Dealing with Death--How to Help?

United States
March 19, 2007 11:30pm CST
Six months ago, one of my really good friends was fighting with her husband. He took off walking, so mad that he wasn't even wearing a shirt or shoes. She called his cell phone and they had said some really nasty things to each other. That was the last time she ever spoke to him. He didn't come home that night. He was found the next night on the side of the highway. He had been hit by a truck and killed by a drunk driver. She has had trouble with this ever since. She talks to me about it but I really don't know what to say to her. She is always asking me if I think he is going to Heaven, to which I say yes. If he still remembers her and their three kids and I tell her yes. It seems like though no matter what I say it doesn't help. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do to help my friend? Is there ANYTHING that will ease her pain? I love her and hate to see her hurting so much, everyday!
11 people like this
21 responses
@mamasan34 (6521)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I am so sorry for your loss and that of your friend. It is a terrible thing to go through. She is feeling overwhelming guilt. It is a lesson to learn to not take every moment for granted because you don't know what will happen. You might want to investigate local grief support groups and suggest that you both go together. It helps when she sees that she is not alone. It is good that she is talking to you. I know it is not the easiest situation but you are such a good friend for being with her through this and that is important for her.
3 people like this
@lilaclady (28235)
• Australia
20 Mar 07
This must be a very hard thing to do, I don't think anything that anyone will say can make her feel better, other than maybe opening her mind to believing he is still around her spiritually, the fact that they parted on uneasy terms would be a problem for that I guess you could only try to convince her he has gone to a very forgiving place..., I believe in all of this...goodluck to you and I hope your friend comes to terms with things...
@ucl800 (860)
• Greece
20 Mar 07
I think that the first thing that you should say to her is that it is not her fault. She blamme herself about what happened to her husband and she thinks she is guilt which is not true. When two people fight they have the same responsibility and how they deal with that fight is theire own affaire. It was a fight and it doesn't mean that she didn't love her husband she didn't want something to happened to him. So, she will go to Heaven. Now, she must try to move on with her life and take care of her kids. The kids are also very sad about their father and it is better for them to know that her mother is good (psycologically) and she can help them and be with them when they need her. I lost my father too, when I was very young and I am now a normal girl because of my mother and her support. I hope your friend will be better soon
@candygurl24 (1880)
• Canada
20 Mar 07
That is a very sad story, but I think that she will live with the fact of those last words said to him for the rest of her life. When she can forgive herself for saying those things she may start to heal a bit. The pain will never truly go away, but she can start to move forward. I wish your friend all the best for her future...please tell her that she isn't alone at all...that people all over the world have had or are going through the exact same experience.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
Thank you for your kind post candygurl. I appreciate the advice, I will tell her she is not alone.
@lpetges (3036)
• United States
20 Mar 07
this is exactly why after 26 years of marriage, that the one thing i remeber the most from the priest that married us said "never ever go to bed mad", because you never know what the next day will bring. if we do argue, its never long, and NEVER once have i been called a foul name. nor have i called him one. its called respect. and if you don't have it to start with-you never will. I feel so bad for your friend, and can't imagine how she feels. we should all treat one another like there will be no tomorrow, and everyone would be niceer to eachother!
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
I am the same way. I try not to say things that I know will hurt my husband, unfortantly he doesn't do the same.
• India
20 Mar 07
That is very hard and tell your friend that you are there and that you will be with her forever.Ask her kids to talk to her some consoling words.Do not leave her alone,engage her with some thoughts so that she will not think of what had happened to her..
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
Thank you for your post. I do tell her that I am there for her. The idea about the kids talking to her would work if they were older, they are only 7, 3, and 1 year old.
