The following piece was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad, Kirk L. The topic is based on how our friends respond to us after our losses, how our circle of friends change and our new perspective on our own demise. I have spoken to many grieving parents and almost to a dad, most no longer fear death. Feel free to weigh in on this topic.
Friendships and Forever
I heard today that a friend of mine’s father in-law passed away and that got me thinking about loss and friendships. It would seem to me that as grieving parents we have a perspective on loss that thankfully few can comprehend. When I look back at life before Ash died we were in contact with so many more people than we are now. I know there have been quite a few articles written about this subject but here is my take on the issue.
The thought of death scares the living daylights out of our (grieving parents) friends. It’s not the fact that our child has died but rather the fact that they have to face their own mortality or the mortality of one of their loved ones. Life is as we know it can change in an instant. We are a reminder to everyone we know that they will in fact die. I used to think that some of our friends shied away from us since the accident not because they don’t know what to say but rather we are the closest thing to the grim reaper that they have seen. We are reminders that loss can happen and will happen.
Our friend’s father in-law was 60 years old, 8 years older than myself. I sent a message to our friend to give our condolences and strangely he replied “I’ve been thinking a lot about you guys”. I was expecting a “Thank You” or some other cordial response. But for a moment I felt like he gets it!
We had our circle of friends that had kids Ash’s age, however, few of these people have remained close to us after the loss of Ash. Some of Ashlyn’s friends and some of our friends that were touched by her are still in our lives. The circle has changed somewhat now with some of our closest friends being parents of loss. The bond is undeniable and if you have ever been with some of these people, they are the most caring and understand that you will ever know. They have a completely different perspective on life.
I bounced my thoughts on this subject off of some of my old co-workers and they seemed terrified that I would think that we remind them of their impending demise, but some agreed. Perhaps I’m off base thinking this but it’s a thought that I wanted to share. Who knows maybe further down the grief road my opinion on this subject will change.
We know what is waiting for us, we just don’t know when. Before Ash died I was almost obsessed with doing everything I could to make sure I would be there for my daughter. I’ve made peace with the fact that I will not live forever. My time here is finite and that’s fine with me. I want to see my daughter again and really don’t care to live to be 90+ years old.