When someone dies, our concern tends to be directed to that person’s family and rightly so. But there are other people who will grieve that same loss…those people who we call friends. Webster’s Dictionary includes the definition of a friend to be a “favoured companion” and so although we may not live with our friends and we may not see our friends every day, losing them will trigger the same emotions that are felt by families.
For everyone the first stage of grief is “shock and disbelief” and that is a stage that lets us gradually accept the reality of the loss. That’s the time when you read a name in the obituary section of the newspaper and you think “I have a friend with the same name, but surely it’s not him” so you read the rest of the obituary just to be sure. And as you’re reading, you will either realize that there really are two John Doe’s on this planet and this one is someone you don’t know (which will give you a sense of relief), or your heart will sink as you read names that you know and you recognize your friends life accomplishments. Even then you might think “but what if…” which is why it’s always a good thing to be able to see someone who has passed away because that is a time when you accept the reality of the loss.
Sometimes people think that you shouldn’t grieve the same as family members do when it’s a friend who dies but the reality is that it is still a loss for you and losses are what we grieve. Some day when you pick up the phone to call your friend or when the day comes that you would have done something special with your friend that loss is going to hit home. And you can either throw yourself into doing things to an extreme like working hard or baking more so that you delay your grief or you can face it head on, sit down and cry, and then begin the journey that will take you through your grief.