly how I feel right now. I lost the love of my life to suicide about 4 months ago and my life has been turned upside down. I feel very much alone in my grief. I understand that being around me a lot can be difficult for many, so I try to limit the amount of time I spend with each friend or family member. Some people that I never expected to, have stepped up while others disappeared after the first couple of weeks.
But the one that hurt the most was a friend for whom I had been there so many times during so many self-inflicted dramas (things that go against my personal values…. such as sleeping with married men). She decided to come to the service and acted like she knew him very well…. but she didn’t. She spent the whole time telling me how every guy was checking her out or hitting on her. Later on, when I was trying to talk to my love’s best friend, she would monopolize the conversation and turn it all about her. Some of the stories were so unappropriate and it was very obvious that she was into him. A few weeks later, she told me that I should tell him to break up with his girlfriend because it was obvious he was into her. At that point I had had enough. I decided to stop talking to her about anything emotional and related to my grief. I kept the little bits of conversations about non-important stuff. I wondered why she had even come to the service and another friend told me that sometimes people participate just so that they can be part of the drama and have a story to tell others. That made so much sense to me…. because at the service, she posted on FB that she was mourning my boyfriend just so that she would get all the sympathy. BUT SHE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HIM!
And to make things worse, a couple of weeks ago, she unfriendly me on FB then decided to send me a text message telling me that “She couldn’t handle it anymore and that she had her own issues to deal with…. and that she only wanted to surround herself with positive people.” She said I had problems and that she hoped I got help for it. I can’t say that I miss the friendship, but the thought that after all the stuff that happened, she thought that my grief was too negative for her is absurd. It was not about her anymore and she couldn’t accept it. Anyways…. thankfully I have loving and genuine friends…. for whom I am so grateful to have.
Last week I lost my third and last sibling, within 6 years. My brother and sister were both 50 when they passed, and my last brother was 55…all died suddenly. Within those 6 years, I have also lost my mother-in-law, 2 Aunts and my husbands cousin, her husband and two children. The grief and heartache just seems to be never ending. I posted about my loss on Facebook, and got tons of responses, but hardly anyone has taken the time to call me, send cards or even just send a personal note. I am hurt beyond words, as I am always the one that helps others in their time of need. Sometime’s I find strangers to be the most supportive/empathetic ones out there. Don’t get me wrong, I do have certain friends that are always there for me, but there are also a lot that should be stepping up to the plate, but don’t. It hurts in a time when I need no more hurt. Prayers for all that have visited this site🙏🏻
I am so encouraged to find all of your stories today. I’m sorry that this is really a thing that happens and we can treat one another better. I lost my husband last July and with that, my whole life it seems. The phone doesn’t ring except for my daughter calling to say hi. My husband and I had many people in our lives I thought were friends. None of them call me anymore. They were so kind acting at his memorial and a few times I even reached out to them.. But they don’t call me so I don’t make the calls anymore. I cry and look up and talk to my husband and scream “it’s not like we thought it would be!” I mean we never really discussed life after because we both held on to all the clinical trial torture nonsense he was getting and dreams of finally getting the cure. But I know he felt I’d be ok-I’d be looked after by our “friends”. His family doesn’t want to come to the house to say hi when they come to town from Oregon. It’s too painful to come inside says his Mom. Well it’s painful for me too but I Live here! Total strangers are more kind than anyone to me now. The loneliness and being here in this house without him is horrible but being discarded by people makes it so much harder.
Pam Baldwin says
I’m so very sorry, Laraine. I really hope things have improved for you since you posted this. I had a loss last week–my best friend, but I cannot imagine the grief of losing my spouse. I have nightmares about that, but you’re living through the nightmare. I was feeling upset with my other friends for not being there, but my husband shared this article he found and it does sort of explain why this happens. I hope it helps. http://kristiewest.com/2011/02/10/why-not-everyone-will-be-there-for-you-when-youre-grieving-or-now-i-know-who-my-real-friends-are/
Today is 9 months since I lost my partner of 14yrs to a shocking infection leaving me alone with my 10yr old son. I have been better than I have since Xmas until recently a friend has turned her back on me after I let her in more than most – I let her into his room to say goodbye. All of a sudden I get the silent treatment. I regret letting her in, being there when she didn’t deserve it. To be told I make everything about me, that I am selfish and that I don’t care about her feelings has hurt me. Right now I have my life, my sons life, his loved ones lives to think about as well. I don’t feel guilty for that.
I can’t fix her problems and I have done what I can whilst trying to navigate this minefield that is the loss of the love of my life. I am lucky enough to have other good friends but this experience has taught me a lot. I hope they never have to experience what I have. Greif is personal, there’s no time frame on it. Just be honest with each other from the start and hopefully it works out the right way. God bless to those who need it x
Amy Foster says
My best friend just totally turned on me . She had always promised to be there no matter what when the worse came to pass. My two oldest boys have muscular dystrophy have lived longer than expected. The younger son passed away a year ago in May. And our friendship went downhill from there . She has two little girls I have been there for them since they were born they are like my own kids I love them unconditionally. But they were taken away when my friend decided she couldn’t handle my moods and the different person I became after my sons death. Now not only grieving my sons but two little girls who are innocent and don’t understand why they can’t see me
This article and the many comments have been so helpful. I lost my Dad to esophageal cancer. My Mom had passed years earlier from lymphoma. A dear, close friend dropped me not long after Dad’s diagnosis. She still had her parents and apparently my situation hit her too close to home. Not long after Dad’s death, my brother, an attorney, was wrongfully indicted, convicted and incarcerated by corrupt federal prosecutors for mortgage fraud, a crime he did not commit. Words cannot describe the grief of seeing an innocent loved one in shackles, and visiting him in prison. You really find out who your friends are when life kicks you in the teeth. I take no one for granted, and practicing kindness is my mantra. God bless you all.
My partner of 41 years died April 17, 2018. She suffered 21 years with cancer. She lost the ability to speak , eat & suffered from chronic pain. Her family consisted of her 3 sisters. They we’re truly evil & selfish people. I did all I could to make life easier for my partner, and they just made my life miserable up until my partners last breath. I’m very sad & lonely for my true love… I hope God will take care of her now & forever. I go everyday to the cemetery. I still feel like I’m ke she still needs me.
Deb Avery says
Thank you for your blog. I just ended an 18 yr friendship with my best friend. My brother passed away on May 31 2018 and she just has not been there for me. In fact, she has been very antagonistic when she has been present, or else she has just not been around. It makes me very sad, because now I have 2 losses to deal with. But her lack of caring was preventing me from healing, so I had to end it in order to move on.
Thanks for your words. My husband died last year, he was my best friend. My other friends fell away very quickly after the funeral. It hurt me, but now, I will reinvent myself, free from the shackles of the past, and I know that I will find my new tribe, in time.
Thank you for the honesty of this message! This is the stage that my heart lies at this point.
My Brother Tommy was killed a year ago, on the 9th of August. He and I were adopted together, and our only blood we knew. As close as siblings could possibly be. Between a tumultuous relationship with his wife who actively ostracized me, siblings who seem to not care, and not a single friend who called or messaged on the anniversary of his death. My heart is filled with a bitter anger that I am unable to shake.
The platitudes that come, about people not knowing what to say, or giving me space, are falling on deaf ears. The hurt that has stemmed from the message I’ve gathered. That Tommy’s death doesn’t matter, that my grief is of no importance, is ripping an even deeper tear in my already fragile friendships.
I don’t know how to respond with any understanding or compassion, when my own heart is so shattered, and every inaction on a friends part is another blow. How does one confront a friend about this? How does a friendship survive such a seemingly cruel action?
I understand that my perception are my own, and my heart may feel slights that are not as they seem to me. But the weak excuse that people ‘don’t know what to say’, or ‘don’t know how to reach out’….these excuses do nothing to placate a broken heart, and only serve to hurt me even more.
Wanda L Harper says
Yes, thank you for your honesty. I’m started on the other end of the spectrum, when the love of my life lost his mom. I could feel the pain thru his eyes, knew I could lose him. I was at loss for words. I started reading all these articles on how to help your friend in grieving. I think the all the different advice probably made it worse, along with being in a long distance relationship. I was there in the last stage of her sickness and funeral and then he flew back west coast afterward. He said walking into his apartment is when it hit him and he needed space to forgive him if he was quiet. I told him I understood and I was here when he was ready. I just wanted to be able to sit beside him and not say anything, yet I was now 3000 miles away. So I, much to my regret, tried to get him to open up to me (looking back) in wrong ways. I couldn’t see Him and I worried. I don’t even know if this is ever forgiveable. Ten months later I lost my dad in the same year. With all we had been through together, he was the first one I told (other than family members) he simply text back “Condolences to you & yr family, may he rest in peace” & no more. It felt so cold & cordial. Reading how you felt raw is so understandable (& I don’t even know you). I’m sure I too, must’ve said something that cut him somewhere when the void was the darkest. Nonetheless, we were actually a couple before this took place, and his parents loved me, esp his dad. I just learned tonight through his fb public post that his dad died a few hours ago (been 2 yrs since his Mom’s passing). I feel incredibly sadden to read that. Yet since there is still this wedge between us that is just ackward now. He knew his dad thought a lot of me, I often checked on him. Still I have not learned this from a personal call. Honestly I’m feeling lost and don’t know how to personally pay my respects or if I am even welcomed at this funeral due to unresolved issues. This is painful at this very moment and definitely fresh and raw.
Lawrence C. says
Thank you for your post and the opportunity to post. I am in the midst of my grief and anger now. My friend, fellow cancer patient , and coworker just passed away on 7-25-18. He had Esophageal Cancer that metastasized to his lungs along with a huge blood clot. He just couldn’t breathe any longer without assistance. The morning of that day, he made his own decision to die under hospice care while still in the hospital. I have only known him for 10 months. We met through his long-term sub who is also a cancer patient and we were all starting treatments last October. He and I immediately bonded and hung out to support each other and vent. The week after his death leading up to his funeral, I discovered that the reason everyone seems to be worried about how I am holding up is because they assumed that we were in a relationship and that is why we hung out. Many of these same people didn’t even attend his funeral held near the school we teach at, nor did they attend they graveside service in his hometown, 2 hours away. It is truly amazing that the time you spend with a friend who is basically dying of his cancer is misinterpreted as a fucking relationship. Now all these coworkers are making crazy efforts to explain why they didn’t attend the funeral as if I should absolve them of something. I even had one of his closer mutual friends ask me how he can repair our friendship without an explanation of what happened to it in the first place. This is someone who I sent a text to about 2 weeks before our friend passed to encourage him to visit because I knew time was precious. Another one of his closer friends asked me how was the service and just went on rambling about how he didn’t know it was so serious. I have never seen so many people rationalizing an excuse for not attending. Everyday or every other day, I hear the same craziness from someone knew. These are people who have known him for 5 plus years compared to my 10 months. Now the official word is that I need counseling because I seem like I’m depressed over his death. Hearing the original rumor has destroyed my respect for folks and driven my grief into total secrecy. I am so emotionally fucked up over this. I am so angry and I barely speak to people at work beyond the usual communication for students’ sake. There were so many people on my Facebook page thanking me for being his friend and swearing they were going to attend the funeral. So much BS talk about how they are missing him and not one of these people showed at the funeral. When people ask me how am I holding up, I have to wonder if they asking because they actually thought that we were in a relationship. I know they don’t actually care. I never thought that my grief would be diminished by crazy rhetoric and gossip. I am already grieving the murder of my best friend 2 years ago 8-5-16. She was also a teacher at the same school. I have no family and my circle of friends is no more. I think I was already a textbook definition of depression and now this. It’s become too painful to grieve for either of them. I don’t care if people are uncomfortable with this new me. I can never go back to how I was before this. I have been that “I’m okay” person for way too long. I will just have to get used to living without those who never seem to understand. I thought these folks were his friends. Those who have know him 10 times longer than I have. So many insensitive folks who have no idea what cancer treatments do to your body and your mind. They have no idea about the connection and bond between fellow cancer patients. There is so much recovery after the recovery. It’s mind boggling to know that people just want you to get over things because they have. There is so much survivor’s guilt after a fellow cancer patient has passed. I wish I could have done more to help him survive. I wish I could have been there when my friend needed saving from her 19 year old monster. For me that is my grief; raw, painful, and constant. I’ve decided to truly keep to myself for a while, slowly but surely removing all who can’t understand my pain. I never want anyone to feel burdened with having to be my friend in any capacity. I am who I am becoming.
