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My close friend is dead and I am in pain, why can’t I grieve?

By Ken Munyua | May 10th 2017

I lost a really close friend to a road accident a few months ago and I am finding it very hard to cope. This was a lady who was like a sister to me and her sudden death hit me very hard. I however feel like I have no right to grieve or talk about what I feel because she was not my blood relation so I have no “right’ over her but the pain and loss I feel is gnawing at me. What can I do? How do I allow myself to really grieve my friend?

To think we only mourn those related to us by blood is wrong. Some friends come into our lives and they become closer than family. Someone once said that friends are the siblings God did not give us directly.

What you are now going through is referred to as ‘delayed grief’. This is unresolved grief that happens when one tries or attempts not to mourn because of other ‘factors associated to the death’ like the one you have just described.

Delayed grief can lead one to depression and paranoia, even complicating future losses. Mourning is not like a wound that heals on its own, it is a conscious move that one chooses to go through and which leads to healing and acceptance. You have a right to mourn and grieve over your friend.

Right now, you have some unfinished business. Talk to close friends about her and the relationship you enjoyed, visit some places you would frequent together, re-live the memories you had.

When you allow yourself to go through the painful journey of past activities, you will feel the void created by the absence of your friend. This will help you to grieve her and also help you to come to terms that she is away. If she left any dependents or children, taking care of them and playing the mother role to them will help you celebrate your friendship.

My son got a scholarship to study abroad and is set to leave in August for four years. While we are all very excited and I am so proud of him and glad that all his hard work has paid off, I am also very sad. I feel like a part of my heart is being ripped away from me. While technology will help us stay in touch, I cannot stand the thought that I will be deprived of his physical presence for so long. I knew this day would come, I just did not know it would be this hard. What do you suggest I do?

First and foremost, allow me to congratulate you for raising a son whose agility has earned him a scholarship. That is every parent’s prayer and yours have been answered.

I hear you and imagine what you are processing at the thought of not having him around. That is called anticipated loss which is a situation where you are processing much and already missing him. But think of it this way, he is currently in school, how often do you have time to spend with him? Have you being spending quality time with him? If not, could this be the time to do so before he leaves?

You may need to spend the next few days with him and create some memories before he has to leave. Take this time to also have a candid talk with him on the importance of keeping in touch. However, the irony of life is, he will promise to do so until he finally settles abroad. You have to get used to this before he even goes.

Could it also be time to allow him to mature up and not have mum everywhere giving him instructions? The world is awaiting him, prepare him to face the world. He needs some wise counsel so be there for him at this time.


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