Let’s talk about grief and friendship, because grief changes every single relationship you have. Some will get stronger, and some will feel more distant. Because grief changes us so fundamentally, it isn’t possible to go back to how we were before a loss. This means it isn’t possible to relate to people in the same way as you might have before.
Grief is a sort of forced growth. When we lose someone we care about, we are confronted with experiences and emotions that we haven’t faced before. Maybe we even have to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities. Each time we do or feel a new thing and come out on the other side, we have experienced growth. Therefore, a grieving person is a rapidly growing person.
Meanwhile, those around you might not have ever experienced a big loss, or they might not have grown and changed in exactly the same way as you have. This can mean that you might find yourself having a hard time relating to friends and family the same way – and that is okay. After all, you are a new you.
However, it can be a painful feeling to suddenly not relate to people you were close with before. It can add to that feeling of isolation that so often accompanies grief. There is a silver lining, though. As those relationships gain a new distance, you might find yourself realizing that anyone who cannot support you through loss probably isn’t the kind of friend you would like to have. Meanwhile, other folks in your life will surely surprise you by their kindness and willingness to be present with you on those hard days. New relationships bud out of your new growth and vulnerability.
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