Totally understand all of you kind people . I’ve been wondering if it was me , that after I lost my mom & dad within months of one another , both 58 years old , that is it me that friends have dropped off . I was always there for them during hardships & the sadness of parents gone , missing who I thought were friends . My brother passed suddenly months after mom & dad at 40 . Age doesn’t matter when a loved one passes . Wether our loved one was 20 or 90, never easy . Friends dropped even more . Lost my only brother left less than a year after the others . Feel so alone . Prob what an orphan feels like . I’ve realized that these so called , friends , still have they’re parents , siblings etc … and don’t know what to say ? I wonder now , who raised these cold hearted , uncaring ppl ? Most are taught to reach out , even a simple ear to lend . I have since in the last few months packed up my belongings and have moved far away & want nothing to do with selfish , uncaring ppl that I once was fooled by thinking they’d be here when I needed & still do , someone to talk to . I’ll meet new people once fully settled in new city & will miss my family that all left . Until we meet again . This life is short ( thankfully ) , doesn’t make much sense & lots of cold as ice people .
I wish you all peace . As much as life after losses allows . God Bless .
Unfortunately I can relate… My mom whom I was extremely close (I was known by my “friends” for being a mommas boy) died suddenly and unexpectedly. She called me to tell me that she was sick in the midst of having a massive heart attack. I was an orphan 30 minutes later and my entire world has changed. Basically, I have no friends now. They all fell like leaves one by one when they saw how devastated I was. I text a close friend of 20 years and told him what happened, he responded with his condolences and hasn’t been heard from since (Feb 19 2017). One close friend got angry because I backed out of our year hand out fraternity gathering that August because I just was in a partying mood. I even reached out to him with no response. I’m left thinking that maybe I’m a bad person and that’s why this has happened. I just can’t wrap my mind around people being so cruel as to turn their backs on you as if YOU did SOMETHING to them. When I’m only guilty of being the first one out of the group to lose their mom. I am aware it’s something that noone wants to think about ever happening but it’s just as much a part of life as being born. I’m not the first to lose my dear sweet mother and I’m damn sure not going to be the last. As for now my job is to just keep breathing and living. Mom was the greatest and I loved her dearly so if this is the price I have to pay for having loved her.. Ill gladly pay it 1000 times over!!! Friendships be damned!!!
I lost the most beautiful precious person to me recently my dad… how awful it is to loose someone so close I’ve never lost anyone close before so this was a big shock for me I felt like my whole world had ended I only wanted my best friend to hug me and tell me everything will be ok but sadly I didn’t have my bestie she totally didn’t even bother she kept making excuses I was there for her non stop supporting her,, who needs a bestie who’s not there in your bad times my friendship died too I don’t even bother messaging her anymore it’s so painful knowing that you didn’t even mean anything to them all those 10 years it was fake,, why does it hurt so much why couldn’t she support me through this I actually thought we were more like sisters but I suppose I was too stupid to realise she didn’t even care ,,, I’m so glad I read this it’s so beautiful and straight from the heart ❤️
Thanks for this post… I’ve come across it at such an appropriate time.
Although I suffered a different level of Loss – the grief and shift in engagement as well as friendships is well and truly in effect.
I lost a person who meant the world to me and a year on, the grief has crept back as if a celebration for the pain once more.
I realise this is part of my healing process, however, within that saying ‘yes’ is becoming a million times harder then I ever thought it. I was always ‘willing’. No matter what, I’d always try, and would often be commended for just how hard I always pushed through in life. Losing her and everything that came with the connection has changed everything for me. I just don’t want to say yes to very much unless it’s for me, or I genuinely want too, which apparently isn’t much at all. This is healthy in many ways, and has shown me how some of my past efforts may not have been. The lack of ‘wanting too’ has effected my friendships opened my eyes to my over compensations and even readjusted my belief system. For everyone who once knew me, i see the discomfort in recognition of my new carefree.
I still have minimal ‘try’ with some people and it can feel painful to even make a pigeon step toward them. I’m learning now to stop questioning why and hope that this is all how it’s meant to be.
I feel let down by the loss, sometimes angry, sad, blank even. All the things never said; I have questions that I later never want answered. I have unexplained reasons that I soon realise no longer matter. My acceptance is still trying.
I’m Angry that it had to take such pain & Loss to throw me into this new version of myself and maybe that’s why all of this is still playing out.
A year on I no longer feel the drown of pain, however I feel more solo than I ever have and although it’s grown from a sad place, their is also something very new and comforting in my current semi solitude.
Pamela Baldwin says
My oldest, dearest friend succumbed to cancer this past Monday. And, only one of my other “friends” has bothered to reach out to me and say “Let’s get together.” I’ve only known her two years. My other “best” friend who I’ve known over a decade said she was sorry, through a text, and I haven’t heard from her since. This loss was expected, but it is still devastating. Thank God for my husband, but I think I am grieving not just the loss of the first friend, but of others. As they say, pay attention to who is there and supporting you during your hardest times. 🙁 My condolences to all here who are feeling the same about those people who are still here, but aren’t here for you.
I found this blog by searching some kind of terms about unreliable friends and grief. My dad died October 22 – almost a month ago now that I realize it. But I wouldn’t have guessed.
I was closer to my dad than anyone in my family, my rock. The rest of my family never treated him right and yet he was there for all of us. A real hero. I was his primary care taker and advocate in the hospital even though I live 2000 miles away. I brought him out of hospice to ER and he thrived for a few more months and was able to take care of important business. We really thought he’d pull through this last time. It feels like a failure because he wasn’t being properly cared for at the hospital and we moved him to a nursing center too soon, but it was so confusing all the stories we were getting from different doctors, nursing homes etc. He suffered but he fought like hell.
A long distance boyfriend I’d been somewhat protecting from the reality of what had been my life for the last 5 months since I’d seen him was supposed to come for Thanksgiving. The weeks passed and he never confirmed with me. I finally let loose after too much wine two weeks after my dad passed to tell him I was done and that my dad had died. He responded so kindly, one of few people who understood the connection I had with my dad. But he admitted he had been unreliable and had been fired and wouldn’t be coming for thanksgiving… his life turned upside down too. He asked me to call him to talk.
I called. He didn’t answer, nor answer my texts. I finally had to turn my phone to do not disturb because I was so hurt, so unable to handle any more disappointments and lonliness and loss. He’s let me down too many times in ways my dad would never dream of. But I still felt so needy of his attention and care. I knew he cared and wanted to talk to me, in that moment. But not when I needed him. At first it felt good to open up and be vulnerable.
But I have also found that its much more helpful to my healing to keep only certain people around that I can trust to be good to me right now. I am in a sort of protective cocoon. I have had a friend get frustrated with me. Do they realize I am totally alone and scared?
I am already struggling to know if I will be able to forgive. I have lost too many people already and I don’t know sometimes if its my expectations or my reactions. Some people seem to understand but then they don’t show back up.
Oh how I hate the “let me know if you need anything” sometimes I actually answer it with a tangible request in the moment. Sometimes it happens. I find it frustrating people want me to give them tasks.
I received 2 cards total. Everyone has rushed to comfort my mother. I’ve been left alone. There was no service, I wrote his obituary. I was expected to return to work to demanding clients and travel. My boss didn’t even send a card. nothing. maybe they will? I keep thinking surely?
I asked my long distance friend to comment on his obituary when he promised me hed do anything. I thought it was a simple request since he wanted to help. He read it and wrote something to me but didn’t comment. He also didn’t answer the phone or call me back in a day or two. Too much for me to handle. Like, just too much at once. It seems small but its like an attack. Lost the most important man in my life and the second most important – who also confirms he’d never live up to my dad he doesn’t the character and he could never love me unconditionally in the same way…in fact from his voice I could tell he does love me and care…but can’t back it up with actions.
so many men who seem to want to date me say “let me know what I can do” It makes my skin crawl because I want to say – can you send money? Make sure I have a good retirement? Pay me the $1000 for the obituary and another $5000 for the travels and the private viewing? Can you come over and make sure no one attacks me in my house? Can you answer the phone always if I have flat tire or just need to talk ? Can you just do something without putting me on the spot to think of something to make you fell better right now that you are good guy?
Yes, I set my phone to do not disturb and its allowed me to process more of my emotion and create a safer more predictable space to heal. But still I just wish people were better. The secondary losses are too much to take when dealing with the primary loss and my dad deserves my focus to be honest. Turning my phone off has helped to separate my feelings about my dad from those who are not showing up for me — and the fact that some of them never did and this just highlights it for me and like others I am changing as a result too. When my dad died one of the first things that came to me – is to never let a man mistreat me again. My dad invested too much in me for me to settle for poor treatment from men who do not know how to value the women in their life.
I now have such complicated feelings about my long distance friend. When he called, he left such a heart felt message, enough I wasn’t mad anymore he hadn’t called or wasn’t coming for thanksgiving. I cried on his voicemail in return because it felt safe to do so. I literally had to shut myself off and down because the pain of him letting me down when I am at my most vulernable is almost too much to take, even if he did call me back a couple of days later. It still hurt like hell, as I wanted to talk to him so bad and go over the last few months and make sense of it with him. I was with him the weekend before my dad fell ill. I have to decide how I feel about the relatinship and be strong enough from the greif before I can get to the point of even turning my ringer back on.
the people who really matter know how to reach me multiple ways. It has also helped deal with the ptsd effects of dealing with the messages we don’t want. I learned my dad died via text message.
I do feel bad about the friends I didn’t understand enough when they were grieving. I truly didn’t know it would be this hard…and that it would hit doubly hard in the weeks after. It is lonely and I have fresh and good moments especially when hiking and praying and I’m truly grateful for God and the friends who understand. It is almost like I fear my own reactions to things and the freindships I know I will destroy when I think of how they let me down. I hope I can be as forgiving of them as others have been with me when they lost loved ones and I wasn’t as fully there for them as I could have been, we just don’t know what we don’t see or feel sometimes. life is hard. prayers.
My husband of 54 years died two years ago in December. I’m doing relatively well but just now am trying to come to grips with the fact that couples we were friends with over 25 years cannot accept just me. I do have four wonderfully supportive kids and other couples who include me. So, I’m thinking after so many tries I need to move on without these friends but it is so hurtful.
In October of 2015, my son was killed in a car accident at the age of 16, just a few months after his big brother left home to start his life. My husband and I were violently shoved into the empty nest. We were the kind of parents who drove all over the state to watch every sporting event. Sometimes only one of us could make it but being our sons’ cheerleaders was the highlight of our lives. We expected another two years of that life, but it wasn’t meant to be.
We were very blessed with tremendous support right away…food, cards, calls, money…Our friends, family, community and complete strangers reached out to make sure we knew we were not alone. It was overwhelming, the amount of love and support we felt.
My closest girlfriend has unfortunately become a huge disappointment. Right away she was supportive and I know she meant well when she gave us books on grief, recommended that we seek counseling, stop drinking, visit a shaman…then she dismissed my pain and flashbacks to the accident site as ‘just my thoughts’. A few months later she attacked me at a mutual friend’s birthday party, telling me that I have changed, I don’t call her as much, I don’t compliment her as much…I tried to explain that I am NOT the same person and probably never will be. We both apologized and cried and hugged for a long time.
Then back to routine, which is still a struggle for my husband and me, even after three years. We are trying very hard to find our new normal, run our business, support our oldest son, and do things that bring us comfort. Together. We are not at all as social as we once were because we need to work on “us” now. And most of our friends understand all of that.
After a whole summer of nearly zero contact, I reached out to my friend, wanting to know if the obvious wedge between us could be removed. We talked about some of the things I’ve mentioned here, then she ranted about my husband, my dogs, my lack of an adequate menu for a summer BBQ… I swallowed hard and promised to make more effort, as did she. But the pettiness of the last conversation is haunting me…really? I didn’t plan the BBQ menu adequately? After chewing on this conversation for a few weeks, and it really has bothered me a LOT, I don’t really even care that the friendship we once had has died.
People will want to fix or cure you, and try to make you into the person you used to be. That’s what she tried to do, and when I didnt step up to the plate, she became irritated. Just as her friendship changed my life, my grief has changed my life. I wont ever be the same friend to her, because I cant take the drama over her expectations and dissatisfaction with who I now am. And who needs that kind of friend?
I know I’m lucky to have my husband and son with me still, and we do have dear friends that we spend time with, many of whom are part of our sons’ group of supporters. Life is short and wonderful and hard as hell, so I have chosen to live it with people who lift me up. And as much as it hurts to have to let people go…to hell with them. I deserve better. We all do…
*Ron Swanson* says
This really hit home. My heart aches knowing that this is a common phenomenon and that others have been left alone by people who they thought would never leave them in their time of turmoil.
To begin with, my older sister passed away two years ago due to a cerebral aneurysm .
She passed very suddenly. My big sister was gone and I couldn’t handle it.
