One of my best friends just died.

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123entropy
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16 Nov 2014, 2:00 am

It has been a few weeks now, which is why I posted one post on here and then disappeared. I seriously couldn't handle life when I found out... my arms and legs got pins and needles and I could barely breathe. He was 27 years old and dropped dead of a heart attack. An undiagnosed enlarged heart.

This was a friend who lives across the country, but I travel often for work, and stayed at his apartment once or twice a month for a few days. He was an ICU nurse... a punk rock ICU nurse with an awesome afro and the warmest smile. We had an intimate friendship for the past year or so, and I was just sleeping in his bed about a week and a half before it happened. This is surreal. I honestly don't even know how to begin to process this. It's almost impossible for me to comprehend, let alone accept. He gave the best foot massages. He thought I was adorable just the way I am. We laughed at the same movies. He answered my medical questions when I'd freak out about something dumb. I was able to make eye contact with him.

But another thing is that my routine is completely messed up. His place was my home away from home. That's where I stay and where I'm comfortable. My toothbrush was the one leaning to the left. My best friend is his roommate, and he wouldn't even let me inside the apartment. He said that it isn't the same there anymore and he wanted me to remember it the way it was. Not seeing it is making it harder, I think... but I can't deal with major change. I can't look inside open caskets because that image of a dead body will overwrite all of the happy images I have. I didn't look, but I almost wish I did when they closed it. They played the Dropkick Murphys version of Amazing Grace and everyone gave him a standing ovation. I nearly fell to my knees, it was so hard to handle. I don't even know what to do.

My psychologist (who specializers in Asperger's) warned me about the routine thing being a concern. He's pretty great as far as psychologists go, but won't really communicate with me between sessions. I have some good friends who have been there for me, because I can't stand to be alone for a minute right now. But then some friends have had little to no empathy at all, and have changed the subject when I try to talk about it, or just say something like "sorry that happened" and ignore me when I'm obviously reaching out. This is so awful and I can barely get enough sleep to function. At first he was still alive in my dreams, so it was a good escape... I could see him again if I slept. But now even that has changed.

What helps? I am not sure how I'm processing this differently than NTs? I know it's different, but I'm not sure how. What can I do to get through this without forgetting about him? I don't want to just "move on", pretending like he isn't important. That idea bothers me a lot, even though it would probably help to stay distracted. I wish I could call him up to ask him for advice on how to dead with his own death. But I can't.



timtowdi
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16 Nov 2014, 4:03 am

Tell about him. Tell how you met and became friends.



123entropy
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16 Nov 2014, 10:06 am

Timtowdi: As I mentioned, he was my best friend/business partner's roommate, so I was over his place all the time, for years. At some point my best friend got a girlfriend and would stay at her house, so I'd come back to the apartment after working and he would be on the couch watching movies. Often comedies. He worked night shift at the hospital, so that is how he liked to unwind after waking up, on his day off. So I'd join him and we would have a glass of wine and laugh together. Then one day he asked me out on a date. We went out for BBQ and then he took me on a motorcycle ride to a very pretty "lookout point" and kissed me there. We talked for hours. Then we went back to the place and watched a movie and ate chocolate. That was the first night I didn't sleep alone over there. I wouldn't normally be so quick with that sort of thing, but we had been friends for so long and I was already very comfortable. His motorcycle was parked inside the church at his funeral... That was really painful.



Beau
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16 Nov 2014, 2:38 pm

123entropy wrote:
They played the Dropkick Murphys version of Amazing Grace and everyone gave him a standing ovation.


Sounds like he was a great friend who made a positive impact on your life.

123entropy wrote:
But then some friends have had little to no empathy at all, and have changed the subject when I try to talk about it, or just say something like "sorry that happened" and ignore me when I'm obviously reaching out.


It's possible that they don't know how to comfort you so they resort to changing the subject or maybe they don't want you to dwell on it/become sadder, so they attempt to cheer you up by changing the subject.

123entropy wrote:
This is so awful and I can barely get enough sleep to function. At first he was still alive in my dreams, so it was a good escape... I could see him again if I slept. But now even that has changed. What helps? I am not sure how I'm processing this differently than NTs? I know it's different, but I'm not sure how. What can I do to get through this without forgetting about him? I don't want to just "move on", pretending like he isn't important.


I understand what you're saying. My grandpa passed away a few months ago, and whenever I woke up from a dream where he was in it, I felt better...like a sort of comfort knowing that I could still see him and interact with him. Moving on doesn't mean that you're forgetting about him nor does it mean that he becomes less important in your life. I don't really know how to define it because frankly, it's such a vague term. Personally, I find journaling helpful; if you like expressing your thoughts on paper, then spend some time each day/week to write down your feelings or memories you have of your friend. I also like to look at past photos and videos, and remember what was happening in each snapshot; I don't know if this actually hinders "moving on", but it's something that brings me comfort and helps me laugh sometimes. Have you thought about seeing a grief counselor? I haven't seen one, but I imagine that the person would be able to teach you some skills to help you cope with this.

Hope you get better.



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17 Nov 2014, 7:12 am

Sorry to hear. That is such an unexpected thing to happen to a young person. I don't know of any real solution. Some times you are just deeply injured, and nothing but time will slowly make it fade. Anything you can do, to introduce new things in your life, may help fill the voids faster.



