We often express bewilderment at the lack of understanding from friends and families. Time and time again I hear this refrain: … but they don’t understand.
Perhaps as time goes by your relationship with old friends will change to suit your life as a single, but don’t be surprised if some old friends drift away. Some friends just seem to be there. They don’t intrude, nor do they give advice or second guess the decisions we make. However, some friends are incapable of visiting or even making a simple phone call. “I don’t know what to say,” is their usual comment.
When I started to socialize more I discovered that there were quite a few people that I wished to know better. As a new widow, however, I did not wish to have any kind of special relationship except for friendship. As time went on, and after I became more involved and comfortable with my new friends, I discovered that I wanted to spend more time with them. First, it was lunch, and then some shopping trips and bus trips. Life became much more interesting.
You may be feeling a considerable amount of emotional pain and it’s normal not to want to be around others in the initial months following his death. While we are grieving we are not our usual selves and you may not feel inclined to put your grief on hold to be around others.
Others may react the other way and need or want to be with others all the time. They want to get lost in the crowd and not have to deal with their loss. For them, social situations offer a welcome respite from their grief.
Many people question the “normal” way to socialize while grieving. There are traces of the old you but the grieving process has forever changed the person you once were. New preferences emerge, old habits disappear and you make some new friends. Old friends fade away and you are drawn to others who have weathered a similar loss. All of this is normal.
One warning – don’t let solo time evolve into excessive isolation from the outside world. We need a balance of alone time and social time so that we don’t slip from grief into depression.