I still can’t handle it. The world I knew was divided and my friends were all there in the beginning. They held me up. Some never showed. Since then, my friends have dwindled. Due to my rage inside, I wasn’t the person they knew. To be honest, I understand that people have their lives to focus on and that’s okay. When something earth shattering like this happens we need support. Shortly after, a friend experienced a loss of someone who theydidn’t like for much of their life and I felt for them. I sent them flowers and ended up showing up late to the service with my father due to a late shipment at work, not being finished that needed to go out that moment. At this point I had been going to therapy for my loss, because I didn’t know who to talk to in the friends department. Some people don’t understand that in order to be able to help others, we have to help ourselves first. This particular friend almost expected me to listen to their grievances about their other friends and their life was always in shambles. Whenever my sister was mentioned, this friend told me how bad it made them feel quite often. Without any regards to my sensitivity this friend NEEDED to invite people I’ve never met and themselves over to my house, many times without my concent and has put me in really uncomfortable situations. Regardless of my loss. Whenever I didn’t meet their expectations or snapped on them by mistake with an apology right after, this “friend” went and talked about my snapping to a mutual friend of ours who had really been my only confidant. I’ve been reprimanded by this mutual friend for my anger after many apologies to the friend previously mentioned above. Many people haven’t talked to me because I don’t fit their social standards anymore. Honestly, I’m just sensitive and I don’t want to listen to someone tell me over and over again, how their problems were so much worse. I’m trying to better myself and those friends aren’t helping my grief cycle and healing. We ALL need considerate friends in our lives. My boyfriend, family and extended family have all been very supportive. They lost my sister as well. After all, they’re all the staples that keep the wound shut.
Ron, I feel like I get your rage and anger. I too have been very angry since the loss of my husband 1 year ago today. He was the kindest most loving man. No one ever had a bad word to say about him. He was one month into his 62nd birthday. 3 weeks later my mom passed away. Then 2 of my brothers chose to turn their backs on me for reasons i dont know to this day. When people you love leave this world i believe some of your grief comes out in the form of anger and your real friends and family that truly love you and truly know you will understand this and stand by you. But others will choose their feelings over yours and leave you. They are selfish and not your true friends or family. I have to tell myself every day to hang in there because I know that is what my husband would want me to do. I hope you find peace within your self as I am myself searching for the same.
My husband of 43 years was my very best friend. He passed away 1 year ago and I too am questioning every day how am I supposed to survive without him here by my side. He was the one person that I could always go to and I knew I was never alone. It was a friendship that was never fake or one-sided. I was blessed. Three weeks after he passed away my mom passed away also. The grief has been overwhelming. I have 4 brothers and 1 sister and immediately following the services for both, I had 2 of my brothers, for reasons unbeknownst to me to this day, decide that they do no want anything to do with me. They completely cut me out of their lives. My best friend has remained friends with them. She and her husband met them through me and my husband. I have been very hurt by this but have kept this to myself.
My friends husband’s father just passed away and so I on the very same day got right up and ran to the store and bought a bunch of white roses with some baby’s breath and other greens and ribbon in a vase along with a sympathy card and addressed it to her husband. I drove to her house and hand delivered it, stayed and a cup of coffee. Her husband thanked me for the flowers and card and then I left.
After I got home, a couple of hours later my friend called me and told me how hurt she was that I did not put her name on the card. I was sick to my stomach when I heard this. It was not meant to make her feel excluded. However, I was extremely upset because I have held back the fact that she has hurt me for a whole year now being friends with my brothers whom have turned their backs on me especially without explanation. She has seen me cry and been depressed over this and she is some of the reason I have been depressed. She gets to hang out and do things with my 2 nieces that I was extremely close to one of whom is my godchild. She has never even considered how this makes me feel.
After her calling me and reprimanding me about the sympathy card, I’m not sure if I want to continue my friendship with her anymore. The only reason I have never told her about how I feel about the friendship she has with my brothers is because I did not want to hurt HER feelings!
God how I miss my husband! He would just suck up some of this hurt for me, enough that I could handle it.
My daughter was murdered and left behind an amazing circle of friends who have taken me into their hearts. Living over a thousand miles away from her, we only got to visit about once a year, but talked or text messaged often. My granddaughter, her daughter, was the love and purpose of her life, and now has an amazing group of people to support her., and I am eternally grateful to them. It has been less than a week since the funeral, and I have just come back to my town, and those I thought would be there for support are not there…..and I don’t know how to react. Do they just not care? I honestly do not want it to be all about me, but unless you have lost a child, you have no idea of the pain. Not quite sure how to talk to people now, or how to involve myself in friends again…I think I don’t trust them anymore. What do you do
Jera Gentry says
My 24 year old son was shot and killed 7 months ago. My circle of friends always was small, but now, it’s crickets. I found my son with my 20 year old son. We’re the only ones who saw what we saw! And for what? He was doing good. No arrests. So I’m stressed. A month later my boyfriends mother passed away. That put even more stress on our relationship. My best friend doesn’t call, and I don’t call anyone. I barely talk to my boyfriend. He said when things are better we’ll pick back up, but I need him now. My kids talk to their friends. I’ve never felt so alone and abandoned. I have no one to talk to. And that counselor doesn’t help. No tools for the PTSD. I googled all that myself. My only place of peace is in my car, driving at night screaming, crying, getting everything off my chest alone. I’ve yelled at God! Why? Where is everyone? Why aren’t You talking to me? I don’t hear anything from anyone! I thought it was just me. I hate this! Feels like a never ending doom right now! Like I’m cursed to carry such a burden! At least it’s common and I’m not crazy! Thank you for that!
My heart feels and hears you Jera. People are cruel, time is cruel. Trust somehow goes with the deceased. I lost my mother, my sister and dad seperatly over 5 years. Was in a DV relationship had a child, was homeless with newborn child for 2 years. Met someone fell in love, and just before xmas found out he was cheating for a year and 10 months. I have no one, trust no one, and my moods are so erratic, i accept less than i deserve. I can’t imagine losing a child. I hope youve found some peace. His spirit chose you to be his mother in this life and when the time comes you will be united together forever. Sending the biggest hug.
Tim J Smider says
So Many people passed away and I just Dont know how to cope with this terrible void I feel hopeless helpless lost cheated out of happiness so hard dealing with greif. For me my girlfriend was a wonderful person only 26years old gone with the blink of an eye It has destroyed my feelings of being happy I have noone to talk to I Lost Everyone I loved that made my life so complete I feel so worthless and unlovable im so damaged without them the only ones I looked up too are gone forever and my girlfriend my cousin my best friend and my old father figure all completely gone forever and it has hurt me so bad I Feel like I have nothing left I just feel like a time bomb ready to explode I Just want to Speed so Fast and Disintegrate into pieces and leave everything my only other closest friend isnt trying to be my friend anymore but i keep trying know matter how bad i feel or how much I Think about they are gone and how I will never be with them ever again they were always there helping me ease the pain from my past Now That There gone im very very very very sad and still Im so very very lonely and the pain Is Just Tearing down my Heart and Soul its just made me feel so bitter and cold and so very anti social now
P King says
My adult son died suddenly 7 months ago. Suddenly I am so unpopular. Days go by with no texts or calls. One by one my long time friendships have ended. The first was the friend since we were teenagers that came to stay for a week right after but the very next morning she left without saying anything while I was still sleeping and after that she cut off all contact. That abruptly. No response to texts, emails, anything. The man I was in a serious relationship with for 5 years was the second to go.
The rest haven’t been as dramatic but they just stopped contacting me. The most recent is really hard. She lost her own son a year and a half before my son died. So for that year and a half I was supporting her in her grief. When my son died she did make an effort to be supportive but the truth is she is so absorbed with her own grief that she has absolutely been unable to be present for me. She talks non stop about her loss. She has become very angry and bitter. I finally got to the point that I realized she was still expecting me to hold her up when I couldn’t even hold myself up. I gently suggested she might want to seek outside help like I did. I told her I can’t help her as much as I used to because of my own loss. I told her we are like two people who got dumped in a lake and neither of us can swim. The truth is her negativity is hard for me to take. I’m angry too. But I am trying so hard to get through this in one piece. I can’t be her sounding board for how much she hates the world and people anymore. I feel like being around her is toxic to me. My withdrawing from her has made her seem to start spinning out of control with rage. I have tried many times to help redirect her onto a more positive path but she’s not having it. I am sorry but I’m not strong enough to deal with her rage right now. So that friendship is a very sad casualty of both of our losses.
So I am basically alone except for a couple of occasional friends that contact me once in a while. I’m still in disbelief that all these people who I thought were lifelong friends disappeared. I WANT to get out and do things. But there’s nobody.
My husband of almost 30 years passed away a couple weeks ago unexpectedly. My two closest friends live 1000 miles away. They think a text message is loving me. No card. No flowers. No attempt to get here.
I feel overwhelmed with grey and sadness.. and on top of that, pissed by these friends. I won’t ever get past this.
Inexcusable & fucked up😠
there was a girl who I met in high school that wound up being my next door neighbor. my friend and her best friend went to grammar school together, and we all met in high school. well, my next door neighbor, after talking to her, knew I had a heart problem and was going in for surgery. after a few months went by and I was feeling better, there was some falling out that happened and really didn’t know what I did wrong. it just so happened that she was sick and dying and she didn’t tell me, and I was very much concerned, and I just kept saying prayers for her. her friend, on the other hand, never told me anything, and it’s been 2 years this coming August since her passing. my friend’s friend never said that to me about what was going on and I’ve been worrying sick about why I was never told, until I found out today. I’ve gone as far as refusing to talk to her friend as well as taking her off my Facebook and her husband as well. it’s like I was kept in the dark on this and nothing was said until today. would like to get some feedback on this as well as a little reassurance. I just want to avoid any conflicts and keep a low profile for a while.
Grieving has literally made me feel like I was losing my mind. In 10 months I lost my niece, mother & brother. Prior to their deaths, my father in 2016, sister in 2012 & a boyfriend in 2010. I have experienced many phases, changes & situations with each & every loss. I neglected proper self care & regularly deal with depression & sadness. Unfortunately, with grief, you are alone….IT fucking sucks. I allowed myself to abuse alcohol & marijuana bc I just hated my job & used to escape. My family is detached & dysfunctional, always negative & critical….I am not a believer in medication for myself & sit with the emotions. In challenging times, I know that I will be ok, making the change to out grow. For me, I had to fall before I rise to decide what I seek in my life for ME….a 1st, reinventing & loving ME💜 I wish everyone love & light. This too shall pass…. Perspective 💖, reflect🙏, intuition 🌠
I started listening to your audible a year & a month after my dad passed away, & since then, have moved across country – LA to NJ. My dad raised me & my brother as a widow for 30 years. While my best friends & my cousins still had both parents. I felt alone, misunderstood, frustrated… A lot of my relationships have ended. For a long while, I wasn’t sure what I was doing, as if everything I did was wrong & I wasn’t sure what to do to keep my relationships. I love your book as it touches everything I’ve experienced during my grieving. My family threw away what I had left of my dad a month or two after he passed away because it was sitting in the garage of a relative. I found driving up & down the PCH, & mini getaways, to temporarily help. My therapist soon said that I can’t keep running away & to just grieve. Thank you for your book. It’s helped me immensely.
My long time friend lost her husband 5 months before mine. My husband and I told her we understood if should didn’t feel she could come to the hospital to visit. Once we told her that she visited. Since then she has been busy with her two special needs kids and lost her business. I have spent the past few months busy trying to get the money together to fix up my house to sell. We’ve gotten together a few times, as we both are going through a lot. We call each other occassionaly to check in. A couple weeks ago she told me if I needed anything to call but she couldn’t guarantee she’d be there for me. I texted her to see if she could help me with some packing and she declined. I texted back no worries and I’d try to find some else. A couple hours later she started texting me that I dont understand what she’s going g through and accused me of being mad at her. I dont know where this is coming from. The more I tried to explain, the more upset she got and continued to analyze me and trying to tell me what I need to do. I cant have a conversation with her on the phone because we never have a good connection. This totally caught me by surprise and I told her now I am mad because she wont listen to me. I dont understand. She told me me things about our past relationship that I had no idea of. She said this cant be fixed. Oh well.
Terry Jones says
I have been shocked and comforted by all I have read her, thank you to everyone who has posted, my sincerest condolences to all who are grieving and in pain. My Dad died last year, I was lucky enough to be able to care for him at home in the months before he died. Almost equal to the pain and sadness of losing my Dad has been the insensitivity and ignorance of friends who are seemingly incapable of even acknowledging what has happened, and neighbours who have crossed the street to avoid meeting my eyes. I am lucky to have a great partner and loving kids but could not have anticipated the pain caused by the outright indifference and avoidance of those with whom I thought I had a connection. Reading these posts has helped me to understand just how inadequately we deal with death and loss, sadness and loneliness. May we all find consolation in our shared understanding of these processes, you are all in my thoughts and prayers, thank you again.
