It wasn’t the response you expected when you told someone your friend died.
You expected sympathy.
You expected the importance of your friendship to be respected.
You expected understanding.
A shrug and “well, it’s not like they’re family” wasn’t it.
You were shocked that they didn’t “get it”.
Welcome to Friend Grief. This blog will raise awareness of a powerful experience in all of our lives: the death of a friend. Millions of people each year suffer the pain of a friend’s death, and many of them suffer more because those around them don’t respect their grief.
I was surprised to find that there’s a name for it: “disenfranchised grief”. The term was coined by Dr. Kenneth Doka at the College of New Rochelle to identify grief that is not “openly acknowledged, socially validated or publicly observed.”
Most corporate bereavement policies don’t accommodate someone whose best friend has died. Friends have no rights – legal or otherwise – to visit a dying friend, to participate in their funeral service, to formally memorialize them. Even bereavement groups for “loved ones” may not appear welcoming to someone who has lost a friend.