Grief Unexpressed: When the Passing of a Friend Hits Harder than You Expect

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Your loved ones usually include your relatives, such as your spouse, parents, or children. But there are people outside your family circle, and their death can also cause lots of pain. This tragedy can affect your physical and psychological well-being for years. Still, many people believe that the demise of a friend isn’t as important as that of a family member. This results in a lot of suppressed negative emotions that eventually resurface as bad behavior.

The Impact of a Friend’s Death

Researchers from Stirling University say that the passing of a close friend can have a profound impact on the health of the one grieving. They gathered data from over 26,000 people in 14 years and found that the bereaved had physical and mental problems. The female participants grieved more than the male ones, struggling with a significant drop in vitality. Most of the participants also had issues with their relationships. This lack of social connections caused a significant decline in their well-being.

Mourning over a friend’s death is a form of disenfranchised grief. It’s a feeling that people experience when they’re confronted with a loss that can’t be acknowledged or mourned openly. In this case, a person might feel like they’re not worthy of grieving as much as the family members do. As a result, their emotions become suppressed and contribute to poor health over the years.

The Right to Grieve

girl comforting her crying friendIf you’ve lost a close friend and you feel like it’s not your place to mourn, here’s a consolation: Since you loved that person, your sense of loss isn’t invalid. Embrace that truth every day. You can write it in your journal or put a note on your phone. Leave the note in a place where you can see it easily. Sometimes, the people around you will disregard your emotions, so it’s essential to remember that what you feel is reasonable.

There are also times when you won’t be able to participate in the conventional rituals of remembering the deceased. As much as you want to help in arranging funeral-planning services, the task might already be taken care of by the family members. It can feel like you have no outlet for your grief and love. In this case, you can find a unique way to celebrate the life of your friend. For example, you can plant a tree, write a song, or visit a special place. Doing these things will help you achieve catharsis or closure, which helps in the healing process.

Finally, it’s essential to have a support system. Doing so can be difficult because of the nature of the loss. Your family members themselves might think that you don’t have the right to grieve. If that’s the case, go out of your existing social circles. Perhaps a licensed therapist can help. You can also consult a distant relative or a spiritual counselor.

Overall, the loss of a loved one is universally painful, but not all forms of grief are acceptable. If you feel like you’re not worthy of mourning, focus on your love for that person. You don’t have to worry about the opinion of others.

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