Sara Baluch says
February 19, 2019, my husband was shot and killed for a $200 Xbox 2 weeks before our wedding. It’s only been 8 months, and I’ve finally begun to accept that I’m going to lose more people, not to death but because of who I’ve become after losing him. I used to be the kind of person that would have a smile on her face for no reason. I found happiness in everything. I’m not like that anymore, and I didn’t realize how many people would walk out on me for that. My best friend of 8 years left after 1-month. Another close friend of mine said that I wasn’t giving enough and that I wasn’t helping her mental health, but what am I supposed to give when I don’t even know what I need? How can I help her mental health when my mind is still trying to accept the fact that I have lost my other half. I feel so disconnected from myself most of the time, and to be honest, I haven’t been able to be the friend people expect me to be. How can I continue to make people happy when I don’t even know what makes me happy anymore? I think the worst part of it all is that no matter how hard I try to explain it, I can’t find the words that can bring my pain and feelings to life. I have even had people act surprised that I still miss him…
Like you said, all of this and so much more has made me want to move to another state where I can be alone and finally focus on him, his love, his life, his death, and myself.
My bestfriend of over 20 years lost her husband. I was by her side for MONTHS
but nothing I seem to do or say helps. Now almost a year in she’s VERY distant?
We only talk if I reach out to her and her replies and responses are very short.
I just don’t know what else to do.
caymancutie; my mom was diagnosed with glio in Dec 18 and passed in Aug 19, Ive shut everyone but a few close family members out of my life, my dad filed for divorce after her diagnosis so he’s dead to me. If you want to talk email me anytime.
my name is natalie. i’m a teenager. my best friend max, his dad just passed away, and he is being mean, sleeping a lot, and if i try to talk to him about it he just will respond with “.” or just not text me back at all. i feel like he doesn’t like me anymore or something happened and he is just such and important person in my life- i can’t loose him… what do i do? our friendship is going to end and i don’t know how to make him realize how important he is so me and how he can talk to me or tell me anything, i’ll understand, just yesterday he was telling me how i was only his friend to vent to him, he’s being different, i miss him so much
I learned this hard lesson. Fair-weather friends when I bent over backwards, emotionally, physically and drained financially trying to help my 2 closest friends, who I was friends with 30 years, to have them disappear after my mother’s death. I was told by a third party that they discussed it among themselves and decided to ‘let me be’ and they would ‘pray for me’. The first time I needed help in my life I got prayers (I’m not religious). I did for them beyond the call of duty. One became ill with ALS and I foregave her to spend 3 years traveling and being a part-time caregiver, took care of her estate etc. After, I spent over a year trying to stabilize the 3rd party until I was exhausted. I can’t fix diagnosed mental illness when they refuse their meds. 16 hr phone calls in 1 sitting, 12 hrs, 5 hrs., I couldn’t take anymore when they won’t help themselves.
My family has never been there for me as well. My brother got a 123 dna test & dropped by a year ago, after 5 years of silence, to tell me I will get alzheimers because its predominent for women. His parting words were ‘thought I’d let you know how you will die). He is in the process of stealing money from my father after taking money from my mother before she died. Why he has the arrogance to play ‘god’, is beyond me. It was cruel to drop it on me and walk away. I haven’t heard from him after dropping a horrible death sentence on me and he never asked if I would want to know something like that.. He is a deacon for a church, but has always been a horrible person.
So, I am facing cancer, alone, rushing to finish my estate planning while waiting on a high risk surgery date and have no support.
I guess the joke will be on him… I doubt if I reach alzheimers.
People are horrible.
SHARICE RUSSELL says
I lost my only child who was 27 a few months ago. He was my everything. I am an only child also and lost my mom over 20 years ago. My baby was all I had. I have a lot of anger because people expect me to do things I did before such as go out, laugh, shop, etc…my life has changed forever and as of this moment I do not see how I will survive this pain. I am angry because so many people assured me they would be here but the truth of The matter is I go through this alone, me & God. I am experiencing so many emotions in which I never felt. i like to call those people fake because they pretended to care but when I need the most they have gone back to their normal lives.
Mel Truslove says
I know this is an old post, but thank god for it. I lost my brother 8 months ago and my address book has been permanently rearranged.
I am sat here this morning in bits because my so called friend (maid of honour) hasn’t invited me and my little girl to her daughters birthday party. It seems ridiculous, but some friends have just closed the door on me and my grief. (Ironically she works for mind charity). But it really hurts. It hurts that some people run towards you and Suprise you with their love and support whilst others flee. They would rather not see you and risk saying the wrong thing. And god forbid I say anything about my brother at a child’s birthday party! (Which I wouldn’t because I have learnt now that most people don’t like to talk about people who’ve died-that’s number 3 in my what not to say to people who haven’t lost someone diary). But here I am losing friends and being alienated when I’m going through the toughest time in my life. I’m hoping that all this leads me to make new relationships that are more fulfilling…I have to hope their are others waiting in the wings to lift me up. I wish I could shout my love for my brother and be hugged and praised for it. But the reality of grief is just so much more institutionalised. Thank you for providing a platform for my morning vent! I feel a little lighter already and will go now and fix my smile for the day. Seize the day!!
Justice Canady- Lyon says
Wow I am really glad I read this today. I am the assistant of a doctor but not only is she my boss, we are dear friends. I am 24 and she is 45. She’s actually a couple years older than my mom lol. But even when were not together we talk everyday, gift each other very thoughtful things, etc… Sept 2020 her 12 y/o nephew impulsively committed suicide. Devastating does not give it justice. She is not someone who shows her emotions, she is content all the time because she is private. However being her right hand, I know when she is off. I know her better than she knows her, we joke. As expected, she is not the same. I wouldn’t be either. Jan 2020 , I very unexpectedly miscarried. As I am and was trying to navigate through my grief, her ‘new’ self was wounding me in the supportive person I knew her to be. She got me a lovely gift of a bible verse in a beautiful frame that I cannot wait to hang in the nursery of my rainbow baby… however, she is short, doesn’t return text messages, walks away when I am in the middle of telling her something as if I wasn’t even standing there…. And I know for a fact, 100% she does not quite realize what she is doing. Well here comes COVID-19, she owns a medical practice with 30 employees, a pandemic hits, she can’t pay her employees, shes taking out a couple million dollar loan, she’s freshly grieving her nephew.
One day two weeks ago, she acted shockingly insensitive towards me and I was really taken back. I graduate in September from college and had intentions of staying to work for her. But when she acted like this, I became furious that I started looking for different jobs because ‘how dare she treat me like this in 3 years when hello we’re all going through something hello I am grieving too’. But then I thought, okay wait I need to fully put myself in her shoes. She has been a doctor for 14 years, never had a consistent assistant for more than 1 year and states that she had to work ten years to have the privilege of a good assistant that she loves like family. I have been her assistant for going on 4 years. If I tragically lost my nephew, tried to keep a business afloat through a pandemic, and then my assistant quit on me, I would be devastated. This page helped me to think, ‘yes I’m hurting but how dare me’. How dare me expect her to be her wholesome self… Your line of “the new me (paraphrasing) irritates and wounds people”. And it does me. But I think the new me after a miscarriage also irritates and wounds people. She is my friend and I love her and care for her deeply… I need to get out of my selfish bubble because right now she needs me more than she has ever needed me and how fucking vile of me to think of abandoning her? So thank you so very much for writing this and giving me perspective. xoxoxoxo
My best friend lost his mother suddenly, and has been avoiding speaking to me ever since. I don’t want to be the friend that forces him to behave in any particular way because grief is extremely personal, and I am here for him when he wants me. But I also do not want to be the friend who disappeared on him because he stopped replying to messages and phone calls. Watching a loved one going through such pain is heartbreaking, and doing something that worsens their pain at a time like this is my biggest fear. Pls help me. Should I keep reaching out even with the silence, or should I give him the space though it might seem like I just forgot about him? Hugs to everyone going through a hard time.
When you text just send a heart. Words are not always the answer. Sometimes there are no words just send the heart.
Jan LeClair says
Please keep reaching——believe me, he knows!
My absolutely get it, one moments I feel like, ” I got this, I remember “That girl” I can find her again she’s just right here underneath the few layers of f**n b*******!!”
No one truly understands until they’ve had their front row, and all of those who have had their front row are entitled to react and survive any way they can, no two people deal with grief the same way but I’ll be damned if I’m going to have others treat me as if now I have something that’s terminal, contagious, inconvenient for them because I can no longer be, “what I once was?” That they can’t deal with my sadness? That if the circumstances were different and it was them that they wouldn’t react the way that I am?? I lost four family members in 9 months, one being my husband, he was 48 and completely annihilated by the effects of cancer.
I’ve been told to tone it down, to get my head out of my ass, to stop being self-centered and selfish and narcissistic that the world doesn’t revolve around me?? F****** seriously??
I have in-laws that no sooner than my husband took his last breath started attacking me and my children for what is left for us by my husband in the estate because they feel they’re f****** entitled??
One thing I have learned is that when you die, which I have on great Authority scientific proof that 100% of us will die at one point, and not a damn thing to you take with you. I have given away so many material things that were left to me and my children in the estate to family and friends, for no other reason then that’s what Jesus would want me to do, out of love oh, you don’t take it with you when you go and I didn’t need it, neither did my children we have what God has provided and we have been very fortunate for what we do have so, no skin off of my nose and I loved doing it, didn’t need praise our Glory that goes to God, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some of those who still feel entitled to have anything they want.
And then those who are supposed to be there, I thought we’re going to be there, are they afraid of the old rumors of hey I better go watch my husband because he’s crazy widows may take their husbands?? What the f*** let me tell you my husband set the bar so damn High!! Blatant disrespect!! I have been there for all of my friends and family oh, I expect them not to judge, to ridicule, belittle, or berate me, I deserve the time that it’s going to take for me to heal and “move forward” with the love of my life “ever so in the present.” I don’t know exactly when that time will be, I don’t know that It will ever be a time where I am absolutely f****** fantabulous again!!
I’m figuring it out one day, one breath at a time.
Just Chasing God while finding the bits and pieces of me that are scattered to the winds.
We’re a group of young people- mostly 25-33 year olds- mostly healthy and most all of us all living really close to one another, Sam worked down the street as a chef and he was 26. He touched everyone in the neighborhood’s lives with his laugh and his smile and his zest for life and pretty much everything else that was awesome.
I just found out last night that he’d died, missing two shifts at his workplace, someone had the decency to come by and tell us..and I’ve wailed now and thrown my hands up in the sky and asked how could this be? No. I didn’t know him as long as the other people in the neighborhood did but we were becoming very close and that’s why I loved him.. he brought this cliquey-ass community over here together and made us feel like family! I was looking for an article where I could vent for a second about grieving. I’ve read several articles and comments now … so now I have to ask—. when did people start coveting people’s death? There’s got to be a word for this or some saying- please, you don’t need to grieve alone like a fricken exploitative masochist Like it’s your own. How hurtful it is to those who truly care. How can you say oh he’s dead I got here first- I don’t need you.
So what I’m trying to say is thank you to Sam, I wish you could have been there last night because you make your friends look way less like assholes then they are. When death tears people apart… screw it. You find out who your friends are, all grieving in different ways yes but don’t have us wait outside in the rain for you all for hours out of respect to find you’re all having a party we’re not invited to. Oh screw you seattle. Sam / please haunt me anytime you were the homie.
Coming back to this article and realising I’d read it before after Googling the same subject – ‘Losing friends after a bereavement ’. I wonder if this is how I found Refuge in Grief.
I know that one year ago when my dad died that part of the cataclysm was the friends (close and extended network) who weren’t there for the illness; the death; the funeral; me; or much at all.
That theme continued to circle in varying intensities, exploding back with the anniversaries (there are numerous – the diagnosis; deterioration; death; the last time I meaningfully received acknowledgement or support from a friend; and many others).
I’m not even sure why I’m writing this comment. I don’t really comment on articles. I suppose I’m seeking an outlet for the hurt, anger and abandonment of people who should have cared more than they did or showed.
I end up feeling guilty like I didn’t give them a chance. I did. I just don’t have the mental resiliency to give myself credit for that right now. I gave a lot of people more than they could find in themselves to give me. That is loss within loss and feels like insult to grief and desecration of that personal catastrophe.
I am doing the Write Your Grief course soon. Maybe that’s why I’m here: to start as I mean to go on and to reach out to those who have not been reached out to enough.
There is a molecule of comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Just, only just.
Esther Brennan says
Hi, I’ve never heard of a write your grief course. Is this online. I’d absolutely love to participate.
Yes, it is an online course. The writing prompts are sent out via email and all interaction with fellow classmates and the course facilitators happens in a private Facebook group. You can find more information about the course, including a FAQ, here: http://refugeingrief.com/wyg
Mary. I understand as others may not that CHILD LOSS is DEFINATELY the worst.
