Young Widow Forum

Time Frame => Newly Widowed (1 day to 6 months) => Topic started by: mona on April 13, 2017, 04:16:11 PM

Title: Isolation
Post by: mona on April 13, 2017, 04:16:11 PM
Hi I'm new here. My husband passed away three months ago after battling cancer for many years. I am grieving heavily to say the least. No two days seem to be alike on some levels. The topic I want to talk about today is how I am disappointed in my community and my husband's for not reaching out to me more. The weight of my grief has been on one friend who calls on me and checks on me. That just seems reasonable doesn't it? She has been feeding me, coming over to do dishes etc...I feel mad at everyone and I have to ask myself if it is I that is not being fair to them or reasonable in my anger? My other "best" friend has now distanced herself from me because I asked her to stop judging me. (long story there.) I am so fragile and raw right now. I wish I could find all new friends who know what I am going through. My husband always used to say "you have a hall pass" and I do! I feel like a pariah. I feel like I have to take care of them rather than the other way around. I am going to counseling but I feel so lonely. I am considering group grief support even though that is totally not my style but I am desperate for understanding. I would like to know how you have dealt with the loss of friendships and community upon a death. It is the last thing I expected.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: bromans on April 13, 2017, 04:55:42 PM
Hi, Mona. It has been 7 weeks since my sweet wife had her accident and I am feeling the exact same way concerning my "friends." I literally haven't heard from my "best friend" since the funeral, where he said the generic "if there's anything I can do.." It has been helpful reading about all the wids here, and I feel like they are finally a group that understands, but it still sucks that seemingly everyone either wants to avoid me or isn't very helpful. Anyway, just want you to know that you're not alone, and I'm so sorry that you are going through this. People suck sometimes.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: James on April 13, 2017, 06:24:35 PM
Whatever you do is the right thing.  No one understands this except people who go through it.  Write what you are feeling here.  It helps.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: mona on April 13, 2017, 08:29:47 PM
My very wonderful counselor says that most people do not know what to do in times like this. It's not part of their reality. And many are disturbed by the concept of death. Also, depending on your age the younger you are the fewer skills you have in dealing with death in any way shape or form. As we age more of our peers pass and we learn from experience what to do for ourselves and our family and friends. I am young enough that my friends have few experiences sans parents and grandparents dying and much less to with life partners, husbands, wives and even children dying. I want to be less angry and more compassionate and understand that there are reasons they do not get it. After all, it is we whose lives are MOST disrupted and those that call themselves friends went on to continue their daily routine right after the memorial. Me; I only just started back to work after four months leave from work. So, only now I may begin to find routine. My "friends" had routine immediately.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: Monique on April 13, 2017, 10:21:35 PM
Mona, yes to everything you said about routine. When Sam died, I quit my job, moved out of my house, and basically had my entire life flipped upside-down. I've been going crazy having no routine and almost no responsibilities. It's helpful as far as having space to heal, but also so hard because I not only lost him, but everything I was used to in my normal daily life. His parents are the only people I think really relate, as they took the last few weeks off work as well. Everyone else went back to their normal lives with work and family obligations. I have none of that right now, and it is really isolating.I'm trying to deal with it by spending time with people when I can, finding tasks to keep me busy, and frequent long phone conversations with my mother-in-law.Also trying to be more supportive of others who are going through hard times, since I now understand firsthand how much it means.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: JeanGenie on April 14, 2017, 05:23:57 AM
Sorry that you are now part of this group. As you will find, we totally understand what you are experiencing. It is so true that those who have not gone through this just don't get it or understand. I also was not one to join a grief support group (I'm a relatively private person who really wasn't interested in sharing "feelings" with people I didn't know). However, I tried it and not only did I find it helpful to talk to others who understood but several of us from the group have continued to remain close and still get together regularly almost 4 years later.

This board has also been good and I've met several people through this board who are now my closest friends. I don't know how I would have survived without these new people in my life. Those who "get it".

My friendship circle "before" was small. My DH was my best friend. So building new friendships and maintaining them was new for me. But some of them were worth the effort because they are now some of the most important people in my life.

