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Old 04-17-2013, 05:54 AM
Location: Sunset Mountain
1,385 posts, read 2,744,928 times
Reputation: 1369


Originally Posted by Moonlady View Post
I was a widow at 29...long ago before the age of the internet. I had a couple of friends who stuck by my side, but I noticed in general that people treated me very differently. I worked for a large company in a small town, so I had lots of interaction with people. Some were distant, some outright avoided me. I came to realize that they didn't have any idea how to relate to me or what to say to me. It wasn't personal - it was them not being able to deal with it.

Fast forward 25 years and a coworker friend lost her husband suddenly to a heart attack. I attended a memorial gathering for him and I took both she and her adult daughter aside and told them what to expect. I told them that people would ignore them or "walk on eggshells" around them and not to let it bother them - those people didn't know how to cope with it.

A couple of months later she came up to me and said how much she appreciated me telling her that. She even joked that there was still one coworker who completely avoided her! She said it would have bothered her a lot more had I not warned her in advance.

I found that people who can't relate simply didn't know what to do or say. I also found that once you've been through it, you are one of the few who can relate and I've tried my best to reach out to anyone grieving when I can. Just saying I'm sorry your hurting and lending an ear means an awful lot.

Anger is part of the grieving process, but being angry at friends and family who don't behave the way you expect doesn't really help you. Sometimes you have to be blunt with them and tell them what you want or need. My closest friends respected the fact that I needed to cry a lot and instead of trying to comfort me, they just stocked up on kleenex and cried with me. It was really very therapeutic!
Thank you so much for sharing this Moonlady,
I've searched high and low for forum boards where widows will reach out to me, to other "well-meaning friends and family" and be kind and share their opinions, their questions, and their thoughts on this subject. I want you to know how important it is to hear what you need. We (the well-meaning friends) cruise these forums and boards looking for advice and answers, and we don't always know where to look for that honesty-especially during the first few months where anger is tied so closely with grief.

Sarah is 3 years out now, and we took the last year and a half to discover how to be best friends through grief. I can't wait to finish my book about this-it's been an amazing journey and if I may, use your thoughts and advice in my story.

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Old 04-17-2013, 06:09 AM
Location: Sunset Mountain
1,385 posts, read 2,744,928 times
Reputation: 1369
Originally Posted by Jrsygrl51 View Post
I will tell you this....when your spouse dies, you find out who your TRUE friends are. I am the kind of friend that if I had my last dollar, and you had nothing, I would give it without even thinking. When my husband was killed, I only had one friend that constantly called, checked on me, asked me to go out with her (even though I couldn't think straight) My sisters NEVER called or came by (except the one who came the minute after they pulled the plug to get the 1,000.00 we owed her) The only other consistent in my life was my Dad, who loved me (and who died suddenly in 2008) All others would say is, "Jesus is your husband now" which truthfully, infuriated me, because I had just lost my love. On a whole, NO ONE who has never been thru the loss knows what you are going thru.
hi Jrsygrl, thank you for telling your story-
I'm the best friend to a widow, and what you say would never have hit home until I moved in with her and saw first hand that I truly had no idea how personal, how grave, and how life shattering loosing a spouse truly was.

There was NOTHING in my life prior to prepare me to watch my friend shatter into pieces with a broken heart that will never be healed.

Sarah has told me how she has had to reconstruct her "identity" because of the simple label as widow-that infuriates her. One widow told me how some women are "broken" before widowhood, so they don't deal with it years later, or cope very well due to childhood coping mechanisms that were defunct to start with. That's what I realized with Sarah.

Sarah told me "Kat, you just don't know. And I love you so much, I hope you never have to know this, what this feels like". I got chills when she said that because the color drained from her face and I felt a fear I had buried deep down inside me, rise up to my throat and choke my words.

She's right. I don't want to know this fear, this pain, this anguish-I've seen what it has done to my best friend, and it's awful. But just know this fear, is enough to keep friends and family away because of THEIR insecurity-I've been so angry and bold as to tell Sarah's other close friends how cowardly they were because they left her side in her true time of need.

They had no response.

At the time Baron died, I lived 2,000 miles away with my husband. we kept in touch via e-mail at that time. Sarah assured me she was as fine as she could be. I visited her the summer after he died.

Her house hadn't been cleaned since I had left three weeks after the funeral.
and there had been a suicide attempt she had kept from me.
When I flew home, I talked with my husband, he agreed, I sold all our crap, and we moved down and in with her before she lost her house.

It took us a year and a half, and now we've moved 1000 miles away from where it all happened to start a new life.

