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Friend just told me her DP died suddenly and I broke down in front of her. Was that terrible?

(24 Posts)
zoggs Sun 07-Sep-08 21:59:19

She has 2 young boys and her DP died in an accident. I'm crying thinking about it now. He was only 29 and died in truly awful, unthinkable circumstances. She was the one who discovered him but he was already dead. I don't think the reality has sunk in (understandably) and she says she hasn't shed one single tear for him even though they were soulmates.

I want to offer my help but I just know I'll break down in front of her again. Should I wait until I'm more composed or is it ok to cry when she can't?

Twelvelegs Sun 07-Sep-08 22:02:12

There's nothing wrong with real emotion, in any circumstances. It may help your friend face her own feelings, it may help her to know that you care so much. I cannot imagine it was, in any way, the wrong thing to do.

I wouldn't wait to offer help but if you are worried perhaps see if you could do something very practical for her like her shopping or something.

Flamesparrow Sun 07-Sep-08 22:04:25

my friend breaking down over the death of my partner would seem perfectly right, and very caring.

practical help would probably be good right now, as well as the knowledge that she can call you at 3am just to talk about cheese if she wants

PeaMcLean Sun 07-Sep-08 22:05:49

How very very awful for her. And clearly very sad for you too.

Sounds like she's still in shock and it will take her a while to really get her head round it. It may be that she doesn't need your help yet, but she will do in time, and that will be when you are feeling stronger about it anyway. In fact, i'm sure she'll need help for some time to come and will appreciate the fact that you cared so much.

Just be there for her as much as you can.

Marina Sun 07-Sep-08 22:08:04

I once cried and cried down the phone to some friends whose baby had died after spending all his life in intensive care.
I felt dreadful about it after the call was over, but they told me later that I was the only person they told who sounded truly shocked and sorry he'd not made it.
It often takes those closest to a sudden death a while to be able to cry, really cry. Zoggs I am sure she will not mind, as the others have said. Just for the minute you are doing her crying for her. I am so sorry for the horrible shock she has had.

TheNaughtiestGirlIsaMonitor Sun 07-Sep-08 22:08:37

No, I think it will help her. When you've lost somebody really precious, one of the most shocking things is to see how everybody around you carries on as normal. HOw the show just goes on. In a weird way, she will be comforted to know that you feel her pain so accutely, and appreciate the extent of her loss. That's what shocked you and made you cry.

SnoopDog Sun 07-Sep-08 22:09:44

oj just posted something in bereavment that might help you to help your friend

SnoopDog Sun 07-Sep-08 22:10:55

read this

whomovedmychocolate Sun 07-Sep-08 22:11:07

Zoggs - there's nothing wrong with tears in this sort of situation, she's probably holding it together for the kids and eventually the grief will come out. I managed to get through the funeral arrangements and another five years after a significant family member died without crying, despite everyone round me dissolving into tears constantly.

In the end I didn't feel so bad about getting upset because I knew it was normal because everyone else had, so you've probably helped her.

donnie Sun 07-Sep-08 22:12:22

I agree with what others have said. She will not mind you being tearful, it is a truthful and honest response to a shocking and very tragic event,calamitous even. She will need help with the children so there is a lot you can do in a practical way as well as offering emotional support. Just because you may well up and cry does not mean you are not strong.

PeaMcLean Sun 07-Sep-08 22:13:34

I think that's quite true about needing to see other people upset. People often need help to accept the magnitude of what has happened, and that they're not expected to just get on with things, and somehow, just cope.

aaaarrrgh Sun 07-Sep-08 22:19:15

Just to say think her reaction is a common one.

Last year I had to tell my best friend that her ex had died (they had only recently broken up). I was in floods, practically hysterical telling her (he was a v close friend of mine too) and she was totally calm and ended up comforting me.

She rang me the next day in tears when it hit her. It was the shock.

Is totally ok for you to have been like this.

zoggs Sun 07-Sep-08 22:20:09

Thank you for the reassurance. I just don't want her to feel she has to comfort me on top of all her other problems when all I want to do is be there for her.