1 person likes this
• Grand Junction, Colorado
20 Mar 07
One thing that I have always heard and do believe is that so long as a person has a good friend to confide in they will heal. It's not about getting answers it's just talking and getting it off of ones chest so to speak. I have gone through some pretty emotional things and at the time didn't have health care to go to counseling but with the help of a few close friends just letting me talk it out with them I was able to heal and move past it. While I have never lost a spouse I have lost people equally close to me. The best advise that I can give next counseling which isn't an option as you say is to be their for your friend. Which it sounds like you are. Usually when we are going through those things we truly aren't seeking answers from the other just someone to pour our hearts out to and know that we can confide in someone with no judgments being passed. I think that it's always harder to when some one passes when the last words were said in anger. We have guilt feelings, did they know I loved them, did they love me. Why did they say the things they said, why did I say the things that I said. Those things are hard to get out of our head. What if the fight hadn't happened and then he wouldn't have left and would still be here. All those things I'm sure go through her head even if she doesn't voice them out loud. Again just be their for her and in time she will heal. You sound like you have already been telling her good things. I wish you and your friend the best. God Bless! :)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I do try to be there as much as possible! I do know that just listening helps too. I just thought maybe someone on mylot might have some words that might be comforting to her. Thanks for you kind words beaniefanatic.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 07
I'm guessing she has some guilt as the last words she had with him were in anger. Try to remember some of the good things you knew about them, or some especially happy moments, and bring those up in a discussion. Like "Do you remember that picnic we all went on", or "Remember that restaurant you two liked?" Something like that. Focus on the positive parts of their marriage. The first year of grieving is the most difficult. Special days come and go, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., each one a reminder of her loss. Try to be with her, at least in spirit, on those difficult days. Include her in some of your moments. Take her to a movie or to lunch from time to time. Sounds like you are a really good friend. She will come to appreciate the time you have spent with her as her grief fades.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
She does have some guilt but mostly she just misses her husband. I would like for her to get professional help but she is living off social security and welfare will not give her a medical card to seek help. I how hard it is to lose someone close to you and that it fades with time. It doesn't seem to be getting any better at all for her though. I do try to spend as much time with her as I can, I have other commitments though (school, my husband). I did remember to be there for their wedding anniversay, Christmas, the kids birhtdays and of course her birthday.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 07
Unfortunately I believe that her feeling this way will never end. I know it sounds cold hearted but it's not meant to sound that way. I do believe in time, she may learn to deal with it a little better. I hope she has even begun to have some better days now. Truth is, I couldn't imagaine being in her shoes. If I were,I would think the best thing you could do for me would be just listen. Be there as it seems you have been already. I don't believe that time heals all pain. Time heals open wounds, and sometimes it doesn't even do that well. I say this to say: Continue to be a friend and listen to her pain. Help her find things to do to occupy her time. I will warn you unless you know already. This will be hard because she will imagine her husband being with her doing these fun things. Therefore, you've got to find mind occupying time. Exciting things to do. Things that leave no room for thinking. I saw someone ask you about counseling. Why don't you call a local church, explain the situation to the Priest or Pastor. Ask them to meet with you and your friend together. It might seem awkward if you guys aren't church goers, but it is free counseling and it's pretty much the only counseling I believe could help in the situation. Sometimes whether you are spiritual or not spiritual counseling can still be successful in a crisis. God Bless and Good luck to your friend.
• United States
20 Mar 07
Maybe if you get her to talk to him then she might be able to find some peace. I feel for her and for you. I never try to leave things like that with my hubby for fear of that exact same thing happening. Just tell her to talk to him and tell him all the things that's bothering her and how she feels. You never know she might hear back from him in some way.
2 people like this
@w1z111 (985)
• United States
20 Mar 07
Condolences to all involved here. Not a very pretty situation, indeed. Your friend is very likely blaming herself for her husband's passing, even though it wasn't her fault that he ran off with no shirt or shoes and wandered along the highway. Yes, they may have separated under 'less-than-optimum' terms, and I'm sure she wishes she could "undo" what's been done, but none of that matters now, except to have your friend somehow get out from under the guilt she's carrying. If your friend cannot afford professional medical counselling, perhaps there is a faith-based connection she could consult with? What about a priest, pastor or other church official? Please extend best wishes to your friend, and the same goes for you, as well! God bless all!
2 people like this
@winterose (39897)
• Canada
20 Mar 07
it will take time for her to heal, no words can take her pain away, but you are helping her to get through it, keep doing what you are doing. If she can see a grief counsellor, therapist, psychologist, or join a group for the survivors of loved ones who have passed away it may help her tremendously
2 people like this
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
20 Mar 07
Your friend is dealing with a boat load of guilt, and I would recommend professional counseling. this is far to big for you to help. I would also recommend that she attend a grief counseling group, she will not feel so alone. I know that the final words were bitter and angry, but unfortunately that is life we get angry and we yell scream and vent. What she did was very normal. it is only the fact that her husband was hit by a truck that is the problem. please help her get help for herself.
