It’s not about you.
This is the most important piece of advice I could possibly give anyone who wants to be there for their friends during moments of grief. There is so much more I could tell you, but you could easily find a hundred other blog posts out there if you want a list. But to me, personally, the most important advice for you to have is that it’s just not about you.
I’m not being selfish when I say this. And you’d be surprised at the amount of people who just don’t understand. But if you want to be there for you friend, you have to remember that this is about them. This is something that is happening to them. You are there in a supporting role, you are not the star. Your friend does not have the strength to care about you at the moment. That may sound harsh, but they’re not being selfish – they are just grieving.
You honestly should not burden your friend at this time with having to worry about you as well. They’re trying to figure out how to go on living, they really don’t need anything else on their shoulders.
You should keep an open line of communication, but remember, that is on you. You can’t chuck a hissy-fit because your friend isn’t being as receptive as you’d like them to be. You can’t get personally offended that they might take days to reply. You can’t get jealous if they would rather speak to someone else. This is not about you. This is about your friend. And if you truly want to be supportive, you won’t burden them with your hurt feelings – you will at least try to understand, and you will continue to try and support them.
And if you decide that trying to maintain contact is too hard, that is also on you. Your friend will notice. They will remember that you stopped trying, or didn’t try at all; that you thought the relationship was not worth the trouble. And I have no sympathy for you. You have just lost a relationship that you probably didn’t deserve. If you don’t have the patience to deal with your friend’s grief you do not deserve to be there when they finally emerge from their dark hole and feel almost up to living again. You do not get to re-enter their life when the hard part is over. You don’t deserve to.
You need to understand that, during this time, you have to put your friend first. I can’t stress this enough. They may hurt your feelings. And supporting your friend can be exhausting. You also might feel like they don’t appreciate you, but believe me, they do, they just don’t have the energy to show it. In the months to come you will get your appreciation.
You may have your own grief about their loss, but you need to find your own support for that – it is not up to your friend to support you. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to grieve. You are allowed to be sad as well. But it is ultimately your friend who has lost a child, not you.
This is not about you. You can’t make it about you. You have no right to demand support or care from your friend during this time – that’s what they need you for.