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Friends and family

(39 Posts)
grannyactivist Mon 20-Aug-18 12:49:01

When a family member dies, no matter how distant the relationship, people understand that there will be grief and sorrow for the family. However, without the blood tie it can be difficult for people to understand the depth of grief we feel when a very close friend dies.

Last week we received a call about the death of a very dearly loved friend. This man was closer to us than many of our relatives and we are bereft, but saying that a friend has died somehow doesn't convey the sense of loss we feel. My husband has just left to travel to Norway where the funeral is being held, and along with sons and grandsons he was invited to be a pallbearer and to give a tribute at the funeral.

Of all the people we have told only one has offered condolences on our loss and I find I want to try to impress upon people how much this lovely man meant to us, so they will understand our grief. I'm sure others on GN must have experienced the loss of very close friends and I wonder if you've had similar responses?

ninathenana Mon 20-Aug-18 13:06:51

Sorry for your loss GA flowers

I wonder if those who dissmissed your loss have ever had a really close friend. Maybe not having experienced the love this can bring they don't comprehend the loss you feel. Just thinking of the loss of a very dear friend brings a lump to my throat.
It would have been nice if they had offered sympathy though.

cornergran Mon 20-Aug-18 14:21:52

Yes, we had a similar response when a friend died. Mr C had known him for over 45 years, me a little less. He was a brother to us both. Our family understood which helped but no one else seemed to understand the significance of the space he left in our lives.

So grannya please accept my condolences. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m wondering if it’s even harder as you won’t be at your friends funeral. I know though you’ll say your goodbyes in your own way.

Be kind to yourself, flowers.

Anniebach Mon 20-Aug-18 14:35:31

A much loved friend died in a car accident in France, I was so distressed , she was the wife of a priest so I had many phone calls asking about the accident , her injuries etc. Not one offered condolences.

Please accept my deepest sympathy and understanding x

M0nica Mon 20-Aug-18 20:19:40

My sympathy also, a close friend died 10 years ago and, as you say, no one except DH, had any concept of how grief stricken I was.

I found the same thing when my sister died, my parents were still alive and everybody, rightly, thought of their grief first, but many stuck their and did not seem to realise that her surviving sisters were also devastated and grief stricken. It was if we were invisible.

MissAdventure Mon 20-Aug-18 20:28:04

My daughters' best friend has had trouble explaining to people that they weren't just friends; they both felt a much deeper connection than that.
They considered themselves sisters.

Iam64 Mon 20-Aug-18 20:54:26

Sending sincere condolences grannyactivist. We don't seem to have words to describe close friends, other than to include them as 'loved ones'.
One of my dearest friends died 34 years ago, in childbirth. I had a 4 month old baby. I still feel she's a part of my life, I miss her and wonder what her baby would be like as a 34 year old, would he have a cousin type relationship with my 34 year old. I loved her. Writing this reminds me of that.

I'm still close friends with one of the other women in our friendship/work group from all those years ago. We often talk about our friend, it helps keep her with us. Her baby survived the birth but with significant health problems. He remained in hospital and died a year later.

It's good to read that your husband is going to the funeral service. I agree that those who have experienced similar losses will empathise and understand but that to say a close friend has died doesn't quite express the depth of the loss x

ginny Mon 20-Aug-18 21:47:07

So sorry for your loss. Last year a good friend died ( aged only 65) He was my DHs best friend, the one he would just pop over to see for a chat, play golf, help with DIY. He felt it very deeply so we understand your pain.

kathsue Mon 20-Aug-18 22:09:29

Please accept my deepest sympathy GAflowers.

My first husband's sister became a dear friend of mine. She lived 300 miles away but we kept in touch for over thirty years. When she died a few years ago and had doubts about going to her funeral as I didn't know anyone there. I needn't have worried because everyone was so kind to me and pleased that I'd made the effort to get there.

Nobody down here knew her so I didn't get much sympathy here.

I had to take my DGS with me so he had 3 days off school (2 days travelling and 1 for the funeral). The school agreed to it but a few weeks later I got a letter from the EWO saying that his attendance level was below the acceptable percentage and how important it was to be in school etc etc. That really, really upset me. I was so angry and upset I was in floods of tears. It seemed so cruel and unfeeling but I suppose it was just an automatic computerised letter. I did write back to complain but they didn't reply.

I do understand how you feel.

grannyactivist Tue 21-Aug-18 02:21:30

Thank you all for your understanding. flowers

This very special man loved my husband as a son and in the same way my mother in law loves his daughter like her own. I can't really describe the relationships within our two families except to say that four generations are intertwined by choice and held together by love and affection.

Bluekitchen192 Wed 22-Aug-18 09:41:10

My experience is that many people are unable to comfort a bereaved person, no matter who has died. I feel for your loss and I send you my sympathy and my prayers.

Maccyt1955 Wed 22-Aug-18 09:44:11

My sympathies go to you.
I can recommend a very good book called
‘Surviving the Death of a Sibling’ by T J Wray (Amazon).
In a way friends are like siblings...the book explores the very theme you mention, which is the sidelining and dismissing of people very close to the deceased person by otners who don’t understand the huge significance of the loss to them.

