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bereavement and friendships(21 Posts)
Anyone else been through a close bereavement, started slowly coming out the other end and sat wondering what happened to their friends/support network? I mentioned this to a work colleague and she told me that people generally only want to be friends with positive people. So much for the support then hey?
I have a friend going through a bereavement at the mo and she seems to have pushed a few of us away. We're still here but we're waiting to be led by her about when she wants more contact again.
I don't know that I agree with your colleague.
I think many many people are very unsure of what is best to do or say to someone following a bereavement. They think its better to leave you in peace, than to risk you feeling pressured to respond or worse, risk saying completely the wrong thing.
This isn't to excuse people, who just need to give it some thought or simply ask you how they can best support you, but I think some people are so nervous of getting it wrong that they daftly decide its better to do nothing at all.
Sorry that you're having a tough time
My experience of bereavement was that you know who your friends are. Some people surprise you by disappearing or being shockingly insensitive, some people who you wouldn't have expected really come through. More in the former camp unfortunately.
@angelcakerocks this has been my experience also
Me too angel and kuv. My friends organised a night out and didn't bother to ask me, I told them Id have liked to have gone, so they went and organised another one and didn't invite me again.
I've been pretty crap company these last few months, but I always thought that sort of thing was understandable following a bereavement. Apparently not.
But everyone grieves differently, so someone can do something that for one person grieving considers "really coming through" yet for another person who is grieving will find it insensitive.
When I was bereaved in the past I became frustrated with people whose need to be my shoulder to cry on was more important than whether I wanted to cry or not IYKWIM. THEY wanted to be "the helper" and the sort of support they gave was all about them. So I try to follow people's lead and I won't be up in their face offering MY brand of support and wait to follow their lead. You may consider that "disappearing, for me it's not making other peoples grief all about you!
One of my best friends lost her daughter, aged two a few years ago. She said to me that she soon learnt who she could count on as she couldn't believe the number of people who crossed the road to avoid speaking to her, or looked the other way and acted like they hadn't seen her. Other people's grief can make people really uncomfortable.
I'm sorry for your loss.
A lot of people are terrified of death and can't cope with people in bereavement. Some simply don't know what to say. Others are just fair weather friends. Some wait to take their lead from you. But not inviting you when you specifically said you'd like to go is pretty unkind.
I've sadly found that people mean well but often just don't know what to say or do, so default to either avoiding you, or putting the ball in your court saying "let me know if there is anything I can do". Like I'm going to call you on a Tuesday morning at 4 am to cry about my baby dying.
It's meant to be helpful, but the genuinely helpful people text saying don't feel the need to reply but I'm thinking of you, and then follow up later with an actual conversation and just say they'll be led by whether you want to talk or not.
But so few of us know what loss feels like.
I'm sorry your friends are being twats though! Hugs.
Sorry to hear your friends have been so insensitive / indifferent just when you needed them. I remember trying to reach out and speak to some "friends" when grieving and them being almost a bit annoyed that I was 'going on' about it. They wouldn't outright say it but just the way they didn't address anything I said with any consideration and swiftly moved on to talking about themselves :-/ And yet I had a couple of girls I merry considered acquaintances send me flowers to work to cheer me up. You live and learn.
I feel I'm annoying everyone at the moment... as if people just think I need to snap out of it. I'm feeling irritated by everyone else too. Is it normal for other relationships to suffer as a result of grief? I am sorry for other people's bereavement stories on this thread. It's such a hard thing to go througH and people don't realise how long the suffering lasts.
Yes. yes it is.
People react very differently to grief but an awful lot of people feel a degree of anger (comes out as irritation); something they valued very highly and was dear to them has been removed.
Unless you've been through real grief yourself, you don't get it. I don't think you can get it. And it's often uncomfortable to be around for people who haven't been through it themselves.
Yes, it takes a long time. Professional think that if the grief isn't complicated (eg for an abusive person, where love and hate/ fear is mixed) then it can take 18 months to 2 years. Sometimes longer. There will be good and bad days and sometimes, even months on, you can have an intense day or so of missing them.
It does get better in time, you learn to live with and around the loss and then (for most people) they accept the loss and begin to look forward. You never forget, but you give it its place and come to terms with it.
So sorry for your loss.
One of my oldest and closest friends lost her father a couple of years ago and became understandably depressed for around about a year and also quite brittle. Her good friends were all there for her if she needed us - but she was prickly to deal with and it was hard to know how much was going to be taken as support and how much was just going to annoy her. It can be a tricky balancing act letting people know you are there for them but also judging how much they want to be left alone to process their grief.
Thankfully my lovely friend is back to her old positive self now. But it has taken time.
Look after yourself and try not to be angry with your friends who may just be finding it hard to know how to help you.
I've given up on some "friends"
When I think of all the people at the funeral who said they'd be there for ds, and haven't been seen since.
My own best friend I've seen twice.
In 2 years
I've lost some good friends after losing my dad.. They just went AWOL, no texts to check how I was, nothing... and now a few years have passed they probably feel too awkward. Even if someone doesn't know what to say, a text saying you're thinking of someone is enough.
I lost my mum in November, very unexpectedly. My god, the months since have been the steepest learning curve of my life. DH and I have been very close friends with another couple for 15 years, ushers at each other's weddings, our sons were even born on the same day! But since my mothers death they have not been in touch once, not once. Not a call, a text, or even a card in case they felt awkward about what to do it say.
I'm furious, literally furious. To me, they are dead. Dramatic, but that's how I feel.
It's as though because I'm grieving, I'm upset, still in shock etc they don't want to know. Our friendship has been based on good times, fun, joy, celebration and now that's (for the time being) gone into hibernation they're not interested, it's like they don't need my negativity in their lives. At some point there will be a showdown, I personally cannot wait to wipe the floor with them, there is no excuse for the way they have behaved, none.
I agree with angelcakerocks. It really is a time when you find out who your friends are, who is made of substance and who isn't.
My DH passed away 2.5 years ago leaving me totally devastated. I know some people don't know what to say etc. but sometimes friends really do beggar belief. Thankfully, have had other friends who have been amazing. I had one friend who slowly dropped contact with me and then when we did meet would just never ask me how I was and I felt expected me to go back to the person I was. It made me feel rubbish at a time when I was at my lowest ebb.
It's tough. Grief is horrible and I think not talked about enough which only makes things worse for the bereaved as sometimes you feel (well I do) that I can't talk about it because I'm making people feel uncomfortable when the best thing you can do is to express it.
I think many friends are just good-time friends. We've decided to just accept that and enjoy their company when we feel like drinking till 1am or going to a concert.
Others are deeper friendships. Those are much rarer. The ones who show up and however awkwardly fumble through the sentences and sit with you.
There is this concept in Judaism of sitting shiva after a death, and when a family is sitting shiva (for 14 days after a death) people come to visit but no one speak unless spoken to by a mourner. I think it's really useful to take away the pressure of coming up with something to say which is inevitably trite. Better to just come and sit and share your presence, and the words will slowly come.
I know it sucks OP. It isn't fair to just expect you to get up and get on with it; you grieve the way you want to at the pace that's right for you. And don't ever fucking let anyone else dictate when you should be "over it".
And hugs to everyone else going through loss.
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