Chapter 4: Impact on family and friends
Your friends and your sibling’s friends
Some of my friends seemed awkward around me after my sister’s death, but I had one friend who seemed to just “get it” and treated me the same as always while letting me know that whatever I needed was okay with them.
My brother had a friend that I didn’t meet until after the funeral. She was very kind and spent time telling me about what my brother had meant to her and about other friends he had.
You may find that your friends are right beside you and able to provide comfort to you at this challenging time. It is not uncommon, though, that friends you expected would be there for you are not. This can be for a variety of reasons. Click the arrows below to view some possibilities.
They may have had little or no experience with death, dying, and grief, or they may feel afraid of saying or doing the “wrong” thing and upsetting you more.
They might have other issues and demands in their own life that are also taking their attention and time now.
They may feel helpless in the face of your grief, feeling they need to “do” something but not knowing what this might be.
If you are able, let your friends know what you need from them. Click below for some ideas.
To just listen and not give advice
To distract you and do something together, unrelated to the death of your sibling
To help in creating something in memory of your brother or sister
Most friends want to know how they can be helpful; they just need to hear from you about how they can help. What you need can change from day to day or moment to moment. Let your friends know that too.
Friends you and your sibling shared
Some of your friends may also have been friends with your sibling, and sometimes there can be comfort in this. You might be able to talk about shared experiences, funny stories, and memories, and you might find this helps and supports all of you.
Unknown friends of your sibling
Other times, you may have not known your sibling’s friends very well, and you might discover other parts of your sibling’s life through sharing stories and memories. The closeness these friends may have had with your sibling takes nothing away from the unique relationship you had with them.
Although some friends can feel like family and be wonderful supports, some might “overstay their welcome.” Find a way to gently let them know that you and/or your other family members need some time on your own too. Remember there are many different ways to grieve and express grief.