After all we all expect parents to be buried before children. Of course if
a parent /partner/ sibling has a traumatic death,unexpected ,ie, murder,accident,
sudden heart attack, that’s worse than an anticipated death, ie, cancer. But the
death of your child ,some1 we expect to have a future, some1 to always be there
as long as we live.? My girl got killed+dumped like garbage,I never got to say goodbye. ID by fingerprints. It gets worse not easier with time.people that haven’t
experienced this can’t even try to understand. I’ve given up on most acquaintances,
I’d rather be left alone in my misery,imagining my girls last moments
I should’ve been there to prevent this. That’s another thing we bereaved parents
suffer from is guilt+all the what it’s.
My friend of 30 plus years recently lost her husband. We have not been particularly close in the past several years but we’re always in contact. Since her husband’s passing I have reached out and received short cold answers from her. I have tried to get together but she’s always busy. Someone is always with her. I received a note from her telling me we’re not going to be friends any longer. She said my one liners weren’t working. I told her I was trying to be there for her but I didn’t know what to do she has refused every gesture I’ve made. I’m at a loss. I’ve read several articles and tried to follow the advice but it’s not working. I love my friend dearly and don’t want to lose her but I don’t want to be her punching bag either. What can I do?
Same happened to me, my spouse died recently & our bestfriend-couple for 18 years didn’t see me for 6 weeks, then did for one month, then I was told by M. that she wasn’t comfortable as 3 instead of a foursome, & would prefer to see me alone, and we do that sometimes. I never expected to be booted out of our little family of 4 once my spouse died, thought we’d continue as 3. Shocked. It seems cruel. I’m wary of them now. I’m so sorry you had this happen too, and it seems it’s commonplace from all the comments here. So sad.
Esther Brennan says
My two ‘best friends’ literally turned on me. At different times I might add. Say that my behavior was self absorbed and that I needed to take a good long look at myself. The other saying that if I wanted the friendship to keep going I’d have to make changes. I AM SO ANGRY ABOUT THOSE COMMENTS.
My partner of almost 20 years passed away suddenly on the 26th of Sept, 2020. Thanks to Covid restrictions, I was unable to visit him in the Rehab Center the last 3 weeks he was alive. He died alone & I am heartbroken. He & I were truck drivers so we were not only each other’s support system, but we were best friends. We also weren’t exceptionally close to our families. It’s only been 2 weeks and already my phone is mostly silent as my family has quit calling or texting. I do have a male friend I was involved with years ago, but it turned out I was just a fuck buddy to him. I was hoping he would develop feelings for me eventually, but he ended up with another woman & eventually married her. We didn’t speak for a few years, then we reconnected as friends only. He is now separated from his wife, has been for over a year, but that didn’t matter, because I was with Shawn. When I lost Shawn, obviously I turned to my friend, but only for support. I have NO interest in being with anyone! He was cool for the last week or so, calling or texting me almost daily to see how I was holding up? He’s always had a crazy sense of humor, so he’s been sending me funny memes & pics. Now, I know he means well & he’s just trying to cheer me up, but maybe he just doesn’t “get”, how paralyzing and raw Shawn’s death is for me. When I responded with an eye roll emoji and “Really”?, it seemed to piss him off that I couldn’t find the humor in the stuff he sent. I know I’m hypersensitive right now, but I just want him to acknowledge my loss not try to brush it aside with jokes and such. I haven’t heard anything from him in a few days which not only hurts, but makes me angry that he would just turn his back on me. I haven’t decided yet, but I am seriously considering just blocking his number & cutting him completely out of my life. He lives in a different area of the state now and is an OTR tracker, so I won’t have to worry about running into him anywhere. He knows where I live, but if I block his number, I really believe that his pride will keep him away from coming to my house. Am I letting my pain rule my life & losing a friend or am I right in my thinking that he is not the right kind of support I need in my life right now to help with mourning the loss of Shawn?
Two years after my husband died his niece, who I thought would be the one family member who would let me pour out my grief to her, told me “ I don’t want to be around you. You are too sad and it makes me uncomfortable”. So that was the end of my relationship with her and the rest of his family. It has been 8 years since my husband died and I have had zero support from anyone. I have struggled through this grief and am still struggling by myself. The pain is not as intense, but still there, and I will continue to struggle by myself.
I identify with this so much, and fell upon this page when searching for “why are my friend leaving me alone now I am grieving”? Its been 2 weeks and very few people have called. A friend who I used to meet most Fridays to talk about everything and lives in my road, simple left a text saying “let me know if you want to talk”? Then a week later, another text with photos of the lovely day she had out walking in the park eating dinner and drinking champagne, with an after thought, hope your coping. What I would have liked is to have been asked if I wanted to have joined her, get out of the house. OF course I am not coping! What makes it worse is I was there for her this year when her dog died, and more recently 6 weeks ago when her friend died! I got on the phone talked with her for hours at a time, and went over as soon as I heard. Oh and did I mention she is a psychiatrist Grief Councillor. Now I dread bumping into her in the road, and having to pretend I am fine with her silence, I just don’t have the energy to explain I don’t trust her anymore, there is a thin line between giving someone some space and abandoning your normal get togethers and friendship. Now I don’t want to share anything with her anymore, and yet I feel I am over reacting and being unreasonable. Let me know if you need anything? people say, what I need is people working out what they want to be to me, and leaving me in no doubt, that there physically there, to show up, go for walks, open a bottle of wine, and let me tell my stories. I don’t want to have to chase people explaining to them I need to talk. I need people who need to talk to me to see if I’m ok, not leave DM’s What’s apps and facebook rubbish about condolences and how they are thinking of me. I need faces, and eyes, and company. Loosing connection or worse waking up and realising perhaps they were having an entirely different level of friendship than you, hurts. One dear friend that talks about everything with me, sent a text about “wishing you condolences at this difficult time”, a friend who’s Dad died a few months ago and I offered to go to his funeral to support him, but he didn’t pick up the phone to me. After another 10 days, I replied Hello?????? and then another text saying ” any danger of some human contact and interaction? It wasn’t me that died!!! Kind of says it all. Now I realise that my judgement and incredulous anger at these people is getting in the way of my grief for my Father, and I am running the risk of not feeling the pain, finding it easier to be angry. So I have stopped, and I won’t be chasing these friendships that have overnight died with my Father. IF a friend needs to be asked to call you, perhaps they are not a friend, and perhaps my Dad’s passing brings an opportunity to offload people that don’t deserve my time anymore. It’s sad and awkward to have to tell people they have upset you. Even worse to have to pretend they haven’t, and then be expected to talk about your loss when it suits them, and they show up weeks after the event when its too late. I m just going to think about my Dad, and be present in that, thank the lord I have a partner I live with or lord knows how i would cope waiting for people to be kind. Somehow we have lost our humanity with the advent of social media and texts, giving full excuse to people who feel, they reached out by dropping you a text, saying get in touch if you want anything! Its very sad.
Samantha, it’s been 2 years since your loss and I am sorry for what you might be still feeling of anger. My dad passed away last week, and I feel every word of what you’re saying. I live by myself I the US and my dad passed away overseas with no ability to see him for over 3 years. I was told by a friend to come over if I need to be with someone since am totally alone, so I did accept the help. And I was mistaken!! The lady is over 50 with a husband and a little kid. After 4 days and I was already getting back home, she started to complain and explain how painful for her and her husband was to have me around reminding them of thier parents loss. And how hard and uncomfortable for them to cope with that. She also said” we didn’t force you to come by” to explain how hard for her to understand why I stay silent or sleep most of the time in isolation. I ended up leaving and believe it or not, I thanked her and apologized for causing her pain. You know what she replied? Do you think she said oh you’re welcome? Or I was happy to be there for you and you don’t have to apologize? Absolutely not! She simply said “take care and call me if you need any help”. I don’t know if I want to say anything to her. I don’t know if I should walk away with nothing said. I don’t know if I even need to spend energy giving that am already angry and sad for my dad. All what am saying is that I feel what you were going though and am at the same spot.
I lost my Best Friend my Mom in October 2019 the grief was overwhelming I actually think I was on auto piolet last Thanksgiving, her Birthday on December 16th and Christmas my husband and I no Children and due to Covid my Father in Law is on lockdown in an ALF nearby. I have a close Friend of mine that has always lets say been a little bit self consumed and a conversational Narcissist I’ve created distance she recently texted me to wish me Happy Thanksgiving I told her it was quiet missing Mom and with Covid couldn’t have a gathering and feeling a little isolated she never responded I’ve always been a wonderful Friend it hurts.
Paula Neidorf says
I agree that grief has rewritten my address book but for more than the reasons listed. We often want to excuse others, because they are in pain, seeing my pain, or perhaps fear this could be their reality one day. Perhaps, we give them a pass for being “grief illiterate” and not have the appropriate words or ways to respond. BUT THEN, there is a group that just don’t care enough, and have walked away, because they are tired of our sadness, crying, refused invitations to events and lunches, etc. Some of these “friends” were really friends, but perhaps, they were just “good time” friends. So GRIEF not only rewrites our address book, but rewrites our dictionary. Words such as friendship, empathy, sympathy, caring all have much deeper meanings now. I will end with: some people just are not grief illiterate, they just don’t care.
I thought it was just me until I came across this post and I feel so much better. I lost my mom unexpectedly 5 months ago and my whole world feels like it has has stopped! She was my bestfriend and only 59 years old. I have 3 small children and the thought of raising them without her has been unbearable. I have a long distance friend that has been in my life for years and she messaged me out of the blue talking about some drama with her new boyfriend and his kids. Anyways I never got back to the message fast enough and next thing you know she flooded my inbox with all shorts of things saying ” I needed you the most right now, and how could you ignore me what kind of friend are you” meanwhile my whole world is upside down from the trauma of finding my morther dead. How could someone be so selfish? I cry myself to sleep and have so many worries. After losing my mom I have no interest in any of my friendships these days truthfully and feel like they do not understand. I mostly spend time with my sister luckily I still have her. Just wanted to share my story. Thanks for listening.
I’m six weeks in. Lost my soulmate of 28 years to an accidental overdose/heart attack. My world blown to pieces. No money. No home. Our future dreams gone forever. My aunt won’t call to wish condolences due to my beliefs on current affairs. I’m stuck at my moms house at 47 years old with very few friends. One is here in the same city. Solid support. Long time friend. But he’s moving in July. Very angry at my situation. At my loves addictions and own unresolved complicated grief from a suicide six years ago he never healed from. My love and support was not enough. I slowly watched him destroy his once healthy body and his broken heart took him down. Pissed as hell. Scared as hell. Lonely. Broken. Fucked. Practicing forgivenesses. Grateful he’s not suffering anymore. Angry that now I am.
Keith Petvin-Scudamore says
Judging by the response above this whole topic has touched on a very raw nerve in human behaviour and one that I have experienced myself with great sadness and disappointment.
My wife died after 5 years struggling with cancer, I nursed her thru it all and still feel “Did I do enough” however the aftermath of death seems to be to much for many people – most of her friends and relations have deserted me, one friend even sent a email telling me “You are now not one of our group !
I read about some feel vulnerable I prefer WEAK – I read that these people probably did not like me – THEY DO NOT SHOW IT IN ANY WAY OVER MANY YEARS –
I read it is not personal in any way – SORRY I FEEL IT IS VERY PERSONAL EVERY WAY.
Recently when doing a moan on this subject I was reminded of the saying: What goes around, comes around ! Should that happen I will not be there I will be to busy getting on with my life and mixing with strong people.
Thank you Megan for so eloquently putting into words how I felt and still feel 18 months into my grief which has completely changed how I navigate life, relationships and social connections. Only now can I start to express that.
18 months to the day, I am awake at 4:30 in the morning, tearful and still raw with grief. This is the first time I have written or expressed how I feel.
Grieving is the loneliest journey, despite being surrounded by those who love me and care, I have felt so very disconnected and in so many ways. Loss of my loved one has impacted on every level of life ( parenting, sleep, relationships with close family, work, the way I view the world, my ability to connect, friendships with long standing friends who I thought would always be there ) and still continues to leave me at a loss for words, the pain and change is indescribable. It’s not just the loss of one person, it’s the theft of all the future interactions, connections and love I would have shared with them over my lifetime. How to express that in words is almost impossible.
Reading everyone’s comments on here has made me realise despite grief being a personal journey, collectively there are similarities that bind us all.
The happy clappy “be positive” “count your blessings” “xxxx wouldn’t want you to feel like this” “get a grip and sort yourself out” interactions to those life long friends who just don’t understand why i can no longer extend myself in social situations and feel it’s apt to point out how one sided your relationship is now. How to verbalise I am not capable of reaching out, I am mostly a miserable bastard, It actually hurts to laugh and I dont enjoy spending time with those who fail to recognise how “changed” I am, the complete erasure of my loved ones name ( unless I bring it up but then fear I am deemed a miserable f*** for droning on about the same old same” )
The obvious discomfort of others, in the prescence of my pain that comes with grief (which is not a choice ) sometimes makes it easier for a complete withdrawal. Not everyone knows or has the ability to sit with that.
