Ask Amy: I Didn’t Reach Out To My Grieving Friend Quickly Enough

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dear Amy: My childhood friend of almost 50 years recently lost a child by suicide. We usually only call each other on our birthdays and I haven’t physically seen her in almost 20 years.

I struggled most of my life with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from sexual abuse trauma when I was 17. I only really started to heal when my current doctor diagnosed me and referred me to a specialist for therapy.

Suicides always send me to a dark place, because it had been riding me for so many years. My friend did not notify me personally; she posted the news on Facebook.

I saw she was getting a lot of support and couldn’t bring myself to call her.

Months passed, and instead I wrote her a letter of apology for my lack of communication, and expressed as far as I know the sorrow I felt for her at her terrible loss.

She didn’t reach out to me. I am riddled with guilt over my reaction to his loss. I usually reach out to people who have lost loved ones in a timely manner.

She’s had a tough life, but in the last 25 years she remarried and took life by the horns and did pretty well.

However, I have just found peace because I am finally getting proper treatment. I procrastinated in reaching out because of my own selfish(?) fears of my own instability.

Self-centered: Your shame has sent you into a spiral of self-punishment. Now that you’ve dealt with your own behavior, you really should stop talking about yourself.

You have no way of knowing how this tragedy affected your friend. You should assume that she has received, read, and appreciated your thoughtful note, but this type of communication does not require a response (mourners may not always be able to respond), so don’t think the ball is in his field.

You should call your friend, even if it’s not her birthday. Don’t keep apologizing or explaining your reaction to her child’s death. Do not refer to your own trauma. Just tell her that she continues to be in your daily thoughts and ask her how she is. So listen to her with thoughtful compassion. If she doesn’t want to talk about her loss, move on to other topics you’ve traditionally discussed.

dear Amy: Recently a good old friend was staying with me as a guest for five nights at an expensive resort.

She is used to consuming drinks and snacks throughout the day.

I’m the opposite and watch what I eat closely and always politely refuse to order anything when she asks.

Last week she told me how rude it is of me to never eat anything while she’s eating, because she thinks she shouldn’t eat “alone”, and that prevents her to enjoy their food.

I was stunned, but politely assured and reminded him that I am not rude but just don’t eat between meals. (She knows it very well.)

She kept trying to get a different answer from me.

I was hurt and felt like she was treating me like one of her children or co-worker, or like her husband.

I let it end and got no further response.

Do I need to respond by saying I’m watching my weight and not eating or enjoying unhealthy donuts and the like all day or explaining a health issue?

Is it necessary to order something (only to throw it away) so that my friend does not eat alone?

I don’t want to be rude, unhelpful or reprimanded, and I don’t want to lose my friend.

upset: You don’t have to snack next to your friend to be polite. You also don’t need to ingest his bullying and scolding.

dear Amy: “no platecomplained because her dental hygienist spoke to her using what sounded like “baby talk.”

In my mid-thirties, I don’t remember spending much time with older people who DO NOT have dementia.

It has an unfortunately disproportionate role in my life, my family and my social circle.

This could also be the case for the hygienist.

Was there: I’m sorry for your own experience with elders, but you also need to get out more.

Baby talk isn’t necessary when it comes to someone with dementia (which this writer doesn’t).

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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