When I lost my best friend of 25 years, I didn’t know what to do. The shock was too big and too painful. We had literally grown up together, going to the same school and college and managed to stay in touch even afterwards. She was there for me in my most special moments and I made sure I was there in hers. It took me days to face the reality and then some more to accept it. A couple of activities helped me most in those moments and it was only after I had made peace with the reality that I made a pledge to share my coping measures with others who may be going through the same. My intent, while doing this, is to help those mourning the loss of a loved one.
According to my experience, what helped me most in dealing with my best friend’s death was spending time with her family. The more I looked after them, the more stable I felt. Looking after them took my mind off my own pain as I was too busy comforting them in their loss. We would talk about her and recall fond memories together, smiling through tears and holding hands. There was no hurry to get over the pain, only kind reminders to keep ourselves together and we all were doing this for each other. So, we allowed ourselves to mourn but watched out for each other when it could get too much. This understanding due to shared pain played a major role in helping me deal with the loss.
Later, I dedicated to go visit her family once a week. You can do it over the phone or Skype if the commute is too long but connection with her loved ones somehow made me feel as if she was still there. There was also this feeling that it would please her to know that we were there for each other and that feeling warmed my heart.
However, there is no alternative to contemplation and soul-searching in such tragic times. Spending time with my own self gave me just that. I took my time to grieve the loss, cried when I felt like it and let the emotions take their natural course. In the beginning, I would feel guilty if something made me smile but then I realized that she would’ve wanted me to be happy even after she was gone. My coming back to life didn’t mean I had forgotten her, it just meant I had decided to embrace and carry forward the memories she had left behind.
Here I will give credit to my family for not letting me neglect my own health and well-being. Even in my times of mourning, they encouraged me to look after myself. What effect can simple acts like taking a bath or going for a walk can do, I had no idea! But doing these simple tasks made it easier to face the daily demands of life and as research also says, they have a positive effect on mental health as well.
As a person who expresses herself through writing, it helped me a great deal to give words to my feelings of loss and emptiness. The more I wrote about my state, the lighter and calmer I felt. It was as if the pen took weight off my heart and mourned with me. I think any creative expression can do this for a person and give him an outlet to voice his emotions and feelings.
It is a blessing to have a friend who means so much and with whom you have so many memories but the deeper the love, the deeper the pain. Many people I know have found it quite helpful to join a support group or counselling session to enable them to manage their emotions and find their way back to life.
Every person’s pain is too personal and private and each one can have his own path of recovery. The loss of a best friend does not only mean that you lost a very special person in your life but it also means that you are one of the lucky ones who had such an amazing friend to cherish life with! We mourn what we hold dear so when you are faced with such a distressing incident, remind yourself of the wonderful memories you built together and believe in your heart that those who mean so much, never leave us! They live on in the beauty of life that surrounds us every day.
The writer works for Eastern Memorials, which is a gravestone maker company in Virginia, USA. They offer headstones, monuments and tombstones.