When a friend dies, a companion, a colleague, and a confidant is lost. A close friend often assumes the role of a brother or sister to us as we progress through life. Losing such a friend stirs feelings of abandonment and loneliness, fear and insecurity, and sadness and grief.

The intensity and duration of the grief will mirror the intensity and duration of the friendship. The grief may be strong if we have experienced life-changing events with this friend. Such milestones in life as personal graduation from college, weddings, births of children, or vacations together make for strong friendships. The loss of that kind of individual can have a severe effect on our daily living.

While the intensity of the grief may not equal that of a close family member, it would be common to feel sad or depressed, to have a difficult time concentrating, to feel a roller-coaster swing of emotions, or to be irritable or angry. A person may also have ambivalent feelings following the death of a friend, there may be a numbness of any emotion, or energy and motivation may just not be present.

What to say?

Talking to the family and close friends of the deceased can be an awkward thing, especially if they are nothing more than names that have been mentioned or an occasional acquaintance. It is always appropriate to offer sincere words of condolence and an expression of what friendship with the deceased meant to you.

When you get a chance to talk in a more private setting, tell stories that the two of you shared that the family might not be aware of. Show glimpses of the fun and positive side of the friend you knew.

How to act and what to do?

Once the family knows of your relationship with the deceased, your presence at the funeral home or at the funeral will be very meaningful. Offering to help in any way, looking after things behind the scenes or organizing tasks is generally very appropriate. You may want to send flowers or a gift basket or food to the immediate family members.

What to Send?

In many instances it is appropriate to bring or send a condolence gift to the family to provide comfort and offer support. There are many options for types of sympathy gifts. For guidance with selecting a sympathy gift, you can trust eCondolence.com’s team of professionals to express your condolences appropriately and timely. You will find the highest-quality products and items carefully selected by the eCondolence.com team that are appropriate to send family, friends, colleagues and others.

Gourmet Gifts Baked Goods & Desserts Fruit Baskets Assorted Chocolates

If you have pictures of some of your special times together, bring them and allow the family to see. These items will be meaningful and will give them comfort and encouragement during their time of grief.

Some things to remember about grief

  1. Everyone grieves differently. There is no set pattern, no set way of handling the difficult times. Try to take good care of your physical health during this time. Plenty of sleep and a healthy diet will help stabilize your emotional well-being. Do not be afraid to seek the help of friends, family or professionals if you sense that you are needing additional support.
  2. There is a difference between sudden and anticipated loss. If your friend died of a sudden death, the reaction will likely be somewhat shocking and traumatic. There is no way to prepare ahead of time for an accident on the interstate, a murder or a suicide. These events can shake your sense of stability and your confidence that things will be okay. Anticipated losses allow more time to mentally and physically prepare for the loss. One challenging thing about anticipated losses is that the grief actually become divided – partially over the loss and partially over the anticipation of the loss.
  3.  The length of the grief process is different for everyone. There is really no schedule or timetable that works for everyone. Be patient as you experience your reactions to the loss. It is normal for important dates to trigger additional waves of grief.

Five ways to cope with the loss of a friend

  1. Don’t rush yourself through the mourning process. Sometimes the moments around the visitation and funeral are busy and hectic enough that we really do not get a chance to mourn the loss. As life returns to normal, occasionally take some time to remember your friend. Talk with other friends about good times that you shared. Allow the process to move along gradually.
  2. Do something to preserve a lasting memory for your friend. Honor the life of your friend through charitable donations to an organization, educational facility or cause that you both supported. Volunteering for animal shelters, hospitals, religious organizations or schools can not only give of your money but your time.
  3. Preserve the memory of your special times. There are so many ways to make sure that you do not forget the memories of your times together. Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites provide places where you can post photographs and comments. A simple scrapbook or photo album can preserve pictures and other small items. You might begin to reflect on some of those times through a journal.
  4. Don’t try to replace your friend. Friendships are unique combinations of personality, experiences, circumstances and time. No person will ever replicate everything that the old friend brought to your relationship. Give yourself time to develop new relationships naturally.
  5. Expand your circle of friends. When the time is right, reach out to a larger circle of individuals for friendship. This will not only keep you from wanting to replace your close friend with someone else already in your circle, it will expand the possibilities of interests and connections.