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Friend and grief(29 Posts)
I've been wrestling with this for some time now. A friend was widowed some years ago. At the time she was splitting up from her husband and had asked for a divorce. He killed himself. He had addiction, debt and mental health issues and I think he did what he believed - in his mental state at the time - was the right thing for them. It was very sad and shocking nonetheless.
When we found out he had died, I had nightmares about it myself. My friend had a hell of a lot to deal with and their children to look after and help through things. She has been amazing in many respects.
However my issue is with how my friend has gone about some things since then. For example, after the funeral she told me she played the widow well, which sounded awful to me. I know she will have been grieving too, but this just seemed too much. She has done a lot to help the children cope. But I feel as though the truth about what was going on in their relationship has been airbrushed and a lot of what she says about him very publicly on social media is a pack of lies. Then I feel terrible to be judging someone who is going through all of this. I can't speak to her about it and have distanced myself after initially doing quite a bit to help out practically. Friend has always been busy and prioritised what she wanted to do so I just stopped calling, texting, messaging because I feel relationships are two-way and she wasn't bothered about seeing me or knowing what was going on in my life. That makes me sound selfish, but when you only get a response to every tenth attempt at contact over a period of time i.e. weeks and months, not days, then you do think like that.
I've since found out that a group of us - all of whom have known her for a long time - have been cut out of her life. I don't know what to think anymore. Do I just forget her and move on? Should I say anything? I can't imagine anything I could say would be helpful in anyway except perhaps to give me closure and I think that would just come across appallingly.
You have no idea what she lived with for presumably many years. She is now in an almost impossible situation. I am not surprised she is cutting out 'friends' who are judgemental. If, God forbid, I were ever in her shoes, I would do the same.
And I have no idea why it is you who needs 'closure'. Just leave the woman get on with her life.
TBH it sounds like you cut yourself out of her life - you were the one who stopped texting or calling. I think it would be pretty offensive to say something to her about what you seem to think she's done!
Fair enough. I knew them both for many years and she told me what was going on with him and I was there for her. It just didn't seem right to me to not be truthful about things. I haven't stopped contact altogether, just stopped trying to arrange to meet up because it got ignored and she was busy doing other things. She has always been like that though - when it suited her, she would arrange something.
Forget her and move on, if you need closure, find it some other way.
She may be airbrushing things because it's in the best interests of the children. Going around saying she was in a shit relationship with her partner before he killed him self would just add extra upset to her children.
What an awful situation for everyone involved.
She has her shit, you have yours. It might be time to leave it there.
It should be quite a simple decision because it seems she has made the decision for you by the sound of things.
She will have suffered such a mixture of emotions. Grief over the man she once loved and the df of her dc. But relief that she no longer has to worry about where he is or what he might do next. So l think she is allowed grieve any way she wants. Maybe she has cut people off who remember her life as it was and want her to always be a victim..She may want to make a clean start. But if you judged how she grieved in such a traumatic situation she may have picked up on that.
You are a horrible so called friend. You mentioned he died years ago but you talk about a comment she made after the funeral, the lady was probably in complete shock get over it. I notice it's all about you, you had nightmares, you are not being considered in the friendship, you need closure. And what difference should it make to you if she expresses affection for him in social media. I can only imagine why she doesn't bother with you
It sounds like you not remaining friends is for the best. I agree that the "airbrushing" is likely for the benefit of the children. Did you honestly expect her to go on Facebook and write that their relationship was awful?
Yep, think you might be right june. Although I know I wouldn't have been able to do anything, I did pick up on something her DH had said and told my partner I thought he might kill himself. The fact that he did is always on my mind.
Even you thought in advance that he would kill himself, what seriously do you think could have been done to change anything?
... and even if the relationship had become awful, it would previously not have been! She could still have been/still be grieving for the man she first met, fell in love with and married.
By making the comment about 'playing the widow' she was probably acknowledging that other people - like you - would be judging her as a hypocrite.
Gosh I can't possibly imagine what this woman and her children must have gone through. She's probably done and doing everything she can just to keep her and her children above water. Maybe a bit more empathy god knows it sounds she could do with it.
I think i people often get very sporadic with contact after a bereavement. It's the friendships which can weather this storm (often surprising ones) which become deep and lasting. To be frank, OP, your post suggests you may have been a little more focused on your own perspective/memories/judgements to be truly there for your friend in these horrific circumstances for her.
So no one else grieves weareallin? It isn't all about me at all - how else does a person convey how they are feeling without mentioning themselves?
I certainly don't expect her to say horrible things about him on social media. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but social media isn't the place for lots of things imo.
Do I just forget her and move on?
I think so. Your feelings are a reflection of yourself - if you need closure it's time to look inside at why you feel the way you do.
What an awful situation, I really feel for her.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It's a deeply personal thing, especially when things are so complex. Many of us cope by putting on a mask for the outside world, ie. 'playing the widow'.
If you feel that strongly about it some years later, it might be better to move on and leave each other to it without saying anything. Slightly perturbed by your need for 'closure' as she hasn't wronged you or (presumably) anyone else.
I don't understand why pp feel the need to call you a horrible friend
I'd say that as you've been the one to initiate contact and often get ignored, just leave it. Some friendships run their course and die a natural death.
I also find her comment in poor taste about playing the grieving widow part. It was unnecessary. It's not everything you think they has to be vocalised.
I have been in a marriage where my (now ex-husband's) mental illness affected every aspect of it. I put my own needs aside to keep him alive. It is devastatingly difficult and it skews so much. Of course she is going to keep quiet about that: first, for the children and for his family, but also because of stigma and lack of understanding - shown clearly in your reaction.
You've let your friend down and it's no wonder she feels she can no longer rely on you. She's widowed, she's lost her husband in awful circumstances, her own emotions are likely to be overwhelming and conflicted, she's raising kids who have lost their father in such a terrible way, and you decide you won't make an effort to stay in touch? Your entire opening post is hugely selfish.
Let the comment at the funeral go. She will have been in shock and grief and people can come out with comments that sound very strange in that situation. My mother, happily married for nearly 60 years, went round at my father´s funeral telling people it was a good thing that he was dead. What she actually meant was that he had advanced Parkinsons and his life quality had become very poor and he was saved a future that he dreaded by dying suddenly. But I saw a lot of people look rather shocked by her comment. I hope they had the sense to realize that she didn´t actually mean what it sounded like she was saying.
Right! Anyone who can judge a comment made by a grieving widow with young children after her husband has died through suicide needs to get a grip. Clearly they have never experienced anything like it. No doubt your so called friend has spent countless nights with crying children, heartbroken and left trying to figure this all out. It sounds like you have no idea. Leave her alone to get on with her life
The thing with grief is, in real life it looks nothing like it does in the movies. So the comment about playing the widow - well that could be her living up to other peoples expectations. There is no right way to feel and you never know how you will feel. Given how things were she probably felt relief, wasnt expecting to and so felt shame and tried to hide it.
I dont blameyou for dropping contact. I wouldnt write her off completely though. Death does create a lot of admin. She really could be busy and trying to find the new normal.
Well I do find it strange that your friends husband died a few years ago and it bothers you about a comment she made at the funeral. I hope you didn't repeat her words while gossiping with your other friends, that just wouldn't be fair
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