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Missing my friend

(37 Posts)
Expat38matt Fri 24-Feb-17 06:32:08

I've read through the other threads here and feel a bit trite in the midst of those who've lost a child or spouse or parent.
Mine is an awkward kind of grief I suppose and I know those around me are surprised I'm still affected so much by it
My good friend of around 20 years took her own life late last year after a long battle with PND
I still can't understand how she could do it. I don't suppose I ever will
All I see is the devastation she's left behind - a 2 year old who'll never know her Mum and a spouse who found her body and will probably never get over it. As well as family and friends left blaming themselves and feeling so guilty even though the rational mind knows nothing could have been done as she was determined (not her first try!)

I want to ask if anyone has any insight to help me make sense of her suicide and stop feeling so pissed off with her for doing it !

Losing "just" a friend is a strange one as you're not directly involved and no one thinks you're still grieving months later and are surprised by sudden sadness

Thanks for listening

SaorAlbaGuBrath Fri 24-Feb-17 06:38:12

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I don't have any advice about suicide, but I didn't want to read and run. My best friend died unexpectedly 3 years ago and it floored me. Take as much time as you need to grieve, it hurts, and it's ok that it still hurts. 3 years on its easier, but I still miss her every day.
Could you try bereavement counselling? They might be able to help you process all the feelings surrounding how your friend died and help you find ways to cope. Grief is a terrible thing, I'm so sorry flowers

BikeRunSki Fri 24-Feb-17 06:51:59

I'm listening. I have no great insights, but can absolutely relate and sympathise. Last spring a friend of mine took his life. He appeared to "have it all" - good job, nice house, lovely wife, lovely kids. He was clever and witty, good at his job (I first met him through work), well respected professionally and well loved by his many friends.

I so understand about you feeling pissed off!!! I do!!!! I wonder what could have been going onto make him do it. He appeared to be living the dream. How dare he do that to his kids, his wife, his friends? Why had he been texting me about half term plans if he was going to do this....

And I can also feel that i shouldn't still miss him nearly a year later. But I do, everyday. Am I "allowed" to still grieve? It took me 6 months to contact his wife after this initial card and funeral. Not because I dislike her- quite the opposite- but because I couldn't work out if she'd want to be in touch with his friends.

It's not simple "just" being a friend. Not a legitimate chief mourner, yet profoundly affected, but without that wider family support.

Expat38matt Fri 24-Feb-17 06:52:45

Thanks for your kind message. Honestly I feel like a bit of a fraud for being so sad about it - she was very difficult to be around the last few years and I also love overseas so hadn't seen her in a few years - last time I saw her she was 1 week from giving birth. We talked but she was never honest. I knew what she was going through via other friends who saw her every day and despaired over her condition and being unable to help her
I have a friend who was at "ground zero" for two years- taking time off work and from her own kids to rush to her aid etc. Trying to find mental health care etc. She really has the "right" to be devastated as was taking care of the baby when she had gone missing and they found her. I don't feel I have the right to my grief if that makes sense ?

BikeRunSki Fri 24-Feb-17 07:09:10

That makes total sense.

SaorAlbaGuBrath Fri 24-Feb-17 07:12:07

It does make sense, but you do have the right to grieve. For one reason or another I hadn't seen my best friend for over a year (illness, babies, distance) but the very last time I spoke to her (about an hour before she died), we said I love you at the end of the call. First time in 15 years.
Bike sums it up, you are profoundly affected but have no actual "place" in the aftermath, and it can make you feel even more lost. There is no time limit on grief, take as long as you need. I broke down in Tesco last year because of all the Christmas stuff (she died just before Christmas) and it was 3 years later! Bike I'm sorry about your friend too ❤️

Imbroglio Fri 24-Feb-17 07:18:54

I have no experience of this but you have had a very traumatic loss. Your reaction seems completely understandable to me. Have you come across SOBS?

Expat38matt Fri 24-Feb-17 07:59:51

Thank you Bike you managed to verbalize exactly how I feel. My rational mind knows that because of her state of mind she was in a place I know I'll never be able to comprehend or really understand. I know there's no way to rationalize how someone could carry out such a violent act without having experienced what they have.

I was never close to her spouse but at her funeral I got the sense that most of those mourners would move on in a few weeks and forget that her family was still there. So I promised him I'd email him every week whether he replied or not/ so far I have done but it is hard as he rarely responds. But it is important to me not to abandon him/

There's also a stigma and sense of shame in a way around suicide so no one really knows what to say !

