This is an article that I planned to write at the beginning of the year, but I put it aside in favor of changing this site to an “online diary.” Upon reflection, I have decided that this is way too important not to talk about. When you lose a spouse, you will also lose some friends… and gain some.
When you lose a spouse, you change. You aren’t exactly the same person you were before. How could you be? A huge part of your life is now gone. Some people just can’t deal with the new you and they walk away. I know that has happened to me more than once. Let me share one story with you.
Cindy and I had a friend who used to work with us. She was a very nice lady who was going through a very rough patch herself. We tried to help her however we could, especially after she got laid off from her job. We were close friends and she and I talked a lot. Aside from my family, she was probably my closest confidante. In fact, the day that Cindy passed, she was the very first person to come over to the house to check on me and Kevin. Yes, we were friends.
Over the next month, we went to dinner and she even came over and fixed supper for us one Saturday night. It was a great evening. I think that was the first time I really smiled and laughed after Cindy passed away.
About a month after Cindy passed, my friend just stopped talking to me. When I would try to find out why or engage her in conversation, she became angry. This made me angry because I was teetering on the brink and the thought of any loss was too much for me to bear. Perhaps I tried to hold on to everything in my life too tightly and that scared her away. I’ll likely never know because we don’t talk at all anymore.
Over the past few months, I’ve tried my best to rekindle the conversation and rebuild the friendship. I’ll admit that I did not handle things very well, but I was not in a normal state of mind, that is for sure. When you lose your spouse, you try to hold everything else in place. At least that’s what I did.
The thought that I have lost this friend who meant so very much to me has taken the pieces of my broken heart and ground them into dust, but there is really nothing I can do. I’ve tried. If I could make things right, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it takes two to make a friendship.
I’ve lost other friends who just couldn’t handle the “new me.” Perhaps they don’t know what to say or they can’t deal with the new dynamic. There’s no real way of knowing. There haven’t been many loses, but there have been a few. The one I mentioned above just happens to be the most devastating.
On the brighter side, new friends seem to appear out of nowhere to fill the gap and lift me up. People whom I would have regarded as acquaintances have become dear friends who prove every day just how much they care about me. Some make it a point to message me every day to see how I am. Others give me a hug and a word or two of encouragement every time they see me. It’s a great thing.
Some other friends have really stepped up to let me know that they have my back. To them, I am extremely and eternally grateful. I wish I could mention them by name, but I would undoubtedly leave someone out and that would not be good. I’m sure they know who they are and I’m also sure that they know just how much I sincerely appreciate them.
The point of this article is this: friends come and friends go. This is a truth of life, it just gets accelerated when you’re recovering from the devastating loss of a spouse. People will expect you to be the same when you are not the same or they will expect you to act rationally at time when every emotion in your body is firing at once. When friends leave or change the way they interact with you, it’s tough. It really is. It beats you down to the ground, but keep in mind that other friends will pick up the slack and be there for you. That’s the nature of people.
Have a great Sunday. Be good to yourself.