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Old 09-26-2018, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Upstate NY
30,520 posts, read 9,123,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
My husband died nine and a half months ago. I have been trying to get together with several good friends that I have known for over 30 years which led to this thread.

For many years (recently) I used to go to lunch with one good friend about once a month and we spoke on the phone at least once a week (we used to work together and saw each other daily for decades). I suddenly realized that I had not seen her even one time since Hubby's funeral. Looking back I recall quite a few times that I called or emailed and she responded that "relatives were in town for the next two weeks and she would call after they leave and we can have lunch" or "I'll be in Arizona for month but I'll call when I get back" or "I have a bunch of doctor's appointments coming up but we will get together soon."

With another good friend I realized that I had left so many phone messages (about once every two or three weeks for several months) and she had not returned any of my calls that I emailed her and asked if she had changed her phone number. She immediately emailed back and said had the same number and that she had "busy".

Now, there were a group of friends that got together every few months since we retired several years ago. I suddenly realized that I had not heard about any of those get-togethers being scheduled since last fall (shortly before my husband died). Hmmm, did they still have the get-togethers but not invite me?

Now, I should point out that I have wonderful supportive relatives, and one or two other friends that have been great, plus I attend a weekly widow/widowers support group that has been amazing. But, I would never in a million years have suspected that some of my oldest and dearest friends would have ignored me like they seem to have ignored me after the death of my spouse. And, it isn't a "couples thing" as we have always socialized just as female friends not as couples. Some of the women are married, some are single/never married and some are divorced.

There really isn't a question in this thread, but I wanted everyone else who is grieving that "Yes, it does happen that friends disappear after a death." And, yes, it does make it even more lonely to be a widow. I hope that it doesn't happen to you like it happened to me.

I find this very sad because I can tell by reading your post that friendships are important to you and that you would never be the one to do this to any of your friends.

I've heard of this happening before, but I don't know why. I'm glad to know, though, that you have caring relatives and a good support group.

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Old 09-26-2018, 11:35 PM
 
5,845 posts, read 3,317,199 times
Reputation: 13676
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmellc View Post
I'm sure sorry to hear this. I think some people are fair weather friends in more ways than one. They live for pleasure and entertainment. They can't be bothered with sad occasions and losses faced by friends. Heaven forbid, you might need to talk about your loss and need to lean on someone a little. You can't be raining on their picnics.

Sounds like your best move is to find some new friends. Keep up with those few that have been there for you and your family. Let go of those who have drifted away. They are not worth it.

I agree. Several "friends" and even relatives disappeared from my life when I had a serious health challenge, even though there was absolutely no reason that it would have affected our usual activities together. It hurts and I'm sorry you're experiencing it. Life just keeps coming up with all sorts of surprises as we go along!
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:48 AM
 
672 posts, read 241,735 times
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these are my ideas about "disappearing friends"....

1. the widow (it's almost always a widow) talks about the death/husband every chance she has.
my wife has a "acquaintance" like that. this widow's conversation has distanced her friends.

2. the friends are facing the same outcome and they don't care to dwell on it with any widow.
it's like when someone has a pimple. there's no direct talk, but that's all anyone's thinking about.

3. finally, maybe they've "disappeared" from everyone. that's my situation. recently, my sisters and i have been
responsible for our mother who is recovering from two surgeries. i haven't done much of anything with my
friends since August. it looks like this will be the situation until next year.
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:57 AM
 
11,685 posts, read 13,101,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
I'm sorry that happened, but it is common. There are many possible reasons that have little or nothing to do with you, and more to do with their own inner demons and fears. Many people have never come to grips with mortality ....
I think there is a lot to this. I discovered as a teenager that my mother was this way and it made me sick. It was totally contrary to everything I had been taught in the family, in school and in church. For the better, I think, it primed me to seriously question whether paying attention to what I saw in life rather than what I was told wasn't what really mattered.

When a close friend of my mother in our small town became widowed, she made a ritual visit to the funeral home and then dropped this friend. Splat! Just as if the relationship of more than twenty years - as part of a circle of friends in a small town - had never existed. When I realized after more than a year had passed that she had not mentioned Lillian at all, I asked about it. I got an angry response that essentially blamed Lillian for being widowed.

In another few years a woman who had been our next door for a decade and a half (and widowed in the meantime) was diagnosed with a seriously debilitating, and possibly terminal disease. My mother made one ritual visit, returned to say that you could tell that Elsie was "funny" and splat! another "friend" bit the dust.

