I Wish They Would Have Told Me - Friendship and Grief

I Wish They Would Have Told Me - Friendship and Grief
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We had a long relationship. One that I thought would last forever. We had things in common, we had experiences together, we had conversations that had went deep. It was one of those friendships that went beyond being friends - we were family.And then it happened. Grief. Loss. I still remember sitting across from him on our back patio. He had come over with a six-pack of beer and parked his butt in one of our patio chairs on the back deck. He casually cracked open the top and took a sip and asked the question I was starting to get used to, “So….how are you doing?”We had just lost our son a few weeks before. So I was getting used to the question. I told him the truth, “I’m doing really shitty right now…” and started to tell him what was going on with me. I could sense the discomfort, I could see the discomfort. I could taste it.Finally he said, “Yeah…this is all new to me…we never really did emotions in my family.”Huh…I thought, Does that mean that you still don’t do them? I didn’t say that of course…actually, I didn’t think much of it really. But looking back I can see that’s where it all shifted. I had shared too much maybe. I had bared my soul and told him the honest truth, and he wasn’t able to handle it. Or maybe I just royally screwed up a great friendship by not paying enough attention to him. By not calling enough or texting enough in the months previous or following.He hasn’t come over since.I wish I could have prepared myself for it. For the shift of friendships that would happen. Some friendships absolutely bloomed. They got crazy strong. Some friendships that I never would have imagined. They stepped up to the discomfort and knocked that shit right out of the park. And then there were others.Ones that would stop calling you. Ones that would all of a sudden be busy every night of the week. Ones that would seemingly disappear off this place we call earth.And here’s what you’ll think - I did something to make this happen. I screwed this up somehow.You’ll think those thoughts, because you’re a human being. You’ll think you did something wrong, that you said something that crossed a line, that pissed them off in some way. That’s what I thought. Months after we lost our son I sat there and wondered, Did I not pay enough attention to these friends? Is that why they disappeared? Is that why I can’t seem to find them anymore?Nobody told me when we experienced our devastating blessing that my friends would shift. Nobody told me that everything I thought I knew about people, people that I had a long history with, would forever be changed. I wish someone would have taken me aside and said, “Hey…just so you know, your friendships are going to be forever impacted by this crazy event that just happened…there’s nothing you can do about it…but just so you’re not surprised.” I wish I would have read something about it when I was diving into research about grief. I wish…I would have known.Maybe it wouldn’t have helped. Maybe I would have actually cut people out sooner. Maybe I would have been less open to the people that I considered friends. Maybe it wouldn’t have been helpful during that time. Maybe I would have asked different questions during the course of our friendship. Maybe…maybe…And here’s the thing I’ve learned. It has nothing to do with you. And it has everything to do with you. You couldn’t have helped your situation and your reaction to it. It sucked, it was terrible, it was earth-shattering. AND sometimes people can’t handle that and they have to change their relationship to you. AND that isn’t a reflection on you. It is not a reflection on what type of friend you are. It is not a reflection of the type of person you are. You are still a human worthy of love... and so are they.Sometimes we just need different things.

Father | Husband | Coach | Speaker | Mediator

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