Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our children's best friends

(First let me say that I previewed this blog and for some reason beyond my computer skills it is cramming it all together-no breaks for paragraphs or anything and I can't fix it) I am getting ready to speak at The Compassionate Friend's Regional Conference. I have been getting my thoughts organized for the event and discovered that there are two ways that we the bereaved parents deal with our children's friends/best friends- 1. We can no longer have them around us. It reminds us too much of our children not being present with us. Having DJ's friends around me and my husband is just too painful. When I have seen them skateboarding or riding their bikes I think that DJ should be there. When I watch them grow into the tall men that they now are I wish so much that I could see how tall DJ was going to be. When I hear they are dating, driving, having other milestones it just reminds me so much more that DJ is unable to have those things here on earth. It also breaks my heart though that I am no longer friends with them myself. I loved DJ's friends and I take in all my kids friends as my own. When DJ died the friendships of those children also died with him. I did of course lose DJ but I also lost those children as well. I had planned to see them married, see them pass those milestones and enjoy them too. So much died with our children. Many people I have interviewed just cannot go to the weddings of the children's friends. People expect them to be happy for the couple but most bereaced parents end up crying because they know they will not have that opportunity with their own child. It is unfair for others to expect us to be happy sometimes. I have interviewed families that have such a hard time hearing that the other children now have "new" best friends. We almost feel betrayed somehow that our child is forgotten. They have gone on with life without their best friend, they have moved onto new friends and that is so hard to deal with. We know in reality that these kids will never forget our children but from the outside it feels like they have abandoned their memories. 2. Parent's love to have their children's friends around. They enjoy seeing their milestones and watching them move forward. No one has said it to me but I wonder if the parents get to see their children live vicariously through their friends. This is not something anyone would want to admit and I am absolutely not judging here. I wish I could see DJ's friends and watch them grow but I can't. All this said, the biggest realization is that everyone grieves differently and truly no way is wrong as long as you aren't harming yourself or others. Seeing the friends, not seeing the friends that is your choice and neither one is wrong. My book is available at a local bookstore now-Parables if you are in the Omaha area. You can order it online at


  1. Over the past 6 months, since Caleb left us, Trish and I have found ourselves somewhere in between. We love seeing Caleb's friends at church and around town, and it means so much when they take time to talk with us. In some ways, we feel closer to them than ever before, like we have a new bond through the shared experience of loss. We haven't invited them into our home, though...mostly because we think it would be awkward for them. We are touched when they talk about missing Caleb, but we also realize they need to move on with their young lives, and we want them to...but it also hurts a bit, seeing them move on to new stages of life, passing new milestones, and experiencing new accomplishments that we'll never celebrate with Caleb. So, it's a paradox for us, not an "either/or."

  2. My husband and I were blessed to be surrounded by our son's friends and still are from time to time. But they are growing up and their lives are changing. I love to keep up with them still.It is very hard to not know how tall my son will get and how many kids he will have and what kind of father he would of been. Which I think a good one. That truly grieves my heart and I can hardly mention that. So the fact that I just did says something. I do have a hard time with baby showers and weddings. I should be nothing but happy for our friends and family, but it is distressing to me. We are putting on a baby shower for my sister in law and I feel very stressed about it. I am just trying to think of it like a fun get together to see family. I just miss my Jake so much. Thanks for writing and good luck with the talk!

  3. Thank you both for your comments--Melinda I so often think of how tall DJ would be and I can't wait for my Jake to be that tall so I can feel those kind of hugs again--i know that makes sense to you but it wouldn't to nonbereaved parents! Phillip I'm glad you get to see Caleb's friends and you are the first "Not either or" that I have talked to, I will remember that when people ask me about friends--their are so many paradox's in our lives now aren't there? God Bless you both!!! Lisa