Suffering a death of a loved one is analogous to a physical injury. Some people shrug off injuries, some go into shock. One wound may take days to heal, a similar wound at another time may take the same person months to heal. Healing has no timetable. Indeed some feelings may never go away.
Bereavement is a form of emotional sickness. A mourner, full of pain and loss, acts irrationally, at once needing companionship and comfort and also intensely needing to be left alone in the privacy of memory. Just as a burn victim wants to be held but cannot without causing more pain, a person who has experienced a death of someone close needs friends but will often rebuff all efforts to be helpful.
A man I knew suffered the death of his wife. His friends wanted to help and all their offers were rejected. He found reasons not to accept invitations, he didn’t return calls and sometimes he forgot to keep appointments. Anxiety, terror, anger and guilt made it difficult for him to accept others’ desires to be helpful. Unfortunately his friends experienced his emotional turmoil with its contradictions and rebuffs as personal rejections. They wrongly concluded that he was no longer interested in them as friends. By the end of the year the friendships had undergone such strain that they were irrevocably broken.