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Being bitter or am I right?

  • 10-07-2020 7:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    Hey. Long time boards user here going anon for privacy reasons.

    I’ve an issue I can’t seem to get past. I had someone extremely close to me pass away last year. About as close as you can get to someone and to be honest it’s something I still struggle with daily, which is why I’m not sure whether or not I’m valid in what I’m feeling on this issue or do I have some residual bitterness about the death of a loved one and I’m projecting onto other people.

    I won’t get into too much detail but basically an extremely close loved one passed away. I cared for this person for many years and it was known to all around me how much this person meant to be. As sick as they were, their death was still a massive shock and upset to me.. here’s my issue.. my closest friends in the world, maybe about five or six people.. who I’ve known for over ten years and have gone on many holidays together, are in contact daily on WhatsApp over this and that.. meet up fairly regularly and are all very involved in one another’s lives.. none of them came to the funeral. They came to the shaking hands bit but none of them to the mass.

    I don’t have many (any) friends outside of these few people and in summary, I had not one friend turn up to the funeral mass or burial of this loved one who I still mourn so dearly. Other members of my family had people come cross country but the people who I deem closest to me and have been close to for years didn’t come. Only one of them text me to say she had to work and couldn’t come but to be honest it’s still something I hold against all of them to this day.

    I feel like it’s eating away at me and every now and again I’ll get angry over it (I’ve never said anything to them about it and don’t intend to) but I need to know am I being stupid? Am I projecting and expecting to much or am I right to be annoyed and sad about this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    Not really enough info to know.

    When you say that you cared for this person, were they a relative? Were they young or old? Do you mean cared about them? Or acted as a part or full time carer for them? Close to them as in related? Or close as a friend?

    People can sometimes react less to the death of an older person, unless they were one of your parents. Without wishing to sound callous, people tend, I think, to view the death of older people as less shocking / impactful / requiring of support than the death of a younger person.

    It can also depend on what loss your friends have experienced in their lives. If none, they might not understand that you’d like to have seen them at the mass part. Or if any of them had experienced a recent enough loss, they might have found the mass part a bit overwhelming.

    I wouldn’t expect that the burial itself is for anyone apart from family and exceptionally close friends (mainly of the deceased) to attend.

    Look, they did turn up. Just that you would have preferred that they turned up for both parts of the funeral. Sure, it would have been better had they maybe coordinated it so that some were there at the evening part, and others at the mass - but I certainly wouldn’t expect it. Not unless it was the death of a partner, parent or sibling, and tbh people sometimes just have other stuff going on in their lives and simply can’t make it to both parts of a funeral.

    Would you consider trying bereavement counselling?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,042 ✭✭✭The White Wolf

    Sorry to say this OP but it seems strange to me that your closest friends would make an appearance to shake your hand and be on their way. An acquaintance or relative you wouldn't see much of or talk to yes, but a close friend? That seems pretty sh1t to me......assuming they were aware just how close you were to this person.

    Either way the only thing you can do is let it go and reevaluate your friendships with these people. Maybe they're not worth the emotional investment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 145 ✭✭lurker2000

    TBH I'm be pretty upset about that too. Most people should make an effort to come to a mass to support a good friend if they can- but at least they came to the removal so its not like they didn't do anything.

    But you have to try and let this go as the only person you are damaging is yourself. I would advise some bereavement counselling for you if you haven't sought it out already. You can discuss this feeling of rejection with the therapist then in a more intimate and non judgmental setting.

    When we feel down and hard done by, its very easy to magnify these slights. Perhaps your friends just had to be at work or were dealing with their own issues at the time. Have they been there for you since? If they were female friends, I'd be surprised if they weren't. But if they are male ones, it seems that's pretty par for the course sadly.

    Try to find the light in the dark regarding your loss as it will lift you up from your sadness. If you have been holding it in, it won't be doing your mental health any good. I would also recommend that you focus on dedicating some action to the memory of the person you lost. Do a charity run or a kind turn for someone less fortunate or lonely etc. This would help you move forward in your time of grief. Best of luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,391 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn

    Were these people able to get off work easily or had they other commitments?

    I know locally people would all go to the removal to pay there respects with the family but the mass but is generally for the family and people close to the deceased.
    Some people further out might go to the graveyard tough.
    If my close friends showed up to the removal I wouldn’t really expect to see them the next day to be honest maybe if it was my mother or partner.
    However some people have different ideas about funerals. How are they about it in the group in general.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    I’ve been getting bereavement counselling since the death and I did talk a little about this issue in the past but it’s not something I can seem to let go of. I just feel so deeply let down. The group consists of men and women and the women I’ve been close with for over 20 years, the men about 10 years.

