All of the fun and happy memories seem like they happened yesterday.
The longer time goes on, you just keep thinking, "Oh, I'll see him again soon," or, "I'm sure we'll catch up sometime." You never imagine those opportunities will suddenly be cut off.
As we grow up, we move away from some of the people who were once familiar fixtures in our daily lives, the people who will always make up the memories from segments of our pasts. But, the impact of losing those people will never be lessened.
Receiving the news an old friend has passed will always make your heart stop, your stomach drop and your head spin. You didn't expect your last interaction to be the last one you would ever have. You didn't realize his full potential would never be fully understood or met.
When you're coping with the loss of an old friend, it's important to keep these few things in mind:
Know that it's always okay to mourn.
Don't feel guilty if you weren't best friends with him, or if you lost touch. He was still in your life at one point, and you still care. Heartbreak is a true and genuine emotion that needs to be acknowledged and accepted.
1. Everyone mourns differently.
Don't pass judgment on someone if he or she copes in a different manner.
If you are a very sensitive person, you may be more prone to intermittent breakdowns than someone who can just as easily talk about the weather the second after receiving devastating news.
It doesn't mean one person is in the right, and the other is wrong. Each person deals with grief in his or her own way.
2. Avoidance is an easy default.
When time is put between you and an old friend, it makes it easier to avoid the tragedy and the reality of the situation. Although this can act as a makeshift Band-Aid, you will need to face the facts sooner or later.
Try to acknowledge your sadness and pain head on.
3. Share your support and love with fellow mourners.
Even if it's been years since you have talked to your old friends, reach out. Condolences are always welcomed, no matter the terms of your relationships. Be there for anyone you can be.
4. Take time to laugh and cherish the happy moments.
Allow yourself to take a break from the tears to relive some of the good old times. Remember the one you lost the way in which he would want to be remembered. Share those memories with others who are mourning to help lift their spirits, as well as your own.
Losing an old friend is a reality check that those days are behind you, those memories are a world away, and the people in them have grow in their own individual, separate paths. You experience a sense of loss for your past and the person who was in it.
And it stings to know his family and best friends are experiencing an unimaginable ache.
As we continue our paths through adulthood, the grieving process will become more familiar to each of us with time. Through tragedy, we are able to realize how precious and short our lives are. We are taught to never take a single breath for granted.
Losing a loved one will never get easier, but learning to cope will get you through these hard times.