Squiffy Wed 22-Aug-18 10:02:19

I’m so sorry for your loss GA. flowers

I wonder if people simply don’t realise how great a loss a friend can be. In many ways the loss is greater than that of family members because the relationship was a choice.

ajanela Wed 22-Aug-18 10:16:14

The word Friend has such a wide meaning, from close friend to acquintance so referring to your 'friends' death doesn't convey to people how close you were to him. I think you have to explain your relationship to them.

I agree with Bluekitchen192 that some people are unable to comfort a bereaved person. I remember talking to someone who said they didn't want to visit a close relative because someone had just died and they didn't now what to say. I suggested what they should say and that the relative would be more hurt if they didn't contact them.

Many gransnetters will have lost close friends and will understant it leaves a big hole in your life.

GrandmaMoira Wed 22-Aug-18 10:26:23

I'm sorry for your loss. I do agree about the loss of a friend as one of my oldest friends died recently. We were very close as children and teens but did not see each other much as adults. I have cried more over her loss than family members, I even cried at the service which I managed not to do when my husband died.
I did get sympathy from a couple of people but others really did not understand.

rizlett Wed 22-Aug-18 10:26:42

Perhaps individual loss just can't be conveyed to others as their experience will be different. It's a bit like trying to say 'my loss is greater than yours' or 'my pain is greater than yours' but how can we know how deep others feel or why?

Some people really get stuck in the agony of grief and pain whereas others manage it in different ways. It is tricky dealing with loss of any kind. I particularly love the way this very short clip shows us how to respond to people who are grieving.

rizlett Wed 22-Aug-18 10:27:43

I'm sorry you are experiencing this difficult time grannyactivist.

Minerva Wed 22-Aug-18 10:30:33

I understand so well and send my deepest sympathy. I am grieving myself all on my own.

I became friends with a lady when we were in the same ward in hospital just over a year ago. It was clear to me, though not to her, that she was terminally ill. She looked well and felt well. I visited her in hospital then picked her up often for shopping and coffee or lunch. She came to us on Christmas Day and a warm friendship developed.

As she became weaker she would ring me with a shopping list. A month ago I went and bought her a fly screen which she wanted but twice after arranging to go round to fix it she called to say she just wanted to sleep and put it off.

One of her friends phoned to tell me she was in hospital and I went next day to see her. She was to be moved to a nursing home and I waited to be told where that was. A few days later I was told in a very short phone call that she had died. I didn’t have a chance to register my distress at the news or offer my condolences to the friend who rang me. Nobody understands my shock and sadness. After all I only knew her for a year.

Every time I go to the shops I see things I think she would like and places that we went to and the shock hits me again.
I haven’t yet been told when the funeral will be.

I’m sorry for pouring my heart out like this. It is the first time I have spoken about it to anyone.

anitamp1 Wed 22-Aug-18 10:59:32

So sorry for your loss. And I think more people nowadays understand how close we can become to dear friends. Due to the fact, in part, that we can easily keep in touch with friends and also visit, even though there are miles between us. So some friends remain in our lives from youth to old age. And some friends can become closer than some family. It's true that we can pick our friends, but not our family.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 22-Aug-18 11:18:29

It does not hurt any one to pass on condolences when learning that a person or persons they know have experienced loss.
Whether the loss is relative or friend it is still never the less a loss. Grannyactivist both yourself and DH have mineflowers

keriku Wed 22-Aug-18 11:23:03

My husband’s best pal died, he grieves for him more than for his very elderly late parents. He truly was a brother to him. Ironically his pal’s elderly parents are still alive and my hubby takes his Mum to the care home where his 97 year old dad is several times a week. Never underestimate the power of good friends. Love to you and yours.

netflixfan Wed 22-Aug-18 11:35:00

Dear granny Activist, so very sorry for your loss. My oldest and dearest pal died last month and I'm so upset still. Some folks have shown empathy, but not many. Most have just forgotten. . I spent the last three weeks in the hospice with her, a lovely and sad time. Lots of love xxxx

HootyMcOwlface Wed 22-Aug-18 12:20:24

So sorry for your loss. flowers

The elderly neighbours (in their 90s) in our first home were very dear to us and I was heartbroken when they died within a few months of each other. We had moved away by then (1996) but used to visit every couple of months. I have a photo of them on my windowsill now still.

Nicky7of7 Wed 22-Aug-18 12:48:52

I am very sorry for your loss many people do not realise that lifelong friends are often more loved by us than our blood relations. On a different note my husband died 4 weeks ago after a long illness. My eldest sons partner has not contacted me to offer her condolences nor did she attend the funeral or send her apologies. My son has been amazing and wrote the most moving tribute to his Father which he read at the Service. I really don’t understand but as my own Gran used to say “ there’s none so queer as folk”. Thinking of you and hoping you find peace and comfort in your memories.

Dottygran59 Wed 22-Aug-18 14:22:06

Granny A, I read about your dear friend on the kindness thread, and you conveyed so succinctly how very dear this man was to you and your family. Please accept my sincerest condolences. Oh how I hate that phrase...wish I could think of a better one, just know, that a fellow granny from Yorkshire is thinking about you