Life Isn't the Same After the Death of a Friend
Life isn’t the same after the death of a friend. The pain you have to face requires a slow process of reconstruction, which is overwhelming and painful. The friend and soulmate you lost may have been the only one you could open up to emotionally, the one who made life so much more intense, enriching, and complete.
Every loss that you have to face throughout your life is unique and exceptional. You know, for example, that your parents will leave you one day, and the empty space they leave will be heartbreaking. But almost no one is prepared for it, and even less are prepared to admit that fatality, the dark side of destiny, can take your friend away from you, the one who you share your wildest ideas with.
A friend is your other half, your support, the music to your smile, and your partner in crime. Accepting the death of such an intense friendship is one of the worst ways life can knock you down.
Harold Ivan Smith is an author who specializes in the pain and emotional and cognitive reconstruction involved in losing a loved one. One of his most well-known books is Grieving the Death of a Friend. Just as he explains, losing a friend involves saying goodbye to and authentic, sincere, and gratifying relationship in your life.
We all know that we’re nothing more than brief passengers in this wonderful, unpredictable, and sometimes terribly cruel world. Everything we take for granted can fall down like a house of cards in a single day. That’s all it takes. It could be an accident, or it could be a terminal illness that forces you to watch your loved one slowly fade away, day after day, as they fight a tough battle.
Having to say goodbye to a friend is something that nobody is prepared for. It’s like losing part of yourself, or becoming an orphan. You stumble along blindly, knowing that there won’t be any more phone calls, dinners, escapades, afternoon coffees, books to share, movies to comment on, or problems to vent through laughter and tears.
It should be noted that the segment of the population that seems to be more affected by the death of a friend is adolescents. According to an article published by “All Psychology Careers,” almost 40% of young people have lost a friend.
The most complicated part is that, in general, these are very traumatic losses. Simply consider the high rate of suicide among young people, a devastating number which has a strong impact on young boys and girls. In the face of this reality, it’s necessary to be very intuitive, responsive, and capable when it comes to offering support and managing these situations.
Strategies for facing the death of a friend
Like Harold Ivan Smith explained in Grieving the Death of a Friend, one way to start accepting the loss is through movement. Instead of remaining still, paralyzed by the impact of the wound, you have to be able to cry, vent, remember, go back to the places where you laughed and were happy together, resume old habits, and integrate all those good memories into your life while you let yourself open up to the world again.
“Death is a tedious experience; for everyone else, especially for everyone else…”
It should also be noted that everyone faces pain in their own way. Some people can move forward faster by releasing their emotions, while others take a bit longer and prefer to stay silent, needing to be alone. The needle of time will sew those painful pieces of your life back together at its own pace.
Ways to deal with the pain
Some ways to deal with the pain of losing a friend include the following:
- Acknowledge your pain. It’s important to make yourself completely aware of what the loss means to you, acknowledge that you’ll need time to recollect yourself and make sense of what happened, to accept the emptiness, the absence… Let your family support you in your pain and talk once in a while with the family of the friend you lost to remind them what he or she meant to you. This will provide you some relief.
- Focus on the happy memories, and avoid strengthening the more traumatic ones. Let the friendship and your memory of it be a gift to preserve, to honor each day. Go back to all the times you were together, and let them become a part of you, while you return to life once again.
- Return to your obligations, but also introduce new habits. Whether you want to or not, you’re going to enter into a new stage. You’ll return to all the obligations that you had before, but it could be a good thing to develop new habits that’ll allow you to get to know more people and feel hopeful once again, all the while keeping that old friendship in your heart so it can be a part of you forever.
That friend and soulmate is your oxygen, your memory, and your other half, smiling down at you from a more serene place, wanting the best for you.