Monday, March 23, 2009

I Am Not A Good Friend

I have come to the conclusion that I am not a good friend. It's not that I don't mean to be -- I am just not very good at it, and I feel rather bad. More than anything, I hate to see anyone in pain. I immediately want to do whatever I can to help them. But I invariably seem to end up doing the wrong thing. I have a wonderful friend who lost a parent recently. No one ever knows what to expect when they lose a parent. It is probably one of the worst things anyone will ever go through, and as much as people don't think so, believe me it is. And it is made even more difficult when there is tension in the family. Instead of having some quiet time to grieve and deal with the loss, folks are bombarded with having to deal with nonsense from other family members.

Grief has different stages that all mourners will face, each at its own time and in its own pace. I have had to deal with the loss of both my parents, as well as other people in my life, and I know it is not an easy thing. Often we don't know how we are going to react, especially to our friends, who really do mean well. I guess it is just as frustrating as well, when one wants to help and cannot. One feels so helpless.

I wish I could have been a better friend ... and I hope my friend feels better soon.

31 comments:

jackc50 said...

you are a great friend and i'm sure she will feel better soon. everyone deals with loss differently and there is no timetable. take good care, jack

scarlethue said...

There's so little one can do for someone in that situation... I think all you can do is offer your ear and your shoulder if they need it. I had a friend last year lose his father (young too, terrible accident) and I was with him, the only one with him, when he got the news over the phone. Talk about not knowing what to say or do. "Holy crap, I'm so sorry" I think is what came out of my mouth. Nice. But he told me later he was in such a state he doesn't remember anything after that phone call for a couple weeks after, except the funeral. Your friend is probably in the same state.

I hope they feel better soon, and I hope you can find a way to be there for them if they ask for it. Just this post alone shows that you are a good friend-- a bad friend wouldn't have even thought about it.

TheChicGeek said...

Sometimes I think the key to being the best friend is just to be there in the background with an open ear to listen. I'm very sorry for your friend's loss.

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

I have come to learn that being a witness to someone's pain is doing something. Sometimes listening quietly is saying the most. When I nursed, I witnessed death many times. Anything said in those moments of acute grief seems trite. And, people often need a sacred solitude within which to assimilate the loss.

And yes, the fact that you think you may be a bad friend likely means you are a good friend.

Deb said...

I can't imagine you being a bad friend, it is so hard to know what to do when someone looses a loved one, especially a parent and it makes it even harder if the family is having problems, you will do the right thing I'm sure....

Country Girl said...

I hope so, too. And I'm sure you're not really a bad friend.

Mary Ellen said...

What everybody else said. There's no easy or right way to handle situations like that, just the caring way--and I'm sure that's what you did.

Gritsmom said...

Remember, there's nothing you can say that will make your friend feel better...There's also nothing you can say that will make them feel any worse. Just being there for them is all that is necessary...and show love in whatever way you can...Bring food, run errands, clean house, etc.

Deb said...

I think you are being way too hard on yourself, Jo. If your friend saw this post, I would bet my life on it that she wouldn't see your support in this manner.

Give yourself some credit, Jo. If I was going through something traumatic, I would welcome you to be at my side. Truly.

(((((hugs)))))
d e b

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Just be there, that's all any of us can do. Words don't matter so much as just being there.

Lover of Life said...

I remember one of my professors blasting me in her Death and Dying class because I had the audacity to suggest a house on our block that had been left as a "shrine" to a daughter who had died early, could be better used to house someone living (it had been five years.) She drilled into all of our minds that grief is personal, and not to be judged AT ALL. Lesson not forgotten.

lovelyprism said...

Just being there makes you a good friend. XOXO

Arley said...

Jo- I'm sure he doesn't think you are a bad friend. It is very difficult to help someone who has lost a loved one. Nothing you can say or do will really ease their pain. Only time can do that. To be a good friend, all you really need to do is make sure he knows you will be there for him if he needs you!

I can totally relate to the stupid garbage families bring up after the death of a family member. When my Grandparents died in 01 and 03, my Aunts and Uncle fought over everything they owned. It was like they were just waiting to get their hands on jewelery, furniture, and anything else they had their eyes on. My Mother was the only one of the siblings that truely morned their death and thought nothing of their belongings. She ended up with pretty much nothing as well. I can't understand how people can be so greedy in a time of sadness.

Kym said...

Yes, Jo, just being there is the best thing, even if you do not say much of anything...just being there is a great support! Do not beat yourself up so bad! You are a wonderful person.

Slurryoffagrape said...

