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Pyper

Loss of my closest friend

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12 months ago to this day I found out my closest friend and neighbour was very ill, after suffering 2 cardio attacks brought on by asthma.  It was never something we expected as her asthma was never very apparent.

I was lucky enough to make it to the hospital intime to say my goodbyes before they turned her machines off.   
I've never felt like this before, I've lost people but I coped with those losses very differently.  There hasn't been one day that I havent thought of her and today I just feel like i'm crumbling.  I don't really have anyone around, yes, I'm married and my husband does his best to grasp what i am feeling but he doesn't and can't.  He was also very close to this friend but his reaction is very different to mine.  

I have her family but I refuse to put my pain on them and then there are friends I have back in Australia, theres no one really near to me to just talk with and not feel like an idiot, I didn't expect to feel so strongly 12 months on.  Her Husband has even moved on with someone else.  I find it hard to even think that our friendship would be replacable, I guess I am finding it difficult to let her go or working out how to let her go.  I just feel broken inside. 

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I am so sorry for your loss, Pyper.  I am now old and have lost so many friends, family members, pets, and it seems to be escalating the older I get.  It's okay to grieve WITH her family, it will likely mean a lot to them that someone else misses her and gets what they're feeling even a bit.  My mom was widowed 32 years, and I remember her telling me how much she appreciated my talking about my dad, she said it's as if the rest of the world forgot him, and it helped her to talk about him.  The one thing we don't want to do is compare our loss as you lost a friend, they lost a family member, and the losses are unique, but they're both still grief of the same person even though different losses.

I'm glad you made it to the hospital in time.  When my husband had his last heart attack, they kicked me off the ward and locked the door while they worked on him, I never got to see him alive again.  I never got over that, I don't get why they made me leave, I could have remained out of their way, but we were always together and I wanted to be with him while he transitioned to what was next for him.

Please do not feel like an idiot or berate yourself in any way for feeling grief so strongly, it's how close relationships are...months, years later.  Grief has a beginning but not an ending, although it changes form as we begin to process our grief.  We don't have to let go of them but we do relate to them in a different way.  For instance, before my husband died, we'd hold each other, we talked over our day, we partnered to keep our place up, we visited friends together...all that was gone in an instant.  But I've learned to carry him in my heart, I still talk to him in my mind, sometimes out loud, my heart is still wistful toward him.  I miss all that we shared together, our love and companionship, he was the love of my life.  But I don't feel the need to "let go" of him, our love continues its bonds in a different way.  It is not mere memory, but I realize that the love we shared continues even if unable to show each other in tangible ways...and I know that wherever he is, he still feels that love towards me.  After all, all that happened was his body gave out, he didn't stop loving me!  Unfortunately, when their body gives out, it affects every avenue of our lives.  

Yes your love is irreplaceable...but that doesn't mean you won't have other friends that you'll cherish, just none like her.  We all bring something unique to the table, and we'll discover new relationships that carry their own attributes, but none like them...and that's good in a way, it's a way we can realize our honor towards them and how unique they were.

I want to leave you with this article from What's Your Grief, I found it helpful and hope you do too.
 

What it Means to ‘Change Your Relationship With Grief’

 

There are things that you get over in life. For example a cold, your first breakup, or an argument with a good friend. More often than not, these things happen, they cause temporary misery, maybe you learn from it, and then you let bygones be bygones. Many experiences follow a similar pattern and with good reason. There are things we can and should leave in the past for the benefit of everyone, just imagine how much pain and negativity we’d all carry around if we could never forget and move on.

That said, it is a mistake to think that all painful experiences can and should be gotten over. There are times when such a shift simply isn’t possible – people can’t always change the way they think, feel, and behave simply because they want to. It’s common to think that, in these instances, one can go to therapy or take medication and be cured of these problems, but many people who’ve experienced things like serious hardship, trauma, addiction, and psychological disorder will tell you that healing isn’t about putting these experiences in the past, rather it’s about changing their relationship to the related thoughts, memories, behaviors, and emotions that exist in the present.