What oj has posted answers it really.

onlyjoking9329 Sun 07-Sep-08 22:21:50

sorry to hear about your friends husband, i was widowed 12 weeks ago and have found this very helpful both to read and to give to others.

Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more
comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk
about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get
comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know
when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You
can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid
to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I
most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come
over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You
can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you
to know that."

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I
feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel
that you don't see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm
grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after
my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For
I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was
with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our
children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the
hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled
and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my
loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and
love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be,
and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear.
Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has
happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just
not acceptable.

When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and
alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don't
make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.

Please don't tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start
dating again. I'm not ready. And maybe I don't want to. And besides,
what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes
after will always be someone different.

I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get
on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on
many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think
it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So
please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and
support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget
and there will always be times that I cry.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your
hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need
to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in
my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you
because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could
do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you
some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the
anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't
make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the
opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach
out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I
may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me
because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up
then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples,
to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely.
Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel
deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm
experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't
be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to
slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't
tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my
life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank
you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need
me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be
with you.

PeaMcLean Sun 07-Sep-08 22:50:25

OJ that's an amazing piece of writing. I wish I'd read it when I had a bereavement - I think it helps to explain what you might go through in advance, which i know I wanted information on and it wasn't there.

zoggs Sun 07-Sep-08 22:50:37

Thank you oj. I really can't imagine her pain, or yours.

Friend's DP died in a way that made her finding him particularly traumatic (extreme blood loss). I'm sure I didn't disguise my horror and for that I am so cross with myself. I'm still reeling from the shock so I simply don't understand how she can be upright and functioning. Yes, she does actually look ok but I know she cannot be. Even to find a stranger in those circumstances would be bad enough but for it to be your loved one... how will she ever start to recover? I can't believe I will never see them holding hands again.

This will help a great deal. Perhaps I will give her a copy, do you think? Are they your words, oj?

onlyjoking9329 Sun 07-Sep-08 22:57:12

your friend will be in shock for a long time yet, i found i was able to tell people without getting upset and because i had to tell so many people i kind of got used to it, but of course everytime you tell someone it is new to them, i still get people that i bump into asking me how Steve is and i often say he is fine cos now the numbness has worn off a bit things like telling people are somuch harder to deal with.
the best thing you can do is to make sure you are there, don't say is there anything i can do, say things like i am going to pick the kids up and do XY&Z and give me your washing/ironing.

shabster Sun 07-Sep-08 23:00:13

Oh my word OJ - who let you step into my mind to find all those words? Amazing post my love. Im sat here like a numpty having a good old cry. Oh love.

Zoggs you didn't do anything wrong. Think that practical help is a fantastic idea - shopping, cooking etc etc. Loads of hugs. When my sons died many people crossed the road and didn't know what to say to me. I wanted someone to hold me tight and cry with me. I am seen by others as 'strong' and I fecking hate being strong.

She will need your practical and emotional help for many many weeks and months. There will be a time when you both laugh about something and then feel guilty straight away. Bereavement is so very, very crap. There isin't another word for it - well, maybe weird.


macdoodle Sun 07-Sep-08 23:05:24

Oj did you write that it is incredibly moving - if it isn't already it needs to be published??

shabster Sun 07-Sep-08 23:06:17

'you cant catch my grief' - how true.

Yorkiegirl Sun 07-Sep-08 23:12:23

Message withdrawn

onlyjoking9329 Sun 07-Sep-08 23:13:51

no i didn't write it myself, but have seen it on one of the widow websites i use, i do write poetry but i don't like to share it

shabster Sun 07-Sep-08 23:29:16

Dont care where it came from OJ - it is fantastic and just says it like it is.

onlyjoking9329 Sun 07-Sep-08 23:48:59

i think it was from a fab book salled hoe can i hep i had a couple of copies and also death and hoe to survive it they have both help me and i have sent copied to the Mac team as i thin thetty are so helfup.

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