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hi. just joined today so hello to everybody first.

a friend of mine died on Feb 27. i have been struggling to cope since then.

we met only a few months ago when i did some work at the theatre where he was based. we knew one another a very short time and i realise that to some of you who have lost someone you have known for years this may seem so selfish and silly but we really connected and i miss him so much.

he was only 26. he had cancer. he told me at xmas he was dieing but then a few weeks ago he told me he had two weeks left. then next thing i heard was that he had passed on. i txted him a few days after he had died and his mother responded telling me he had passed.

there wasnt a funeral. if there was one, it was a family only affair. i have no contact with anyone else who knew him. we argued efore he died. he wanted more from me than friendship. he told me i was his fantasy girl, that he cared about me alot and that his last wish was to sleep with me. i said no as i have a long term partner. i hadnt seen him for several weeks before his death. even tho we didnt part angily, and we had said good bye in a manner of speaking, i feel like i am missing a limb. i feel like i hadnt said what i wanted to. i feel cheated of a friendship that mattered to me. even tho i am glad he isnt in pain anymore i feel so unhappy and miss him so much.

one moment i am fine, the next i am crying. it makes my partner very unhappy too as he knew my friend wanted more and i dont think he quite understands why i am so upset. i dont understand either.

everything reminds me of him. i feel like if i go back to the places that we were together in it will hurt worse than anything.

i guess it just comes down to missing my friend.

i just need to talk to people who might understand.

i dont know what to do.

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Dear One,

I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your friend this past February; please accept my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. You say that you don’t understand why you are so upset about all of this, and your long-term partner doesn’t quite understand either. I’d like to offer some thoughts that I hope may help to clarify.

Oftentimes the death of a friend falls into the category of disenfranchised losses – those instances in which grief is an entirely natural response to loss and yet, because the loss is not openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned, or publicly shared, the mourner is deprived of the catharsis and relief that shared grief can bring.

As you say, when your friend died, no one in his family notified you of the death, and if there was a funeral or a memorial service, you were neither invited nor included. It is as if, from his family’s perspective, you did not exist in this man’s life – and yet, you know that you mattered enough to him that one of his dying wishes was to be physically intimate with you. In addition, the people in your own circle (other friends, family members, work associates, etc.) do not regard you as a person in mourning, so you are left with no support and comfort at all. As Harold Ivan Smith points out in his lovely little book, When Your Friend Dies, the death of a friend is often considered to be a less significant experience than that of a family member. As a result, the friend left behind feels shunted aside or marginalized in the grieving process. You may feel as if you don't have permission to grieve -- which can make it even more difficult to come to terms with your loss.

I just want you to know that the pain you are feeling is real and worthy of your grief. We don't grieve deeply for those we do not love. I encourage you to acknowledge the significance of your relationship with this person, and honor your grief as a measure of the love you feel for your friend. Even if it is not justified (feelings aren’t always rational), you may be feeling guilty for depriving this man of his dying wish to sleep with you, at the same time feeling disloyal to your long-term partner for even considering it – and angry with your present partner for passing judgment on you for something you didn’t even do. On one hand you’re grateful that your friend is no longer suffering – on the other hand, you are now the one who is suffering in silence with the sorrow of missing him. One moment you’re feeling okay, and the next minute you are drowning in tears. These are the conflicting, ambivalent feelings of grief, my friend, and they are normal under the circumstances.

You say you “feel like I hadn’t said what I wanted to” and you feel cheated – but it’s never too late to say whatever you feel a need to say to someone who has died! It’s just a matter of finding a way to get those words outside of your head and your heart, whether it’s onto a piece of paper (or onto a computer screen) in the form of a letter, or simply having a heart-to-heart (or heart-to-spirit) talk with your friend, silently or out loud – whatever way feels comfortable and right for you. What’s getting in your way is what we call unfinished business, and it can help immensely to find a way to finish whatever business is left undone (or unsaid) between the two of you. You could write a letter to your friend, saying whatever it is you need to say. You might even try having your friend write a letter back to you, putting down in writing whatever comes through to you from him. (Some counselors suggest writing the letter from you with your dominant hand, and the letter from the deceased person with your opposite hand.) Set aside some quiet, private time to do this, when you know you will not be disturbed. Put some soft music on the stereo, turn off your cell phone and don’t answer the door.