Nope, I don’t buy it hunnybunch :o)
You’ve way too much natural kindness and insight to be a bad friend, Just let her know you’re there, and I’m sure she’ll be glad of you when it’s all quietened down, and all the well intentioned promises of ‘friend’s’ help have withered away, as it invariably does.

Some friends are in for the Long Haul.

I believe think a written letter is sooooooo precious. It can be carried for a lifetime, and read again and again in times of need.

Letters are a lost treasure these days……….. emails have gone some way to restore the written communication between people, but NOTHING can replace a loved paper-and-ink letter. I’ll bet you know what I mean. :o)

I reckon a letter from you would be something she always keeps.

Chin up all the way over there. :o)

Kevin :o)

Carla said...

Of course, I don't know exactly what you're talking about...and it's none of my business. But I think I know who your friend is. And I also know that you mean a lot to him. A heck of a lot! It's so difficult to know what to say or do in these circumstances. He knows you have a good heart and he knows you care for him.

DUTA said...

I agree with Gritsmom's words. And even if you can't be there in person to bring food and clean the house, your friend knows that you're with Him in all your thoughts and feelings.

Not The Rockefellers said...

I think it has been said many times here.

Silently serve. Make your friend feel better regardless of how that makes you feel ie,like you couldn't do more...

After my father passed away I cherished the people who treated me normally and didn't try to analyze everything and ask if I was OK every 5 minutes. I know they meant well but it almost seemed like they wanted me to cry.

Again, I know they meant well.

Peace - Rene

Jo said...

Thanks everyone. I hope my friend feels better soon. I haven't been a very good friend, I must admit. Not good at all.

Oh, well...

Leslie: said...

I know your heart, Josie, and it is full of compassion and mercy. Send her a card with a few words from your heart - it could mean the world to her.

Leah Fry said...

The fact that you feel inadequate in comforting your friend says a great deal about the kind of friend you are. I'd be grateful for a friend like you.

Kimberly said...

I have to agree with Leah. Second guessing yourself thinking you aren't doing enough probably means you are. Then again, we are our own worst critic.

flowrgirl1 said...

I can't imagine you not being a good friend there for I believe it is in your head. In those situations there is only so much you can do and often that means standing and waiting till its your time to be there for them.

introspection said...

Jo, your friend knows you are there for him. That is a great source of strength, much better than words, and deeds. More often in such curcumstances silence is better than vocals, speciaaly where other family members intrude. He has to deal with it however ugly, and knowing you are there to share is bigger than being just good friends.
take care, pass on your inner strength.

white crow said...

I think we all feel same, at least at some point in our life.

JO, is that painting yours? i really love it, sp the flower holder.

budh.aaah said...

You are right when you say the pain of losing a parent is great. Oh I thank God everyday that I still have mine around, and live in constant fear of the inevitable..I dont know how i will cope, especially since I made some bad decisions in life and brought them much grief.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Everything I know about you tells me that you are someone I would like to have as a Real Life Friend because of your loyalty and caring. Sometimes just being there is the best way to help another.

I'm sorry for your friend's pain and agree that it's so much worse, even, when there is discord (or greed) in the family. In cases like that, the real mourning begins after all the ceremonies are dealt with, and that is when a long walk or a dinner invitation might be most helpful.

Paula Slade said...

Jo, I have to agree with Deb on this post - you are being too hard on yourself. Sometimes,a big hug or holding one's hand or simply looking eye-to-eye are acts of friendship that speak volumes to the soul when we cannot find the words. Also, as you heal from your own loss,you will find a greater capacity to help heal others. Be kind to yourself and forgiving for being beautifully human.

Jo said...

No, I am not a good friend, and I hurt my friend. Mea culpa.

Mea maxima culpa.

I was not a good friend. I should have been a better friend, and I wasn't.

Slurryoffagrape said...

Ok, lets go with what you're saying, in that you maybe let your friend down.

It's not the end of the world, and it can be repaired........ just somehow let her, (or is it 'him'?) know how sorry you are, and reach out to try and put it right. A good friendship should be able to survive a mistake, or mistakes, and will most likely be stronger for it.

If it really is broken, take the first step to fixing it. It’ll prolly be easier to do, and be better received, than you think.
K.x

Faithful said...

True good friendship starts and ends way before the death of someone. Going through a terminal illness of my husband, we have lost many close friends I never thought i would see diaapear..so them coming around after his death will not make me feel like they are good friends. Friendships should beckon to you when your friend is in need and when they are not. If you have been a good friend your friend will know and you will be able to repair what you think you might have done to damage it, but some friendships are irrepairable as I've come to see that some good friendships aren't what they seemed to be after being put to a test. I'm just saying....