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Dealing with the death of a friend


matbro1984

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So I found out that a friend of mine from my school days committed suicide on Friday. As with most schoolfriends, you sort of drift apart over time as you make new friends at uni, work etc, but with Facebook et al you never fully lose touch. We'd chat a bit on Facebook from time to time, but never got round to catching up over that pint that we'd always promise to do.

 

I now find myself feeling guilty - for never getting round to meeting up, for not staying in touch better. (Not that I'm under the impression I'd have been able to stop him or anything so dramatic.)

 

Then on the flip side I feel like I'm not entitled to feel any sense of loss - we'd allowed our friendship to erode with time such that we were just acquaintances these days. I hadn't seen him in person for several years; I'd never met his children. Would it even be appropriate for me to attend his funeral?

 

Has anyone been through something similar?

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I think you should attend his funeral. Don't think your not entitled to.

A friend of mine died of a heart attack 2 years ago (she was 25) Lived in the same town as her and worked at the same place, but as we were on different floors I didn't really see her much. Her Mother had died 1 year earlier and she never got over it.

 

I also felt some guilt because of not spending enough time etc, but you can't, and shouldn't put that on yourself.

 

Go to the funeral, Say goodbye. You'll regret it more if you don't.

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Ya know, if I was at my funeral I'd love to see a good turn out and if I saw some people there who I hadn't seen in sometime I'd be really pleased that they cared enough to come.

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When I lost my brother 3 years ago, the one thing that truly amazed me at the funeral was that some of his old friends, some he hadn't talked to or seen in over a decade, turned up. We had actually contacted 1 or 2 to pass on the news and they had then spread the word. I had to hold back the tears when thanking them at the end because it meant alot that these people had taken a day off work and come along.

I don't think time, or even if you have had a falling out, matter. It's about saying goodbye to someone and remembering that for no matter how short the time, you did know them.

Whether you'll feel better, and by that I mean its hard knowing that you hadn't seen your friend for so long and know won't get the chance, shouldn't matter. Just knows it'll probably mean so much to their family who will see how much they were loved and respected.

 

Shit - I'm actually welling up now!

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I can only echo what other people have said - go to the funeral and pay your respects. I had a very similar situation to this last year, when I found out a lad who was in my high school class for 5 years and my college form class for another 2 years, died of a brain haemorrhage. I hadn't seen him for best part of 12 years and we were never best friends in school, but I spent 7 hours a day with him for most of my formative years so I felt it was the respectful thing to do to attend his funeral.

 

I did, as did 30 or 40 others who were probably in the same situation to me. It was evident from the off that he had become a really well rounded guy and had plenty of friends and family, but those close to him in his older years were clearly touched by and grateful for his old school friends turning up.

 

I was shocked, as he was only 30 but I didn't cry, nor did I feel heartbroken when I heard the news or when I went to his funeral. Just because his death didn't shake me or upset me greatly, I'm still glad I went to the service. If I popped off tomorrow, I'd like to think that a good few people who I've not seen for years would come to see me off.

 

I also went to the funeral of a girl I dated in 2005, when she died after suffering a stroke in 2007. I hadn't seen her since we split up, nor had I really thought of her, however as soon as I found out I was an absolute mess. The funeral/cremation was one of the most difficult couple of hours of my life. I still carry a photo of her with me in my wallet - not because I was in love with her or still had any feeling for her, but because of the effect her death had on me when I didn't expect it to. I'm only telling you that last bit as the funeral may hit you much more than you expect. Saying that, if you weren't devastated by the news then hopefully you'll be okay.

 

Regardless, I'm sorry to hear your news and hope that he gets a fitting send off. It'll make a huge difference to his family and close friends if as many people who knew him are able to say their farewells.

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Sorry to hear the news, shitty thing to happen

 

Remember the good times, go to the funeral and share some happy thoughts with those who knew him. have a laugh and a joke and a cry say goodbye and toast their memories.

 

Million and one things you can do to keep the memory alive. just do what ever feels right for you. Not everyone will remember him the same way or the same things, but its really worth getting closure or you will be forever wondering

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When I lost my brother 3 years ago, the one thing that truly amazed me at the funeral was that some of his old friends, some he hadn't talked to or seen in over a decade, turned up. We had actually contacted 1 or 2 to pass on the news and they had then spread the word. I had to hold back the tears when thanking them at the end because it meant alot that these people had taken a day off work and come along.

