Chapter 2: How your friend’s death may affect you

Your own mortality

The grief expert says
Michaela explains how a friend's death can bring self-reflection and recognition of one's own mortality.(3:22)Video transcript
Michaela McLean, grief specialist, speaks about the losses experienced when a friend dies.(3:22)Video transcript

I thought we would be tearing up the town until we were old men. But Brad got sick and died quickly when he was only 45. And if he died young, then what about me?

If your friend who died was the same or a similar age as you, you may now be thinking more about your own life and death. Although you have known, on some level, that you are mortal, this may not have been in your conscious thoughts in the same way as when a friend is dying or has died. It’s normal to imagine what your own death might be like, how you might react if you knew you were dying, and/or how others around you might feel and respond. You may feel some anxiety or worry. The reality that “life is short” may lead you to make changes in your life.

If your friend was an older person, you may grieve the loss of someone who was “further along the path” than you. You may have looked to this person for guidance or seen them as a kind of “compass” in your life.

If your friend was quite young, your grief will likely include feelings about a “life lost.” You may grieve the future that they will never have and struggle with thoughts that life isn’t fair.