AceBasin

Making New Friendships

62 posts in this topic

In reading another thread on this group, I saw this recent post by KMB. I hope she does not mind my quoting it, but thought it said perfectly what so many of us are experiencing: "The end goal is to get through the rest of this life in the best manner possible. I'm working on remaining open to possibilities of finding meaning. At my age, I have no intention of replacing my husband. My heart knows this for fact. I would like to find new friends to do things with. Friends that are going to be totally supportive when you need them the most."

Almost all of us did everything with our spouses and are missing good friends and companions to do things with. I have not seen any posts that reference trying to find romance or marriage, but consistent posts wanting to develop good friendships.

My question is for those further along the path. How do we go about locating others similarly situated? Many people appear to have the same desire and are unaware of others in the same position in their locale.

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AceBasin, I'm ok with you referencing something I posted. I lost some mutual friends since my husband passed. I consider it a byproduct of a tragedy. It has been most hurtful, disrespecting, of certain people who drop out of your life because you lost your spouse. Especially more so, when these same people expressed all the usual platitudes in the beginning and then disappear. One person who claimed my husband was his best friend, told me he would stay in contact, by phone and stopping over, and be there if I needed any help with anything on the property. He has a lot of stories to share of times spent with my husband. Have not heard from him since or his wife.

I will never be looking for romance or remarriage. But I would like some new friends. I live in an isolated rural area of small communities. Social events are few and far. But, I am ok with my own company also. Just get lonely for my husband because we did everything together.

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All of our friends disappeared when he died, but I made a good friend that also went through loss of husband a few years after I lost George.  We were very close and could always sit down with a cappuccino and talk.  She moved away and remarried about three years ago and I really really miss her.  I have had no one like that since.  I get out among people but no one really close, a couple of friends but they don't fill her shoes.  I guess I need to make more effort to cultivate close friendships.  I'm in the country and don't drive at night so that limits me.

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my beloved was taken by Jesus and the angels  1   17   2017...i have no friends...she was my everything for 27 years...my mom is 86 ...lives with her sister..i have no  siblings...my daughter is 38 teaches college ...so busy i get maybe a picture or email once a week ..she is too busy to talk...so the isolation is really challenging to me..i am hugely capable in prayer and God loves me so much...still isolation is tough for me though..

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KayC, Ditto to your post. I feel that for whatever reason(s) that only God knows, we were meant for a more solitary life at this time. Maybe so we can learn even more about loving ourselves and becoming even more self reliant.

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ilovemywifeforever,  Isolation is very lonely and depressing. It has been only recently that I am pep talking myself to get out more. Have you considered grief support/recovery groups? It is a good place to start with interacting with others who are experiencing loss. I am sorry your family isn't making time and giving you more support and understanding.  Maybe going to a local park, library or a restaurant and having something to eat or drink will enable you to find a friend or two. Just being around other people can help ease the aloneness for a bit. This grieving process is hard work if we are to see our way through it.

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56 minutes ago, ilovemywifeforever said:

my beloved was taken by Jesus and the angels  1   17   2017...i have no friends...she was my everything for 27 years...my mom is 86 ...lives with her sister..i have no  siblings...my daughter is 38 teaches college ...so busy i get maybe a picture or email once a week ..she is too busy to talk...so the isolation is really challenging to me..i am hugely capable in prayer and God loves me so much...still isolation is tough for me though..

I am very sorry about the loss of your wife and your current isolation. Almost any church in your area would appreciate your volunteer efforts and could provide a support network and opportunities for group prayer. The risk is that you may be inundated with casseroles.

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To all,

true friends are a great help to us in this grief, after reading some of the stories from you i guess i am lucky, i have never had a lot of friends but the few i have have been a blessing for me, i will value them forever and will be there for them when i am needed, it makes me sad for you people that avnt got the gift of good friends but we are all friends on this forum and help each other so much, it is a shame we dont all live near each other, it would be lovely to meet all you people that have inspired me with your kind words over the months i have been posting x

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Meesh, Thank you. We ARE all friends here. Our grieving is similar but is also different. Different backgrounds, different situations, circumstances. It is comforting to share stories and coping skills, suggestions, advice. We all have something to contribute to the benefit of all going through this pain of loss.

