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Lost My Best Friend


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My best friend of 23 years passed away on December 1st. We grew up together and were more like sisters than anything else; in fact, we used to get asked so often by strangers if we were sisters that eventually we just started saying yes.

She had a diving accident in June 2005 that left her paralyzed from the chest down. It was devastating, not just to her, but to her family and friends as well. She has struggled these past 6 years to regain as much independence as possible, but unfortunately she has been completely dependent on others for even the simplest of tasks. She has suffered both physically and emotionally, and finally decided that she had suffered enough. She began researching her right to die well over a year ago and followed all the steps to make her wishes legal. On October 1st, she stopped eating, drinking, and taking medication (aside from pain medication). She was expected to last about two weeks, and instead she suffered for exactly two months spending some time in a hospice facility on horrible medication that turned her into a paranoid schizophrenic before she was released home with the proper medications and 24-hour nursing care. She finally slipped into a coma early last week and was gone early Thursday morning with her mother at her side.

I lost my mom on November 17, 2010 and now I feel like I've lost a sister, too. I expected to be much more emotional. When my mom passed, it was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. I thought the same thing would happen now. Instead, I feel somewhat "normal" - I use that term loosely since I am still very much grieving my mother. I'm wondering if it's just not possible to feel any more pain and if I didn't notice such a drastic change because my body and mind are still in "grief mode."

She did not want a wake or a funeral, but left it up to her parents whether they would have a memorial service (or two separate ones as her parents are divorced). Her step-brother has arranged a memorial for tomorrow evening. As difficult as I know it's going to be, I'm also strangely looking forward to it, hoping that it will provide me with some closure and make this all feel real. Even though I spent last night helping her mom and sister pack up some things in her apartment, it still didn't feel truly real. I think that's partly because I've been mourning her ever since her accident - even though she didn't die that day, everything changed. Plus, I knew this was going to happen as she was very open and honest about what her plans and wishes were.

I took off from work on Thursday and Friday last week. I work in a very small office (9 people) and all of my coworkers know why I was not there. Not one of them even said "I'm sorry" when I came in on Monday. I can't help but feel offended by this. Maybe they just didn't know what to say, or didn't want to upset me, but I just feel that it was so rude to not even acknowledge the loss. I know she wasn't blood-related, but that shouldn't matter. I keep telling myself that I'm just being overly sensitive and irrational.

I think I've rambled on enough for now. Thanks for listening.

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Erin, dear, I am so sorry that your best friend / soul sister is no longer physically with you in this life. I would not presume to know why you are feeling as you do in the wake of her death, but it does make sense to me that you've been mourning the loss of her ~ the way you were together ~ for a very long time already, and that may serve to explain some of how you're reacting now. Furthermore, she finally has obtained what she has needed and wanted for so long: She is now resting in eternal peace, and I would expect that knowing this brings you some small measure of comfort. Still, it is you who must find a way to live your life with the loss of her, and it is you who must endure the pain of being in this world without your dearest friend ~ so at some point I hope you will allow yourself to experience and express your grief, as you come to terms with all of this. Please know that you have our deepest sympathy for your loss.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks, Marty.

I'm wondering if anyone else who has lost a best friend has felt like their other friends "don't measure up" anymore. I am blessed to have many friends and acquaintances, but I almost can't be bothered with any of them because I don't have the same relationship with them that I did with Christina. I always knew I could go to her with any problem and she wouldn't judge or criticize - she would truly listen to me and then offer sound advice. I feel like I don't have that with my other friends - not that they don't care, but it's just not the same.

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