The loss of a friend is often a silent grief. While you may
experience intense feelings, have a hard time concentrating at work, and feel
great pain, society goes about its business and does not often acknowledge how
you are hurting. We tend to minimize many losses outside of the nuclear family.
It is normal to feel many intense feelings and to struggle with your daily
routine and functioning, even if others do not acknowledge your pain. When we
lose people we love or care about, we grieve and the intensity of that grief
depends on that person’s importance to you and how you are processing their
death. Sometimes a friend’s family may not include you or you do not have a
relationship with them. So, consider proactive ways to cope and express your
Here are some things to consider:
- Reach out
to the family – families often times appreciate hearing stories about their
loved ones from friends. It helps them build memories, shows how important the
person was to others, and helps them with their grief. It is also a good way to
establish an ongoing and deeper connection to the person who died because
you’ll likely learn, laugh, and grow too.
a good listener – find someone who will not minimize your grief or make it
about them. A good listener will try to understand , not interrupt you; not tell
you what to do or that you are doing it wrong. A good listener is a good
something in memory of your friend – there are many walks to participate in
and there are many charities/nonprofits that would benefit from a gift or
volunteer service in memory of your friend. If you can’t do good by making a
commitment in that way, consider other meaningful ways to “pay it forward” and
make the world a little better place, even if it is simply adding a bigger tip for the waiter
or making the effort to be extra friendly or helpful in your daily life.
friends – friends often have different, maybe even more colorful, stories
than family. If you share friends with the person who died, consider assembling
them and building support among each other.
creative – we tend to rely on traditional ways to express our grief, such
as a funeral. However, you may not be able to attend or it is private for
family only. That might make you feel excluded and that’s hard. However,
you can have a memorial service with dear friends, go on a day trip, visit
memorable places that you shared with your friend, or build your own sense of
connection and ritual to express your grief.