DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend lost her mother last year. I tried to be there for her however I could, but of course there were many times when I was not sure how to show up for her. We had a heart-to-heart recently, and she confessed to me that she was disappointed in the lack of support she received from me last year. She said she felt that I was distant at times and didn’t check in on her enough. I’m glad that we had that conversation, but I’m very heartbroken that she felt that way. That was the toughest time of her life, and I let her down. Where do we go from here? Will our friendship ever be the same? -- Heart-to-Heart
DEAR HEART-TO-HEART: As you and your friend continue to talk, let her know how heartbroken you are for not being able to show up the way she needed. Admit that you weren’t sure what to do or say sometimes, and that left you silent when you probably should have been doing something else. Ask her to forgive you, and do your best to be more present now.
The reality is that your friend’s grief is hardly over. She will continue to have tender moments when she thinks about her mother and needs support. What you can do is be a good listener. Pay attention when your friend talks about her thoughts and feelings, especially about her mother. Invite her to talk about her mother on occasion. Ask her if it's OK for you to share your memories of her mother with her. A way to move past the awkwardness is to agree on what makes her comfortable to talk about.