    They didn’t really contact me much in the aftermath either. One would text every other week with a “thinking of you” kind of message but the others didn’t seem to want to engage with me until it was less awkward to do so. That’s fine.. I can almost forgive that. In a way I don’t make things easy for people. I can be very closed off and private, I don’t tend to talk much about things that bother or upset me but it was made known to these people how utterly devastated I was to have this person pass. They knew how much of my life had been taken up caring for this person and how much they meant to me.

    I just feel like I’ve been through something so brutally torturous and none of them understand. I don’t want to bring it up either because I’m not a drama starter. I just want to know if I’m right or wrong because maybe then I’ll be able to work at healing over it. The counsellor didn’t really say one way or another she just helped me talk through the issue but didn’t tend to have an opinion on it either way. Some days I think I’m going mad with the resentment i feel over it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,826 ✭✭✭Truthvader

    People always do what they want to do. The question is what are you going to do now. Friends inevitably let you down from time to time but if you want to maintain relations you just have to get on. My guess is they probably decided together to do the shakey hand bit in a kind of "are you going .... Right so sure I'll see you there" arangement. I expect it would be news to them that this was an issue. If you cant stop yourself from brining it up; do it once without demanding an apology etc and move on

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,709 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    First of all, I'm very sorry for your loss. It's a difficult time for you, I know.

    I have often had to attend the removal part only, of a funeral, (which more often than not would be in the evening), due to work commitments, for example. I would still feel that I had paid my respects, even though I had not been able to attend the mass.
    There may have been reasons why they could not attend the mass, and indeed, they probably feel that they did what they could by being there for the 'shaking hands'.

    Grief affects us in very different ways, and it might be partly that, projecting this onto your friends, albeit inwardly, is distracting you from the loss that you have suffered. There are some books / websites about the stages of grief, such as The Five Stages of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler, that you might find useful.

    As pp have said, you might find bereavement counselling helpful, to get all of this out in the open, in a safe environment.

    Take care.

  • Posts: 13,712 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    qwerty13 wrote: »

    I wouldn’t expect that the burial itself is for anyone apart from family and exceptionally close friends (mainly of the deceased) to attend.

    Really? That gets me thinking that there's a town/ country aspect to this, and whether maybe the OP's friends weren't familiar with the social norms around attending funerals in some parts of the country. It's a matter of common courtesy. I have never been to a funeral where it was just family at the graveside, and I hope I never do witness such a thing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    @ A Tyrant Named Miltiades

    I think the graveside thing often depends on whether it is beside the church or not, but I think you’re right, there can be a town/country aspect to that - and many other traditions surrounding funerals.

    I disagree that it is common courtesy - it might be your and the OP’s view of what ‘should’ be done, but that doesn’t mean that it’s everyone’s tradition or view. I guess I’m trying to highlight that the OP might feel disappointed with her friends, even though to them they behaved according to what they’d expect was the norm (or indeed what they felt they could do).

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,743 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    Hi OP.

    Sorry for your loss.
    I'm from the country side and here funerals are reverend etc but a lot of time the mass/graveyard is more frequented by the older generation of folk who don't have work to go to etc.
    Tbh, in my opinion, I see nothing wrong with what your friends did. They paid their respects at the evening part, sympathised with you so they probably felt that was their part done.
    I know around here, most people would go one or other of the days, not both. Unless like I said it was the older folk.
    If they are good and kind in other ways then I'd leave this go and chalk it down to different expectations.
    Hope you are feeling better soon x

    To thine own self be true

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  • Registered Users Posts: 614 ✭✭✭notsoyoungwan

    When my father died, most of my close friends came to the removal and didn’t come to the mass/burial. I think with work commitments, it can be hard for people go to weekday masses, especially if they have to travel a distance to do so. It’s just not feasible for me to cancel a half-day or full day at work at short notice, and tbh it’s not something I’d expect others to do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Thanks for the replies. I think the general consensus seems to be that they meant no harm and didn’t feel like they were doing wrong. I think I’ll have to agree. They are not bad people and wouldn’t do anything to be purposefully insensitive. Maybe it’s just one of those things that has a contradicting etiquette around it and they didn’t want to feel like they were overstepping. I can be very private so maybe they just wanted to leave me to it and I understand that approach too. It’s funny how I can think this one minute and then convince myself the complete opposite the next and feel such resentment. I guess I have residual issues I need to work on and will continue with the counselling for those reasons. Thanks again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 263 ✭✭lunamoon

    I think it really depends on their circumstances. If they couldn't get out of work etc. I've often only gone to the removal of my friends parents/relatives funerals because of either work or childcare.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,695 ✭✭✭December2012

    I think you might need to take some time, and maybe talk to a bereavament counseller, to figure out why this is bothering you.

