Hello all, I have a twofold grief situation that I am trying to work through – the death of one of the best friends I have ever had, and also, trying to be there in a supportive (albeit, long distance) way for her husband, who is also a good friend.
I first met them in 2003 at a club we belong to. My initial connection was with “D” (the husband) but a few years later, the wife (“R”) and I became daily e-mail buddies, stemming from their concern after my dog had surgery (we are all dog lovers). R and I e-mailed each other daily for 6 years, and D was supportive of that, as it helped R, since she was on the shy side like I am.
R got sick last month, and passed away 12 days ago. I’m working through the grief and sadness, while trying to be a supportive friend to D. It’s a unique situation to me, as he has consoled me as well, knowing how close I was to his wife (Note – totally plutonic, in case anyone was wondering).
I feel such a big loss now that the daily e-mails are no longer there. It’s ironic, there were times I tired of writing every day (but continued, especially after D said it was good for her), and I never imagined how much I’d miss the e-mails when they stopped.
I called him the day she passed away, and a couple of times since, the latest being last night. We also traded a couple of e-mails as well.
One thing I do need to state, is that I have Asperger’s, so I don’t always know what to say in social situations (even with people I’ve known for years), and I don’t pick up on social cues very well. Years ago, while lending support to a grieving co-worker, I pushed a bit too hard (he forgave me, as my heart was in the right place), and I don’t want to make the same mistakes here.
It’s kind of surreal, R was very supportive of me in my efforts to support my grieving co-worker, and I always sad that the next time I am in a position of lending support, I won’t push as hard. Its ironic that its R’s husband now who needs that support, and, thus, I want to be very careful not to end up alienating him, even with good intentions.
When I spoke to D last night, he did tell me that he was probably going to a grief counselor, which I agreed that it was a good idea (I can’t even describe how sad and lost he sounded, which is understandable, as they were married 36 years, and the love of each other’s lives). I did ask him if I should call him next week, or space it out more, and he said don’t make a schedule, if he wants to talk he will call me, and if I want to talk to him, I can call him. So I probably will call him more towards the end of next week. Next Tuesday would have been R’s 70th birthday, so I am sure that will be an even harder day for him.
I did ask him if he has people there (locally) checking in, and his sister was there, and the neighbor checks on him, but most of his friends are long distance through our club (he and I live on opposite coasts, and other friends are scattered around the country).
I may, on a few weeks, send him a journal to write down his thoughts in (the grief counselor he goes to may even suggest the same thing). He does like to write, so maybe that could be something that can help him a bit.
One positive thing I can share with him, is that I am getting a new puppy in a few weeks, and I will update him on all that. It will be bitter sweet, though, as R was totally looking forward to me getting the puppy as well, hearing all about her, etc.
I know I can’t fix it for him, I can’t make it better, and the grieving process is a long one. My best friend (now deceased as well), had lost his wife 13 years before he passed on, and he never really got over it. Sadly, it will probably be the same for D.
A couple of questions/ thoughts - I do want to keep the contact going of course, but I feel silly (for lack of a better term) calling when I honestly have nothing to say or ask, aside, of course, from how he's holding up. I hate to not call, though, as I do care a lot.
Also - do you all think it would be okay to share pictures of my puppy-to-be with him when I get them. As stated above - it will be bitter sweet, as R was very much looking forward to it all as well.