• United States
20 Mar 07
Are you in the US? If so, the local prosecutor should have access to a crime victim's advocate who can help your friend out. Since her husband was killed by someone committing a crime, there are programs to help her get counseling and they will be paid for through the court. This is really important for her kids as well (especially the 7 year old). Kids deal with things in ways that we don't even understand and her kids need to counseling to deal with the loss of their father...and so that they don't blame her, especially if they knew about the fight. I know it's difficult for your friend, but remind her that her kids need her to be strong. Strangely, that helps a lot of mothers when nothing else does...we can be upset privately, but we take care of our kids. Best wishes and prayers for her and for you as her support system.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
Oh thank you so much! I didn't know about this crime victim's advocate... I will tell her about what you have told me. I agree that her daughter needs to see someone as well.
• United States
22 Mar 07
I hope it can help...nobody deserves to go through something like that and she and her kids need a good friend like you!
@weemam (13377)
21 Mar 07
i think what you are doing is right , just being there for her , I believe that when we die we can See the people we leave behind and although we cannot communicate we know what they are feeling , He will know she loves him and he will know she didn't mean what she said , we all say things when we are angry that we regret later , this is only human xx
• United States
22 Mar 07
I believe (and I have told her) that he is looking down on her and the kids. I think that he is proud of her for holding up as well as she can. Her house may not be spotless, but she gets up every day and takes care of her kids and that is what is important.
@MsJessi (423)
• United States
20 Mar 07
Oh my goodness! What a horrible thing to happen. That's why whenever my husband and I have an arguement, I do NOT allow him to leave the house. No matter what. As for what you can tell her, tell her this: He has gone home. And even tho he left during an arguement, he is at a place now where he understands what has happened and is no longer angry with her. His love for her will always be there with her and as long as she believes this, she will know it. She does not need to feel guilty for what happened, nor does she need to worry about how he is or where he is, she will see him again when it's her time to go home. If anything, she can learn from this: Never walk away from someone you care about while you're angry, no matter what. Take what has happened and use to apply better feelings and emotions towards the future. My heart goes out to her. Give her a big hug for me!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 07
I will give her a hug for you MsJessi. Thank you for your kind post. I have told her all of the above things, maybe if I keep telling her she will believe it someday.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
20 Mar 07
This is so sad princeworthy! I could only imagine the guilt your friend deals with everyday. I honestly don't know how I'd function if this was me and my hubby. I guess all you can do is be there for her. Let her know that it's okay to feel guilt, but that deep down she knows her husband knows she loves him. Things happen for a reason, and although I'm sure your friend doesn't feel this way now, her husband is in a better place. I'm so sorry to hear this, I'm gonna kiss my hubby goodnight twice tonight.
• United States
20 Mar 07
Thank you for your post soccermom. As soon as I heard the news (it was 10:30 at night) I ran to the bedroom and held my husband close all night. I continued to do this for quite awhile afterwards.
• India
20 Mar 07
One solution for your friend to get out of this is to marry again. Otherwise she can do something which she likes, something like doing some job or join some clubs which keeps her busy and away from thinking about the past.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 07
She tells me she will never marry again. Which is sad because she is only 25 years old.
• United States
20 Mar 07
the only thing that can help her is TIME.Time heals itself.I lost my really close cousin in '99 and i still think about it and cry sometimes cuz i miss him.Though the pain isnt as bad...its still there.Just keep being there for her and let time heal her.
1 person likes this
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
20 Mar 07
I think a lot of what she's feeling is down to guilt and regret at the way things ended. It must be very hard to deal with as she probably feels that she can't make things right. I myself believe that our loved ones watch over us once they're gone so maybe the next time she asks just tell her that you're sure he's up there in heaven keeping an eye on them all, and that they will all see him again one day. And apart from that just be there for her and let her get everything off her chest so that she doesn't bottle her feelings up and end up the worse off for it.
1 person likes this