Experiencing death is never easy. Losing a close friend can be a devastating experience that feels like it has left a void in your life. The shock and trauma of losing a friend unexpectedly often exacerbates that issue, as you might be left with the feeling that you didn’t get to say goodbye.
Grief is an ongoing process and will look different from one day to the next. However, the act of saying goodbye can help spark the healing process. Here are some helpful tips for saying goodbye to a beloved friend.
Take Some Time To Grieve
Amidst the initial shock of a loss, there’s often an overwhelming feeling that there’s a lot to be accomplished. While there are a few things to get done, you can take a step back and give yourself some time and space to grieve.
Talk to your manager or clients at work and express your need for some time away to regroup. This aspect of grief can be a challenge, as bereavement policies and income levels have an impact on what you can do for yourself. However, sharing your situation and needs is essential to finding time for yourself and working through the grieving process.
Create a Circle of Support
Consider who you can reach out to during this difficult time. If there are other members of your shared friend group, reach out to those individuals and come together in your grief. Consider reaching out to family members and other friends to help you through the initial days.
If your friendship with the deceased existed privately or apart from other social groups, this experience could be isolating. Know that there are always support groups available to help you process your emotions. Reach out to your community, whether local or online and find the support and resources you need.
Reach Out To the Family
It’s important to understand that your friend’s family is also going through a grieving process that may look different from your own. It’s important to reach out in support of the family and provide any care and comfort that you can.
If you’re close with the family, offer to help in the funeral planning process. Helping organize food and keeping things moving forward can mean a lot for the family. If you’re not close with the family, send your condolences and offer to help in any way you can. You can send a note with a bouquet of Bouqs’ flowers for a funeral and include your contact information.
Understand There’s No Right Way To Grieve
Know that there’s no right way to grieve. While the standard bereavement policy for employees may only encompass a few days, there’s no timeline for when you should feel better.
As time passes, the sharpness of the pain you feel might dissipate. You might start to have good days again. Then, out of nowhere, something could trigger your emotions and send you reeling.
It’s important to understand that grief isn’t a linear process, and having an emotional response is human. If you feel that you’re struggling to make progress or can’t start to move forward, consider reaching out for counseling or support.
Document Your Best Memories
Revisiting your favorite memories can be a cathartic experience. Set aside some time to go through old photos of you and your friend, listen to music you shared, read old emails and texts, and dive into the grief. Write down your favorite memories and consider how you can turn these treasures into a memento.
It might seem like these activities feed into the sadness you’re feeling. While you will experience sadness when you revisit fond memories, you’ll also experience joy and gratitude for the blessing of having had this person in your life. By documenting your memories with photo collections and playlists, you can revisit those happy moments whenever you feel the urge.
When our bodies experience stress and trauma, they go into survival mode. In other words, we experience overwhelming stress that can impact everything from our appetites to our sleep patterns.
While grieving is healthy and natural, it’s still important to take care of yourself. Try to eat nourishing foods and hydrate every day. Practice exercise and mindful movement by getting out for a walk or doing some stretches. Accept that you might only be able to do the bare minimum, but that’s enough for now.
Revisit Special Places
When you feel ready, schedule time to revisit some of the special places that you and your friend shared. Think about where you spent the most time together or if there were any places they loved and shared with you.
Revisiting the places you visited together can be a trigger for powerful memories. Again, this exercise can be a cathartic experience and help you say goodbye to your friend. These places can also act as a monument to your friendship, where you can revisit anytime you want to feel connected.
Write a Letter
If your friend died suddenly, you might feel as though you didn’t get to say a real goodbye. There may be words left unsaid about how much they meant to you. Perhaps your last exchange wasn’t ideal or notable, and that’s left you feeling unsettled.
When you feel ready, write your friend a letter. It doesn’t have to be polished; it just has to speak your truth. You may want to write a couple of drafts until you find the exact words to adequately express how you are feeling. It could be long and detailed or short and sweet. What matters is that you get to put your words into the universe and process your emotions by doing so.
Know That Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forgetting
Finally, it’s important to know that saying goodbye to a person doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the space they held in your life. Moving forward and seeking closure doesn’t mean forgetting your friend or putting their existence on the backburner. You have the freedom to remember them and revisit the impact they had on you anytime you feel like it.
“Goodbye” is the hardest word in the English language. Know that you have the right and the freedom to say goodbye to your friend when and how you want.