2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2009 11:38 AM by katydoes

    Death of a friend

    ff_rolemodel

      My closest friend of over 40 years was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 months.  But she lived 27 months, enjoying life to the fullest, attending art events, travelling, and even hiking.  Just at the end of 2007, she began to deteriorate rapidly, was in constant pain, and although we talked on the phone, did not want me to visit until she felt better.  The first week in Feb., her daughter called saying she had died, and the memorial service would be March 15.  I had experienced grief when she was first diagnosed, and had done a lot of grief work through writing, so I did not expect  to have a strong reaction to her passing.  The memorial service was lovely.  However, seeing the container with her ashes was a great shock.  I am told that I turned white, and I began to feel numb, not moving or talking, and sleeping a lot. People recommend that I get busy, focus on getting things done.  I'm not finding that useful, in part because I'm finding it hard to concentrate and organize.   Any similar experiences?  Suggestions?

       

        • Re: Death of a friend
          mjD
          Your post has been well over a month ago, and I hope you are still checking to see if someone has replied to your statements.  Back in August, I lost my best friend to liver cancer metastasis.  That best friend happened to be my mother, who was 95.  I found that no matter the age nor the person involved, grief is a very personal thing.  We all react differently and heal at various stages in time.  Noone can legislate how we should respond or the timetable to when we become "normal" again.

          I hope this gives you permission to grieve at your own pace, in your own way, in your own time without feeling guilty.

          Years ago, Paul Walker (a minister in the Atlanta area) shared an experience of meeting a woman in the general hospital. The woman had lost both a child and her husband within a week of each other, and was inconsolable by the staff of the hospital.  When Paul met with her, she was rolling on the floor sobbing in loud wails.  Paul joined her and repeated her movements and sounds.  When she quieted, she looked at him and said, "Thank you for sharing my pain."

          My former minister (a ver young man) preached the funeral of a teenager who died in a car crash.  He said this which resonated with me: "We have been created to live, not die.  As human beings created in the image of the living God, we do not know what to do with death!"  I have thought about that intensely over the last four years since he made that statement!  It's so true.  I don't know what to do with death--it's such a separation from the ones that I love, care for, and desire to share my life with. 

          Same with you!  Thus your turning white and feeling faint over the ashes of your friend.  May this e-mail help you become okay with your negative emotions regarding death.  It's not okay!  It may never be okay, but you will learn to cope and continue with your life, your responsibilities, your focus on goals that are important to you.  You will be happy again, and you will awaken one morning to a new joy that is deeper and more resilient than the joy you've known in the past!

          Blessings to you,
          MJ
          • Re: Death of a friend
            katydoes
            You may have reacted so strongly because part of you was not accepting that your friend was really gone. Or  you might be feeling bad that you had not seen her before she died. I hope by now you feel better but one thing you might do is find a way to honor your friend. Volunteer or contribute to a cause she felt deeply about, write a letter to her children about how much their mother meant to you, gather photos, if you have them, and think about the good times they represent. And, something my mother practiced: when you lose a friend, go out and make a new one. Loss is an increasing part of aging and can end up being extremely overwhelming if we do not make a conscious effort to remain engaged in life. You will always miss your friend but you still have life and there are lots of people out there who would love to spend some time with you.