I remember talking and crying with my BFF about the terrorist attacks. I remember wondering what my friends were doing and stopping to be thankful for their safety and their role in my life. It was a day we all witnessed the fragility of life, recalibrated how we thought about things, and desperately held on to the people we love with both arms.
We may or may not have know someone who died that terrible day, but most likely we have lost friends in our life. From just moving away from each other and losing touch, having a disagreement that ended the friendship or having a dear friend pass away, we mourn our friends very much like they were our blood relatives. Yet, without the family status, we’re often overlooked for the challenges and sadness we experience with the loss of a friend.
Today, in honor of September 11th, aka: 9/11, and recognizing this Month of Friendship (also known as National Women’s Friendship Month), we’re exploring the subject of losing a friend. And, how do we as girlfriends honor them, deal with the memories and sadness, and appreciate the time we spent together and the lessons they taught us?
Everyone has a unique relationship, so we can’t speak for all the losses of friendship you’ve encountered, but hopefully you can add your comments and ideas below to supplement our ways of honoring our ‘fallen friends:’
- Honor the day they were born – Personally I don’t want to ‘celebrate’ the day my father died, I choose to honor him on his birthday which is a much happier date/thought. He loved Red Lobster restaurants so every Dec. 9th (his birthday), I go to Red Lobster in his honor. Last year my girlfriend Becky joined me and listened to me share stories about my wonderful dad and we toasted him and the fun memories.
- Remember the details – It was kinda funny on a very sad day recently when one of my old co-workers lost his brave battle with cancer. Mark was a funny guy with one of his idiosyncrasies was that he wore underwear to match his suits! Several of us at the funeral did the same. Remember the little things they did that made you laugh, the kindness they showed you and all the tiny details that made them special to you.
- Create a Journal or Scrapbook about them – Those little details we just mentioned will no doubt fade. The last time you laughed with her, your favorite restaurant to go to together, the times you talked where she cheered you up or celebrated your success … write them down. Add photos and memorabilia. And journal when you miss her. Know that she was a very valued person and that you’ll miss her for a long time, but fortunately, have memories to make you smile.
- Keep a reminder in sight – My friend Holly was a wonderful artist. We took pottery and metal work together and she created amazing batik clothing. (Here’s one of my favorite past posts about Holly – read it to see how special she was and see her batik work.) At her memorial, her family allowed friends to bid on some of her artwork (with all the money raised going to the Minnetonka Center for the Arts where we took classes and laughed a lot together.) I bid on and was thrilled to receive, a batik shirt Holly created. I promptly posted it on the inside of my closet door so I see Holly’s work every day – and I love that and my memories with her. (I still miss you, Holly!)
- A Fitting Memorial – What made your girlfriend special? Her talent for playing the harp (I miss you too Dana), her love of her family, the way she LOVED Italian food? What hobbies did she enjoy? Knitting, Running, Yoga, Reading? Find a personalized way to create a memorial. One woman shared her story of losing her BFF with Girlfriendology. She commemorated the anniversary of losing her friend unexpectantly with an ‘appreciate your girlfriends’ party – even going as far as posting it in the local paper and opening it up to all women. They raised money for a program to help single moms to go back to school (a fund her friend would have loved to contribute to). Do something special to remember and honor your friend.
Do you have more ways to celebrate friendships gone by? Share!
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