Friday, January 10, 2014

Being Loyal to a Dead Friend

Yesterday I was watching a little French film called Delicacy, starring one of my favorite actresses, Audrey Tautou. She plays a young woman whose world is turned upside down when her husband, Francois, is killed suddenly. She throws herself into her work, so she doesn’t have to feel.

But after several years, a most unlikely co-worker develops feelings for her. One night he winds up at her apartment, where a small party is taking place. All of the people there were friends with her husband, and they don’t respond well to this new man’s presence. “This is the first time they’ve seen me with anyone,” she explains.

Maybe you’ve been one of those friends. The spouse/partner of a deceased friend has found someone else to love. Is that too much to ask for you to be happy ?

Sometimes it is. People can be very judgmental about those who grieve. Why do they cry all the time? Why don’t they ever cry? When are they going to move on? Why are they rushing things?

It’s only natural we want the memory of our friend to live on, but sometimes we expect a lot. We expect time to stand still because we don’t want to feel like that friend is being replaced.

You can’t replace your friends. It’s only natural, especially as you grow older, that your circle of friends dwindles. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make new ones, as long as you think of them as “new” and not “replacements”.

When you look at your friend’s partner, you think of your friend. It may be that you have only known them as a couple. But now that couple is no more. And you are left wondering what to do.

You want to remain loyal to the friend who died, and in your mind, that means expecting survivors – including you – to maintain their memory.

But just as you are bound to make new friends, so their spouse/partner is likely to love again. It doesn’t erase the friendship you had before, nor does it discount their partnership.

So while it may be a shock to hear that friend’s spouse or partner has learned to love someone else, take a deep breath. No one needs to remain stuck in their grief.

Remember your friend, appreciate the time you spent together, and be happy that their love allowed others to be able to love again.

Here is Roger Ebert’s review from 2012.

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