SRS Need advice on loss/grief counseling.

TopGun113

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2001
74,845
Friend of mine lost her father unexpectedly about 3 weeks ago. She's an only child, 30 years old and has lived 3,000 miles away from her parents for the past 5+ years.

Talked to her yesterday on IM and she seems extremely depressed. Said she sleeps in bed with her mom every night and they cry each other to sleep and pray to her dad every morning and night. Neither of them have left the house in weeks and are avoiding any social interaction. She said she wishes she were dead but wouldn't want to leave her mom behind.

The tough part is that her mom and dad are Asian immigrants - her mom doesn't speak much English, doesn't drive, doesn't know how to run her father's business, etc. And since he died unexpectedly at a fairly young age (60) I get the feeling his affairs weren't in order.

She's a teaching doctor and was talking about quitting her job to move back to the small town to be with her mother. She already sold everything in her apartment in California and has been living out of boxes at her parents' house.

So obviously she's depressed. I didn't know what to tell her except to seek help of a professional grief therapist. She doesn't think it would help and doesn't want to spend the money since she's already decided to quit her job. I tried to tell her not to make any major life decisions while grieving but it was like talking to a wall.

So any advice? The whole thing has me frustrated but I'd hate to see my friend throw her career away because of a few weeks of grieving. She said "in her culture, parents come before the children."
 

Darketernal

Watch: Aria The Origination =)
Her mom needs to do a call on the support of the family. Maby even move back to the original country where her mom originally came from, because she clearly cannot integrate and with the lack of financial resources she needs to find a way to stand on her own feet. She should ask if there's anyone in the family who can take over her fathers bussiness, it would be sad if the bussiness would goto waste and if eventual employees would get fired, her mom could alternatively help along in her fathers bussiness with a family relative even if just working as an assistant there. Your friend should rent a small appartment and focus her on her study and her future. She should try to get a scholarship and eventually pay it back with the money she would earn from a future job. Encourage her to focus on the future. Tell her her father wouldn't want her to throw away her future for him.

Its a major setback but its reality that they are forced to become independant and stand on her own legs, and that they should consult and get family and friend support for their hard situation.
 

Tevin

Member
Sep 11, 2010
453
If she feels that obligated to her parents I wonder why she moved 3000 miles away in the first place.

I can understand taking time off to help mom with the transition, but sleeping together, avoiding others and constantly carrying on to the point that they aren't doing anything else? That's messed up. It seems there is an unhealthy family dynamic that exists even without the Dad's death being a factor.

Your friend needs counseling, but not because of the death in the family.
 
Last edited:
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TopGun113

TopGun113

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2001
74,845
Thanks guys, I agree.

Tevin, definitely agree. She's been tremendously dependent on her parents for years. I used to visit her in college (we dated years ago but are just friends now) and her parents would call several times a day, every day. :ugh2:
 

Coottie

BOOMER......SOONER
OT Supporter
Jun 6, 2006
32,213
OKC
Death is so friggin goofy. You're heartbroken due to your loss and when you go out in the world, no one seems to care/understand. The world just keeps on moving. The thing is, getting back out is IMO essential to recovering from grief.

Understand that grief is extremely difficult for a lot of people. People act totally strange and do really unusual things and many times it takes a long, long time for them to get over their grief.....I'm talking years of time.

TV and modern society provide exactly 12.35 minutes for one to recovery completely from grief. In reality, that's not even close.

I would suggest you encourage and help your friend to re-enter life. Do mild exercise like walking in a park, neighborhood, the mall.....whatever. Just get them out of that house.

Encourage them to ask for help, encourage them to attend grief counsling at local churches....you may even find some for them and suggest them.

Whatever you do....just be very, very patient.
 
TS
TS
TopGun113

TopGun113

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2001
74,845
Death is so friggin goofy. You're heartbroken due to your loss and when you go out in the world, no one seems to care/understand. The world just keeps on moving. The thing is, getting back out is IMO essential to recovering from grief.

Understand that grief is extremely difficult for a lot of people. People act totally strange and do really unusual things and many times it takes a long, long time for them to get over their grief.....I'm talking years of time.

TV and modern society provide exactly 12.35 minutes for one to recovery completely from grief. In reality, that's not even close.

I would suggest you encourage and help your friend to re-enter life. Do mild exercise like walking in a park, neighborhood, the mall.....whatever. Just get them out of that house.

Encourage them to ask for help, encourage them to attend grief counsling at local churches....you may even find some for them and suggest them.

Whatever you do....just be very, very patient.

Thanks... I'm also feeling quite guilty myself because I've made little effort to contact her. We are in different states and only really talk on IM/text/email. She's not my spouse or girlfriend but I still feel guilty for not being there for a friend.
 

