Grief is hard on friendships, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes, all it takes is a little honesty between friends. If we gently and lovingly explain what we need from the relationship during our time of grief, and what we are willing to do in return, we can turn even a lukewarm friendship into something special. Share the following letter with a friend over lunch. You'll both be glad you did.
Please be patient with me; I need to grieve in my own way and in my own time.
Please don't take away my grief or try to fix my pain. The best thing you can do is listen to me and let me cry on your shoulder. Don't be afraid to cry with me. Your tears will tell me how much you care.
Please forgive me if I seem insensitive to your problems. I feel depleted and drained, like an empty vessel, with nothing left to give.
Please let me express my feelings and talk about my memories. Feel free to share your own stories of my loved one with me. I need to hear them.
Please understand why I must turn a deaf ear to criticism or tired clichés. I can't handle another person telling me that time heals all wounds.
Please don't try to find the "right" words to say to me. There's nothing you can say to take away the hurt. What I need are hugs, not words.
Please don't push me to do things I'm not ready to do, or feel hurt if I seem withdrawn. This is a necessary part of my recovery.
Please don't stop calling me. You might think you're respecting my privacy, but to me it feels like abandonment.
Please don't expect me to be the same as I was before. I've been through a traumatic experience and I'm a different person.
Please accept me for who I am today. Pray with me and for me. Should I falter in my own faith, let me lean on yours.
In return for your loving support I promise that, after I've worked through
my grief, I will be a more loving, caring, sensitive, and compassionate friend-becauseI have learned from the best.