There are also times when ‘getting over’ something or ‘forgetting’ isn’t even desirable, such as getting over or forgetting about a deceased loved one and their ongoing absence. Still, many people mistakenly think that grief is something that can and should end at some point. Those who understand grief in hindsight may think this is a foolish mistake, but I would argue it’s common and understandable considering how little people know about grief before experiencing it. Especially those who live in societies where people are quick to believe that grief runs a linear and finite course and, as a consequence, encourage grieving people to push forward and let the woes of the past disappear like water under the bridge.

The reality of grief is that it often stays with you until the day you, yourself, die. For those who think of grief as being all negative emotion, I can see where this may seem unmanageable, but rest assured the impact of grief changes over time. As you change your relationship with grief – by changing how you respond to, cope with, and conceptualize grief – you will likely also find hope and healing. If you think about it, grief is one instance where there is a strong benefit to accepting its ongoing presence in your life because doing so creates more room for comfort, positive memories, and an ongoing connection with the person who died.

I understand this progression because I’ve experienced it, but I’m sure it can be difficult to believe if you haven’t. Initially, I thought about writing a post titled something like ‘5 Ways Your Relationship With Grief Changes Overtime’, but then I changed my mind. Grief is unique, relationships are unique and so your relationship with grief and with the person who died will evolve in a complex and nuanced way.  So, instead of generalizing and categorizing, I’m going to share how my relationship with grief changed over time.  At the end, please share your own insights about how your relationship with grief has or has not changed in the comment’s section.

At first I tried to outrun, wait out, hide from, and ignore grief.

Eventually, I realized my grief wasn’t going anywhere so I could either run from it forever or give in and experience it.  Once the cloud of grief consumed me, it was hard to see or feel anything else.  This sucked but only slightly more than the running.

In the early days of grief, it felt like all the light had been drained from the world and everything was dark.  But as the fog of acute grief thinned, a little bit of light crept in and things started to look a little less scary and a little more manageable.

I grew less intimidated by my grief and increasingly confident in my ability to handle its ups and downs, twists, and turns.  Once I was able to look grief head on, I realized it’s made up of both good things and bad.  Grief grows from the same seeds as love so after someone dies, one seldom exists without the other.

Over time my relationship with grief has changed.  I see it now as something as nuanced, complex, and beautiful as my relationships with those who have died.  Though its ongoing presence is sometimes challenging, I embrace it because it’s a source of love and connection with those who have died.

---What’s Your Grief
https://whatsyourgrief.com/changing-your-relationship-with-grief/

 My Footnote:

At first I was in shock, terrified, anxious.  Friends disappeared, adding to the hurt and confusion.  I felt alone, abandoned and didn’t know a roadmap through this.  I tried rebuilding my life but was thick in grief fog, no clarity of thought and everything I tried was disastrous.  It took much time to process my grief, but I did, through allowing myself to feel the emotions, pain and all, and not trying to cover them up or rush through this.

I found that grief is not 100% negative, but there’s benefits to having gone through this.  I began to look at life and death differently.  Rather than hating my loss and grief, I began to see the benefits of  having experienced this.  I became more empathetic, more able to help someone else going through it (comforting with the same comfort God has comforted us), I began to appreciate each day and value life as a gift and live in the present moment.  I found purpose again. 

I’ve discovered that grief isn’t for a set period of time, but is with me for life, although it evolves throughout my journey and changes form.  I’m no longer afraid of it, it has become my constant companion as I’ve learned to coexist with grief.

Little by little I’ve built a life I can live.  Finding balance, interaction with others, and solitude, time with my furry family.  Activities, not to crowd out the pain, but to experience life even with its changes.

One of the benefits as I’ve had to tackle life and its decisions on my own is the confidence its built.

I’ve given myself permission to smile and realized that it is not my grief that binds me to him, but our love, and that continues still.

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Thankyou KayC for your kind words and for the advice that came with them.  
I will have a read and have saved the link you attached.  
Thanks again

Pyper

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