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Question
Posted by: Maria | 2011/07/18

Grief

On Friday I said a final goodbye to my best friend of 20 years. She died at the age of 38, unexpectedly, ripped out of a life that was full and a blessing to many people.

This has been devastating to me, and the weekend was very difficult. But by Sunday I had someone telling me to pull myself together as there are people who need me, which is true but not what I needed to hear right then. Other friends acknowledged that it is ok to grieve for a friend who died, and that this is a process and takes time. Today more friends are telling me that the first person was right and I should listen to her rather than to people who just want to comfort me. I don''t feel the comforters were in any way saying that it would be ok for me to withdraw from the world and not get on with my day to day life. Life goes on. I can function. But I''m not ok, and I don''t see why I should be, this close to the events.

I acknowledge my friends'' fears that this will dump me in a deep depression. I''m working hard to avoid that and I take four different kinds of crazy meds dammit, that must count for something. I''m at work, my child is at school, I did the laundry and fed the cats, I haven''t fallen to pieces. It''s up to my husband to tell me if he feels I''m not pulling my weight and being present enough for him and my daughter.

It''s not the first time that someone I love has died and I know how this works. In time the sadness gets less and the joy at the memories of the person gets more. I don''t think anybody can tell me what the timeframe for this should be?

Sorry I don''t really have a question, I''m just hurting and right now I don''t know with whom I can share that.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Grief is never ever easy to work through. Sadly, some people like the "pull yourself together" idiot you quote, are so dim that they manage to be awfully brave about other people's loss and grief, and they should be ignored, or sharply told to go and get counselling themselves, if they persist in being so crudely incapable of understanding. And anyone who agrees with her needs also to think about their motivations, selfish and/or ignorant. Clearly, these are people who have never had any significant loss in their lives. Or maybe they have never been sufficiently attached to anyone else, to feel real loss.
Grief is necessary work. It need not push you into depression ; sadness is somewhat different though it can feel similar.
And this loss is so very recent that it would be very odd indeed if you were "better" by now.
You're right There is no prescribed time-frame. Grief's duration is "enough", and you know when that arives.
My sympathies are with you ; continue to grieve and heal as you know how to do

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2011/07/18

Thanks BMJ, your words mean a lot to me. I had a long talk with DH tonight and I''ve gained some perspective about the things that various friends have said.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: BMJ | 2011/07/18

Maria, I am sorry to hear about your friend. It is an appropriate response to be full of grief and sadness - you suffered loss. Perhaps you should ask your dh and perhaps another trusted friend to warn you should they see that this loss indeed triggers a deeper depression down the line - because this is an area of struggle for you. But grieve and grieve as much and as long as you need to.

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/07/18

Grief is never ever easy to work through. Sadly, some people like the "pull yourself together" idiot you quote, are so dim that they manage to be awfully brave about other people's loss and grief, and they should be ignored, or sharply told to go and get counselling themselves, if they persist in being so crudely incapable of understanding. And anyone who agrees with her needs also to think about their motivations, selfish and/or ignorant. Clearly, these are people who have never had any significant loss in their lives. Or maybe they have never been sufficiently attached to anyone else, to feel real loss.
Grief is necessary work. It need not push you into depression ; sadness is somewhat different though it can feel similar.
And this loss is so very recent that it would be very odd indeed if you were "better" by now.
You're right There is no prescribed time-frame. Grief's duration is "enough", and you know when that arives.
My sympathies are with you ; continue to grieve and heal as you know how to do

Reply to cybershrink

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