Lack of Understanding from Family and Friends

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.

6 Responses

  1. Anitajb
    | Reply

    I just became a widow on May 31st. I hate even saying widow. I’m only 50. We should have had more time together. Ronnie was my best friend and I miss him desperately.

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      I’m sorry Anitajb for your loss. I was also 50 when my husband died so I can tell you that it is a hard journey. I also felt like I had been cheated out of our future. A future that was planned for but never realized. It took me a while but I did create another future. It’s not as planned but I learned how to enjoy life, family and friends again. I hope that you also find your way. Keep in touch. Mary Francis

  2. Colita
    | Reply

    I loss my husband on Jan 30. I grieve everyday for our lost time together. I am trying to move on with life, but it is so hard to find ways to be around other people. I feel so lonely. People don’t realize just a simple hello would make a big difference in how you feel.

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      Hi Colita. I’m sorry about your husband and how your future is now different than planned. Don’t try to “move on” but instead look to each day for opportunities to try new things and meet new people. As hard as it is to understand, others just don’t relate to us grievers. They have to be told in black and white just how you feel and what you need from them. Let them know you need them to be there for you. Sometimes they think everything is good just because we have not said anything. Take care, Mary Francis

  3. Evelyn Cramer
    | Reply

    I could not believe some of my female relatives said that getting a divorce is much worse than losing your spouse to death. How would they know? They have only been divorced! Very shallow and unthinking people. Evelyn

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      Oh Evelyn – I so understand how hurtful that comment is, but if they have never lost the love of their life, how could they understand? It’s impossible to relate to our pain as widows unless you have travelled this path. Don’t let their thoughtless comments take any of your energy. They may be unthinking people, but lets give them the benefit of a doubt and assume that they just don’t get it and didn’t mean to hurt you. Take care, Mary Francis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *