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A death close to home blog

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 A good friend’s adult child passed away recently. I was surprised and saddened when I heard this. This news has hit me hard and I have been feeling off all week. I am guessing that is because he was close to my age and I can imagine myself in his place. Just like me, he struggled with social anxiety, depression, and a host of other issues. I wonder how feeling different and alone might have affected his life and his early death. I know that he struggled with his mental health and those struggles had led to negative coping mechanisms that had affected his body for the worst.
 I know that I also struggle with mental health issues and that leads me to also have negative coping mechanisms in the form of overeating and under-exercising. I wonder if I might be able to change those facets and develop better eating habits and better exercising. As I’ve realized I struggle with those areas, I have recently begun focusing on these and have reached out to others to support me as well.
In addition to feeling sad and uncomfortable, I know I need to go to the funeral. I feel so uncomfortable and awkward about it but I know I need to show up. I feel so terrible, I wish I could say to my friend, “I’m so sorry; my words are a pale reflection of how I feel about the death of your son.” I wish I could find some socially appropriate way to say, “I understand that you are facing loss and sadness and this is a tough time in your life. I care deeply about you and your family.” If I could, I wouldn’t go but my friend really wants me to come, from what she intimated. I’m afraid that I’ll make a mistake, that I’ll make things worse by going. On the other hand. I also understand that it’s expected and important that I do show up since we’re friends.
I am going to need to find clothes in my closet that are appropriate for a funeral. I’m going to need to dress up and calm myself down so that I can go to the funeral without feeling too awkward. I asked my friend to come with me that day to support and show me what I need to do to be appropriate during the visitation hours. I’m so grateful to my friend for being there; I’m not sure I would feel comfortable going by myself. I know I’m doing the right thing socially but for me personally, I would choose to never go to another viewing funeral or celebration of life again.
In fact, I feel so uncomfortable with the subject that I’ve asked my family not to have a funeral when I die. I hope they honor my wishes because quite frankly I don’t want to put anybody in the position where they feel awkward and uncomfortable about going to a ceremony. However, those are just my beliefs about the subject. Currently, what I need to focus on is my relationship to my friend and how this is important to her that I’m there. I need to acknowledge my anxiety and uncertainty by practicing and trying my best to be there and to be fully present.
 I hope this blog is useful for you or at least helps you think about a subject you might not otherwise think about. Hoping and wishing the best for the reader and all future endeavors.