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Old 09-08-2007, 03:12 PM   #1
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I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

Hi
This is difficult because I've never done anything like this before - written on a message board before.
I wonder if someone can help me with my dilemma.
My friends husband died last week after suffering from cancer. No one had been to see my friend because her husband didn't want anyone to see him. I haven't seen my friend for two years but I wrote to her nearly every month over the last year to support her as much as possible. Anyway her husband has died and I stupidly decided to go and visit her to show that I cared. The daughter answered the door and said her mother wasn't seeing anyone - I came away feeling really bad that I visited. I have now sent a letter of apology to my friend explaining that I didn't want to upset her daughter , I only visited because I cared about my friend. Through her grief will she understand and for give me as I feel I've offended the daughter and been really disrespectful for calling at such a time. I don't want to lose my friendship and I've written telling my friend that I will continue to write.

 
Old 09-08-2007, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

People deal with grief differently. Some want everybody around them, others just want to be left alone.

My own experience of grief was I wanted to be alone. When I wanted company, I sought it out. My friends understood, and although a few 'dropped in' and I DID see them, they knew I wanted to be alone and left fairly quickly. It took me MONTHS to be able to 'come out' again and enjoy life. And that was just when my Daddy died. God forbid how I'm going to react if it's my husband or one of my kids!

Don't worry about the daughter. She's protecting her Mum. You've done the next best thing and written .. keep writing. That's what friends do. Back off but still be there.

 
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Old 09-08-2007, 04:38 PM   #3
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

You did nothing wrong as you were responding as friends do--you went to be with her. She did not want to see people and you respectfully left. It actually sounds like you have a good amount of trust and communication going between the two of you. I suggest you gently keep reminding her that you are "here" for her anytime. If you live close by, you may also want to drop off some "care packages" of foods that can be frozen or already are frozen or other easily reheated homemade food. If she has a child at home, she could certainly use the help with meal preparation.

You're doing great. She's lucky to have a friend like you.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

it wasn't a stupid decision to visit your friend despite the fact you didn't get to see her. It sounds like the behaviour of a very caring and loyal friend. I agree that people deal with trauma and grief in very different ways. Offering your support can never be the wrong thing, it seems to me.

From my experience far too many people justify not contacting or talking to the bereaved through saying to themselves that they don't want to intrude or cause upset. The reality is that these people find it too difficult to know what to say and don't have the courage to risk saying or doing the wrong thing when connecting with their friend's loss. I think this can be very hurtful and selfish. I feel it's much better to reach out so people know you're there for them, even if your support is not yet needed. All I wanted was for people to behave normally with me and to be comfortable when I talked about my memories and feelings. Friends like you are precious indeed.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 03:30 PM   #5
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

Thank you so much - it's helping me deal with all this. I've been so upset about it, but your responses are making me feel alot more confident that my visiting was for all the right reasons and I hope that my friend will see this through her grieving - Thank you

Last edited by Katiem1; 09-09-2007 at 03:31 PM.

 
Old 09-19-2007, 04:29 PM   #6
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

Just the fact that u were were (are?) so upset that u MAY have hurt your friend shows u are truly a good, good friend. And esp when u did nothing wrong!

I would have done ANYTHING for freinds to show up, to materialize, after my brother died. ANYTHING. But not one single person came over.... noone called save one I think. I am a "likes to be alone" kind of person by nature but never in my life had I ever experienced such a tremendous and shocking (and also tramautic) loss.

That u cared and u went over to your friends to see if she needed or wanted help or even just a BODY there to be with u, speaks voumes. Please dont beat yourself up! You did the right thing! It just seems your friend was not ready to see anyone, period, and that that had nothing whatever to do with u. You sound like a wonderful, caring, sensitive person and friend and God bless you.

Quote:
The reality is that these people find it too difficult to know what to say and don't have the courage to risk saying or doing the wrong thing when connecting with their friend's loss. I think this can be very hurtful and selfish. I feel it's much better to reach out so people know you're there for them, even if your support is not yet needed. All I wanted was for people to behave normally with me and to be comfortable when I talked about my memories and feelings. Friends like you are precious indeed.
I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!!

Yes!

I'm still shattered two (2) plus years later, after I Lost my brother. Not only or because he actually died, but because the friends and people I thought I had in my life at that time were not there for me. I went thru hell on earth totally by myself, because people either didnt care, or did but were so selfish and afraid of attempting to deal with such a horrible situation, or selfish to be so concerned with what to say, or, didnt really care so much after all.... Irregardless, the harm and hurt to me was very very deep and I dont think I will ever recover all the way. I lost what little trust or faith I had in human beings. Esp after I poured so much into others in life who had been hurt or lost a loved one, etc. WHen it was my time of great, great need, I got totally shortchanged. It made me re-think everything.


Peace to you,

FarmGIrl

 
Old 09-19-2007, 10:48 PM   #7
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

You sound like a good friend to me. I don't think you even needed to send a letter of apology but since you did, I hope you said something like when she is ready to reach out you are there.
Like other posters have said sometimes people just withdraw. When my sister died, I wasn't ready to hear past tense of my sister being dead. I think I liked being in denial for a few weeks to ease the shock.
I ended a 30 year old friendship after my sister's death. I called a friend who I saw often. We rode horses together. I thought we were close. She called me when her husband of 35 years walked out on her. I dropped everything to be at her side and she kept telling me what a good friend I was. Well, yeah...so when I called her crying about my sister's drowning, she actually said to me "didn't your sister have problems anyway?" I worked past that but I could hear dishes clanging so I asked if I called her at a bad time. She said her boyfriend was over (they had been dating for several years and he practically lived there so it wasn't like she had to impress him) and she was getting ready to serve him dinner. I said I was sorry for bothering her and hung up. Did she call me back the next day to see how I was? Nope. Four months later she called. Didn't mention anything just wanted to get together to do something. I was very aloof and cold. That was the last time I spoke to her over 3 years ago.
Now, that is what I call a disrespectful friend....lighten up on yourself. You did a kind gesture.

 
Old 10-06-2007, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

Thanks to you all for your replies - I've been away on holiday for the last couple of weeks - it helped me to put things back into perspective - although my friend has been constantly on my mind. My friend did contact another friend of mine and could tell her of how angry her 2 daughters were over the death of their father - her husband. I think they feel that the hospital didn't do enough to help there father through his cancer. I just feel they may be unintentionally venting their anger out on everyone else, the problem is they run the risk of alienating everyone else around them and also their mother.
It's really weird why I feel such a need to support her so much through this - I really care so much about her although she's old enough to be my mother but I hardly know her daughters. My friend has supported me so much over the years that I don't want to let her down, I just can't get that picture of her daughter's angry face out of my mind when she opened the door that day. I'm still desparate to see my friend though, but I'll wait to see if she rings me soon - in the meantime I've continued to write to her.
Thanks again though - and I'll keep you posted on how things progress.

Last edited by Katiem1; 10-06-2007 at 08:55 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

 
Old 10-06-2007, 08:58 AM   #9
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Re: I feel I've been disrespectful to a friend's loss

Thanks for your reply - I'm sorry about you sister's death and that your friend wasn't there for you when you needed her. Maybe in time you could meet her a talk about why she reacted that way?

 
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