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3 hours ago, ilovemywifeforever said:

my beloved was taken by Jesus and the angels  1   17   2017...i have no friends...she was my everything for 27 years...my mom is 86 ...lives with her sister..i have no  siblings...my daughter is 38 teaches college ...so busy i get maybe a picture or email once a week ..she is too busy to talk...so the isolation is really challenging to me..i am hugely capable in prayer and God loves me so much...still isolation is tough for me though..

 

3 hours ago, KMB said:

Isolation is very lonely and depressing.

I am so sorry for your loss but happy to know that you were able to have 27 years with *your everything*.  From your post, you loved her with your entire soul.  I am so pleased to know that you are a huge believer in prayer and God.   It has been the only thing that has gotten me through this horrific journey.  I'm learning that whatever life throws my way,  even if it hurts me, I will be stronger; stronger because I had to be; smarter because of my mistakes; happier because of the sadness I've known, and wiser, because I learned.  After all, strong walls shake but never collapse.  You are blessed no matter what you are going through. Know that God is  already causing all these to work together for your good.  What has been initially intended to bring you down will turn around in your favor and God's glory.  God promised a safe landing, not a calm passage. - HE will bring you through it.

KMB is spot on in her post.  --  I think when we feel lonely, we often tend to beat ourselves up and think that something is just wrong with us. The more alone we feel, the more we start to have thoughts of not belonging or of feeling rejected and left alone with our thoughts, we become our own worst enemy.  When we find ourselves becoming isolated, we should take that as a warning sign and a path leading to loneliness, despair, and even depression.

I'm  praying for you and I hope you continue to post here.  God has put us all here at this time and place for a reason - to uplift each other - definitely - but to also learn from each other.

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I very much appreciate all of your replies. All of our situations are different, but strikingly similar, and we may have suggestions that help each other.

What has surprised me is that there are so few networking opportunities for widows and widowers.

As fro my particular situation, I have been an actively practicing professional in my city for over 30 years. I know many people and have had active community involvement. Despite my many contacts, I know of no other widowers within 15 years of my age (the two I did know remarried quickly and seem to be happy) . The single men I know my age are divorced, and their interests differ vastly from mine. 

Our friends have been very supportive and I have declined many more invitations than I have accepted. Even when I decline, some friends say they understand and tell me anytime I do not feel like cooking or going to the store they will bring dinner to my house. I know they are serious because they do it. To a great extent, I suffer from the empty chair syndrome. It just feels really strange to go to a couples' function and not have my wife with me and look at the empty chair where she would be sitting. But, within the next month, I plan to have three couples over for dinner.

What I am missing is a local friend or two such as those on this group who truly understand.

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7 hours ago, KMB said:

Meesh, Thank you. We ARE all friends here. Our grieving is similar but is also different. Different backgrounds, different situations, circumstances. It is comforting to share stories and coping skills, suggestions, advice. We all have something to contribute to the benefit of all going through this pain of loss.

KMB, you have put it into words again so well.  Finding this forum when I did has made me feel so much less alone and I look forward to reading new posts each day.  I don't lack company or friends as ours all keep in contact and visit, but the huge void a much loved partner leaves within our souls, cannot be filled with the company of others.  

I felt really flat and alone by the end of last weekend, yet three lots of out of town friends had visited me on different days.  It was lovely these couples,  but it sure brought home to me how much I miss tripping about with my best mate - catching up with out of town friends, exploring new areas, going to Sunday markets, eating out somewhere new, fishing new waters. 

There are only two of us without partners in our wide circle of friends and sadly for me, my only single friend is moving to Australia soon.  I have stayed overnight with her a few times since Gerry's death and we go into the city to eat out somewhere different each time but I feel so alien doing so.  It's that 'stranger in my own life' feeling - nearly everything about my life has changed and it just doesn't feel real. 

