Losing a friend is a very painful experience.
What you might feel after your friend dies
Grief and sadness
The death of a close friend is just as painful as that of a close relative. But others around you might not always recognise this.
Sometimes people are taken by surprise by how deeply affected they are when a more distant friend dies. But it’s normal to be shocked and hurt after hearing the news, even if you hadn’t seen your friend for a while or if you’d lost contact.
Loss of connection
Friends can be a strong source of support, practical or emotional. They might have been someone you relied on to relax or have a laugh with. Losing that connection can hurt very much.
It can be very painful when someone you shared precious memories with has gone. If you were friends for a long time, perhaps since childhood, you may also feel a loss of connection with the past.
If your friend was around your age then their death may have been very frightening. Their death can remind you that you too will die one day.
Feeling your grief is not important
After a death people often rush to support the parents, partner or children of the person who died. Of course this is very important, but it does mean that friends can sometimes feel left aside and not included in important decisions around funerals and memorials.
It’s normal to feel angry after a death. Death is cruel and unfair. It’s okay to be angry that this happened to your friend.
Guilt is a common feeling after someone dies. You might feel guilty for the way you left things or for not spending enough time with them.
What helps when a friend dies
Talk to someone
Talking to other people who knew your friend can be really helpful. If you find you’re struggling to cope after a friend dies, you can also call our helpline for support – we’re here for everyone, whatever your connection to the person who died.
Find ways to remember them
Think of ways you can remember your friend, and keep them as part of your life. You could keep a few special possessions, create a memory box or special album of pictures, or share memories on social media.
If you shared a group of friends, or are close to your friend’s family, try arranging a time to come together and remember them and celebrate their life.
Journaling and writing
Writing letters to your friend can be really comforting. Letter writing helps you get off your chest anything you had left to say to the person. You could also try writing a journal to help sort out your thoughts and record memories of good times you shared.
When my friend took his own life, I experienced something which I can only describe as a very painful, really twisted depression. After months of feeling empty and lost I went to Cruse where I was provided with a safe space and supported by a volunteer to work through my loss.