Friday, June 14, 2013

Friend Grief Has Come A Long Way

In January, 2011, I was preparing to go to my first writer’s conference, where I would be pitching agents for the first time. Part of my research was something that I used to impress upon people – not just agents – the need for a discussion about grieving a friend.

So I Googled “grieving the death of a friend”. I expected to find some references to a mostly academic book on the subject. But as I scrolled through the top 100 listings, I was startled:

More than half were for people who hadn’t lost a friend, but wanted to help a friend who was grieving.

            There were more listings for people grieving the death of a pet than a human friend.

To me, it pointed out the need for a place for people who are grieving the death of a friend.

To others, my statistics were hard to believe. I guess people want to believe that they can find what they want – and a lot of it – on the internet (let’s not even get into whether the information is timely or accurate). But in this case, there just wasn’t much out there.

A month later, I started this blog. Like many who write blogs, there are times when I feel like I’m talking to myself. But increasingly, I know that’s not the case. Within a year of that first pitch, the Google search results had shifted. Two years later, they were dramatically different.

That’s entirely the result of the people who read this blog and feel they’ve found a place where like-minded people are gathering.

They’re lost a friend – or two or ten or more – and are surprised and hurt by the indifference of those around them. Maybe they were shut out by their friend’s family, maybe they were stunned to find out that they couldn’t just ‘get over it’.

Others may have been slow to realize the impact of that friendship and its end, unable or unwilling to voice the pain of its loss. An increasing number of people see that death as a catalyst for making major life changes.

Right now, I’m working on the next two books in the Friend Grief series: one on the military, one on 9/11. They’re not easy to research or write. I’ve planned two more books in the series (on grieving friends in the workplace, and on people who made changes in their lives after the death of a friend), but I’ve had a strong recommendation for an additional book: on losing friends to suicide. The jury’s still out on that. If I get enough feedback to prove that this is important, I’ll give it a shot.

This blog, as the rest of my writing, is evolving. Suggestions are ALWAYS welcome: for the blog, for the book series, for other books or articles. There are many ways to reach me (see Contact page) and I really do appreciate hearing from you.

Who knows? The story of you and your friend may wind up here someday.





kathleen pooler said...

Viki, It really is amazing how much you have evolved and grown in these past two years. Clearly, you have struck o chord, an important one. It has been wonderful sharing in your journey. Congratulations and , in the words of Dr Seuss "Oh, the places you'll go." Enjoy the ride!

Friend Grief said...

Thanks, Kathy! I'm fond of telling people "you didn't always know what you know". I had to remind myself of that, too.

k said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! You can find my blog at Thanks!

Loren Mathis

Friend Grief said...

Welcome, Loren!

Unknown said...

Re people saying your topic is "depressing." I know the feeling; that is the most common reaction to revealing my career as a hospice chaplain!

Just wanted to say, that even sibling grief is often disenfranchised, so friend grief is all the more likely to also be.

Sincerely, Karen B. Kaplan