Coottie

BOOMER......SOONER
OT Supporter
Jun 6, 2006
32,213
OKC
Thanks... I'm also feeling quite guilty myself because I've made little effort to contact her. We are in different states and only really talk on IM/text/email. She's not my spouse or girlfriend but I still feel guilty for not being there for a friend.
One of my best friends growing up completely stayed away from me, my house and my family when my brother died. He was always over at my house and my family knew him very well. He felt guilty about staying away so long and his excuse was that he didn't know what to say/do. We were both 18 when this happened and I didn't know what to say/do either....it was a fucked up situation.

We talked numerous times about this because every time it came up, so did his guilt. I needed my friends and I damned sure didn't need them running away from me like I was the plague. Ok.....so that's a bit over dramatic but it was how I felt at times and this friend was the worst. He simply didn't want to hang out....he didn't call to check on me....he didn't come by and I barely saw him at the funeral. And this was one of my closest friends!

To say the least, this hurt and I told him so....it almost ended our friendship.

His excuse was always the same, "I didn't know what to say/do." At first I was understanding but then I called bullshit. If he truly saw me as a friend, he can't just run away when my life goes to shit. Hell....friends like that are a dime-a-dozen and I told him that I didn't want to be friends anymore if that's the kind of friend he was.

We worked thorough a lot of that stuff and when my dad died, he was much more present. In fact, he was there a lot of the time and he said after that he was glad he came.

See the thing that most people don't understand is that when your friend is in the midst of grief that you don't have to SAY or DO anything. Just being with them is enough....you'll find the words if you don't force the words. What that means is when you don't know what to say....SAY THAT. Say, "I'm so sorry, I don't know what to say." or just offer a hug.

For guys grief seems to be especially difficult because we think in terms of solving problems. Grief isn't a problem to be solved....there aren't any quick fixes and this is frustrating to a lot of people. Simply being present with someone during their grief is good enough. Being patient with the grieving person is of absolute importance.

So my suggestion to you is not to wait any longer. There's no easy way to start the process of helping your friend....there's no easy way to begin the conversations. But it won't get easier with time either. Simply pick up the phone and call.....even if you're terrified to do so....even if you think you're the worst person for not calling. Just pick up the phone and call.....if you truly care about your friend, you'll find the words.

However, focus on her needs. Not your need to relieve your guilt. Deal with your guilt in other ways....away from her.

Anyways, good luck.
 

JohnQPoster

New Member
Nov 12, 2010
780
Friend of mine lost her father unexpectedly about 3 weeks ago. She's an only child, 30 years old and has lived 3,000 miles away from her parents for the past 5+ years.

Talked to her yesterday on IM and she seems extremely depressed. Said she sleeps in bed with her mom every night and they cry each other to sleep and pray to her dad every morning and night. Neither of them have left the house in weeks and are avoiding any social interaction. She said she wishes she were dead but wouldn't want to leave her mom behind.

The tough part is that her mom and dad are Asian immigrants - her mom doesn't speak much English, doesn't drive, doesn't know how to run her father's business, etc. And since he died unexpectedly at a fairly young age (60) I get the feeling his affairs weren't in order.

She's a teaching doctor and was talking about quitting her job to move back to the small town to be with her mother. She already sold everything in her apartment in California and has been living out of boxes at her parents' house.

So obviously she's depressed. I didn't know what to tell her except to seek help of a professional grief therapist. She doesn't think it would help and doesn't want to spend the money since she's already decided to quit her job. I tried to tell her not to make any major life decisions while grieving but it was like talking to a wall.

So any advice? The whole thing has me frustrated but I'd hate to see my friend throw her career away because of a few weeks of grieving. She said "in her culture, parents come before the children."

Your friends mother is a co dependent, first she leaned on the father and now that he is gone she leans on the daughter. The daughter is allowing this to happen.

When my boss was old he was telling about how his father's health had deteriorated when he became 90. He couldn't drive anymore and keeping house was becoming an epic undertaking. His wife had passed away at 60 or so and a nursing home was out of the question. A loser who had no job, skills, or money was married into the family, 'Bill' had a truck and 'dad' had a wallet so they got along well as both had something the other needed. The boss had to admit that he was inclined to allow the old man to move in with him and his wife and kids, actually the boss, kids and wife would prob. have to move into the father / grandpa's house because they lived in a little place on a lake 2 towns over. The boss (who was 65 at the time) finished the story with some words of wisdom 'But you cannot allow them to do that to you.'

Your friend is enabling her mothers co dependency and it is going to destroy her life. The mother had ought to get a life of her own, instead she is planning to drag the daughter down with her.

Like Darketernal says, it would be lousy for you to abandon your friend but it is going to be hard to watch her ruin her life because her mother is co dependent and her father died. I am afraid that the mother and the daughter will never move on, you need to be prepared for this.

I assume that moving the mother to Cali. to be with the daughter is simply out of the question. I am sure that she is to old, weak, ect. blah, blah, blah.

I fear that your friend may never listen to reason and may resent you for offering helpful advice. Sounds to me like the daughter is going to allow the death of her father to destroy her and won't listen to the voices of reason telling her that it doesn't have to.
 

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