When someone dies, much of the concern that we show is directed to that person’s family, and rightly so. But there are significant people in everyone’s life who will also grieve a loss…those people who we call “friends”. Webster’s Dictionary includes the definition of friend to be a favoured companion and in that vein, it is reasonable that friends as well as families will grieve. Friends will grieve, but I think that the onset of that grief may be different…it could be delayed a bit if friends don’t live together and are not in each other’s daily lives.
For everyone, the first stage of grief is shock and disbelief which is what helps us get through those initial days and which is why the loss seems to hurt more as time goes on. One day you will go to do one of those “friend things” and it will hit you that Jane is really not there. And you’ll be sad and you’ll be angry and maybe for awhile you may not feel like doing “friend things” because it hurts too much or because you feel guilty for having fun without her. Maybe without really understanding what is going on you will go to a place where it doesn’t hurt so much and throw yourself into doing things to an extreme like working or shopping or baking. And then, as Oprah says, you’ll have an “aha” moment when you realize what’s going on and why you’re doing the things you’re doing and you can begin to heal.
In one of my favourite songs by Michael W Smith called “Friends Are Friends Forever” he sings about losing friends and he sings “We’ll keep you close as always; it won’t even seem you’re gone. ‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways will keep the love that keeps us strong. Though it’s hard to let you go in the Father’s hands we know that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends”.
I’m always happy when a family decides to include friends the same way that they do themselves. Many times if a family chooses not to have public visitation but they come in themselves to spend time with the person who died, they will also bring the person’s best friends…I think that would be such an honour to be included.
Until next week,