I just met a guy that I am seeing and he has lost his dad about 10 months ago from cancer. He has some good days, some bad days. Often at night time when he clears his mind, he gets very sad. He was close to his dad and has no regrets about his relationship with him. I know that you will never be the same when you lose someone, but I have never dealt with having someone I care very much about grieve right in front of my eyes. I have lost grandparents and great grandparents and a friends boyfriend died in an accident, but I feel like this is something I have no experience with. i want to say the right things, do the right things. My plan at this point is to let him know I accept him for who he is, sad or happy. I understand that he is grieving and I do not blame him for being "off" or distant when he is experiencing sadness. I don't push him to talk to me about it, I just tell him I am here for him if he needs to talk. i asked him if he was seeing a grief counselor and he said he was but he didn't really like the person. He knows he needs to find another counselor but hasn't gotten around to it. There are some items of his dads in his apartment that he can't move because his dad put them there. I cant even imagine looking at something that has been sitting there for almost a year. That is some heavy stuff. Any advice to someone in my position?
It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things for him. I think accepting his highs and lows and his knowing you are there for him is all you can do.
Speaking from my perception, for people that try to comfort me, the one thing they say that annoys the heck out of me is reminding me how tragic my losses have been and saying, "if I were in your shoes I don't know what I'd do - I can't even imagine losing _______!"
It hurts. I KNOW I've lost both my parents. I KNOW that I've been through a lot. And I don't want to hear people that still have their parent(s) remind me how devastated they'll be when their _________ passes.
Just quit reminding me of the magnitude of my tragedy and let me tell stories/memories of my parents when I feel the need to, and just be there to listen.
That's all you can do. Because even he doesn't know exactly what you could do to make him feel better because when you're grieving, nothing is rational and easy.
Thank you for this reply. I would like other peoples opinions on what they want from close friends while they grieve. Do other people agree that they want the floor to be open for them to tell stories and memories? Would you like to hear "anytime you want to tell me a story, I would love to hear it." or would you rather hear "tell me about when..." does it seem too pushy?
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America
Re: As a friend, what do I do?
For me, the best thing any of my friends could do for me was to just be there. I will forever be grateful for my friends who just sat on my floor with me and let me cry, zone out or whatever I had to do. Its been 3 years already since my dad died, and I still have one of those friends who can read me well enough to know when its starting to hit me again and he just kind of judges when to either let me sit and zone, or if he should find some strange way of distracting me to get my mind off of it. Its amazing to know that you have at least that one person to be your rock, and it sounds like you may become his rock and his stability when nothing else makes sense, and that's a good thing.
Also, just being able to talk about my dad and not get the awkward glances from everyone is extremely helpful, and it sounds like your being as supportive and great with that as you can. It becomes really hard when you're trying to guard what you say because you don't want your friends to get upset and wait for you to start having a melt down every time you mention the person who died.
But overall, it honestly sounds like you're doing everything possible that someone else can do. There's really no right way to fix it. And with leaving stuff that his dad put there, just go along with it. I did the same thing after my dad died, but my mom decided that she wasn't going to put up with that and she started throwing away his things, and I honestly believe that that made everything a million times harder because she didn't let me process everything on my own.
So I guess my overall comment is that you should just be there for him, let him talk about his dad and enjoy the stories. And let him proceed with things that have to do with his dad in his own time and in his own way because forcing him to do something he isn't ready for can make things harder for him in the long run.