General Question

Raean's avatar

Has anyone suffered a loss so great that the damage cannot be erased?

Asked by Raean (167points) June 15th, 2009

Over the past few years I have not only been damaged by loss and grief but I know of others who have as well. In this case, control is an illusion. People often don’t realize that it is you, and only you who can change your situation- change to make life better, for you. It is so hard to want to help someone else but realize that you can do nothing to help. I’m such a control freak most of the time! I need to help-somehow. How do I help my best friend deal with the loss of his younger brother and not intrude upon his life or his feelings? I do my best to just be there for him but it’s so hard to stop at that. A hug certainly won’t take that kind of pain away, years haven’t. I don’t expect to make it better. I just don’t know how to not to try.

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9 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss.

There’s little you can do to “fix” this because it’s not fixable. Your friend will have to mourn in their own time and there’s not much more than being there when and if he needs you, which is actually doing a lot.

You probably knew this person too right? Make sure you take time to mourn as well.

Dog's avatar

I am sorry at you and your friends loss.

From my personal experience in losing a loved on what you are describing as doing- being there- is the best you can do. Try as anyone might the void left by the tragic loss of a loved one will not be filled with words, actions or money.

Carry on as you are and be patient and silent. Do not force conversation. Do not attempt to distract. He will appreciate this silent strength more than anything else at this time.

juwhite1's avatar

Just don’t treat your friend differently or begin to pitty your friend. We all suffer great losses over time. Those who stand beside us for who we are, and allow us to talk when we feel like it, and distract ourselves with other things when that suits us, are the ones we know are true friends. You can never fix another person’s pain, but you can help to ease it by just being there.

Hobbes510's avatar

I lost an older brother just over 10 years ago. I was 18 then, and he was 25. I can’t imagine dealing with anything harder then this quite frankly. I don’t have children yet so, though I can’t imagine what it was like for my mother, I know what it was/is like for me and… It continues to be very difficult. One thing I remember most about the days and weeks and months following it were, how little everyone considered how awful I felt. Nearly everyone in the family was conserned with my mom far more then me. So, to the poster, I think the best thing you can do is quite litteraly, lend your shoulder to cry on. Show simpathy (not pity), and… Ask about his brother. I’d say ask personal, specific things… I left for college 3 months after my brother died and… One of the most cathardic things I did during that looong year was tell everyone about him. It felt good to share his life with people that didn’t know him. I still do it very often. And while I can now talk about him without crying, sure enough, I’m choking back a tear or two now. It’s important to realize, this friend of yours will never “get over it”, but in time, he’ll start to deal with it better, on his own terms… Just support him the best way you know how.

srmorgan's avatar

So long as your friend knows you are around to be a shoulder to cry on, or to lend support in some way, is sufficient. Compassionate is right, you personally can do nothing to fix the situation. It happened, it was tragic and the living are left to question why but the question will ever remain unanswered.

Lately we don’t allow people the proper amount of time to mourn and to grieve the loss of a loved one. It’s all “get on with your life” or “closure” (Lord how I hate that word when used in that context) or get out and do something or suck it up and get going.

The reason we have wakes and funerals and memorial services and in my tradition, a shiva or proscribed period of mourning, is to let the living know that they have our support, feeble though it may be when compared to what the mourners are undergoing.

Support from friends and relatives is never enough but it is better than having no support at all.

So by “being there” for your friend, you are doing more than you realize.

I hate to get mushy, it is out of character for me, but there is a song from Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein called “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. It’s overly sentimental but sometimes the words ring true.


Bobbydavid's avatar

Losing a child is a loss you will NEVER overcome.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I have experienced such a loss.

In answer to your question I think this quote sums up my feelings:
I just don’t know how to not to try.

Perfect. You are trying and that is what matters. But don’t try at all expenses. Only try in a gentle loving way. Support means walking with someone not changing who they are. You must accept how they choose to grieve and gently remind them that you are there for them whatever it is they choose to do. Little notes to say something are great for that. Just remember grief takes a long time. So don’t abandon your friend in a month or two.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

The loss of my mother-in-law was something I will never overcome. There are so many great things about that lady that it would take days to list them all here. The best thing I can say is this: If you have someone in your life like that, LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THEM. Sometimes, you don’t get the chance, and don’t regret never having said you love that person. It will haunt you for the rest of your life.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Here’s a great poem about grief and healing. Perhaps it will end up in a card to your friend. :)

Twelve Freedoms of Healing In Grief

You have the freedom to realize your grief is unique.

You have the freedom to talk about your grief.

You have the freedom to expect to feel a multitude of emotions.

You have the freedom to allow for numbness.

You have the freedom to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.

You have the freedom to experience grief attacks or memory embraces.

You have the freedom to develop a support system.

You have the freedom to make use of ritual.

You have the freedom to embrace your spirituality.

You have the freedom to allow a search for meaning.

You have the freedom to treasure your memories.

You have the freedom to move toward your grief and heal.

By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D

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