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Connecting with a grieving friend

Published: May 24, 2015 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A grieving friend cuts herself off from a life-long friend.


How do I reconnect with a grieving friend? This friend is a life-long friend. She experienced the loss of a parent and two siblings in a very short time. She has pretty much withdrawn from most of her friendships and has thrown herself completely into her real estate business.

I was friends with both her and her sister who passed in January. I feel that when I lost my friend I also lost her sister who still lives! I have called sent numerous cards and texts and phone calls. She has not really engaged at all. HELP!!!!

Signed, Margie


Hi Margie,

The nightmare of losing three relatives in close succession has to be traumatic. Everyone handles grief in different ways. Some people turn inward and others turn to friends, family or their community. There is no perfect way.

It sounds like your friend has found solace in her work, which may offer a distraction from her grief as well as support from the colleagues she sees every day. This isn’t a bad way to cope. You’ve reached out numerous times and she isn’t interested or able to respond you right now. Follow her lead and back off. You may want to try again in several months.

One question came to mind: Could your friend have been upset about you not showing up at a funeral or wake for one of her family members?

People also grieve over the loss of friendships and it sounds like you’ve simultaneously experienced the loss of this friend as well as her sister. This is unfortunate because it probably would have been consoling for you to speak to your friend about her sister’s death.

Given this situation, you need to take care of yourself right now and find other friends and supports to help you through this tough time.

I’m so sorry for your loss and hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Prior posts on friendship and loss on The Friendship Blog:

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Comments (4)

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  1. Laura says:

    Sounds like she wants to be left alone, at least for now. Did you attend the funerals or visitations? If you didn’t, that could be the problem, even from her eyes, the end of the friendship if you didn’t.

  2. Lauren says:

    Just one more suggestion: Have you tried sending her a *snail mail* card, one of those blank ones and compose a sincere, heart-felt touching letter letter about the wonderful qualities that her parent and her two siblings had, and what how knowing them enriched your life.

  3. Florence says:

    Hi Margie,I feel sorry for you.Your friend had a very sad situation in a short period of time losing three family members it has affected her so much & may be she needs time alone for now,so give her time & you can’t just let her go like that after what happend,she may think you don’t care,so find ways & means of visiting her,when you go there don’t go to explain why you didn’t visit her earlier it may upset her more.Your friend is not ignoring you but she is not herself now & may be trying on things that can make her go on without thinking to much,it is just time & things will get back to normal.Don’t worry yourself too much.

  4. Carlie says:

    Hi Margie —
    I lost my last parent last year, after a long illness. My grieving took place over the course of several years, but the final death was still a shock. I felt numb and “out of it” for several months, and only recently began to feel like my old self. I most appreciated the friends who stopped by with a batch of cookies or homemade soup — without my asking — or called to make specific plans, as in, “Let’s go to a movie tonight.” It relieved me of having to ask for help or support. I was never comfortable asking for help, so I appreciated those who just stepped forward and literally offered a hand.

    Maybe you’ve tried that, and if so, perhaps your friend does need time away to nurse her wounds. Everyone handles grief and loss differently. But I can see where it’s hard on the friends who aren’t sure how to help. Wishing you comfort, too, as you try to deal with this. – Carlie

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