Chapter 2: How your friend’s death may affect you
Your unique relationship
When I visited my friend in hospice, we talked, and we often laughed. We had some really good times. Sometimes with death, there is still some humour. I remember the nurses saying that it was good to hear laughter.
I never wanted him to suffer, so I was relieved when he died. But I was also relieved because I no longer had to deal with his moods. We were good friends, but I never quite knew how to deal with him; one day he was happy, the next day he was dark and in a bad mood.
Who was this person to you?
Part of grieving is knowing that you will never have another relationship just like this one. Each relationship is as different and unique as the people in it. Below are some aspects that may have been unique to your relationship. Click on each one to read more.
You and your friend may have confided in each other, and you may now be the keeper of their thoughts, opinions, stories, wishes, dreams, and experiences.
You and your friend likely shared some experiences that no one else did. You may also have gone through “ups and downs” or times when one of you needed extra support.
Perhaps you and your friend didn’t always see “eye to eye” with one another but valued and learned from each other; or you may have once been very close but drifted apart for some reason.
While some relationships are “smooth,” others can be stormy. Your relationship with your friend might be complicated for a variety of reasons. For example, your friend may have been hurtful or disrespectful; or they may have struggled with mental illness or addiction; or they may have experienced bullying or abuse and treated you this way.
What may help
Talking with others about the experiences you shared with your friend can be very comforting, even if it also brings up feelings of sorrow or loss. Many people find that this helps to maintain their sense of connection with the person who has died.
If your relationship included difficulties or complications, give yourself time to sort through these. In time, you may come to view them as one part of a larger story.