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  • Allison Ramsey, Asheville Grief Counselor

I'm Grieving, Where Did All My Friends Go?


I'm Grieving, Where Did All My Friends Go?

When you lose someone in your life there are people you think should be supporting you. Sometimes that’s your family, sometimes that’s your friends. What I hear most often from my clients in my grief counseling practice in Asheville is that they can’t rely on the people they thought they could rely on.

For example, when two parents lose a child or a pregnancy, they grieve differently and that grief changes their relationship. They are used to relying on each other during hard times, but in this instance both have to reach outside of the relationship for support, and people do that in different ways. When a woman loses her husband she can’t necessarily rely on her kids because they may also be grieving the loss of their father. And maybe she can’t rely on her siblings because they don’t get it or they’re afraid of facing their sister’s grief because it makes them face their own grief about when they’ll lose their own spouse some day.

Grief brings about a wider variety of emotional experiences than non grievers think. Of course you feel sad, but you also feel anger, fear, disappointment, hopelessness, embarrassment, frustration, and sometimes numb. You don’t know what to expect in your grief, and your friends and family don’t either. And friends and family respond to that in different ways. Unfortunately sometimes that response is to send a card that says “If you need anything, let me know” and then they fade away. Your challenge is to take them up on their offer.

Remember, we do everything we can to avoid thinking about death. If someone does offer their support, even if it is an unexpected or peripheral support person, take them up on it. Maybe it’s a neighbor or a coworker or someone you met in a bereavement support group. Ask them to meet for a walk or lunch, or sit with you while you go through your loved ones things. Imagine being alone, lost in the woods. Of course you’d love to have a certain person there with you to make you feel less afraid, but if any one person showed up, you’d appreciate their company.

At the time of your grieving, don’t worry about who should be supporting you. You don’t have enough energy to grieve and to be mad at your friends or family. What’s most important is that you find the support now, to begin making sense of the loss. If you’re up to it, send your support people this post about how to support a grieving loved one, and add your own suggestions. Right now, take the support where you can find it.

Allison Ramsey is a certified grief counselor in Asheville, NC. She helps people transform loss into meaning. Contact her to start learning how to feel better.

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