A friend and I had a conversation just recently. And we talked about how things have changed with my friends. For one thing, having lost a child doesn’t exactly put you at the top of an invite list for social events.
Once I noticed this, I made the decision not to be bitter but to host more events on my own and reach out more. Start my own party so to speak.
But why was I still feeling left out?
My friend said something interesting in our conversation, “We haven’t changed how we’ve treated you.” And in general, that’s true.
Except for one thing that struck me later that night.
On this occasion, this friend opened up about a recent personal issue. That’s when I realized what was missing.
This was my aha moment!
I finally figured it out–few of my friends reach out and share with me any more. Except for other angel moms.*
When they do, they feel exceedingly guilty and apologize. Except this past Sunday. Someone finally did open up. And she did not apologize which was fantastic. All of a sudden I felt included again and I didn’t feel like an outsider.
I am missing those one-on-one conversations with people who’ve always trusted me.
Now let me make it clear, this omission of personal confidence is not malicious or intentional. It is, in fact, out of love and respect for my grief.
In truth I think these close friends probably think their problems seem insignificant compared to my son’s suicide and so don’t reach out like they used to. Or that they don’t want to burden me with their problems because they think I have enough to worry about.
It’s not a burden
The fact is, I still need this connection. It distracts me from what is going on in my own head and my own life. I feel included.
Life isn’t about checklists. It’s about the people with whom you form bonds.
I know right after Charles’ suicide, I was not in the frame of mind to be there for my friends and family. I simply couldn’t process anything.
I have really struggled to figure out what was different in my relationships with friends. It’s such a huge relief to have figured this out.
While I can’t always solve a problem for someone else, I can listen and if you have asked for my advice or feedback, I can offer things to think about so you can arrive at the right decision for you.
I now understand why friends outside the “club no one wants to be in” hesitate to tell me about their divorce or separation, their issues at work, problems with their own kids. No one wanted me to feel more hurt than I already do. But in so doing, you’re actually leaving me out of your life.
In truth, hearing you talk about what’s going on with you, simply makes me feel like a normal human being again.
I’m just letting you know I still have ears and they are ready to listen!
*angel moms- moms who’ve lost a child
7 thoughts on “Grief: How relationships with friends have changed”
I have found my real friends, who i can count on one hand have no issue or struggle with talking to me about our son…i have also been told by a very long time friend “connie this could have happened to any of us” and while i appreciate that it didnt happen and i am still trying to make sense of this chaos … my point being the more we keep talking about addiction and suicide the more comfortable people will be to talk with us about this
Funny how things do workout with these friendships! I feel that you and I are closer than ever. We have had each other’s backs exactly the way try girlfriends should!
I have never felt guilty talking about my children with you because you are a valued friend and I enjoy the feedback we give each other. We have talked about Richard and we didn’t feel guilty!
To me this is silly, the way others think they are protecting their supposed friend, when they are actually putting up walls that aren’t necessary. This can actually harm the friendship, NOT help it.
If every woman would live by what true woman friendship is we would all be a lot better off. It’s been proven when we empower each other great things happen both personally and profressionally! #girfriendcode!
You never missed a beat Stephanie. You were always there.
Thank you Anne Moss. You are an inspiration for many. (I had the same experience when my husband died; none of my friends wanted to complain about their husbands, or anything else for that matter.) Time……..
There are no words to express how grateful I am for your articles Anne. God bless you 😘🌹
Such an awesome revelation and insight. Just curious–have you also found people are less likely to share joys with you too? Feeling a little guilty or uncomfortable that their (our) lives are great when you all have had great sadness? It’s so interesting how all those dynamics change. Not every angel mom will feel exactly as you do, but I’m sure many thank you today for these words. Hang in there!! ❤️
Yes I do Amy. I find that to be true as well. Thanks for pointing it out.