Her friends thanked me for what we did, for the sacrifices we made, and the whole time I just shook my head thinking, "Jesus, all you had to do was take care of her, you all live across town from her!!!"

I'm still searching for answers myself-
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:34 AM
Location: Sunset Mountain
1,385 posts, read 2,744,928 times
Reputation: 1369
Originally Posted by CArizona View Post
A distant friend called last night and started lecturing me about planning my future. (In the guise of caring.)...I told her that I am still doing "day-by-day" but I have tackled a few things (recently) that I could have "put-off" for awhile...Solutions seem so "simple" to people on the "outside." Just "do this" or "do that" and you'll be "fine" and "brand new" again...I'm just happy that I wake-up every morning and "function." I'm not ready to plan an elaborate future for myself quite yet...Doing "day-by-day" or a few days at a time helps me stay "grounded." I don't want to put a lot of added pressure on myself right now.
What makes you say "In the guise of caring"? I ask this because it seems you want or need something different from this distant friend who called to check up on you-were you honest with this friend by stating what you just said?

What bonded Sarah and I through her grief may not be what will bond everyone during this time, but I think absolute honesty is what many relationships have been lacking, at least in my life that was the crux of my problems.

To us on the "outside" as you termed it-the bottom line, the absolute truth, the final crux of every encounter boils down to this one statement:

Here is what we would like to say "I wish I could bring back your husband. That would fix all of this-if he hadn't died. But since we can't do that, help me find a way to be your friend so that you feel somewhat human again in this world." This is what my research has led me to, and it also explains how I first felt when I was struggling to communicate with Sarah.

These are the unspoken words from many well meaning friends and family, and it becomes guised as lecture, or unwanted advice-it's possible this is their way to bring "normalcy" back to you and to think about things now before you regret them later when you are (Sarah would say) out of the "fog."

For the first two and a half years after Bear died, everything pi$$ed Sarah off. It didn't matter what I said, there was a lot of anger that bubbled up, even when she didn't say a word-I felt it rippling out of her. Not everyone can maneuver through that.

I just happen to be a gutsy, very clumsy, awkward, and complete ungraceful idiot where I would say the worst thing, the absolute wrong thing, and then ask Sarah, "hey! I can't do this the right way, if there is a right way, unless you tell me what you need. What do I do here?!" Sometimes the answer was GTFO! sometimes the answer was a simple hug and don't say a dang word.

Our friendship grew closer and stronger because of her grief because we forced ourselves to be honest, truthfully, brutally, sometimes wall pounding with anger honest-so we could better understand what we both needed from each other. She was a new person, in a way, and I had to get to know her all over again-

many well meaning friends wait admittedly for their "old friend" to come back after an allotted time of "proper grief"-I saw this with Sarah's family and close family of friends. I was the only one who knew that "Sarah" isn't going to return-it's not like the grief just goes away-Sarah said, "it's learning to live each day with this knowledge-you make room for it in your heart and your life, but it doesn't ever go away."

These are things I had to learn the hard way because there is no forum, no club, no book, no help out there for this kind of thing-and that's why we fumble, at least at first.

CArizona, every time I "lecture" Sarah, I'll think of you now and bite my tongue until it bleeds LOLOL
trial and error, that's so my life-and thankfully, I have one friend who lets me fall on my face time after time without judgement.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:21 AM
Location: Southwest Desert
4,166 posts, read 5,172,988 times
Reputation: 3514
Kat...I wish I had all the "answers" too...It does feel like going through "unchartered seas" or being a "pioneer" or ??...The friend I wrote about in my earlier post called again a few days ago...Frankly it's hard to have an ongoing conversation with her because she jumps in and finishes all my sentences with: "It will be fine." (Or something like this.)...She mentioned that her BIL just passed away unexpectedly and she went to stay with her SIL for a few days.. I said I was "sorry" about his passing. And she jumped right in and said: "It's all over now and fine!"...I'm not angry or full of hate and discontempt towards my friend. I know she "means well." And sincerely feels she is being helpful...But it's impossible to be my "real self" with her because she has such a need to play "pollyanna."...I'm not whining and complaining when she calls. I conduct myself with dignity but yet she has trouble letting me talk..I'm glad she doesn't call on a regular basis. I've tried to explain my feelings to her in the past. (In a caring way.) I've told her that I just need to be honest about my feelings at times. And need a chance to finish my sentences etc...But she has her "pat answers" and feels she's "right." So we're at an impasse.. I'm glad I have friends who are willing to "hear me out."
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:05 AM
Location: Southwest Desert
4,166 posts, read 5,172,988 times
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Kat...Thought I'd write a little more...I know my friend "means well." (As I stated earlier.) But she has a way of transmitting the message: "I'm OK and you're NOT!"...Her Mom passed away a few years ago and she "brags" about the way she handled her Mom's death...Her husband has ongoing health problems and almost died awhile back ago. (But is okay now.)..She took pride in handling her husband's "brush with death" in her traditional "matter of fact" kind of way. (By being stoic?)...I don't want to pretend that I am "made of steel." Or look down my nose at people who have feelings or go through grief...I never want to lose my ability to "feel." (Whether I'm "feeling" my own emotions or "feeling" for others.)...I don't act like a big "cry-baby" 24/7..Or try to dominate every conversation with talk about my grief and losses...I've "moved-on" to a large degree when it comes to talking about everyday life and "normal things." But I am still going through grief and trying to process my grief even if I don't bring it up or talk about it all the time with friends...And I don't want to be treated like a "whacko" or "stupid child" because I still have feelings left to deal-with and "heal."...I can't be just like my friend and pretend that nothing "affects me." (Because this just isn't true!)
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:28 PM
1,050 posts, read 2,865,811 times
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Originally Posted by Marcy1210 View Post
Me, too. I have had over the past three years at least 15 or more "certified" copies of the Death Certificate. Certified has the raised seal, and each one costs over $10 each. I've also had to have over 15 certified copies of Letters Testamentary as well as certified copies of my EIN.

