The Kiss of Death on a Friendship
Why the people you expect to support you after loss can disappear
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to go through a significant loss, you may have found that the loss continued in the form of friends who didn’t show up.
This is something that we hear from grievers on a regular basis. While we’re not here to make excuses for them, we can give you some plausible explanations.
The idea that your friend could experience what you have been through might be a terrifying thought for them. They might shudder at the prospect and hold their loved ones a bit tighter. It might feel extremely uncomfortable for them to listen to the details of the death.
For them to experience your pain, they must touch a place in themselves they don’t want to go to.
It could be that your friends haven’t experienced a significant loss before and don’t know how to support others. Without any experience or education in loss, it is difficult for them to offer any assistance. They might worry about saying the wrong thing. So, they don’t.
Your friends might be grieving this loss as well, or this loss might remind them of another loss that they experienced. Every relationship is different, even within the same family, which means that everyone’s grief is also different. When someone is dealing with their own feelings of grief, they are less able to offer meaningful support to others.
There is also a tendency to avoid mentioning the name of someone who has died, because they feel that to do so will only upset you. Their avoidance can seem to you like they have forgotten your loss, which can hurt as well. With no one really having the proper tools to deal with the emotional pain of grief, it can feel like you are the only one in true pain.
Cast your mind back to the first moments of your grief when the phone was ringing, and your friends told you to ask if there was anything you needed. What can your friends do to support you right now? Have you told them? Is there a way you can share this with them?
It is our intention to make sure someone is there for you following a significant loss. If you need support, we have specialists all over the country who can help you and we are there to chat on our social media pages.
Joan Hughes is an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist based in Surrey, offering one-to-one and group sessions in a variety of specialisms, including the Grief Recovery Method and Hypnotherapy.
Find out more about Joan here.