Grieving the loss of friend

Posted on February 8, 2024 by Rev. Pam Reidy under grief, loss, mourning
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One of the greatest joys in life is finding and developing deep friendship. It has been said and is quite true that friends are the family we choose. More than acquaintances, friends are the people we call when we need advice, companionship, or a listening ear. Friends are the people who know each imperfection in us and yet love us anyway. Friends are the people we look to when family fails us or work frustrates us; when sickness befalls us, when we need an adventure, or when loneliness invades our heart. Friends understand us without explanation, help us without asking, and love us without condition. When a friend dies, the greatest loss is that our would-be comforter is gone just when we need them most.

Friendship loss is similar to family loss, but unique in that friendship is a chosen relationship, often spanning years, vital in shaping who we have become. A friend’s death that comes after an illness can be especially painful because the journey to death is an intimate one and has naturally strengthened the bonds of friendship, increasing the pain of the loss. The sudden death of a friend is just as heart-rending because waking up the first day without a dear friend leaves us feeling lost and alone. Sadly, there seems a hierarchy to the magnitude of pain we assign to the types of loss, often placing the death of a child as worse, a spousal loss greater than other family loss, and friendship loss as the least significant. In fact, the death of a close friend can be just as engulfing and devastating as other types of loss such as spouse, child, or family member.

When you are grieving a friend…

  • The pain is there to remind you how much you loved this person.
  • Keep the memories close to your heart.
  • Talk about your loss to someone who understands.
  • Celebrate your friend on a given day each month … for example, if they were born on the 6th , then the 6th of every month is a day to do something to honor and remember your special relationship.
  • When loneliness overcomes you, light a candle, play their favorite music, place their picture near you, talk to them.
  • Write the story of your relationship and give thanks.
  • Perform an act of kindness in their name.
  • Create a playlist of music that reflects your loss and listen to it as one means to healing. (Spotify has a great one)

If you want an up-close, personal and passionate view of what losing a best friend is like and need some wisdom for healing from the loss of a friend, please view Morgan Solo’s video, How I healed after the death of my best friend. In this 21-minute video Morgan shares his thoughts about grieving the loss of a friend. His wisdom comes from his lifelong experience with cystic fibrosis. Although he had a lifetime of losing friends to this disease, when his best friend Erin died suddenly, “the dam caved”. In this personal and insightful video he shares his grief journey. Anyone who has ever lost a close friend will appreciate his wisdom. What he has learned about grief after losing so many friends is: “If we view grief, death, and loss as a mountain, our healing can only truly begin when we realize that grief is a mountain that, no matter how hard you try, can never be summited.

 YouTube Video

Please take the time to view Morgan’s video, for it explains the nature of grief when losing a friend far better than I can.

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