Friendship and Grief

Today blog is all about my experience with losing friends after a loss. When we experience loss we experience a loss of control. Our illusion of stability is shattered and we are seeking some sturdy ground. The same thing happens for your friends while you are grieving. They feel out of control they don’t know how to help you and question stability. In order for a friend to hold space for your grief it will require them to look at their own pain and their own fear especially around death. I want to mention that I truly believe everyone is doing the best they can in the moment and in no way want to bring shame or anything to my friends or family.

In my experience, I have come across two different kind of endings of friendship. One side of my experience has been in that I am hard to hold space for now, I am sad and in pain 24/7. It is understandable that friends or family might not know how to “be my friend.” The other side is all about my experience with anger and bitterness. It is also understandable to not want to have a relationship with people who you feel don’t hear your pain. 

I recently read a quote that stated “I don’t get to choose the amount of vulnerability I expose myself to – death of a loved one mandates that we step into vulnerability. And I’m not talking putting our toe in the water – it’s a cannon ball type of immersion into vulnerability! Loss takes away your ability to chose what you feel and throws you into instantly being vulnerable with your new reality. My experience with grief has been an entire ocean filled with all kinds of emotions. I share my experience from the heart and sometimes that is too much for others to handle, and that is ok.

 Within my ocean I have many difficult feelings like anger and bitterness. I noticed that I have no patience for other people or friends that suck my energy. For example, I had a friend that was getting angry over things I now find irrelevant like dinner plans, or not being able to answer text messages right way. I felt like she was wasn’t hearing my pain and brought her own drama and experience into every situation. In my head I am like “we can all die tomorrow and you are mad about a phone call? but that is her reality and mine is now very different. I can’t expect her to understand how I feel just like I don’t understand why she is mad over something so small. Sometimes grief shifts people apart and that is ok. Grief forces you into change and transformation and this is my journey, I can’t expect others to change and transform with me. I can however send them compassion and set boundaries for our relationship no longer serves my greater being.

I have had so many people tell me that now “I’m so negative” or “my post make them sad” and I am here to hold the space for people who are in pain and share that NOTHING is wrong with you.  You don’t need to change your experience. If you are anger and bitter be angry and bitter. Whatever you experience, just be with it don’t change it because society says you need to change or get over it. I don’t need to hear I should be grateful for what I have or that we have a choice for how we feel each day, because we don’t and maybe I’m not grateful in this moment. 

What if we taught kids that sadness is apart of life, pain will always be present, the goal isn’t to make it go away, the goal is to learn how to balance sadness with happiness. Teach kids that we can be both pain and joy and to embrace both parts of our being. “Look on the bright side” or “pain heals with time” but what if pain doesn’t heal with time? We need to resource our society to be with pain and not try and get rid of it. Life is a balancing act too much or too little on each side of the scale won’t serve our inner being. 

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