When all your socialising & reminiscing is related to the dead, it becomes less inviting.
When the things you have in common are death-related, your relationship changes.
Mothers devastated. Sisters broken. Children damaged.
That constant feeling you have let them down, knowing you HAVE let them down, because you were helpless, useless, & ultimately irrelevant when it mattered. It bites bad.
I cannot even meet one pal's sister, she cries every time she sees me. I'm a reminder she doesn't need.
We used to be very close, it's a constant source of disappointment.
Things you *think* you noticed a fortnight before, irrelevant then, but eating you now.
Deciding to be one place that night, instead of another.
Feeling you might have changed the outcome. As if your presence changes *anything*.
Constant analysing of every little concern ever raised.
Hoping to figure what caused, sparked it, where there could possibly be some revenge, solace, understanding, gawd knows what
Gawd forbid you ever have to be the one finding the body. I can assure you, there's nothing but demons in your immediate future, when you take the weight of your lifelong pal off a rope.
Every time we thought that was it, another one pinged.
We used to demand promises from one another, like it made an iota of difference. It doesn't.
I told him to come join us & his answer was "Feck that, that's life threatening", as if by our very presence we caused the event that brought us together.
But that IS how you feel.
I'd love to tell you it goes away, but it doesn't.
I'd love to tell you that you feel no less unworthy, no less of a let-down to those who needed you.
In your head, this is where you will go. No point in me lying to you.
Constant little moments, reminders, sometimes it just sneaks up on you.
Don't banish memories, that's a mistake.
Don't let the demons take your good memories, you'll need those.
We used to have a drink together on anniversaries, then we ended up with too many, began to feel a bit weird.
They are merely self-sympathy-fests of misery & serve only to remark on loss. Stop them.
We've no filters, so pretty much say anything we like to one another.
Problem with that, when alcohol is introduced, someone will screw up & make the rest miserable.
There's no getting past it, it cannot be squared away.
It's not like an accident, you have something to point to.
Even a murder, you have someone to specifically blame.
It's no worse, it's no less, it's just different.
Reach out, get your friends & family to learn how to reach out.
Have a no strings route to talk things through.
If you fail to give these options & something happens, you WILL regret it.
It will eat you up.
Let them know they have a safe route to discuss absolutely anything with you, no strings, no repercussions.
Same works for siblings/pals.
Give them a safe word, one you both know means you need to listen.
I am telling you now, drop that nonsense.
It IS selfish & it MUST be portrayed as such.
That desire not to hurt family has kept many a rope from being knotted.
Relationships with family of the dead are more troubling, but they settle into one of 2 things quite quickly.
You either avoid each other, or become a little closer & share memories when together.
Nowt wrong with feeling down, feeling suicidal, even letting the darkness in.
The problem arises when you see it as YOUR problem alone, when you feel it cannot be shared, cannot be fixed.
Open those doors wide.
Let those you are a little concerned with talk, or not.
Let them drive the pace at which they unload. Never push, but never ignore.
Communication is KEY. Or peace of mind is impossible.