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18 Nov 2014, 7:29 am

I honestly wish i could help but i dont even know how i'd take it. If my Goodfreind or lady past..I think about it every now and then and feel numb. But thats a horrible thing to deal with im so so sorry and yes new experience heal wounds. I really hope you come to terms with this and come out of this on a positive note. :(



123entropy
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19 Nov 2014, 7:14 pm

Thank you, Beau, Toy_Soldier and Justinw728. I'm taking it day by day. Writing about it helps a bit, as does any amount of caring from others, even strangers. Thank you.

I should probably do more writing. Maybe write him letters. I have no idea. I'm still in denial. Saw my therapist today, which was helpful, but obviously doesn't make the pain any less. I just can't believe he's actually gone. I'd do just about anything to be able to hit rewind.



slave
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19 Nov 2014, 8:59 pm

123entropy wrote:
Thank you, Beau, Toy_Soldier and Justinw728. I'm taking it day by day. Writing about it helps a bit, as does any amount of caring from others, even strangers. Thank you.

I should probably do more writing. Maybe write him letters. I have no idea. I'm still in denial. Saw my therapist today, which was helpful, but obviously doesn't make the pain any less. I just can't believe he's actually gone. I'd do just about anything to be able to hit rewind.


My condolences for your personal loss. :(

Some people find speaking to a photo of their loved one is helpful. To express the feelings you have inside.

Do you know the stages of grief?

They are well-researched in the literature. If you contemplate them, it will help you to understand your own internal process.

http://grief.com/the-five-stages/

I have experienced loss.

It is very hard.

You will make it though. :) :) :) :)

Be well.


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20 Nov 2014, 11:55 am

I'm so sorry to hear your best friend died so unexpected. :( I'm sending positive thoughts towards you to help you get through it. Also here's a cute vid to maybe help brighten your day a little bit. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu7D0KKmZGM[/youtube]



123entropy
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23 Nov 2014, 5:33 pm

2cat007: That video did make me smile. Thank you!

slave: I do know the stages of grief, but since you bounce around, it just feels like it's permanent. :-/

Right now I'm on a flight back to Philly, where I would normally be seeing him. These flights are crazy hard to get through, and I know that everything in that city reminds me of him. I found a long voicemail he left me and I have been listening to it. Hearing his voice is sad, but also feels warm. I can't believe this really happened.



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24 Nov 2014, 1:40 am

I am so sorry for your loss. :(

I lost a very good friend last January to complications from leukemia. For most of this year, I just couldn't accept it--I kept thinking I saw him around town, kept imagining that somehow it was all a mistake, he's not really gone.

Finally (on Halloween, fittingly), I decided that it was time to say a proper goodbye. I imagined what I'd say to him, had a snack he always liked (Reese's Puffs and Dr Pepper), watched a FUTURAMA episode (a show we both loved) and visualized him "moving on." It was emotional, and I cried a lot, but it needed to happen.

It took nearly a year for me to be able to do that. It may take some time for you to fully accept this.

Remember the good times, even if they hurt, because that is what he'd want. You mentioned that long voicemail from him...I kept the texts he sent me the last few months of his life. I can read those, and remember, and look at his photos.

Take care. If you need to talk, PM me.


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24 Nov 2014, 3:22 am

conundrum wrote:
I am so sorry for your loss. :(

I lost a very good friend last January to complications from leukemia. For most of this year, I just couldn't accept it--I kept thinking I saw him around town, kept imagining that somehow it was all a mistake, he's not really gone.

Finally (on Halloween, fittingly), I decided that it was time to say a proper goodbye. I imagined what I'd say to him, had a snack he always liked (Reese's Puffs and Dr Pepper), watched a FUTURAMA episode (a show we both loved) and visualized him "moving on." It was emotional, and I cried a lot, but it needed to happen.

It took nearly a year for me to be able to do that. It may take some time for you to fully accept this.

Remember the good times, even if they hurt, because that is what he'd want. You mentioned that long voicemail from him...I kept the texts he sent me the last few months of his life. I can read those, and remember, and look at his photos.

Take care. If you need to talk, PM me.


The Tao Te Ching has a great deal of wisdom for those facing loss and questions about existence, mortality and so on.
It has help me.


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.


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24 Nov 2014, 2:39 pm

Sorry to hear that. My deepest sympathies.


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25 Nov 2014, 2:21 am

It's only a few weeks since your dear friend died. It's very recent. You must grieve in your own way, and discover what that way is. You are discovering it. One day you will notice that the pain went away just for a little while. After a time, it comes and goes in unpredictable cycles, instead of being there all the time. It is just as intense at this stage; and it can spring at you unexpectedly, knocking you off balance. This is all par for the course of grief. Don't hang out with people who don't understand - they may make you feel much worse. False condolences and trite comments are awful, as is the sudden absence of people who you thought would be there for you. Both happen, unfortunately. Grief is a great teacher, even though it is a teacher we never want to encounter. Ultimately its lessons seem to make us kinder, wiser, more aware of the terrible fragility of life, and less likely to take things for granted.

But at this early stage, it is just pain. And more pain. You cry so much that you wonder how your body can have any fluid left in it. You wake up and remember what has happened and the day fills up with sadness then and there. All I can say is that, sooner or later, you learn how to live with this in ways that don't disable you. There isn't closure - the loss will always be there - but you find a new kind of peace with the loss. It's your last link with the one you loved so much, and so it is treasured. Move through your grief in your own time, there are no time limits nor shoulds. And be kind to yourself as best you can be, as you would be to any person in intense suffering.



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25 Nov 2014, 9:56 pm

B19 is right. How deep and very well written, the voice of one who truly understands. This is the wisdom that occurs only when terrible pain and a teachable mind come together and form compassion. Thank you for writing these words.


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.