Not too long into my own widowhood journey, I noticed something that happens once the newness of our loss has worn off for everyone but us: many of my friends, most of my lovely, wonderful support group had all but vanished.
For a lucky few, friends and support systems continue on.
However, some of us are not as lucky.
In those early days, I was surrounded by so many amazing people. Bret’s death was a senseless, self-inflicted tragedy and many people were truly worried about my own mental state.
Friends, family, and members of our small but tight-knit community checked in on our daughter and me day and night.
Food was delivered.
Gifts were given.
Time was shared.
One friend – still one of my favorite people to this day – would visit me every Sunday, knowing that I would be extra down on that particular day of the week. My mom, when not in town with me, would also call me on Sundays at 3:10 to get my mind off of his 3:11 time of death.
I had so much support, and I remain thankful for every second of it.
But it didn’t last.
Eventually, people couldn’t deal with my grief.
At the two-week mark, a “friend” was telling me it was time to start getting over it.
People’s lives were continuing on, while mine was still sidelined and as a result, many of those friendships just started drifting away.
I wound up packing up and moving which certainly didn’t help things, but through the magic of social networking, I have been able to stay in touch with those who were willing. For them, I am eternally grateful.
I have also been able to meet new friends – fellow widows and widowers – who have become absolute staples in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
But it still stings when I think back to friendships that never made it through the darkness of my grief.
My mind boggles, like HOW? How can someone make the decision to cut ties with someone who is simply moving through the natural process of active grieving?
It’s hard not to be bitter. It’s hard not to wish the same for them.
Maybe someday, they will experience similar and will want to reach out to someone who has been there before.
If that person is me, I won’t turn them away, no matter how tempting it may be.
I refuse to let Bret’s death turn me into a bitter shell of a person, even if it did turn me into a person with far fewer friends than I had before his death. (And honestly, some of that was, very much, by design.)
And to those who stuck by me, as well as to my new “wid fam,” (and new non-widow friends as well) I say:
Thank you for showing me what a true friend is.
Thank you for sharing my tragedy, and for letting me share yours.
Thank you for giving me something beautiful in the face of something so ugly.
Thank you for being in my life.
Meme via Facebook – humor certainly helps things!
Mark your calendars! Hope For Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K event has returned on Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14, 2023. Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcome to participate. The proceeds will directly support widows through the annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. Do you have or know a business that would like to sponsor? That’s an option too! To register and frequently asked questions- please go here: http://getmeregistered.com/WidowsofHope5K