For me, on reflection to the early days, I pushed many “friends” away, I was selfish in my own sense of self preservation and couldn’t extend myself past what I was feeling. In that moment I was lost so deeply in my loss that I didn’t care, my loved one has gone, who are you? I don’t want you, I want them! That left me unaccessible both physically and emotionally. I didn’t want the intimacy, it was too raw and I needed to detach. At times even now that still works for me. But not for others….
Yes there are moments of humour and laughter and I can smile gently at the love and memories. I do feel blessed for life and small pleasures throughout the day bring joy. But the fact remains that everything has changed.
Grief is a friendship revelation, for me I can define everything to “the before and after”. I am blessed to have a few unique souls in my life who were patient, who did reach out and sit quietly with me during my pain. Who recognised the need to overlook my absence and offered support when I was at my lowest. No expectation and without condition. Those people are like diamonds. Far and few inbetween.
So to those of you reading who are “the friend”, stay connected and check in with your grieving loved ones. They may not be able to express it right now but they do need you more than you know. Not the comments or too much talk or any advice. Just your quiet presence and the knowledge you are there.
RL Antico says
Just over four years ago I lost my husband, the love of my life, to suicide. While making arrangements at the funeral home, his sister, sitting across from me in a room with about a dozen folks in it, says to me, “What did you do to cause this?” Completely shocked & shattered doesn’t begin to describe…
Spot on!! Both of my parents killed in a auto accident by an erratic driver. People, “friends” there for the shock and then disappear. Never have I felt more aloneness with such enormous sadness. Deafening.
Its definitely been an eye opener and has changed the way I look at certain people. Especially the ones who I’ve been there for. Its quite numbing actually and unforgivable in my eyes.
My name is Emily. Like all of you, I also have a story of loss. One year ago
today, I lost my husband to Parkinson’s disease. Like all of you, it’s a long,
sad story; however, seeing as how there is so much to write about that I
don’t know where to start, I’ll simply tell you one of the things that still leaves
my heart wounded: I had called a friend who lived very close by to tell her
what had happened. I later found out that seven people that day were told
the news. My friend had told someone who told someone else, etc. That’s
fine by me. It was done out of concern for me, plus, all of those people who
were told live within blocks of me.
Here’s the problem: I told my friend that I now have to go to a nearby Funeral
Home to make arrangements. This friend, along with all the other people who
were told, know that I don’t have a car and none of my relatives or my husband’s
relatives live nearby. In fact, they live about 200 miles away. Many of them have
passed on. Those who are left have so many health issues of their own, or are
helping others in their own families with health issues. Because of very valid
reasons, it would have been very difficult for anyone to drop everything on
the spur of the moment to come and be with me for a few days. They would
need time to make arrangements for someone to take on the responsibilities
they were carrying.
As it turned out, none of the seven people who knew about my husband’s
death offered to take me to the Funeral Home. All these people knew that
I could not get there on my own. How did they know? They knew because
these are the very people who take me to the grocery store, the post office,
the drug store, doctor’s app’ts, etc. No one stepped up, no one offered. So,
when I called the Funeral Home, I told the man I spoke with that it might
take me a while to get there because I would have to wait for a cab. So,
what did he do? He told me he would have his wife pick me up and bring
I sat in that Funeral Home with no one, no friend, beside me. I was at a
loss. I didn’t know what to think, how to feel, what to say. When I got
home, no one called. I spent the night alone and confused. I thought
at least one of these people, whom I consider friends, would be there
for me; at least for the arrangements and my first night without my
husband in my life.
That’s all I have to say for now.
I lost my 29 yr old son 6 yrs ago. My step-son (of 22 yrs) shot him on New Years night while drunk.
My son was the youngest of my 4. I am unable to remember much from the first couple months but the silence is a very vivid thing. It lasted for years.
Going from a home filled with life (people, family, laughter, love) to just a place (building, property) with no color, all grey, no sound at all, I was lost in this.
No one could be around me. I couldn’t be around them. The anger was so intense. Absolutely furry, no, it was Rage!
I’m sure I frightened the whole world away.
The lack of anyone able to sit and listen to my screams has left me with even more scars.
That’s ok. Who needs them anyway. It is up to me, to find me.
3 yrs sitting in the court room, alone, watching the guilty and his family walk out together once again. Three yrs it took them to decide to give the murderer only 5 yrs probation. Still sitting alone watching them all go home together.
I had a right to be angry. I guess no one else thought so.
6 yrs this January. My baby has not been able to call me once. I have not heard his laughter in 6 yrs. I am still so angry. It hurts. I hurt.
My home, my world, that was once so full of life, remains way to quiet.
His friends, my friends, our friends and family, all disappeared.
I just finished reading your story about your son.
I wish I had the right words to say that would ease
the pain you are feeling and going through. I don’t
think those words exist, yet words are all we have
to try and comfort one another. You wrote: The
lack of anyone able to sit and listen to my screams
has left me with even more scars. Those are powerful
words, Sherald. Those words reveal so much pain and
heartache. And, yes, I understand about “the scars” you
mentioned. Scars on top of scars on top of scars. How
do we deal with new scars when the old ones are still
present? Where is the medicine to treat the wounds
that turn into scars? I wish I knew, Sherald. I truly wish
This is my first day here, so I don’t know if you’ve posted
here before. I’m still trying to read all the posts, but when
I read this one I just had to respond.
Sherald, I’m glad that we’ve both found this place. A place
we can go to and not be attacked, scolded, marginalized,
or told to get over it. I hope you continue to come here.
Perhaps, along the way, we will find some comfort for the
pain and heartbreak of loss.
I need to clear up something from my first post. I introduced myself
as Emily. Force of habit. You see, Emily is one of my favorite songs.
When my husband was alive, he would sometimes hear me humming
the tune. My husband had hearing loss, but for some reason, he could
hear me humming. So, finally, he asked me what song I was humming.
When I told him, he would then sometimes call me Emily. So, please
forgive the error on my part. My name is Audrey
Today, my husband would have been eighty years old, but, to tell you
the truth, he easily passed for about ten to fifteen years younger than
his age. I posted yesterday that he died from Parkinson’s Disease. He
died the day before his birthday. I was totally alone both days. Somehow
I managed. Somehow I made it through the first year. Like many of you,
there were, and still are, many, many days and nights that I am alone.
Heck, I’m alone most of the time. I leave the house once a week to go
grocery shopping. I take walks, exercise, read, use the computer, call
the few people whom I know will be there for me. I’m doing my best
to stay interested in the things I love to do; it’s what my husband would
want for me.
Like many of you, I wear a smile even when I don’t feel like smiling.
I’m friendly when I don’t feel like being friendly. I do my best when
trying not to show how I feel so much of the time because people just
don’t always understand. They try, yes, but often they are at a loss. I am,
too. I want to be honest, but being honest means that I have to let my
grief come to the surface. Not everyone wants us to do that. It’s hard
for people to watch someone live with the loss of a spouse. Maybe, just
maybe, part of the reason is because it is a reminder that one day they,
too, will have to face the same thing. Maybe, just maybe. . .
I want to share a poem with all of you. It’s called “This Place”
The title refers to this place that I have found. This place
where I can share my loss with others. Here it is:
How thrilled I am
To have found this place
How filled I am
With profoundness, grace
How stressed I am
From the loss I face
How blessed I am
To have found this place
How stretched I am
All over the place
Yet, blessed I am
To have found this place
How grieved I am
All over my face
Yet, relieved I am
To have found this place
I’ve just finished reading chapter 8 of Megan Devine’s book
It’s OK That You’re Not OK. I first started reading this book
shortly after my husband died. I cannot begin to tell you how
much this book has helped me since that loss; however, at the
time when I first began to read it the loss was fresh, so I knew
there might be things in it that I did not get the first time around.
But that is not the only reason that I started to read the book
again. This is one of those books that, at least for me, bears
repeating. Any book that offers, and delivers, the help that I
need, is a book that I must read and refer to over and over
It’s not that I agree with everything in the book, and that’s ok,
because how many of us agree with everything we read? But…
and here’s the kicker… it. helps. me! This book is my friend when
my human friends, for whatever reason, cannot be there for me,
and that happens often because people have their own lives, their
own problems, their own health issues, their own losses to deal
with. I get that. But, the book is always here for me, and I don’t
just read it. I take the advice that pertains to me and I put it to use
in my life. It’s a must because I’m alone about 98% of the time, and
sometimes, being alone with my thoughts for that amount of time,
each day, can be dangerous. I know that. So, I do what I can with
what I’ve got to get through each day.
My husband died on November 20th, 2020. He died one day before
his 79th birthday.
Words can never express how much I miss him. I will always be in
love with him. Always.
Audrey Drury says
I notice that there’s not too much traffic on this site, but
that’s ok. People have their reasons. I’m here today because,
what with being alone most of the time, I feel the need to
connect, even if no one else is posting. Somehow, this helps
me get through.
A few things I wanted to share that happened to me before
I read Megan’s book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK. : I remember
early on, shortly after my husband died, my neighbors took
me grocery shopping. When I got to the cookie aisle, it was
almost unbearable. I saw some of his favorite cookies and I
started to cry. I was wearing a mask because of Covid-19,
plus I was wearing sunglasses, so no one could tell that I
was crying. Also, there was a brand new bottle of his hot
sauce in the refrigerator. I still have it.
When I read these same two stories in Megan’s book I was
shocked. I thought: I’m not going over the edge. Other people
are going through the exact same thing! I felt so bad for these
other women. I wish I could have reached out to them. Another
thing: It has been a little over a year since my husband died, and
I still have not taken the sheets off the bed. I don’t sleep in our
bed since he died. If I’m remembering correctly, Megan left the
sheets on their bed for a couple of years. Those of us who grieve
have so much more in common than we realize. We need each
other so much!
I take Megan’s book seriously, and I take it to heart because I
have learned so much from it. I put what’s in that book into
practice in my life. Most of the time, her book is my life-
line. She knows what she’s talking about and I am blessed
from her having written it. There’s one more thing: Before
I started reading her book, I started writing about my husband,
his death, our relationship. Often enough, I would cry while
writing because of the effect the words were having on me.
A little more than a year later, I’m still writing. I can very
honestly say that I am writing my grief. When I read her
suggestions about writing, I thought, Oh my God. I’m doing
that. I’m on the right track. I couldn’t help but cry.
I’m glad to be here to share. I need this place. I need the
people here. I need to connect.
Take care of yourselves, and God bless you.
I’m so grateful for this post and everyone who has shared their experiences in the comments. I feel so much less lonely in my anger at friends and/or friendships that have dissolved since the death of my loved one a few months ago – which no doubt comes with its own grief. While there have been friends who went silent, I’m finding I’m actually feeling more angry & confused with my one friend (who is grief + emotionally literate), who continues to text me only talk about herself, vent, ask for my support without checking in with me, asking me how I’m doing. There is no longer any space for me. Of course she checked in for the first few weeks after, but since, her silence around my own loss and grief feels louder than the silence of other friends who have simply disappeared.
Audrey Drury says
I just finished reading your post, and I agree with you on so
much of what you wrote. We all do. It’s just so hard to try to
explain why so-called friends seem to ‘unfriend’ us when we
need them most. It seems that, even though we are the ones
who are grieving a loss, we have to be very careful not to
frustrate the people who say they want to help us! But… how
do we do that? We’re grieving! How can we sort out our own
feelings in such a way as to not chase our friends away from
us in our time of need?? I don’t know, but, here’s the thing:
We don’t have to know. We’re grieving, and that takes up a
lot of physical, mental, and emotional energy. It may ebb, it
may flow, because grief can be very unpredictable. But, when
our friends also become unpredictable, it increases out grief
because we don’t want to hurt our friends or give them the
wrong impression, but, at the same time, we want to be
allowed to grieve while we are trying to figure out how to
manage that grief.
Rare is the friend who will be there; who will sit and listen
without seeing you as your own enemy; who will sit and
listen without seeing you as their enemy. I am so thankful
that I have a few friends like that. They are not there as
often as I’d like, but I understand that my friends have
their own lives, problems, health issues, time restraints, etc.
This is understandable. But, I will never understand how
it’s possible to lose so many other friends along the way
who simply can’t understand that what you’re going through
is a normal response to loss. I could go on, but I know you
get the picture.
S, I want you to know that I am truly, truly, sorry for your
loss. I just wish I had the right words to use to at least give
you some comfort in this time of need.
I hope you continue to come here, S, because we all need
each other. We have people to lean on, here, so please
come back again.
