Monday, August 22, 2011

Moving Through Grief: Does It Include Moving Through Friendships?

Did you lose other friends, too, when you lost your husband?

I hope it wasn’t been like this for you, but my life was one wild roller coaster ride for several years. Granted, with my kids in high school and college, it would have been crazy anyway. But as I look back, I sure did have a revolving door in the friendship arena.

It’s not that everyone left me, it’s more like a whole lot of people came for some short, intense times, and then we somehow naturally parted.

A few did leave. Bruce's absence left little in common with them, and at the funeral and the other odd times I saw them, it was an awkward dance. In one case, there was a family who said they’d do anything but when I asked them to come eat a casual supper with us every week--everybody's got to eat, right?--it was downright impossible. Between soccer, track, softball, youth groups and homework our lives could not connect. No one was at fault, but I gave up after two tries.

I made a serious effort to stay involved with my in-laws. We survived a few rocky misunderstandings. They are lovely, gracious people, but we were all raw with grief and it was hard. We lived in different states and it was hard to span that distance. It was well worth the effort as they have been an important influence on the kids through these recent times.

My brother Joel explained it well for me. He said, “It was so good to be at the funeral and be together as a family. But then we went home and got preoccupied with our lives. Then, the next time we see you, the fact that Bruce is gone slams us again. You live with it everyday and are moving along. We start back at square one again every time we see you.”

Perhaps that was the reality of living hundreds of miles from my various family members. However, they were all in different areas, so there was no one place I could move to be with them all. Plus, my kids were happy in their schools, moving would have been another loss.

How was it for you? Did you suffer the loss of friends and family? Or were you surprised by the people God sent into your life?

Did you find that old friendships

a) stayed the same
b) were strained
c) got stronger
d) other _______

Please tell a bit about your experience. Maybe you'll help other widows find their way home and adjust to this "new normal."
ferree

8 comments:

  1. I believe that I have been richly blessed,because my friendships have mostly stayed the same.On top of that I have had many new people enter my life and enrich it.Jake's family has been very supportive and we continue to be a family,for which I praise God.I need them and somehow I feel that they need me as well.I am the nearest one to their brother.

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  2. I'm so glad to hear that Ruth, and the family support and friendship means so much. They need you as much as you need them makes for a great family.

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  3. I am still a newbie at this. My husband passed away in January and I am just at the stage where it hits you hard again. I have found that very few friends have stayed around. One dear couple, tries to get me to go for breakfast, but because I am often babysitting, we have only been able to get together twice in the past seven months. I do feel uncomfortable with them as my husband and H. were good friends and it really isn't the same. I noticed your comment regarding the in-laws. My in-laws are not alive, but his brothers and sisters are. There are a few I have not heard from and don't expect to. The others, they try and I appreciate it greatly, but I can see how that will fade with time also. So the journey still goes on.

    Jean

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  4. Hi Jean, I think it's Canadian day here in the comments and I love hearing from you. It sounds like your friendships are in a revolving door now---so watch for the new friends walking through, too. I like your blog, and how you talk to God about all this, too. blessings on you and yours.

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  5. This is an interesting topic. There have been some 'family friends' that have tried to include me and the kids - at first it was REALLY hard for me to join them without my husband to interact with the other men.
    I do miss Sunday dinners with other families - they don't seem to want to invite a large family with no man.
    I did have one friend 'couple' who the husband was so devastated by my husband's death, that I still haven't seen or heard from him in the whole year since - but his wife has continued to reach out to me - but I miss the male friendships...
    Our family all lives 600 miles away. I traveled there for the first time with the kids a month ago. I was pretty nervous, not knowing how I would really be received by my husband's brothers. His sister has bent over backwards to keep me feeling part of the family. (Dad is gone, Mom in a nursing home with dementia). But, as obvious as it was that Merlin was not there - they were all very supportive and gracious to us. I know this is not how some families end up finding it, so I am Very thankful!
    Sheri

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  6. My friends, family, and my in-laws have been great. Those relationships have only been strengthened. A few of Michael's friends have remained in touch and genuinely seem to care about Michaela and me, but some haven't. Some of those who remain distant really surprised me - Michael's best man and his wife, for instance. From little things I've heard, there was a group of them who were offended at the gospel message delivered at Michael's memorial service. Oh, well...

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  7. It can be really hard for friends and relatives to know what to say or do, and to initiate any sort of contact; its painful for them, too. But we each invest in the others lives and over time our lives are enriched. Family and friends need one another, even when the miles are long. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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  8. Hi Ferree -

    Relationships always have some complications, and death changes the dynamics. This happened with several family relationships.

    Many rallied around me, including my dear Mom, my honorary sister, and other relatives.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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