Although you didn’t attend your friend's funeral, you still can plan and hold your own private ritual of remembrance. You are limited only by your own imagination. Go to my site’s Memorials ~ Funerals ~ Rituals page to find some very creative ideas for doing this, and see my article, Creating Personal Grief Rituals.

I want to refer you to some other resources that may be helpful, too. Knowing what normal grief looks like and feels like can make you feel less crazy and alone, and can give both you and your long-term partner a better understanding of what you can expect in the days and weeks ahead. See especially the articles listed on the Articles page of my Grief Healing Web site, as well as the sites that are listed on my Death of a Friend page. I've also listed a number of other supportive links on my Counseling / Support page. You might be particularly interested in these:

Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year (Book)

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey (Online E-Mail Course)

I hope this information proves helpful to you, my friend, and I hope our other members and visitors will share their insights with you as well. Please know that we are thinking of you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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I have lost many friends too and completely understand where you're at. Loss is loss, no matter who it is, if it is someone you care about. Sometimes you grieve even for people you didn't like that much! And it is harder when you have no one to talk to about it. I lost the "love of my life" (we weren't married, but had a long relationship that's a long story) about twenty years ago, but it hurts to this day. And I never had anyone to talk to about it because our friends were gone or some of mine didn't know him (it's a complicated story). Anyway, my point is I know how hard it is to have no one to talk to. As Marty said, talk to him anyway and tell him how you feel. I still do that to this day and sometimes I feel like he's "with me".

Hang in there and don't feel bad or guilty for your feelings, they are perfectly normal,


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thank you to both of you. you have given me alot of comfort as yesterday i really wasnt in a good place but your words helped.

i think you are right when you say i need to create a way to say good bye, i think i need to finalise things a little more and feel more peaceful.

His phone number will be suspended on Monday and even though i know that there is no chance that he will call me or that his family will, i still cant bring myself to erase his number from my cell.

its as though it is my last link to him and if it goes, i will loose all contact with him. i realise this isnt rational, but as you said, feeling are'nt.

i will erase the number on monday. i really dont wantto do it before then.

i found something he wrote for me the other day. we were stage manageing a pantomime over christmas together and it wasnt really the best show to watch once,let alone 74 times as we had to! so he wrote out some alternative versions of the songs to cheer me up one day. i have put the paper in a drawer where i keep special things and i know i will never throw it away. i found myself holding the paper as if it brought me closer to him. i even smelled it to see if there was any trace of his scent on it- there wasnt but no one was looking so i didnt seem too crazy!

you said i feel like i am not included by his family due to their attitude over the funeral. i do. i dont know if there was a funeral even, i did ask but was rather abruptly told it was 'a family affair' and recieved no reply other than that. i understand that they are grieving too but i do think that their answer could have been a little better, a little softer. somehow it made me feel as though they didnt like me although i know this is paranoia.

i keep feeling as though i need to talk to someone who knew him but that isnt possible. none of my friends or my partner ever met him, i am only in contact with one person who knew him from that time, and i would feel wrong talking to her about it- she was lovely but it doesnt seem right to ring or txt someone out of the blue and say 'hi, i am upset cos this guy died, help me talk about him'.

i cant talk to my partner as he didnt have very good feelings towards my friend- for obvious reasons- and altthough he has tried to be supportive and ask if i am alright, i can see it makes him uncomfortable and tense, that he doesnt want to hear about our friendship. i can understand this but it doesnt encourage me to share with him and i have always thought i should be able to talk to him about whats bothering me.

the other night he asked me if Darren hadnt been dieing would i have run off with him? that he thought i had feelings for him beyond friendship and that it was only that he was sick that stopped us from getting together. i told him that it wasnt true , that i wouldnt have done that and that it was him (my partner) that i love but he just turned over and told me to go to sleep and wouldnt speak about it. the next morning he said he was sorry he was pissed off but he hasnt said anything more about it, not that he doesnt think it anymore and i know that he belives that Darren and i would have gotten together.