I have had problems with Bank of America. Gave them a copy of the death certificate, copy of the will stating I am sole beneficiary. We bought a rental, and for some reason it is only in my husband's name. I have been making monthly payments on time. I called to say that I am the owner now, and they kept sending me something about needing the court approved documentation showing that. Made many calls to different county departments and they said I needed to go and pay 150 dollars and go before a judge. I called my son who is in the mortgage business and he contacted an attorney and he said it is not necessary. They just wanted that done to insure they get paid. Now I am in the process of selling.....First contract fell through, and now have another. Anyway I was going in circles trying to get all of the proper documentation which was not needed
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:49 PM
48,519 posts, read 80,998,062 times
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Originally Posted by educator1953 View Post
I am not a widow, but my mom is now. Dad died September 12, 2012. Mom is still living at her home, and I check on her daily.

Like Jude, we had anticipatory grief. Dad had Advanced Alzheimer's Disease when he died. Mom and I say we lost him years ago due to this horrible condition. We took care of him at home until we were just overwhelmed by how much care he needed. He was in a skilled nursing facility the last months of his life. He couldn't walk, was incontinent, and hardly knew us most days. He had no quality of life. One day he just decided to not eat, drink, take his medicine, or respond to the nursing staff. He decided it was time to go (He died six days later.), but we grieved the loss of him for over two years. During all this time, Mom's friendships steadily declined.

Mom's "friends" have disappeared. She reached out to them all during Dad's illness and afterwards. She sent Christmas cards to them and not one responded. As she says, "What's the use of having friends? You can't depend on anyone except (in our case) family."

One of Mom's friends and her husband took vacations with Mom and Dad in previous years!! How could you just drop someone when times get tough? I certainly wouldn't do that, but I guess that's because I've been through all this. Like Jude, I have promised myself not to be like this when my friends need me.

Thanks for letting me vent about this subject which has really bothered me for months!
I have to question oif they were really friends by what a freind is.mnay people know people but have no friends. friends take a life committment from both aprties .I know alot of epopel but consider three peopel friends who have been there thick and thin for me i my life besides family.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:52 PM
Location: Home, Home on the Front Range
21,019 posts, read 15,229,299 times
Reputation: 11767
My friends were my greatest support when my husband had his stroke and subsequently died. Friends from work, church and elsewhere: they were all there for us and then for me. Some made a point of visiting my husband in the hospital and at home. A couple would sit with him so I could have "me" time. After he died, my women friends made sure I got out for ladies nights and that made me feel so loved.
I was very blessed.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:45 AM
Location: SWFL
21,422 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18773
Wow, TigerLily, you sure were blessed! Good for you. Nice to hear that someone has truly nice friends.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:00 AM
Location: Southwest Desert
4,166 posts, read 5,172,988 times
Reputation: 3514
I know I'm probably going to need to make some changes when it comes to friends. (Changes in my thinking!)...I may live for many more years. Who knows?...I can live the rest of my life as a loner in my isolated little "cave." (And just step "out" once in awhile.)...Or I can become a little more "mainstream" and learn how to "adapt" to many different cultures and step out of my "comfort zone." (And controlled environment.)...I sort of "bottomed-out" over the past few weeks. (To the point that I even became worried about myself!)...But all of a sudden I see a little "flash of light." And I "get it" that my future and my happiness rests on my own shoulders now.
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