I don't think time, or even if you have had a falling out, matter. It's about saying goodbye to someone and remembering that for no matter how short the time, you did know them.

Whether you'll feel better, and by that I mean its hard knowing that you hadn't seen your friend for so long and know won't get the chance, shouldn't matter. Just knows it'll probably mean so much to their family who will see how much they were loved and respected.

 

Shit - I'm actually welling up now!

 

Sorry to hear this sir, yeah I've been through some stuff like this before and I agree with what the Rev says ^^^. A guy I knew in school commited suicide a while ago, I wasn't really a friend, more an accquaintance, the only time I really talked to him was a drunken heart to heart at a house party. Its a really strange feeling when I found out. I was in between being devestated for him, devestated that I never properly knew him, and asking myself questions like should I go to the funeral as well even if I didn't know him all that well. Go to the funeral, you won't regret it, and it does mean a lot to people if you go.

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Thanks everyone, you lot have good heads on your shoulders sometimes :)

 

By utter chance, I bumped into a mutual friend from the same year of school about half an hour ago. He's in the same boat as myself, and I was relieved to hear he has the same concerns, but his view is very much in line with what you've all said. That being: a good turnout, regardless of how long it's been or indeed how tenuous the link, would hopefully be of some comfort to his family. He also raised an excellent point - if I'm feeling guilty for not making more of an effort when he was alive, how am I going to feel if I miss my chance to say goodbye. Succinctly put.

 

However, his family are not decided on whether to have a strictly family-only service or to open it up to others. A couple of us have made it known that if the door was open, we'd like to pay our respects, conversely we respect whatever decision they reach. If we can't go, a bunch of us schoolmates of his will be meeting up for some drinks instead.

 

I guess what this boils down to is that I can be a cynical old sod, and when someone dies (be it high profile or local) you often see a hysterical outpouring of Facebook/Twitter statuses, "RIP"s and other platitudes from people who have no relation at all or have done a U-turn on opinion because the person's died. I don't fall into either category, but it made me wonder if I'm really much better, given I hadn't spoken to him for months. I guess the fact I'm thinking this hard at all indicates his death does indeed matter to me, albeit grief is manifesting itself as guilt right now.

 

Thanks guys for talking sense. I hope it has not depressed anyone or brought back unwelcome memories.

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Matbro, this is a truly beautiful thread mate and shows the ukff at its very best, death is a weird thing, and brings out very different reactions in everyone. Some people just want to be left alone and some want to celebrate a life that has enhanced them in some way, just be proud of everyone that go and dont think any worse of anyone who doesnt go

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So I found out that a friend of mine from my school days committed suicide on Friday. As with most schoolfriends, you sort of drift apart over time as you make new friends at uni, work etc, but with Facebook et al you never fully lose touch. We'd chat a bit on Facebook from time to time, but never got round to catching up over that pint that we'd always promise to do.

 

I now find myself feeling guilty - for never getting round to meeting up, for not staying in touch better. (Not that I'm under the impression I'd have been able to stop him or anything so dramatic.)

 

Then on the flip side I feel like I'm not entitled to feel any sense of loss - we'd allowed our friendship to erode with time such that we were just acquaintances these days. I hadn't seen him in person for several years; I'd never met his children. Would it even be appropriate for me to attend his funeral?

 

Has anyone been through something similar?

This is EXACTLY how I felt when my wrestling mentor, Andre Baker, died last year after taking his own life. We'd drifted apart, not maliciously, over time and I felt the same guilty feelings as you.

 

I attended his funeral and was so glad that I did. It was the chance to meet up with old friends and I was welcomed to the funeral with open arms. I'm sure his children would take some small comfort in seeing how many people they didn't even know existed had come out to pay their respects to their father.

 

The only other thing I've learned from it is to make sure I keep in touch with my friends, be it face-to-face, online or whatever.

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From a family perspective, seeing people who the deceased may not have seen for a long time or not been in touch with for a variety of reasons making the effort to attend and pay their respects can mean a hell of a lot to the family.

 

I lost a good friend in Afghanistan about eighteen months ago and the funeral was not pleasant which goes without saying but one thing that stayed with me was his sister mentioning how much strength and comfort her and her mum took from seeing everyone who all palled around together in our primary and high school days and many of whom they hadn't seen in years making the effort to get down and pay their respects.

