The Particular Loss in a Close Friend's Death

The older you are, the more likely you are to lose close friends and face what some refer to as "disenfranchised grief."

older people hugging at a gravesite
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sheldon Heitner and Stephen Kling met on a school bus in 3rd grade; almost seven decades later, they still had the exceptional kind of friendship where they could communicate in shorthand.

So, when Kling, 71, suffered a cardiac arrest in April while engaging in one of his passions — cycling — Heitner immediately flew from his home in France to New York to be with him. As Kling lay on life support, Heitner played songs on his mandolin for hours as Kling’s family gathered around. When he died, Heitner was bereft. 

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Alina Tugend is a long-time journalist who has worked in Southern California, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., London and New York. From 2005 to 2015, she wrote the biweekly Shortcuts column for The New York Times business section, which received the Best in Business Award for personal finance by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Atlantic, O, the Oprah Magazine, Family Circle and Inc. magazine. In 2011, Riverhead published Tugend's first book, Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong.