Being a Good Friend in The Face of Tragedy

Hello all! Sorry I have been away for so long. Allow me to catch you all up with what has happened in the past few months. December was a great month for me. For my 30th Birthday, my family and I traveled to Hawaii to celebrate in paradise. It was truly an unforgettable trip. Upon returning home, I enjoyed celebrating a happy holiday season. So it was a great ending to 2016.

The New Year started off well. But on January 26, my best friend went home for lunch and found his mother had died while on her exercise bike. They say that people with ASD do not feel empathy and that could not be further from the truth. In the days that followed I ate very little and slept even less. All I can think about is my friend and the pain he is going through. I worry very much about his well being and how I can be there for him in his time of need.

A death doesn't just affect one's immediate family, it affects the entire community of people involved in that person's life. My friend's mother was one of the nicest women in the world. Last summer, when my friend was recovering from back surgery, I frequently went over to his house and his mom always treated me like a welcome member of their family. I will miss her greatly. I am sad and shocked and I can not begin to imagine the agony and grief that my friend is experiencing right now.

During this difficult time, I am trying to be a good supportive friend and yet at the same time give my friend a little space. Figuring out what to say to my friend in his time of need is challenging. I worry about saying the right thing to him. While I would never intentionally say anything to him that would cause him more pain, I worry that my words could accidentally do so. In the end, I sent him a text telling him that he is in my thoughts and that I am there for him if he needs anything. I am going to let him respond to me when he is ready.

Some time has passed. My friend is beginning to get on with his life. This what his Mom would have wanted. I’m taking this experience to heart…learning that to be a good friend you sometimes need to take a step back. But also remembering to really appreciate the closest people in my life.