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I haven't logged in here for a long time, just came in to check Spyke's NFL Super Bowl thread and saw this topic.

 

Wanted to explain why you should go to the Funeral.

 

I have had 3 fairly close friends die in my life so far, Rich was 44, and I'd spent many mornings on my way to work with chatting about music and generally he was around the clubs I was dj'ing at and we'd always end up spending an hour or so chatting. Neville was a Security Guard and pretty much single handedly changed the attitude of concert security in London, but he also worked at my little club on a Saturday night and we'd end up throwing requests at each other while he was 'watching' the dance floor (he was usually watching by dancing like a loon) and we were always talking about concerts that were coming up and generally had time for each other.

 

Rich was having a pint at his local and fell asleep while sitting in his chair, he did that quite often in clubs/pubs so the landlord left him there until they closed up and then tried to wake him, he had died of a heart attack.

 

Neville was at a System of a Down concert at the London Astoria, he was there as a punter instead of working for once and was enjoying the show, while in the middle of everything (as he always was) someone booted him in the head while crowd surfing, he seemed fine, left the concert to head home to his wife and kid and he must have been concussed as he came off his motorbike on the way (no other vehicles involved) slammed his head into the kerb and that was that. Neville died about a week after Rich had.

 

I went to Rich's funeral, there was a few people there who knew him but he was a quiet sort and it was a very depressing event, it broke me thinking of him in his coffin and I felt I couldn't face another funeral so close to this one so I decided to 'miss' Nev's His funeral was attended by over 500 people. It was a real celebration of his life from everyone on the club and concert scene who loved him, his wife and family were filled with joy to see how much their father/husband was loved by those around him and everyone talked about it for months afterwards. To this day I hate myself for not attending his funeral, it was a very selfish moment of self pity that I had trouble getting over, it's one of the biggest regrets of my life.

 

Both of those were many years ago.

 

The third is a complete contrast and is closer to what has happened to you. A friend of mine, Maria, was found dead Christmas morning having committed suicide. She was always a wounded soul and we'd often had talks about how down she was a lot of the time, but on the other hand she had a lot of joy in her heart and we'd 'danced like idiots' and shared a few giggles/hugs/chats on many occasions. Our last contact was in September where she sent me a message saying she was going through a hard time, I told her that I'd always be there if she needed me, but I didn't see or hear from her after that, right now I'm still wondering if there was anything else I could've done to help her get through her dark time, obviously it got too much for her, she was very special to me and a few others so we were waiting for news of the memorial/funeral arrangements, and her parents basically shut everyone out and no one heard anything I expect she has been buried now but none of her friends know about the details.

 

That is obviously the parents right and it has to be respected, but I will feel sad for a long time that I never got to say goodbye to her properly. There's a big hole in my heart which will take a long time to fill.

 

So yes, as others have said, you MUST go, it is far better to go and pay your respects than to not have a chance or not go and regret it later.

 

Sorry for your loss, no matter how estranged you and your friend were, they were still your friend and you have to mourn them.

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The third is a complete contrast and is closer to what has happened to you. A friend of mine, Maria, was found dead Christmas morning having committed suicide. She was always a wounded soul and we'd often had talks about how down she was a lot of the time, but on the other hand she had a lot of joy in her heart and we'd 'danced like idiots' and shared a few giggles/hugs/chats on many occasions. Our last contact was in September where she sent me a message saying she was going through a hard time, I told her that I'd always be there if she needed me, but I didn't see or hear from her after that, right now I'm still wondering if there was anything else I could've done to help her get through her dark time, obviously it got too much for her, she was very special to me and a few others so we were waiting for news of the memorial/funeral arrangements, and her parents basically shut everyone out and no one heard anything I expect she has been buried now but none of her friends know about the details.

 

That is obviously the parents right and it has to be respected, but I will feel sad for a long time that I never got to say goodbye to her properly. There's a big hole in my heart which will take a long time to fill.

 

Thats horrendous Stevie. One of the lads from our school got in with a bad crowd after he left and ended up dying from a drug overdose when we was 18. His parents did similar to try and mask out anyone from his current group at the time from attending as they didn't want junkies and anyone like that there to remind them of what happened but at the same time it stopped a lot of old friends and decent people from going along as it was all hush hush and a small private family service.

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