Coping with the unexpected death of a friend

Coping with the unexpected death of a friend

Death has a deep effect upon an empathic soul. The more you are attached to someone, the stronger your grief reaction will be. As an empath, your energy becomes enmeshed with those close to you. When a death occurs, it is a process of letting go of those physical connections and establishing a new connection that is only at a spiritual level.

Grief can become more complex when a death is unexpected or sudden. The state of shock you first experience cushions you in the initial days. It is also exhausting and draining because you are carrying the emotional pain of your loss, which has yet to be expressed. Some people experience trauma symptoms similar to PTSD after an intense loss, this is known as complicated grief.

Helpful Suggestions in Your Grief

1.) Acknowledge grief is work and it takes its toll physically, emotionally and spiritually when it is ignored. In order to heal, you need to feel. Make time for grief. If it pops up at inconvenient times, write about it at night or on the weekends.

2.) Feel the pain of the loss. This is the most difficult part of grief, without it there is no moving forward. At this point in the healing process, you may need to reach out to an empathic therapist who has expertise in grief/loss issues.

3.) Keep your routine. Structure will give you a sense of stability and control when emotions feel intense or come out of the blue.

2 friends, 6 months

One of my best friend’s died from cancer, last October. It was a month from the diagnosis to his death. Six months later on the exact date, I found out that a friend of mine that I met on Facebook and talked to by phone, died suddenly on her 54th birthday.

Sharon and I were both co-authors in 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul and 365 Life Shifts books. I often visited her Facebook page when I didn’t see her posts in my newsfeed because there would be a variety of positive and uplifting messages. She felt this was something she needed and wanted to do every day for others. I am grateful she listened to that voice within that I often encourage others to do. I know many days, I was helped by her posts.

I read about her death when I visited her Facebook page the day after her birthday. At first, I was in complete shock and disbelief seeing a couple of posts from others that spoke about her death. I hoped it was a cruel joke, but it wasn’t. I felt angry and questioned God, why her? I reasoned saying that others could have been taken off this Earth instead. I also cried over the loss realizing that there will be no other phone calls or positive posts left by her on her page anymore. These feelings of denial, confusion, anger, shock, bargaining and sadness are all normal parts of the grieving process.

Here are some of her recent posts that inspired me, perhaps they will inspire you also. She often wrote one word to empathize the post which I have included here:






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Some Days


Practices I learned from early loss and death in my own life. 

1.) Shine your light. The Divine gave you this light for a reason. Go out there and be your best self without apology.

2.) Value your connections. Enjoy every moment of this journey called Life and everyone who is in it. Acknowledge and give others attentive love, you never know when you or the other will be called home.

This blog has been dedicated to those who have suffered sudden losses and to my friend Sharon Rothstein. I know you are shining your light down on us from heaven. xx

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who helps sensitive souls not just survive but shine. She is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now at

Check out my You Tube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC


19 thoughts on “Coping with the unexpected death of a friend

  1. Beautiful post Lisa. What a beautiful tribute to your friend Sharon and the positive impact she had in your life. Grieving is such an isolating experience and I so appreciate the self-nurturing practices and lessons that you shared to support one through the process. Thank you so much and keep on shining!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, I did not know that Sharon had passed, Lisa! She was a sister author for me as well in 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul. What a beautiful post and wonderful tribute. You are living your life as an inspiration, just as she did. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurie, it has been and still is a shock for me. Thank you, I am glad to share her light and continue that work. Although, her death happened over the weekend, it seems some people have not heard of it yet. xx


  3. Oh Lisa, what a beautiful tribute to your friend. I’m sending you much love and healing energy to cope with your loss. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. This is an important topic for us all. Warm Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry for your loss Lisa! I had a similar experience 4 years ago…2 friends in 2 months. I agree with you, facing death of people that are close to you shifts something in you. It makes you want to value more your connections and live life more authentically. Sending you hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I am a childhood friend of Sharon’s. Indeed we lost touch with each other, me in small town USA, Sharon in NYC. We always promised to call. I used to call and say Happy Birthday. I am truly in shock over her death. I learned about it 9/6. Needless to say I am in shock and soooo sad. Sad for the contact we did not have, sad for promising myself that she would meet my children and never following through, sad for running out if tomorrows. So much to digest. I am so full of sadness that I really don’t know what to do with…


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