    Showing up to a funeral does not mean that they are not a good friend - you were not the person who died. They are close to you, not the deceased. Now I personally have lost somebody so I would, (if I could) attend a removal or a funeral mass of a friends parent. I am that type of person. But I have some very good friends who did not show for my parents funeral and I never held it against them, or was bitter about it, because we were and are great friends generally.

    Are you thinking that you are not close to them? That they don't know the real you, or care about the real you? Are you thinking that maybe you are closer to them than they are to you?

    Also I am very sorry for your loss. A year is not a long time yet and you may be coming up to anniversaries of very stressful periods in your life, and because of the Covid your might be even lower than it would have been.

    Either way, take care, and take some time and some thought before projecting something onto your friends that might not be there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    About the not contacting you a lot after the funeral, I can understand that, especially if you are “closed off and private”. Maybe they’re not used to you sharing your deeper feelings, so they assumed that’s how it would be this time too.

    That sounds like I’m ‘blaming’ you for this - I’m not. I’m just trying to say that grief is a very difficult thing for you to negotiate - and that sometimes other people don’t know what to say or do. I think a lot of people (possibly until they’ve had direct experience of it) will go for the easiest path (ie saying nothing) through fear of saying the wrong thing, or bringing up a conversation that upsets someone, or because it can be quite a difficult conversation to have with someone.

    I really don’t think there’s any right or wrong here. You expected them to go to the mass part, but maybe they didn’t expect that they should. Maybe they expect you to reach out to them if you want to talk, as you’re very private.

    I think the resentment is very misplaced though - but you’re going through a tough time, and I’m glad that you’re addressing it by going for counselling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭the14thwarrior

    i think its pretty crap that none of them went.
    but i would wonder why, was it committments, dislike, felt going to the evening, or just didn't bother.
    maybe they figured "someone else would go" but in reality none of them went. that can happen.

    i would be disappointed if i were you
    you are taking offence probably in the extreme but there you go. thats who you are.
    i would be actually pissed off

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,063 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Have you actually spoken to any of them about this?

  • Administrators Posts: 13,029 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Funerals are generally in two parts. The removal the evening before, and the mass and burial the next day. Very often if the burial falls on a weekday most people will go to the evening, the removal, which your friends did go to.

    People who work generally don't have extra leave to be able to take days here and there for the funeral of someone who was close to a friend of theirs. And work wouldn't see it as a priority to grant leave. Its why removals are generally held in the evening to accommodate people who will be working.

    Your friends did actually attend part of the funeral. They did go to show support. On one hand you say you're a private and closed off person and on another you are annoyed that your friends didn't make more of an effort to contact you and enquire about your well being. Maybe they thought it best to respect your privacy and if you wanted them you'd contact them.

    Grief and bereavement are very personal. Oftentimes people don't know what to say or do for the best. Some people will be very good for checking in. Some people will prefer to stay away and give you space and maybe just carrying on the friendship as normal when they see you rather than risk upsetting you by bringing it up etc.

    Nobody deliberately sets out to upset a grieving person. But often just by not knowing what to do or say the grieving person can feel hurt or ignored. If your friends are generally good, kind friends then I think you need to allow them this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,363 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout

    I wouldn't judge your friends based on the fact that they went to the removal and not the mass. Lots of people due to commitments can't go to both. If I have to go to a funeral, like many people I have to look at when the removal and mass are on to see which one I can attend due to work commitments etc. I've been to plenty of funerals and my friends the same where we have only been to the removal or only been to the mass. I don't see either as more important than the other, it's showing up to show support and sympathise that's important. I've never gone to a burial aside from family members.