In the not too distant future I will need to move closer to the city.  I will be starting over in a new location, knowing few people there.  It's a scary thought!  

AceBasin, sounds like you have some lovely friends.   By the time we get into our late 40's - 50's the kids have usually flown the coop and I think we start slowing up socially and enjoy spending more time in the company of our spouses.  I guess unless one is inclined to be a club/group type person, it is difficult to meet new friends.  Probably explains why we hear of so many internet friendships. 

I think men tend to remarry sooner than women.  I actually can't think of any widowers or divorced/single men, but know a lot of widows.  

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17 hours ago, KMB said:

KayC, Ditto to your post. I feel that for whatever reason(s) that only God knows, we were meant for a more solitary life at this time. Maybe so we can learn even more about loving ourselves and becoming even more self reliant.

I have felt that to be true.  I've been working on self care the last 3 1/2 years.  But I sure miss my friend.

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I think, at least for myself, some of the difficulty lies in how we've been defined as opposed to how we are now. It's hard to go from being "a couple", which is in practice an almost single organism, to being alone. We are assessed by our relationships and roles we maintain, being a married couple of 24 years with child creates certain assumptions in other people. Behavior, lifestyle, social circles, and maybe a certain socioeconomic status. All that changes with the passing of our partners. As AceBasin said, the empty chair syndrome is big. All of a sudden becoming the "third wheel" is something that's hard to get used to, especially after so many years of being with one particular person. We aren't a couple, I'm not a co-parent, my social circle (I really didn't have one to begin with) shrinks or disappears, income gets adjusted as does lifestyle. To be frank, I don't entirely know how to act. I'm 45, I'm not interested in trying to be 25, I'm getting to that "stuck in my ways" stage of life, and I've always been kind of a loner anyway, so this is especially hard. This may sound strange, but my wife filled me with great confidence, something I'm lacking now. I don't quite have the courage to stick my neck out on my own, I'm not "afraid" really, I just don't know if I'm up to it. Being with someone in a loving, intimate, committed relationship allows us to exist with, but separate from, the rest of the world at large. Family is all we have, it's all we really can depend on (with the exception of a few rare friends) and when that security is gone, it's frightening. We've already lost our greatest source of comfort, stepping out of what's left of our comfort zone is a tall order. Of course, this is how I feel, think about this, others will have a different experience I'm sure. 

Bottom line, as of December 31st, 2016, my world became tremendously more terrifying, and this is just another frightening aspect of living without my wife. 

Andy

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Andy, You do an excellent job with expressing yourself and expressing what all of us feel and think. For me, your last sentence defines it all. The day we lost our soulmates, they took our hearts and souls with them. We are reduced to picking up whatever pieces remain of the shells of ourselves and somehow, some way, keep going.

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25 minutes ago, KMB said:

Andy, You do an excellent job with expressing yourself and expressing what all of us feel and think. For me, your last sentence defines it all. The day we lost our soulmates, they took our hearts and souls with them. We are reduced to picking up whatever pieces remain of the shells of ourselves and somehow, some way, keep going.

Thank you KMB, I'm happy you can make heads or tails of my rambling. 

You know, we spend a lot of time picking up pieces, trying to fit them back the way they were, sometimes getting it right, sometimes not. With so much missing, we discover things can't always go back the way they were, and that's the catch. How do we not only put our selves back together, but what do we do with the spaces left void? How do we go about filling them? And with what? Who? It's an intimidating and lonely proposition, to be sure. 

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Andy, My thoughts---I feel our missing pieces are with our soulmates in Heaven. We'll get them back when we are reunited.

Some of the missing pieces can be temporarily filled with imposters to fill the void. Distracting hobbies, etc. Some are able to move on into new relationships, remarrying, new adventures. I guess it is up to who you are and what you really need or want. Could be why a good part of this journey is for us alone to take.We have family and friends to support us, but we still have to figure this out on our own. I agree, it is lonely, intimidating and scary.

