Grief changes relationships

Different people have different strengths

You may have to learn which people you can go to for specific needs. For example, you might have a friend who loves to cook, and you used to be able to talk for hours. But now they aren't comfortable sitting with you if you might cry. Try to recognize that they are supporting you in the best way they are able.

It is unlikely you will find a single person who is able to show up for you in all the ways that you need. Let the cooks cook and the listeners listen.

You do discover, uh, who is comfortable talking about grief and who is not. And so some of my friends, um, can, can only be there for me, right? They can, they can be there physically, and they can love me and, but they don't want to get into a conversation about my grief or about Drew. And that's okay.

Um, we need to have different people to go to for different needs. We can't expect everything from one person. Right? So, so I have friends who I can have those deeper conversations with and friends who are not afraid to get messy with me.

Cutting ties

In all honesty, there may be some people who are just not capable of supporting you in your grief experience. It hurts, but it is OK to cut ties with people when the relationship changes.

Grief changes your entire address book. The people that you thought would stand by you forever fly off into the ethers or do things so weird and so rude that you have to write them off because you just can't tolerate them in your space. And, people you maybe never thought in your life before death that um would have sort of the emotional chops to show up and listen like people surprise you. I think people surprise you in both directions.

Play Video placeholderJayne Agena: Friendships

Grief has changed my relationships. I think I’m friends with people I would never... We’ve never, we would never have been friends And then there’s cer- certain people you just sort of don’t have anything in common with anymore because you’ve experienced a depth. Um, you know, grief is deep. The loss is deep, and sometimes you just don’t relate to people on that level anymore. or it’s nice but it’s not the same, so you, maybe it’s not as frequent. Um, my address book had definitely gotten a lot smaller.

Play Video placeholderJack StockLynn: Friendships

So around the time that I lost my mom, I was also going through a change with a, a friendship, um, with a woman that while my mom was in hospice, I- I’d asked her to come visit, and ... a couple different times, And she never came down. She never came to visit. And one time, she and her wife were in the next city over to a, a weaving fair, and we talked a little bit through this whole time. And I said, “Hey, w- I mean, do you wanna stop, will you stop by? Will you stop by and see me?” And I had to beg her to stop by, and she, they- they both did, and they were very sweet, but they weren’t there for very long, and then left and that was like ... weirdly ... I felt like that example was, like, all my friends just kind of disappeared. All the, all the people that were, had been close, just, whoosh, backed away. And that example was particularly painful because we had been close.

Play Video placeholderMegan Bolich: Friendships

I think the most surprising thing was how much people disappear whenever you lose someone close to you. At first it feels like everybody’s there, and then suddenly it feels like you have the plague and nobody wants to talk to you. People would just avoid us. We lost really close friends to us. ... It’s like they’re scared to talk to you, so instead of trying, they just avoid you completely