we wouldnt. i loved Darren very much but not in that way. i was able to talk to him, he made me feel less isolated and able to share feelings that i dont even acknowlage but nothing more.

i feel scared about adressing this. i dont want to lose my partner too. but i feel like not saying anything will hurt us in the end, that he will always doubt me.

i was thinking about trying to find out if there was a grief counceller nearby and going to see them. mabey that my doctor could help. i think some kind of structure and impartial person to help me might be of use.

do you think this would help? do you think there is anything i can do to talk to my partner about this, reassure him that i love him and him only?

also i am sleeping very very deeply indeed, its a struggle to wake up and then when i am awake i have no energy. i am really lethargic and normally i have oodles of energy. also i am not eating. i havent eaten since yesterday and i didnt eat much then. i am just not hungry and even thinking about food seems an effort.

thank you for your advice so far, it has helped. just to know i am not alone is a comforting thought.


Edited by sereph
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Oh boy, jealousy is a hard thing to fight and men just don't understand how you can be close to another man, but it isn't sexual or anything! I wish I had some advice on that one, but I don't know. I do think talking to a grief counselor would be a good idea. And maybe they could help you with that part too.

As I told you, I can really relate to having no one to talk to. That is so hard, but I just kind of put him in a very private part of myself and think about him all by myself. It's almost like my own little secret. But I would still rather have someone who knew him to talk to!

I would keep his number in your phone if it makes you feel better. I have a few things that I have in my "private box" that I cling to too.

Grieve for him for as long as you have to,


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yes, jelousy is pretty mad. am trying not to get angry with him tho, afterall i can get jelous when he gets female attention. thing is, i know he would never do anything and besides, his best friend is a woman, many of his friends are women and he gets on well with them. i dont create problems with that. i dont understand why this is so different. afterall, its not like my friend poses a threat to him.

am seeing my doctor this afternoon and hope that will get me somewhere close to councilling- dont know if this happens in America or Canada but in the UK you get it free if your doc sends you.

hopefully today will be better than the last week, i really need a day where i feel more 'Up'.

yesterday my partner and i went to the pub with a friend for a quick drink. i dont know why but i felt really edgy and was glad when we got home, not because i dont like my friend but because i couldnt concentrate on the conversation and i felt tired and in my own little world. thankfully we were only there a few hours.

cheers for the advice Shell, its good to get perspective.

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Wow, free counseling if your doctor sends you, huh? Think I might have to move! Good luck with that.

It's always ok for men to have female friends, but not ok for us to have male friends....that has been my experience anyway! Men can be so maddening.

I think when you are grieving it is natural to want to be at home and even alone sometimes. That's how I've felt. It is just such effort to try to act "normal" and leaves me super tired. I just want to be alone in my head most of the time so I can sort out my feelings.


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thats how i feel, i do want some company but not in places like pubs where its noisy and you have to be cheerful and upbeat. i would prefer to be at home, cup of tea in hand- gotta be tea, with crumpets currently (so very English)- and able to chill out and say what i wish and basicly feel able to cry or get upset or quiet if i want to. i am not in one of those social moods right now.

on the plus side i saw the doctor, he got me the number of a free councelling service and i am going to ring them today and see what happens.

am glad to see feeling tired is normal, i have been so nackered these last few days, its an effort to do anything. and am sleeping like i will never wake up. yet am still tired when i do get up.

but i have eaten in the last 24 hours so thats got to be a good sign.

how are you shell?

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That's great that you are going to get counseling! I really think that it helps to talk to an objective person who isn't involved in your life in any way sometimes.

It's been a year ago last month since my dad died (and several other people very important to me all in a couple of months) and I'm doing....ok, most days. When I get overwhelmed I just try to remember to take it one moment at a time. That seems to have become my mantra! It has helped me to get through to this point, so.... thanks for asking.

Good luck with the counseling,


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