For Grieving Parents: 8 Years Later Part 3

One thing that is fairly universal amongst grieving parents is they feel lonely because, not long after the funeral, some friends or family stop coming around or calling them. I don’t think people drift intentionally. Sometimes a grieving person is too much to handle or people may not know what to say so they avoid the situation. More often than we realize - most friends and family just go back to living their normal lives and it feels like they left. To add to it, we (the grievers) are overly sensitive to the fact that everyone else has to go on with their own lives. I think there’s also some resentment inside us towards others that do get to go back to a normal life. Inside our minds, that resentment probably leads us to exaggerate negative feelings toward others.

I know in my own experience, as time got farther away from June 12th, people seemed to move on quicker than I wanted and I hated it. However, moving on is a fact of life and we all have to do it at some point. When others are doing it, it can feel like they are leaving us behind. This perception, I think is fueled by us misreading the situation and not being able to rationally see what is going on at the time. When you’re in that much pain you don’t tend to give others much of a pass on stuff. Other people still have their own life and difficulties to contend with. Our ability at the time to have compassion is fairly blinded by shock and sadness.

Looking back, I expected others to handle death better than I’m handling it now. This was totally unfair. Even after having experienced the death of a child and understanding what people go through in grief - I fail at reaching out to people when I should, saying something when I should, and doing something when I should. I know better.

We’re all human doing the best we can and we need to give each other a break. All we can do is try hard to recognize the need and act. The ACTION is the hard part for everyone - including those of us who have been through it. So, if you happen to be angry or feel like a friend has abandoned you in your grief, know they most likely aren’t doing it intentionally or being a bad friend. Try to give them some grace and know some day you will look back and be able to see they were doing the best they could and that they were hurting deeply for you and with you.