I'm glad to hear you're back to work because, yes, routine is good (distracts you from the reality of your life). If any of your friends are particularly important to you, then you will need to reach out to them, when you're ready. Ask them to help with something (even if you don't really need the help), attempt to build that relationship again. If they still don't respond or you don't feel comfortable with them any longer, you can move on. You can also try that grief support group...again, if you don't like it, you can stop going.

Navigating this new life of our is not for wimps but this board is a great place for support.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: mona on April 14, 2017, 07:58:07 AM
Thanks JeanGenie,
I just never thought I would not only grieve the loss of my husband, but (now) at least one of my closest friends! That blindsided me. So the theme here is simply loss. Wait till it happens to you I say secretly, you see how well you do. I read Joan Didion's book called The Year of Magical Thinking on grief. It gave me a lot of credibility. My counselor does too. She says what I am experiencing is unfortunately "normal", loss of old friends and community. And it sucks. I feel hopeful though that who I've become, because his death has changed me, will bring new friendships not ever expected. Fingers crossed, I'm not dead yet.  You watch, they'll all be calling me in August because my house at the beach is in the pathway of the solar eclipse. Ha!
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: TornApart on April 14, 2017, 10:20:48 PM
Hi Mona, so sorry that you have joined our group - but you will find comfort and empathy here. I could have written the exact same post as you 4 years ago. So many friends that promised to be there for me but disappeared very quickly. I heard it described as firefighter and builder. Firefighters come in during the emergency but aren't there when you are rebuilding. They just don't have those skills. Builders can be rare. And the combination is extremely rare! I was surprised both by who disappeared and also who stepped up that I didn't expect. It takes a little bit of the sting out when you think of it that way. There were a lot of people that just couldn't cope with the pain. We don't get a choice to escape the pain. They do. I had serious abandonment issues after - as you said, grieving the loss of a husband plus friends and family that disappeared. But I have survived and become a stronger, more resilient person. I finally let go of the fury of what I considered their abandonment and lack of courage to stand by my side when I needed them most. Fairweather friends. And now I know that I have the strength and courage to face anything alone. But I won't have to because i have made a lot of new friends. I am a different person now, so my friends were also going to change. I am happy again. Moments of grief, but living life. My new life. Hope this helps knowing that others have got through it and felt all the same things.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: mona on April 15, 2017, 08:05:21 AM
Hi TornApart,
Thank you. That is a good way to look at it. I had plenty of firefighters here when my husband passed now I need the builders. I'm working on it. Yes, I am already a different person. Isn't if funny how death can change you? I think some friends too were never meant to be life long friends even if you thought that at one time. Some cannot keep up with my radical changes. I guess I remain hopeful about the newness of who I am though and what that will bring. What else can I do? Now perhaps I have more courage to try new things? My initial shock of his death has worn off (or starting to wane?) but I see me getting stronger as time passes. And when I say that I mean baby steps. I'll take whatever improvements I can get. I feel like I've had influenza for 3 months straight and now I'm just starting to take a few bites of crackers. I just wish I had someone who understands this great loss near by in the city I live in. These boards are great though. Thanks.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: MR on April 18, 2017, 09:47:22 AM
Hi Mona,
So sorry for your loss. We all have noticed that most of our so called friends disappear from our life once you are widow(er). I kept myself strong after losing my wife as needed to take care of kids one started uni after 2 days of funeral and other started 9th. If I broke in front of them it might have affected their studies. I kept crying alone and kept moving forward. No 2 days were same but I stopped expecting anything from friends. Doesn't have my family here everyone is in India so couldn't count much on them. My mom was here so she was taking care of food. We all grief differently so no 2 person will have similar healing path but you can always get up and try to take charge of your life. Support group of forums like this is life saver as people will not judge you here.

Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: Mizpah on April 18, 2017, 11:27:14 AM
The isolation is so hard.  No one's lives are razed like ours are, and it becomes so clear.  I felt abandoned especially by his friends, who I thought would bring me comfort because they too loved him - but they disappeared for the most part, and it hurt - not to have a community of rememberers.  I had a lot of anger, especially in the first couple years, toward people, and even ended a few friendships (or they ended them - it's a hard call really.  My anger calmed and now I've resumed contact and closeness with some of them - my friends, not his).  I did tons of therapy, and I did group therapy, and I sought out widows in any way I could (even  My closest people were others I met on the predecessor to this board, who were in the same general timeframe I was - we spoke the same language, and 6 years later, they are some of my closest friends (pocket people).  I tried to spend a lot of time with his parents during the early days/year, no matter how much they pissed me off or offended me, because no one was hurting like I was and like they were.  I'm so sorry.  It's so so hard, there's just no way around that.  I hope you find little bits of comfort and solace, and lean on those of us who walk your same path next to, behind, and before you. 
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: JP on April 27, 2017, 07:29:25 PM
Hi Mona,

I can totally relate to what you have said. I feel like I have a few friends who check up on me but they are a province away. The ones who live by me sent the generic 'let me know if you need anything' text and then I haven't heard or seen of them at all. One of my closest friends messaged (not called) me days after he died (5 months ago) and I haven't heard from her since.

It all just doesn't make sense to me. I wear I checked on her more when her cousin whom she wasn't close to at all committed suicide last year. Yes its true, they don't know what to say or how to act but it still just blows my mind. So I guess the general consensus is that all of our 'friends' are acting the same. I agree, I feel like I need new ones that know exactly what we are feeling.

I too have thought of joining a grief group but it seems the only ones I've been able to find have elderly members. I just feel I wouldn't be able to relate to someone who lost their spouse after 40 or 50 years together. I think thats how we all find this site, by typing in 'young widow' hoping to find other in our same position.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: Bash on May 05, 2017, 05:49:47 AM
Hi all! I can relate to everyone. Mona, I started a group therapy a month ago. All the people in the group have lost a spouse. I call  this group session my safe haven. It really is. It's scary sometimes how much we can all relate to each other.  I am a fairly young widow, in my early 30s. All my friends are just getting married or having babies, or purchasing their new home. I don't have any friends who has lost their spouse, none of them understand. Many of them don't even understand grief at all or what traumatic loss feels like. I have isolated myself because of this. This has caused me a great deal of anger. Maybe even feeling jealous.  Jealousy like why do all these people around derserve the great life they have and I'm here, alone. It's a horrible thing to feel and I don't want to feel this way but it's the way that it is right now.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: CandiceS on May 11, 2017, 07:00:01 PM
They don't know what to say. I wouldn't be mad at them. My mom wants to be here constantly and I can't stand it. I let her watch my daughter, but she wants to go through everything and throw away all of his stuff like that will make it all go away. She's the kind of person to toss everything and get rid of every memory of them so she won't think about it anymore. I'd rather be alone with my thoughts than Have people making things worse.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: kailee on June 20, 2017, 06:36:31 PM
The isolation is so hard.  No one's lives are razed like ours are, and it becomes so clear.  I felt abandoned especially by his friends, who I thought would bring me comfort because they too loved him - but they disappeared for the most part, and it hurt - not to have a community of rememberers.

We had just moved to a new city, before we really had a chance to even meet people, let alone really make friends, my husband was diagnosed (six months after relocating) and died five months after diagnosis. I have/we had no one here who is important to or close to me, and the people in our life who were important over the years are silent--the actual physical distance between us makes us easy to forget, I guess. The isolation is horrendous. I am so lonely, and I don't want to be around anyone. A paradox, but true nevertheless.
Title: Re: Isolation
Post by: Sirin on June 27, 2017, 01:52:38 PM
Mona, I am sorry you are going through this.

I have experienced a similar feeling of being a "pariah" in some of my social circles, and people/former friends "falling away".  People who say "let me know if you need anything" and then disappear forever. Or people who check up on you only in the first couple of months, and then disappear. Or people who only socialize with you when things are going bad for you, but once your life becomes good again overall (mine did a few months ago), they get judgey and weird (like a widow is supposed to be sad, not happily dating and doing all the fun things?).  I feel disconnected from a lot of people, and very limited in my self-expression (because people have so many pre-conceived ideas on how one is supposed to deal with grief).

I basically went out and found a new social circle, where I wasn't looked at with pity like some kind of sad zoo animal.