This week I was a bad friend. Two people that I know had family members pass away. One their dad and the other their grandma. I reacted poorly and I am kind of ashamed. The early stages of grief were the hardest days and my friends helped me every day by checking in on me. But in their moment of need, I failed them.
I am a week away from one year. My emotions are on the surface and that affected me when I heard of my friend’s loss. I didn’t know what to say because the thing I hated the most was people saying sorry for your loss. Being is there is what you must do, and I did tell them that if they needed me that I would be there. Deep down I hoped they didn’t though because this broken mess could not handle another person’s grief.
To my one friend who lost his dad I was not the best friend I could have been. Instead of showing up and being there for him, I told him I needed space that I could not deal with his grief and mine. The next day I felt like shit that I did that. Having people around you are so important, and no are grief is not the same at all. He lost his dad, and no I don’t want to think about what will feel like for me. I lost a husband they are completely different, but grief is grief. I needed to be there, and I wasn’t.
Grief changed me and in the past, I would have done anything needed for a grieving friend. I have gone to wakes. I have listened to the grieving person talk about their loss for hours. But now it takes me back to everything that happened last year. From being told to telling others. Hearing the shock in his voice as he told me his dad died. I had heard that over and over when I told people about Matt. I was there for them and they were there for me in my time.
Now I fail my friends because I do not know how to show up and be there. I instead put up a guard and I retreat into myself. When I told my best friend that I failed people this week she told me, no you did not it just hit too close to home. That is the thing with the week coming is I am fearing being triggered. I did what was best for me and I put up my guard, distancing myself from someone else’s grief. By doing that I was not being there for a friend in need.
As a widow how do we put aside our grief to help a friend. We have been in the trenches and now the pain of loss. I know what it feels like to have that numb feeling in fact I feel it still from time to time. So when someone tells me that they feel nothing and they are not sure how they should feel I respond it is part of grieving it will pass in time you will be okay. And God that is what I should have done this week. Just be there.
I know what the stages of grief are and I know that they pass. At times they come back. This week when my friend was in the denial stage I told him it will hit you eventually and when it does if you need someone to talk to I am here. On the day of the funeral, he told me that one of his other friends thought he should go over to his house after the service. I agreed with that telling him that the funeral makes it real that is when you know they are really gone. In the days after that numbness sticks around. All of this advice and comfort I can provide but instead my fight or flight response kicked in and I chose flight.
Since I have changed that sending how are you text message. Listening to him just talk. Providing a distraction from the grief. My other friend had to go pack up his grandma’s stuff and I told him to let me know if you need anything. His grief scares me more cause someday my grandma is going to pass and I am going to feel crushed and have to pack up her house. I don’t want to face the reality of that not now.
I am the woman I am today because of the losses I have experienced. When someone tells me about a new widow I tell them to just be there and to have them check out this group because knowing you are not alone is important. I am a strong, independent badass that occasionally cries her eyes out because of something stupid. This week I failed my grieving friends but this experience has taught me what I will do differently next time and I will show up and be there. I will put aside my pain to ease someone else’s.