I recently lost my mum and while I was taking care of her before she passed away my friend of 10years had started seeing the neighbour entitled to have relationship with her as we just friends but unfortunately they decided it was none of my business so he would be with me in the day visiting my terminal I’ll mum and her I night I only found out because he had a motorcycle accident and when I went to his aid the neighbour said to another neighbour she needs to be out of the way I’m seeing him anyway I confronted him and it was horrendous has I had her gossiping to the neighbour smirking at me and practical laughed at my mum dying after my mum die I gave her her short changed and was accused by her of just wanting an audience she then threatened to go to the housing association and the police because I had completely lost it and said someone would sort her out (wrong I know ) anyway he stuck up for her told me he didn’t witness her behaviour and therefore couldn’t comment I have since been told by him to go to hell go and f myself and I have attitude problem it’s my fault I asked for it then because he had helped take care of mum it was decided he could go to funeral he played music while following Hurst then had a go at me at the wake made excuse to come home early and I had to too cause lift and icing on cake left to grieve alone no support from anyway and neighbours say keeping out of it not even ask if ok after mum died I suffer from ptsd and have done for a while I feel betrayed hurt anger empty lonely doesn’t help as I kept asking if something going on and he kept denying it plus this neighbour I thought was a friend and she had popped in visiting has well as him so guess being taken mic out of in own home when miss my mum sooo much I can’t believe how my friend turned out as always told me I was a good friend and even if he started a Rerelationships would always be my friend having to deal with all nonsense while trying to greive I find totally unacceptable only good thing show true colours unfortunately still have to put up with her constantly gloating smirking and telling neighbours lies all I want is peace and quite to concentrate on my mum and build my life again I’ve ended up phoning the police and bereavement council and I had her when her father died sorry for the long rant but must all come out to understand fully
I have lost 3 family members this last year. 2 of them within 2 weeks and they were husband and wife(my sister)… completely unexpected.
I have lost my parents, brother, 3 sisters (I took care of all 3 till death and everything that followed). I lost a marriage.
I have been a caregiver for over 30yrs to Alzheimer’s patients.
I have been falsely accused of things I never dreamed of by family members.
I’m tired. What’s life really about? So many questions, so little answers.
I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON I USE TO BE!💔
I am a single mom. Well, I was. I am coming up on the two year anniversary of losing my son, and 3 years for my mother. I go about my days as if I am ok. But I’m not. I’ve also lost the “friends I thought were closest. They have all but vanished. I keep thinking “What did I do wrong?” “Was it something I said?” One friend told me to just get over it. Fuck! I have never in my life felt so lonely. I am in a profession where I always have to be “on” and people come to me a vomit all their issues all over me. I’m exhausted, but I have to keep getting up every day and put on my happy face. I’m so tired.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I lost both my adult sons back to back right after losing my mom. Needless to say my life was shattered. The person now look back at me in the mirror was not the person I remembered. I was and would forever be different. Unfortunately, others wanted the OLD ME, hell, I didn’t even know who that was anymore….As others have already shared, expectations of how I thought family and friends would be turned out to be a huge disappointment. Siblings immediately became estranged as though death was contagious. My best friend of 20+ years informed me that I was “ too negative “ to associate with anymore and had an anger issue. Damn right I did! My past, present and future just changed in a flash.. this year marks 11 years without these amazing people in my life and I’m nowhere close to being who I used to be and that’s okay with me. In order for me to survive I have to play by my rules. I decided that if people did not like the rules of my house they did not need to enter. My house, my rules, my life, and my sanctuary all depend on protecting what’s left of my heart. I now have an amazing circle of friends who support and love for me I am now without my precious love ones who have passed and that’s enough for me for now….
Iris Smaus says
My situation is somewhat different from what I’ve read. My best friend of 14 years lost her husband two years ago. He was my husband’s best friend, and it was a big shock and loss to all of us. I realized my friendship would change, naturally, and we did include her in invitations and I continued to make plans with her. She met some new people that she really liked, and she told me, ‘I want to be part of that family, they are so close.’ The statement surprised me, because I felt she was looking for a new place to fit in, and decided these people were it…she then later presented some information about a group they are involved in and asked what I knew about it, and I told her…(a political extremist group.) I provided the information she asked for, and her response was to become very upset, because she heard something she didn’t want to hear…..but I did tell her I hope she was happy and to just be cautious. Then we made plans, but we had to cancel because she was worried about her landlady had gone missing…we discussed the situation, and I asked her to keep me posted and let me know what happens. That was six months ago, nd I never heard from her again. I got ghosted by my best friend, and we were very close…she gave me her grandmother’s pitcher, she called me in the middle of the night when her father died…this was not a mere acquaintance….we were very close and now she has no more use for my friendship, and she’s the very last person I expected to do it. I’m heartbroken, it’s so hurtful.
Jackie Thomas says
Thank you for your honesty. I’m currently grieving the loss of my son. He was 22 years old and battled with a rare autoimmune disease all his life. It’s been 3 months and I feel so lost. I was his main caregiver. My friendships are definitely changing. I’m not the same person. It’s so nice to know someone else has the same feelings.
Elle Kelley says
Wow. I thought I had said or did something wrong! Literally a couple days after my husband shot himself in the head last july 4 (I heard and saw it as I was in the next room) my so-called best friend since 2008 dumped me and was ridiculously mean about it. It was pure insanity. WTF? She picked emails written by me in 2012(!) that she suddenly decided she really didn’t like and threw them in my face. Even with all I was going through I apologized for the emails – twice – and was unceremoniously dumped. My head was spinning. My husband and I had literally saved her financially from becoming homeless and lent her money over the years, despite his never talking to her, let alone meeting her. When he died she still owed his estate $500. She sent me a Paypal payment, and instead of choosing ‘friends and family’ she chose ‘goods and services’ so Paypal would charge me a $15 fee!
Then I took a cross-country road trip and stopped to visit my best friend from childhood (we spoke on the phone so she knew what happened and invited me out). I was so excited! That was literally the highlight of my trip of 8000 miles. She had me stay over for a few days and it was lovely. Her family was so gracious and fun to be around. Since then she wrote me a strange text where she sounded frustrated with not having time to see me again this year. After that all my texts went unanswered. I finally wrote her a text saying how unfair she was being, begging her to talk to me and tell me what I did, and she curtly responded that basically she has no bandwidth to waste on me. That was the last I ever heard from her.
I did not know this sudden cold treatment was a ‘thing’ from who I thought were best friends. The first friend is easier to get over due to her impeccable timing – I didn’t have the energy or time to deal with her bullshit; I had a LOT to take care of. In the midst of grieving and trying to untangle accounts and bills (husband was a programmer and did not leave any passwords accessible so I lost old photos and documents forever). This was a full-time job for months. The second friend, though, hurt more. We were little kids in the 70s…literally the only good memories I ever had in my 54 years were with her and I loved and missed her so much when my family moved southeast when I was 9. Shortly after that move south my life went to hell and never, ever rebounded. I suffer from depression and bipolar disorder already.
Part of me wants to text the second friend a link to this article. I don’t even care about the first friend. That is a horrible, unforgivable stab in the back after all the help and financial support we provided her over the years. But I want my second friend to give me a chance
Dang, this really does resonate. A longtime friend sent me a real scorcher of a breakup message saying they had to cut me off due to “family drama” and “lack of effort,” but they don’t seem to want to say what the “drama” entailed, or that they often went months between replying to me. I was always lending a sympathetic shoulder to them, so I caved into temptation and figured it’d be okay to share some of my own struggles, just a couple. It went against the established pattern, but they’d cut me some slack because of the DEATH, right? I should’ve known better. I don’t even mind the friendship ending, I understand that not everyone wants to or is equipped to deal with someone else’s grief, but there was no need to turn me into a monster to justify it. (Also, there’s still a pandemic going on! I wanted to wait until it was safer to limit our exposure to the virus!) It feels almost like a betrayal to post this, but I’m sick of always taking “the high road.” And if they come across this page, hell, maybe they’ll learn something. It makes me sad how common this sort of thing is, yet I find some comfort knowing that others have been here and gotten through to the other side before.
Elle Kelley says
J, I also agree that these are just excuses they give us because they themselves cannot handle our grief. Like you, I was suddenly considered some sort of “monster”. It is difficult to come to terms with it, though…I am still dealing with having basically lost 3 of my favorite people in one year
The amount of comments under this article speak for themselves; none of us are alone in our grief, even when we think we are. Thank you Megan for writing this post, and thank you to everyone who has commented. I googled ‘feeling let down by friends in my grief’ and found you all here, and from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry for what you’re all experiencing or have experienced, and I truly hope the people who have talked about taking their own life found the support they needed. I lost my Father last month and I too have had my eyes opened to those who have been able to be there for me, and those who haven’t. I’m trying to have compassion for the fact that some people just feel its best to leave us to get on with our grieving, but it does hurt at times for sure. I think the biggest thing I’m finding is the feeling of being invisible. I think grief takes you into such a void of hopelessness that you suddenly feel of no use to anyone, but yet everyone sharing their experiences here has helped me so I guess I’m commenting here to remind you how important you all are and how important your grieving process is!
If anyone would like to connect, please do reply to my comment and we could set up a Zoom.
My heart is with yours and I’m sorry for your pain.
One of my closest friend’s husband died after 4 days of an unexpected illness, but she didn’t tell me until 10 MONTHS later. (She lived out of town at the time, about 1-1/2 hrs away.)
We’d been friends for over 30 years, and I considered her one of my closest and dearest friends. “You’re like family to me”, she’d said dozens of times. I felt loved and valued by her up until realizing I apparently wasn’t important enough to be informed of such a life-changing event. TEN months! When I asked why it took so long to tell me, she only replied, “I just couldn’t.” Several years have gone by and I’ve shared with her 3 times how deeply her actions have hurt me, and she’s never even said, “I’m sorry… I never meant to hurt you.” Nothing. I guess I’m NOT like family after all.
Now, I have no idea how “much” of a friend she is any more, and don’t trust her.
Obviously, we either have developed different definitions of friemdship, or she no longer considers me as close of a friend as I consider her. I feel heartbroken and wonder if the friendship is on its way to ending after 36 years.
My kind and widely liked wife died of cancer just 4 months after her diagnosis and 5 months into the pandemic. We had no children and the isolation was beyond grueling. Some days it still is. Most of the couples who attended her memorial service faded away. One couple I reached out to by email a few days after her service never even bothered to reply. Several family members who knew her well, never contacted me at all; people we’d had Thanksgiving dinners with for years!
Her family, however, has been there for me. Despite living far away, they call regularly and I can’t thank them enough.
I can’t explain any of this, but I’m angry still. To have people disappear or waffle when you are most vulnerable, just hurts. Instinctively, I want to sever ties with such people. Why bother with them? Why show up for them when it feels like they abandoned me when I needed them most? If you knew in advance that people would behave like that, you’d never make friends with them in the first place.
On the other hand, people are often afraid. They don’t know what to say or do, or they lack courage. Some simply lack adequate empathy. We’re all imperfect. Me too. And can I honestly say I would have offered the “right kind” of support to someone else in my shoes had I not experienced this myself? I don’t know. It IS scary. But those of us who have gone through this do understand. To all of you I say, you are not alone. Plow ahead with what’s right for you. If that means a whole new set of friends, so be it. It is your life to live.
I lost my dad a few months ago and one of my best friends gave birth to her second son. I found it difficult to listen to her as she complained about the lack of support from her parents during that time and I found it difficult to relate to her as she celebrated new life while I was grieving lost life. I bought her a present for her new son. She bought me a present too. It was a book called “positivity for every day” it was bullshit compilation of quotations to look at the “bright side of things”. I was so angry, it wasn’t her fault, she was clueless but I couldn’t help but think, I don’t need positivity, I need to be heard, understood. I’m not “negative” I’ve just lost my favourite person.
Wanderin Jack says
Thank you all for your comments. My mother, who was living in Ireland, died a month ago. Since the initial FB pleasantries, only one friend has reached out to check in on me. My family has all ghosted me. I’ve been living in this area for +30 years. I’m well known, liked, and respected. I’ve done a lot for my community. I’ve gotten more concern from my clients and acquaintances in Ireland than my so-called “friends” here. What shocked me into reality is the comment above. “The only thing for sure is that grief will rearrange your address book.” Being abandoned by my friends is going to be a lot harder to sort out than my mother’s death. At least that’s the way it feels right now.
Today is my dad’s one year death anniversary and I remember who showed up, who initially showed up and disappeared, and who did not show up at all. To people who were initially there for me and disappeared, those friendships have been put on a shelf and moved to second tier. If they reach out to me, great, but I don’t have the energy to tend to those friendships. They are no longer the first people I will contact.
I think friends and family members too, disappear on some level because they treat grief as if it’s contagious. It’s terrible, but unfortunately it happens especially in this culture, which is horrible in understanding grief. While none of my friends treated me terribly compared to some experiences shared here and offline, it still hurts to be dropped. Clearly I am an inconvenience. They are running away from what they will eventually face.