Expat38matt Fri 24-Feb-17 08:04:15

Thank you for your lovely message. I do wish I'd had chance to tell her I love her !

HerOtherHalf Fri 24-Feb-17 08:13:13

So sorry for your loss. I've lost two close friends to suicide so I understand to some extent how you are feeling. For me, it is the cruellest of bereavements, for the reasons you've given. The not knowing why, the eternal doubt that you should have noticed more or been able to help. If I'm honest, it never truly goes away but the pain does lessen with time. I still wonder "what if" some 20 years later for the furthest back one.

Some people think suicides are selfish because of the emotional trauma they inflict on those left behind. However, the victim has to be in such a dark place to feel so hopeless I think only those who been that low can truly understand. Remenber the good times and be grateful for the love and friendship you shared. Neither they nor you are to blame in any way for this tragedy.

HerOtherHalf Fri 24-Feb-17 08:18:35

People we love know so even if we don't tell them. She knew.

Expat38matt Sat 25-Feb-17 08:12:19

This was the first post I ever made and am long time lurker
I'm so touched by your replies and feel comforted to know that I'm not alone in this situation and all my crazy thoughts are pretty normal
Thank you x

SaorAlbaGuBrath Sat 25-Feb-17 08:16:11

I'm sorry if I upset you further by saying I'd told my friend I loved her. I'm sure your friend knew you loved her very much, as a PP said. It doesn't take words to show love.

Expat38matt Sat 25-Feb-17 08:21:33

No not at all I'm happy you had that chance. Another good friend recently lost her friend to a long illness and was able to be there at the end and say goodbye. She's no less devastated than I am about my friend , even though she knew it was coming and was able to say goodbye.
Suicide really is a head fuck because most of us cannot even comprehend getting to that point and also because it leaves so many questions and so much guilt .
Your words were comforting and didn't upset me x

SaorAlbaGuBrath Sat 25-Feb-17 08:38:30

I'm glad, you've got enough going on without some random twat (me) on here upsetting you too.
Are there specific counsellors for loss through suicide? I only ask because I went for counselling many years ago after my friend was murdered and it helped to discuss the actual circumstances around it, rather than generic bereavement counselling you know? Every loss hurts like hell, everyone grieves differently, feels different emotions.
But never ever feel you can't grieve for your lovely friend, even when you're angry about what happened, it's ok to process it in your own way, and in your own time. You are allowed to hurt and to show that you are hurt xxx

Expat38matt Sat 25-Feb-17 08:59:14

Not a twat at all. I actually thought how painful that must've been for you having not spoken in so long to speak again then lose her. Bitter sweet in a way and regretting wasted years.

I'm finding out more and more about the circumstances during her last few weeks when she was spiralling down. It makes me so angry about the crap mental health services available. She actually had acknowledged she needed help and spent 2 days calling around trying to talk to a psychiatrist. She never saw the same one twice so she had no consistency in her care. Busy docs just writing prescriptions and no one that was following her progress and acting accordingly. It was always emergency care and mostly drugs. She then went to see a private psychiatrist who happens to be the parent of a famous pop star. My friend found her psychiatrist (who seemed to live a double life as a wealthy socialite travelling the world!) on instagram. This so called professional posted a pic of herself on vacation and captioned it "hoping my weekend won't get ruined by any crazy people"
My friend took that pretty personally and it's just so unprofessional
In addition her baby ended up with a fractured skull from falling off the change table. I had my suspicions about this incident as it had happened to me when distracted but luckily without life threatening consequences. I don't understand why social services didn't get involved at that point. Also the last time I saw her and her baby the baby had a cigarette burn on her face - apparently she'd walked into the cigarette
I'm not saying she was deliberately abusive but was so unwell she was neglectful which then amounts to abuse .
I wonder where all the social workers were
And where do u go for help when in crisis ?
I'm so angry that she started to try and look for help and none was available. It must've reinforced her belief that she was worthless
Sorry for the rant!

GeekyWombat Sat 25-Feb-17 09:06:48

Hi Expat

I'm so sorry to hear you're hurting, it's totally understandable that its affected you so deeply. Other posters have more insights to share than I could but one thing that I've found really helpful, if a bit weird (I've not told anyone else I do it!), following the unexpected death of a lovely long-time friend, is to Facebook message him. It might not help for you, but for me it means that when I have a moment when I think of him, or a memory pops into my head or feel a wave of missing him I have somewhere to direct it. I guess it depends on whether you think your friend's family might ever get access to her account because other people might not get what you're doing (my friend was survived by his elderly technophobic mum so I know I'm safe on that score), but it might help a little?

