by Tiffany White
Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult for everyone, but when you’ve lost a friend, understanding how to cope with the grief can be complex. Genene Nisbet, Bereavement Services Specialist at Owen Funeral Home, says friends might have problems with navigating their way through grief, because the focus is typically on the family of the loved one. “Friends can become disenfranchised grievers…sometimes you don’t realize that you have the right to grieve.” Genene, who provides individual grief counseling and support groups, says there are many things you can do to begin the healing process.
Participate in the funeral service.
“When I’ve had close friends die, we were able to get up and do a eulogy — all the friends did — and that was real meaningful to us. You can read scripture, sing, or eulogize,” she says.
Don’t suppress your grief.
“Recognize that you have the right to grieve the loss of your friend, and that it is not over in two weeks.” Be willing to grieve the loss for as long as it takes.
“If you didn’t get to participate in the funeral service in a way that helped you, you can develop your own [ritual].” You can ask your church to display a certain type of flower in your friend’s memory or find another fun way of celebrating your loved one.
Recognize the role your friend played in your life.
“You are grieving the person who died and then you are grieving the role that they played. Maybe this was the person I called when something was up with my kids or the person who kept me on track. You have to process it while you’re grieving. This helps you understand why you aren’t feeling right,” she says.
Pay attention to the emotional and physical aspects of your grief.
Genene says you might realize that you are taking your anger out on the people closest to you and wonder why you are being irritable. “A lot of times that is grief for people, which is coming out sideways so it isn’t coming out in tears, because maybe they haven’t been given permission to cry about it because it was a friend and not a family member,” she says. Some people might overeat, not eat enough, or feel tired. These physical issues, Genene says, are also symptoms of grief.
Talk to someone about your loss.
“Sometimes we just don’t take the time to sit down and talk with someone — especially if you’ve lost a close confidant. This is the person you talk to. You can talk to another friend, a spouse, a partner, a clergy person, or a grief counselor. Finding a place to take it is important. Don’t carry it all by yourself,” she says.
Sometimes I think it is disorienting and you don’t realize [the grief] is going to follow you for a while. You think that because you’ve gone back to the normalness of your life, you are supposed to be OK, but you aren’t.”Genene Nisbet
Owen Funeral Home also extends their grief support services to the community with the goal of keeping the bereaved socially engaged. Their services include: support groups for people who have either lost their spouse or child; monthly luncheons; a men’s breakfast; road trips; and other activities. “We want to serve families not just at the time of the funeral but after as well,” says Genene Nisbet, Bereavement Services Specialist at Owen Funeral Homes.
Owen Funeral Homes
5317 Dixie Highway | Louisville
9318 Taylorsville Road | Jeffersontown