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I don't know where to go with this


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Growing up my parents had a couple that were their best friends.  Consequently my sister and I were always thrown together with their kids, which was okay.  We weren't super tight since we didn't go to school together or anything and we didn't see each other without the influence of our parents, but we always got along.  They had 4 kids, 2 girls close to the ages of my sister and I, and two boys who were a bit younger.  Both of the boys were adopted and both had some mental issues.  The youngest is currently serving his second term in prison, this time for assault with a deadly weapon.  The older boy, as far as I knew, was just severely ADHD.  He also developed a crush on me for a while, but I never thought much of it since we were so far apart in age.  I did chat with him online often and hang out with him whenever I could.  We've kept in touch the most of any of the kids.


You see, about 10 years ago my dad died suddenly, and then 6 years ago my mom died.  So I wasn't around the family as much as I had been.  We still sort of kept up as much as we could.  A couple years ago they invited my new daughter and I to their beach house for a few days and we had a wonderful time.  They were great people and helped me deal with the loss of my parents a lot.  I know they were grieving too.  I felt very close to them.


Last fall, the older boy, the one that I talked to the most, walked into his parent's house and stabbed and killed his father and then decapitated him to "make sure he went to prison."  At least that's what it said in the paper.  Apparently, according to the court records, he had a psychotic break and was diagnosed with either schizophrenia or a delusional disorder, depending upon whether you ask the prosecution or the defense.  He is to spend the next 44 years in prison for his crimes.


While I still speak to the family,  I'm not allowed to ask questions about what happened.  I only know what is in the paper.  There's so many unanswered questions in my mind, but I'll never get those answers and it won't change anything anyway.  The guy who was my parent's best friend and a huge part of my life is still dead and his son, my childhood friend, will be in prison for a very long time.  And I get that he belongs there or a mental hospital, but that doesn't change anything.  While the son isn't dead yet, there is no doubt in my mind that he will not survive in prison for the next 44 years.


I don't even know how to process it and I don't have anyone to talk to about it.  I can't talk to the family and my sister doesn't want to talk about it.  I feel alone.  I miss my friend.  The whole thing made the feelings of missing my mom and dad new again.


I've been told I can't go to the prison and visit my friend, that this could make me a target if he ever gets out of prison.  But then I have to wonder if that's really true.  I mean, doesn't that mean the rest of his family is targets too?  What about their spouses and children?  Are they safe?  What happens when the youngest gets out of prison?  Does he even know what has happened?  Will he retaliate in some manner?  Am I safe anyway?  I was talking to the murderous son like 2 weeks before it happened.  Surely he hasn't forgotten I exist yet.  We only knew each other for more than 20 years before this.  He wanted to be my boyfriend for like 5 of those years.  What about his recent ex-girlfriend?  Is she safe?  


Today the family told me I needed to make sure I unfriend him on Facebook in case he gets access to it again.  They said they want to make sure all contact is cut off between him and the world he used to know.  They said it is for the best.  But it's like throwing away the last piece of him I have.  I think perhaps they haven't considered that this is a loss for other people too.  I mean, I know this family has been ripped apart by this.  I can't even imagine how they must be feeling.  There was arguing because they all had to agree on the plea deal for the son.  Some of them don't even speak to each other anymore.  I don't want to place any other burden on them.  But I feel loss.  I lost two people that were important in my life.  One of them was a link to my parents.  The other was a friend.  Usually when someone dies you go to their Facebook page to remember.  Now I'm just being asked to forget, to sever any connection.  To not be able to grieve or forgive or understand.  I just can't do it.


Am I being stupid?

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Hi there, eileenbunny.


I can't answer the question as to whether it would be harmful, physically, to you to contact your friend in prison, but I did want to respond to your question, are you being stupid?


The answer is no.


There is nothing wrong with wanting to still have contact with your friend, it is normal to want to commune with his family about this terrible situation.  It is right to want to mourn - express your relationship - with the people who would understand it.


I can imagine how not being able to or not feeling comfortable to can basically feel like a short-circuit to your already sad and distressed emotions.


I don't know what the answer is about whether or not to connect with him, perhaps ask the family if you can speak to the same person who is advising them so you can understand it better?  I don't know if that would feel comfortable to you or if that would cause problems between you, but it might be a step towards understanding their choices and understanding the situation with your friend.


Once again, though, you are not wrong for wanting what you want.  This was a terrible thing that he did and you are probably right that the family isn't - and probably can't - worry about what anyone who is not immediate family is feeling.  It leaves you in a stunted position, for sure.  Perhaps one day you will be able to mourn with them but it is obviously not today.  Is there other people in your life you can share with?  It is understandable that your feelings for your mom and dad will come up and it's natural all that you feel.  I would try to find someone in your life who would sit with you so you can express all this with.  If you don't have someone, maybe you can find a meet-up group for grief and mourning that you would feel comfortable sharing with.  Mourning is a very important part of our process and it can come and go for the rest of our life.


Be patient with yourself and with them.  This is a terrible time for all of you, including the son.  Send prayers, if you have a faith that includes prayer, and be gentle with yourself as you find ways to express your pain.



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