    You said you've been friends with some of these people for 20 years so you (and they) are possibly in their 30s or 40s. Possibly married with children. Not as easy to attend both parts of a funeral if you have work and childcare commitments unless it is on a weekend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,179 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    They did attend part of the funeral. I tend to be one of those people who stand back at funerals.
    I've seen families drink cups of tea and shake 100's of hands saying" thank you " because that's what you do , when you could plainly see all they wanted was for it to be over and to get home to grieve. They were there for you when you could meet them prior to the mass.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭LilacNails

    Just hang on to them, ye have been friends for so long... That must say something too...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,585 ✭✭✭I see sheep

    Slightly different but I went to my Grandmother's wake but not to the removal (did go to funeral, carried the coffin)
    I've never thought much about the fact I didn't go to the removal and nobody said anything to me about it, I think I was just tired on the day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,929 ✭✭✭bilbot79

    I wonder if they understood on their side of this was your expectation. In all honesty I think you're overreacting. They may well have thought the mass bit was for family and not for them.

    Funerals are uncomfortable and a lot of people, myself included, don't really understand what the etiquette is

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,119 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes

    Its obviously something that has upset you.

    There is no right or wrong. Obviously your friends didn't think it was wrong of them not to.

    Or perhaps life things made it impossible?

    I think its how you move on now.

    Im sorry for your loss.

    Yes i can imagine i would be hurt too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,027 ✭✭✭Tork

    OP, I'm taken aback that you expected your friends to come to both parts of the funeral. Your expectations of them are way out of line with the norm. Apart from family members, very few people go to the "shaking hands" part and the ceremony the next morning. Some churches also have a shaking hands part during the funeral ceremony and there are people who just show up for that, shake some hands and go away again. Do you judge them? What about the ones who just show up at the graveyard and who didn't go to the ceremony at all? Are they lesser people in your eyes? I thought at first that you were upset that they hadn't turned up at all. If they hadn't, you'd have had a point. But they did - you are the one who needs to adjust your expectations. Maybe you're being too needy?

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,119 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes

    LilacNails wrote: »
    Just hang on to them, ye have been friends for so long... That must say something too...
    Yeah. Always hang on to friends. :) That is my motto.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Likewise on the either or part here. Funeral more for family and friends of the deceased as opposed to the bereaved where I'm from. If I'd attended the evening I would never have felt I had left a friend down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Sometimes in counselling, it might feel that you are repeating what you have said before, but that may help you to clarify things for yourself. I wouldn't expect the counsellor to give me their opinion, as such. I see their role more as providing me with a neutral ear, letting me talk things out, and guiding me towards strategies to help my situation.

    In relation to your friends not keeping in touch very much, or asking how you are, sometimes people have no idea what to say to a bereaved person. They are hesitant to mention the name, or ask any questions for fear of upsetting the person. You also mentioned that you are quite private, so that most likely they think that you prefer to keep things to yourself, and they are reluctant to 'pry'.

    A good friend of mine neither attended the funeral (of a close family member) nor ever mentioned the bereavement to me. I didn't understand it, I probably still don't, I was hurt by it, and it did affect how I thought of her, for quite some time. I came to terms with it, in time.

    Keep going with the counselling and hopefully it will help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    OP, there are a number of possible reasons your friends only showed for part of the funeral. If you're still dwelling on it, it means you're still in pain from the loss, not because of your friends' decisions. You're focussing on this because it gives you a way to express your feeling at the unfairness of it all and subconsciously you want to remind people that you have suffered a loss. Anybody who has been bereaved knows the feeling when you realise that the world has continued to turn and your pain is no longer the first thing on everybody's mind. People stop asking us how we're doing long before we're feeling normal, so there's often a longish stretch when the loss is still raw but we're acting like we've recovered. In this period of time people often overreact to things as their unhappiness tries to find a way to express itself. It's all completely understandable but don't let it cost you friendships.

    I hate funerals, I get a feeling of dread when I think about them. This is for a number of reasons but the big one is that I'm at extremely sentimental person. I am liable to cry at the slightest provocation. This means that if I'm at the funeral of a person I have never met I could be walking around afterwards with swollen red eyes and a snotty nose.
    Not only is this embarrassing, I'm afraid it looks like attention-seeking or grief-jockeying. I can imagine relatives of the deceased asking each other "Who's yer one who thinks she's the chief mourner?"

    Since my own Dad's funeral I have found funerals even more difficult than they were before. At the time I was sort of annoyed with a friend who hadn't made it to any part of his funeral, particularly as I had gone to a lot of effort to travel to her Dad's funeral and she had been so glad to see me there. Now I get it though; it was too soon after her own loss, she couldn't face it. I completely understand her absence now, having gone to considerable lengths myself to avoid funerals I just couldn't possibly endure.

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