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You know, how interesting would it be if there was a train, that ran from the east coast to the west, a full on passenger train. It catered to those in the midst of grieving over the loss of a loved one. On that train, nothing but those left behind, a trip that would allow all of us to meet one another, tell our stories, face to face. Crying, holding each other up, breaking down again. All the while on this train, this "metaphor" for a journey. It'd be interesting to note the differences in our selves as we made our way from one coast to the other and back again. I'd love it. Of course, I may find myself being thrown off as we crossed some deep valley. I can be rather talkative when the mood strikes.

Comfort to you all,

Andy

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32 minutes ago, KMB said:

Andy, My thoughts---I feel our missing pieces are with our soulmates in Heaven. We'll get them back when we are reunited.

Some of the missing pieces can be temporarily filled with imposters to fill the void. Distracting hobbies, etc. Some are able to move on into new relationships, remarrying, new adventures. I guess it is up to who you are and what you really need or want. Could be why a good part of this journey is for us alone to take.We have family and friends to support us, but we still have to figure this out on our own. I agree, it is lonely, intimidating and scary.

I agree, as I've stated before, my wife stole a part of my heart many, many years ago. It's hers, I couldn't take it back if I wanted, but I'm good with that, I still have the piece I stole from her, 

Also, this journey is in large part to be undertaken on our own. It's only when facing our demons do we stand a chance of defeating them. 

Hugs to all,

Andy

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9 minutes ago, Andy said:

You know, how interesting would it be if there was a train, that ran from the east coast to the west, a full on passenger train. It catered to those in the midst of grieving over the loss of a loved one. On that train, nothing but those left behind, a trip that would allow all of us to meet one another, tell our stories, face to face. Crying, holding each other up, breaking down again. All the while on this train, this "metaphor" for a journey. It'd be interesting to note the differences in our selves as we made our way from one coast to the other and back again. I'd love it. Of course, I may find myself being thrown off as we crossed some deep valley. I can be rather talkative when the mood strikes.

Comfort to you all,

Andy

The grief train. Sign me up!  As I continue to read all the new "club members'" posts, it amazes me how similar our feelings and experiences are, though our stories are different. It's strange, people lose loved ones every day and go through this same pain and somehow survive. But those who have never gone through it really don't understand. Before this happened to me I didn't understand either. Now I do. That's why its so helpful to be around others that truly understand. This is harder than I would have ever imagined but I am getting through it somehow. Minute by minute, day by day. And lots of praying to God and to Pat. I  believe they both hear me and that does bring me some comfort. 

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HHFaith, "All aboard!" I need to see your ticket please. :-)

Yes, somehow we are making it. And you are doing great, "they" do hear you, without a doubt. 

Hugs, 

Andy

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Thanks Andy. Sometimes I think I'm doing "ok" but not sure I'd say I'm doing "great". And sometimes I think I'm totally falling apart and will never be ok. I was going to say the same back to you. I think you're doing great too. The fact that your posts are so heartfelt, honest, helpful and inspiring says a lot about you as a person and your journey. You are helping all of us and yourself  

Have a restful night. 

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HHFaith, Ditto on your post and to Andy's also.

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11 hours ago, Andy said:

HHFaith, "All aboard!" I need to see your ticket please. :-)

Yes, somehow we are making it. And you are doing great, "they" do hear you, without a doubt. 

Hugs, 

Andy

Wait for me!!!

 

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The grief train is a great idea. It does indicate how the friendship of and support of widowers and widows is for other widows and widowers is essential.

Our best friend, companion, and emotional support system is gone. The one person we would talk about all of this with is not there.

Many of our friends are married, but as time goes on many do not view us as married, even though in our hearts and souls we are. We surely are not single. Relationships just do not feel the same.

I read an article today saying that many of the larger churches and other organizations that offer grief support were placing as many widows and widowers (further along the path) as possible on their teams as they concluded that regardless of training, only a widow or widower cold truly understand and best comfort another.

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