Mary Theresa Siino says
The one person who I expected to be helpful to me when my son died was my cousin with a Ph.D in psychology and also a “so called” author of a book about grieving. We grew up together and spent every day of our childhood together as friends as well as cousins. Once we grew up and lived, a not so far distance from each other, the contact grew less, but we did talk occasionally. I very much expected her to reach out to me…. but never heard from her. In fact, to pour salt into the wound, she told my sister she didn’t want to talk to me because she thought I would be “ashamed”? I’m not in any way ashamed of my son dying. He had a disease, and she, of all people should know that. Alcoholism is a disease listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I, myself, have a master’s in psychology and Counseling, and know that anyone worth their salt, especially one who writes a book, should know that. I’m so disgusted with this and wish I could “out” her for the phony she is. But I wouldn’t do that. I think she must know how derelict she is and feel ashamed of “herself” for just disregarding me completely. It’s on her conscience not mine.
In the past 2 years I have lost my Dad, family members, friends and 9 months ago my best friend since childhood,suddenly. So much loss is heartbreaking for anyone including myself.
I haven’t really heard from my “ friends” these past 2 years ( Covid has a part also) but I also haven’t wanted to contact them..….. disconnected is how I feel but funny thing is I’m ok with that, not sure how they feel.
My life has changed, I have changed at times for the better & at times for the worse. I don’t feel a connection to them and do not feel I owe an explanation or apology for my feelings.
It’s true that when loved ones pass you lose a lot of relationships, some family and friends but you gain back ( I have) with those people you never imagined would be there for you and truly are concerned and want to be in your life and you in theirs. That is what makes me smile and glad to bring happiness into their lives also.
Some think it’s arrogance that you have these feelings or why you are how you are, I think it’s more than that. I have learned from my grief and loss experiences, I’ve gained strength, clarity and a realization about yourself and the people you truly want in your life, without any explanation or guilt.
I miss those I have lost so much and if I have a bad day ,I don’t want to feel like it’s wrong to emotional or have people saying to get over it, they’re in a better place etc etc cause that doesn’t help at all. Unfortunately everyone will at some time in their life have to deal with loss, it’s a part of life.
I ordered your book cannot wait to read it,
I thank you for this. My “friend” whom I’ve known since I was 12, and just reconnected with 3 years ago after going our separate ways for 30 years, we’re both 67, has shown me she is no friend. Things always have to be around her schedule and time and at her convenience. I have been there for her at the drop of a hat if she needed me. Well, this past Sat. Oct. 22nd I had to put down my beloved dog of 11 years after she had a horrible accident. I am still beyond devastated and lost without my baby girl. She was everything to me. Well, my so called friend didn’t bother to come over, she lives about 4 minutes away from me, didn’t call me, just texted me. I finally asked if she could come by for just a short visit because I really needed her support and comfort because my heart is beyond broken. But no, she said she has other important things to deal with and can’t make any plans to come be with me. Yet if she ever called and said she needed to come over right away because she needed to talk, I welcomed her to come over, no matter what I was doing. My daughter is appalled at my “friend’s” behavior and can’t believe she could be so uncaring. So I’m ending this “friendship” because if it had happened to her, I would have been on the phone, not texting, to see how she was doing and ask her if she wanted me to come over or see if she wanted to come to my house just to be together and cry and talk, or if she needed anything. I refuse to have a so called friend that can’t even spare half an hour for me in times of tragedy when I would be there for her no matter what.
My hsb died 4 wks ago. His family (mom/siblings/extended) have TOTALLY abandoned me. I am in a town where I know no one & they have decided from the day of the funeral, to not talk to me any longer. Will not take my calls, will not acknowledge my presence in public, will not answer my knocks on the door & have UNfriended me on social media groups. *Unknown reason. We got along fine (not close though) until the day my husband died. I am lucky enough to belong to a church with kind people (that I do NOT even know) that have extended their friendship in listening to me grieve, have helped me with food, and sat with me in the first nights of being alone. I truly do not know why the family is doing this to me, but it would be easier to have them IN my life, to mourn with, to remember, to be with, but they have chosen to cast me aside and now I do not know how I will go on in life totally alone. Social media is a good diversion sometimes, but that’s all it is. People don’t want to hear about my grief any longer
I read your book recently. I appreciate this post so much because I keep thinking I should reach out to a girlfriend who was my closest friend since highschool but we didn’t stay connected throughout the COVID period. And although she came to the funeral of my loved one and wished me happy birthday, I just can’t seem to reach out to her. Maybe it’s time to let go and be okay with it.
Bev M. says
I’m a 64 year old dying of cancer alone at home. My adult daughter 3000 miles away knows, my few “close” friends know, yet none seem to able to acknowledge it or realize as I do that I have barely left the house for weeks, aside from a quick trip to the grocery store and am dying now but I just don’t look the part. They’ve visited, daughter plans to come back when I can arrange fr family leave with my doctor, friend left angry that I did not act up to their usual expectations, was a bad hostest, said something that upset them, have not been to visit them etc… It’s the bizarrest of bizarre, feeling and knowing I may not wake up tomorrow each night, not able to do anything but lie around day after day, neglecting the things I should but can’t do, like try to reach my doctor to arrange for my daughter to get a family leave in a month. A friend stopped for the night to stay here, as the half way point between her house and her sons. She left here angry the next day because after she repeatedly nodded off on the livingroom when we were talking, I asked if she’d go to bed, there are 3 bedrooms for her to choose from upstairs though she always stays in the same one and I stay up downstairs, as I have insomnia and up very, very late. I stay in the livingroom, as I sleep in the other and not wanting to spend more time in the room I sleep and this the other, where she’d snoring, drifting back awake, talking and falling asleep whenI’m responding – again. She angry and irritated, as I start with, you’re tired and can’t stay awake, why don’t you head up to bed, 15, then 30 minutes later the same, leaving in an angry huff about an hour later for speaking to her wrong. I wanted her to be here or not be here ie: awake visting or in bed. I’m alone all the time and happy for the visit but tired of the- I’m here but not really here or I know you are terminally ill with metasized cancer but cannot understand why you have not been up to visit in so long, can’t meet my expectations and acting for months, like I will live many more. My daughter, I wonder if I have the energy to battle the secretary, who will for good reason have the nurse call me back but she doesn’t and I repeat the process another day and the another and a weeks gone buy and that’s to find out if she will allow me to mke an appoint, with the doctor or insist I see the nurse practioner. I wonder if I will live to make the appointment much less long enough to actually have one. It is as if, the only one that really knows that I am dying is me. I get up for the rare visit or call, I don’t seem sick to them but I feel like I am dying and am but I mean, well into the process. But they seem to think I’ll be here for months and daughter acts so obligated and I tell her, it would be better for both if she didn’t come. She was here for a week to “help” me but didn’t and was resentful, argumentive,mean and mostly with her boyfriend who joined her. I am dumfounded. I remember when my mother was ill and I wanted and needed to be there, when she no longer knew who I was but I knew who she was. My daughter aked how I could stand “how mean she was to me” and I told her, she was broken and her anger had nothing to do with me, she wasn’t well.
I have not been mean, rather not all I’m expected to be or was and she said she plans to come for Christmas if she can get that leave for her. I cannot pay my bills, barely eat or shower and expected to put on a Christmas for she and her boyfriend. I sit here feeling I may die before Thanksgiving but can’t. I told a friend I’d give her a ride to the train station to visit her family. The one that I thought I had until I became ill and more ill and could not arrange a ride to the doctor with a volunteer ride service. My d says, you should go to the city and see another doctor, one hour away, when I could not get to one 20 minutes away. I surender to dying alone and feel I have died inside and was written off as dead in advance, as I have nothing more to give. The phone calls fewer and fewer, some so long that I wonder if they’d know If I were dead or how long it would take for any to know. I am both feeling a bit sorry for myself, as I could nevr have imagined a death as mine so rife with grief at losing all those I thought loved and cared about me and feel like my life and death’s a dark comedy, as helps been on the way for so long, yet never arrived, as I’m about to depart. Did I need to vomit blood in front of them or not be able to get up from the sofa that’s mine 90 % residence, I guess that I was frustrated that I came to the other room for a visit and not ready to get up either, not to go up to bed as she but back to the sofa where I am when no ones here and feels like my isolation chamber even when someone is here, though not really here. I want it over but it appears not soon enough for them, those I thought actually cared and is bizarely unreal to feel I was written off as dead, while still alive and wonder how long I’ll have been dead when I’m found, as I wait for someone to come help and seems they came and left and when the come to help next time, I wonder how long I’ll have been dead or they couldn’t reach me and “thought I must be busy” haha . While they are in denial, I am here facing a cruel reality that I could never have imagined and feels surreal.
I’m not too sure where i fit in with all this, i already want to avoid people altogether, friends mostly and work colleagues, but really everyone except for my wife and bother/sister. i am lucky in that respect, i work from home since covid so i can easily isolate myself from the world, My Father has been in a nursing home for past year, i tried to delay the inevitable as long as i could but eventually it became untenable for him and he has taken bad turn after bad turn, now he is on the edge of death, i saw him yesterday and he didn’t even seem to be aware of me anymore, he sleeps pretty much 24/7, no quality of life at all, 99% blind, 99% deaf, bed ridden, so i totally get it when he managed to tell my mum that he just wants to go to sleep and not wake up. my Mum who is 92 is with him and i have the torture now of her grief, knowing that after he dies she will be all alone in that hated nursing home with nothing but her grief. My parents (especially my mum) weere old school, they hate the modern world of computers and smartphones and the closer they get to leaving this world i find i have such animosity towards not just technology but lovers of technology, i hate being in the company of tech savvy people or the really young, children I can’t cope with becuase they love their technology, i hate being around my peers, they also love their technology, i hate going on public transprt and seeing the smart phone zombies,, it reminds me i am in a dystopian future, a future my parents are horrified at and i get it now, i fully get their horror at what the modern world has become, seeing the populace scares me to death now I know my folks are about to leave and i’ll have to come to terms not only with their demise but also come to terms with the shitty new dystopian world we have that everybody elseone else is fine with or even love it and that makes me despise my fellow humans. Funny i used to love electronic music but now i virtually hate it. Now i actively hate music, My wife loves listening to mainstreem pop music, as soon as i’m in the car with her i turn the radio off which pisses her off, the music i hear on the radio also reminds me i am living in a dystopian future where everybody listens to the same music and is blithely unaware of how bad and how souless it has become. Everything now reminds me that my parents old world has gone and they no longer have a place in it.
As far as my friends go they can all really go their own way, i don’t want to hear emtpy condolences, “at least they had a a long life” or some other meaningless empty words, i don’t want to know their future plans now that my folks have only 1 plan left – planning to die.
Thank you for writing this everything you wrote is exactly how I’m feeling right now. I lost my grandma my last grandparent Nov 6 2022. so dealing with that loss plus looking after both parents who’s health is declining rapidly. The idea of friendship right now, just doesn’t appeal to me to be honest. I don’t have the time I used to have to deal with my friends health issues. I have my own to deal with and it’s quite overwhelming. Thank you again for making me feel that I’m not alone In all this.
I’m a friend who lost my friend to grief. They are unable to have a conversation without mentioning their dead adult child. It’s been a decade. Every attempt at a text message conversation, every post on social media is about “the biggest loss of my life.” This person openly admits to looking at photos and videos of their loved one after having a day when they realized they didn’t think about them, as if they deserve to be sad all of the time. The death was due to an overdose and this person tied themselves up in knots trying to save their child, which of course, only made things worse.
I knew their child and I used to respond by mentioning a fun memory of them, or something that made me think of them recently, thinking that they mentioned them all of the time because they were scared of them being forgotten. But that often ends the conversation! If I am saying the wrong thing, they don’t tell me.
This person has many other good things happening in their lives and yes, they do mention them, and I do attempt to converse with them, but then here comes “the biggest loss of my life.” Whether it’s Christmas, Fall, Summer, or a Wednesday. I always listen. I don’t shut them down or say, “Why are you still talking about that?” This person once said that exact thing to me when I kept talking about a physician who sexually assaulted me years ago when I had cancer. I kept talking about him (though I never told them he assaulted me) in an attempt to make sense of what happened and they said to me, “Don’t talk to me about him anymore.” Thanks for your support? If I said, “Why do you keep talking about your child who has been dead for ten years in EVERY conversation, every Facebook post?” There would be hell to pay! But I have some tact, and I don’t understand why she’s doing this to herself, so who am I?
I know people change, and I guess this is an example of that. If your friends have “abandoned” you some years after the fact, maybe you are the problem and need professional help. People have their limits. I can’t relate to bringing down everything good in my life, everyday, by dredging up bad events.