Grieving the Loss of a Best Friend
Many of us consider our relationships with our best friends among the most important in our lives. And when they pass away, our pain is as intense as losing a blood relative. Here are suggestions on how to gently start to heal when your best buddy dies.
A recent survey revealed how many friends most Americans have:
- Nearly half of the survey respondents (49%) report having three or fewer close friends
- Over one-third (36%) report having between four and nine close friends
- Thirteen percent say they have ten or more close friends
- Twelve percent of respondents reported having no close friends
Your number of close friends depends on factors like age, gender, marital status, and cultural background.
When Your Best Friend Dies
The older we get, the more we value our friends. For women especially, friendships are a lifeline when relationships, marriages, and families don’t give us the unconditional love and support we need. Friends are the family we choose, so we feel this loss keenly.
However, some people have a hard time understanding the deep mourning of a friend. It’s easy to feel disenfranchised and left out, mainly if you aren’t close to your friend’s family. And even if your friend was ill for a long time, accepting that they are gone is challenging.
Coping Skills While Grieving a Friend
Losing someone close to us can be a challenging and painful experience. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to cope with the loss.
Allow Yourself To Grieve
It's important to give yourself permission to feel and express your emotions. Grief is a natural process, and everyone experiences it differently. Cry, talk about your feelings, and don't try to suppress your emotions.
Attend the Funeral or Memorial Service
Participating in the rituals and ceremonies can provide a sense of closure and allow you to say goodbye. It also gives you the opportunity to connect with others who knew and cared about your friend.
Seek support from other friends, family members, or a counselor. Share your feelings and memories with people who understand and care about you. Sometimes talking about your friend and sharing stories can help you process your emotions.
Take Care of Yourself
Grief can be physically and emotionally draining, so prioritize self care. Get enough sleep, eat nourishing meals, and engage in activities that bring you comfort and relaxation. Exercise, spend time in nature, meditate, or engage in hobbies you enjoy.
Understand That Some People Will Not
Disregard when someone suggests your grief is not as valid because you lost a good friend, not a spouse or parent. Your feelings of pain and loss should be expressed and honored. Don’t allow someone to degrade what you’re experiencing.
Honor Your Friend's Memory
Find ways to commemorate your friend's life and keep their memory alive. You could create a scrapbook, write a letter, or donate to a cause that was important to them. Celebrate their life in a way that feels meaningful to you. Cremation jewelry is another way to keep their memory alive; only a small portion of cremated remains are needed.
Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you find it difficult to cope with the loss or if your grief becomes overwhelming and affects your daily life for an extended period, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and help you navigate through the grieving process.
Remember, everyone grieves differently, and there is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a loved one. Take your time, be patient with yourself, and allow the healing process to unfold naturally.