Dear Annie: My best friend died and I really miss her. I used to spend a lot of time around her house and her mum and dad were like a second mum and dad to me. I’ve been to see them twice since her funeral, but I don’t feel welcome anymore. Are they upset with me? – LB
Annie says: It must be very painful that you don’t feel welcome at your friend’s home anymore. Until you ask them, there’s no way of knowing for sure what the reason for their sudden unfriendliness is. So you could always start there.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking them face to face, you could write them a letter, and gently tell them you are finding it uncomfortable being there and ask if they are finding it difficult for any reason.
If I were to make a guess as to why this might be happening I would suggest that it is quite likely they are finding it challenging spending time with you because you probably represent a painful reminder of the loss of their daughter. You are a walking, talking reminder of what they don’t have anymore.
I know this sounds tough, and it may be difficult to hear, but please bear in mind it’s not likely to be a conscious thought in your friend’s parents’ minds, and it’s nothing to do with you or anything you have done, it is simply a natural response to the devastating loss they are experiencing.
If you have a question for Annie to answer in this column, you can write to her at DearAnnie@funeralguide.com
Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.
She is the author of bestselling self-help book Speaking of Death (What the Bereaved Really Need), inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.