Just a thought. I can only imagine how you're feeling. Be kind to yourself and don't feel bad about hurting. It's totally understandable and other people's grief doesn't negate your own if you see what I mean.

SaorAlbaGuBrath Sat 25-Feb-17 09:12:08

Oh that's awful, your poor friend was failed by so many professionals in the last few months. The MH provision in this country is shit, really shit. And I'm shock at the psychiatrist referring to "crazy people"! It's all the more heartbreaking that she sought help and none was forthcoming, there should be proper help available and for some reason it's woefully inadequate. I'm so sorry, for you and for your friend.

Expat38matt Sat 25-Feb-17 09:12:31

Funnily enough I did send her a long email on Facebook messenger- then nearly had a heart attack when it showed up as "read " turns out her mum is regularly accessing her Facebook account 5 months after her death.
But actually I've messaged her again since I don't care if it's read- as you say when you have a "wave" it's nice to tell them you miss them!

junebirthdaygirl Sat 25-Feb-17 09:20:33

It is a big loss as often we are closer to our friends as life goes on. There is also the shock element and the anger . Here in lreland there are many events where people remember loved ones who died by suicide and at the same time fundraise to help suicide support groups. Is there anything like that you could do in her memory? I think you need to take all the time you need. I had a person in my life think hairdresser that l saw most weeks who took her own life and l was in total shock for a long time even though we werent friends. I couldnt sleep and was constantly thinking of her. So l can totally understand if it was a friend. Mind yourself

SaorAlbaGuBrath Sat 25-Feb-17 09:20:33

I talk out loud to my friend, she didn't have Facebook, so if I'm in on my own I'll pootle round the house chatting to her. We talk about her all the time, and our youngest (I was pregnant when she died) has the masculine version of her name as a middle name. All these wee things mean she's not gone, she's not forgotten about, she's still very much part of our lives. I speak to her husband now and again too. He's met someone now, and I gave them my blessing (he asked, I didn't just make a judgement) although I can't face meeting her.

BikeRunSki Sat 25-Feb-17 10:56:11

My friend's FB page is still live and occasionally monitored by his teenage daughter. He had a thing about photos of sunsets and train stations. People occasionally post photos of these to his page. It's like an unspoken support group of people who are still thinking of him.

Poudrenez Mon 27-Feb-17 13:52:33

flowers to you OP. That's awful. And I imagine that a friend for 20 years would be very like a sister. You don't need to minimise it, you have every right to grieve.

LovesRadleyBags Thu 02-Mar-17 20:35:15

Oh Expat, I was on here looking to post the exact same thing! I feel your pain and your loss.

My friend (who I thought of as my sister) took her own life oct 2015 (17 months ago), she left behind 2 boys, she also suffered with pnd and had been diagnosed with boarder line personality disorder and was also not her first try.

I have to pass the place where she died every time I go into town/work, I find that very hard. I also think of her when I'm driving and end up with tears streaming down my cheeks.

We had been friends for nearly 15 years and she was our 'best woman' at our wedding when me and hubby married.

I haven't read all the other posts (yet) but wanted to let you know your not alone. flowers

Expat38matt Fri 03-Mar-17 04:06:53

I'm really touched by all of your replies as I didn't really expect to find comfort here.
One good thing that's come of it is that a bunch of us mutual friends who'd lost touch for nothing but distance and being busy, we've all reconnected and found each other again. I'm cherishing these new found / rekindled friendships and we can all talk about her together.
June - I think it sounds a bit odd maybe but myself and my best friend who was the friend who was there for her at the end are both into tattoos and we are having a tattoo designed in her memory that we are both going to get.
A few of her friends are trying to put a memory book together for her baby - but I'll be honest I found that hard because I realized I don't have any recent good memories of her so again felt like a fraud . I'll write something eventually when I'm ready. I was actually the first one to meet her and introduced her to many mutual friends who have loved her, so I'm happy to have shared her with my friends in the end.

I really want to be there for her baby but do live overseas- I have made a massive effort to email her husband every week even tho he has only replied a couple of times. I promised I would and it means a lot to me to be a good friend now, even if i perhaps wasn't to her in the end.

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