Grief and friendship don’t always mix

Someone once said that being a widower is like living in a country where nobody speaks your language. I hope I can translate one of my bad experiences into something you might understand or have been through. I feel it’s very relevant as no one seems to give it the time it deserves in widowhood.

We all lose friends and gain friends throughout our life. Whether you have been friends for six months or 30 years, you do not know how your friendship will hold up during a crisis. Some friends step up and the bond becomes unbreakable and they’ll be there for the long haul. Despite what you may have thought, some friends will leave you when you need them the most. Perhaps they just don’t know what to say or how to act.

After speaking to other widowers, I’ve realised that we all faced unique and similar circumstances with our friends. It had only been a matter of months after my wife had passed. Some of her friends started to drift away, going back to their own lives, having babies, taking holidays, having parties – life just carried on and I could taste the lack of empathy in the air. Occasionally some would text, but the cards and visits stopped, especially for the important days, even for my daughter. I guess in my mind I knew what Katherine would have expected from them?

The more you ignore me, the closer I get by Morrissey. How can this song not fit this post!

For me, these friendships had officially strained at the seams. Promises of help and support had been made without any intention of delivery. Katherine deserved so much more from them, we deserved better. Frankly, I was sick and tired of the stages. I’ll always recall the additional ‘unofficial’ visits I’d received from my child’s health visitor, she was unbelievable. Sadly, this is where I discovered strangers possessed more compassion than these people.

Some can’t handle the losses of others and so they draw back. It really is one of those ‘life events’ that will show you who the true friends are. You have to just go through every experience that comes your way, face it, feel it, try to learn from it and then continue to carry on the best you know how. Just remember the good people keep coming back!

Many people will want to help you, but very few know how? I’ve already started to document an array of ideas and materials which I can share next week.

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