My Friend Ghosted Me When My Mother Died and It Still Hurts

I arrived at my house from the funeral home and went straight to bed. I’d been awake for nearly 36 hours, the final hours of my mom’s life. While saying my last goodbye, I was told by the hospital that we had 24 hours from her time of death to have my mother’s body picked up.

There was little time to grieve before decisions needed to be made. My husband, our son, and I had to go straight to the funeral home to begin making her final arrangements.

After my mom died I needed my friends. (Photo Credit: Yvette Manes)

Friends from near and far reached out to me after my mother passed

I slept for an hour, maybe two. It was still the afternoon and because writing is the only thing that has helped me get through hard times, I started a Facebook post, “It is with deepest sadness and utter disbelief that I announce the passing of my beautiful mother.”

Friends from near and far commented, messaged, texted, and called to pay their respects. I had my husband and mother-in-law reach out to friends and relatives who aren’t on social media to pass along the terrible news. In the following weeks my family received flowers, cards, and even more calls and texts.

So many friends reached out to me when my mom died. (Photo credit: Yvette Manes)

Some friends surprised me with their silence

While my sister and I took our time planning the memorial through our grief, so many people in our lives stepped up for support. And, then there were a few who surprised us with their silence.

“Anne” was a former colleague and someone I considered a friend for a long time. She’d watched my kids blossom into young adults and I was so excited when she became a mother, as well. We hadn’t seen or spent much time together in recent years.

She had her hands full with mom life, and I was sending my kids off to college and caring for my sick mother. But when Anne lost a parent in the middle of the pandemic, I reached out and tried to give her as much support as I could with the limitations we had in place.

I was really surprised when one friend in particular did not reach out to me

I was shocked, confused, and disappointed when several weeks went by after my mom’s passing and I still did not hear from Anne. I knew she was aware I had lost my mom because I could see that she watched every one of my Instagram stories.

She was still actively posting on her own socials so I went into our messages to check if maybe I had missed something. That’s when I noticed that the last few times I’d swiped up on a story or messaged her she hadn’t responded. Social media had been our main form of communication, and we weren’t the kind of friends who always replied right away. But even so, seeing these ignored messages struck me as odd.

I was at an absolute loss as to what had happened to my friendship

Had our friendship been over for months? Was I so consumed with my mom’s health and all the busyness in my own life that I didn’t notice? Did I do something wrong? Did I miss an important event in her life? As far as I could tell, I hadn’t. I was at an absolute loss and not quite sure what I should do.

If someone who was in my same situation asked for my advice I would tell them, “Be the bigger person. Reach out and ask if she’s OK.” But I am not someone else, and I’m also not good at taking my own advice. So, instead, I did nothing. I left things as they were. I am too tired, too grief stricken, and too old to chase anyone down for answers.

It really hurts when your friends don’t show up for you

It’s been close to six months since my mom passed away and I still haven’t heard from Anne. I suspect I never will, and by now I’m mostly at peace with it. The number of people who have shown up for me during this time still blows my mind, and I know that these are the people to whom I should dedicate my energy.

The one good thing about this entire scenario is that my children got to experience how it feels when your friends show up for you, and how much it hurts when they don’t. They learned that funerals are for the living, that grievers will always remember who stood by their side, and that small acts of kindness can make a world of difference to someone dealing with loss.

My hope is that in the future they will know how important it is to be the friend who checks in, and not the one who checks out.

More Great Reading:

When I Knew It Was Time to Let Go of a Long Term Friendship

About Yvette Manes

Yvette Manes received her BA degree in Social Sciences with concentrations in Anthropology and Women's Studies from the University of South Florida. She has been a blogger and freelance writer for nearly 20 years, and her work has appeared on Business Insider, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, Romper, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, and more. After taking a sabbatical to care for her late mother, she has come back to the writing world. Yvette lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband of 25 years, their two college-aged children, and their 15-year-old Italian Greyhound.

Read more posts by Yvette

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.