When my mother was widowed she was in a fury! She claimed people didn't want to be with you, and they treated you "funny." (A catch-all term of hers.) Why was she surprised I wonder? In the last six months of her life she found herself with a step-daughter, whom she had bad-mouthed constantly, as her primary and virtually only visitor. (My step-sister had been pledged to this duty by her father.) When I found out about it, it was my step-sister I felt sorry for.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:10 AM
 
11,685 posts, read 13,101,708 times
Reputation: 30982
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
I agree. Several "friends" and even relatives disappeared from my life when I had a serious health challenge, even though there was absolutely no reason that it would have affected our usual activities together. It hurts and I'm sorry you're experiencing it. Life just keeps coming up with all sorts of surprises as we go along!
Yes, which is how I learned, as I mentioned in my previous posting, what you see is what is; what you are told you'll see is just a fart in a jug.
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,501 posts, read 15,961,355 times
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I'm the OP. I think that the reason that I am so surprised by this is that we are/were female friends that always socialized as a group or as individuals NOT as couples. I knew that it was not unusual for people who socialized as couples to drop friends who lost their spouse, but I did not think that it would happen to me in that situation.

The people in my widow/widower support group have reported quite a few situations where their friends dropped them immediately and completely from activities, parties, dinners out, social events, etc. that they had done as couples.

I decided to do something pro-actively (more than just my calls and emails to individuals). I sent out a group email to the five women (all friends from 25 to almost 40 years) that usually are the key people who attend those dinners that either have not happened in the last 11 months (very doubtful) or I have not been invited to attend (more likely). I said how much I missed getting together and I wanted to plan a lunch together. I then listed over a dozen dates that worked for me (from mid October to mid November). I figured that the dates were so far in the future that they couldn't all claim that they were busy for all those dates, plus maybe there would be a little "peer pressure" (even if someone didn't want to see me or "a widow" they really couldn't admit that to the others).

Well, people are starting to respond, writing that they are looking forward to getting together and are eliminating dates that don't work for them. I'll post back in a few days if this worked or not.
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
17,769 posts, read 3,584,935 times
Reputation: 22889
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I'm the OP. I think that the reason that I am so surprised by this is that we are/were female friends that always socialized as a group or as individuals NOT as couples. I knew that it was not unusual for people who socialized as couples to drop friends who lost their spouse, but I did not think that it would happen to me in that situation.

The people in my widow/widower support group have reported quite a few situations where their friends dropped them immediately and completely from activities, parties, dinners out, social events, etc. that they had done as couples.

I decided to do something pro-actively (more than just my calls and emails to individuals). I sent out a group email to the five women (all friends from 25 to almost 40 years) that usually are the key people who attend those dinners that either have not happened in the last 11 months (very doubtful) or I have not been invited to attend (more likely). I said how much I missed getting together and I wanted to plan a lunch together. I then listed over a dozen dates that worked for me (from mid October to mid November). I figured that the dates were so far in the future that they couldn't all claim that they were busy for all those dates, plus maybe there would be a little "peer pressure" (even if someone didn't want to see me or "a widow" they really couldn't admit that to the others).

Well, people are starting to respond, writing that they are looking forward to getting together and are eliminating dates that don't work for them. I'll post back in a few days if this worked or not.


AWESOME GERMAINE!


Good idea....
certainly hope all goes well too and you have an enjoyable get-together...
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:12 AM
 
422 posts, read 179,519 times
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I've been reading this thread with mixed feelings. At the beginning I was thinking "how awful for Germaine that her friends are treating her like this."

Then I remembered that a regular gathering of several friends had become depressing to me due to their dwelling on their very real, and not insignificant, health problems. I had been thinking that I would miss the next monthly gathering in order to distance myself a little.

Now, after reading through this thread I feel guilty for my thoughts---but am thinking of ways to make our get togethers more enjoyable by diverting the conversation away from health problems and more toward the common interests we share.

With another group of women that I get together with, we touch on the latest health problems that any of us might be having----as we are sympathetic toward any physical struggles that one might be facing---but there is no sense of pessimism and hopelessness as with the first group and no prolonged discussion of health.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,869 posts, read 51,384,651 times
Reputation: 27756
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I'm the OP. I think that the reason that I am so surprised by this is that we are/were female friends that always socialized as a group or as individuals NOT as couples. I knew that it was not unusual for people who socialized as couples to drop friends who lost their spouse, but I did not think that it would happen to me in that situation.

The people in my widow/widower support group have reported quite a few situations where their friends dropped them immediately and completely from activities, parties, dinners out, social events, etc. that they had done as couples.

I decided to do something pro-actively (more than just my calls and emails to individuals). I sent out a group email to the five women (all friends from 25 to almost 40 years) that usually are the key people who attend those dinners that either have not happened in the last 11 months (very doubtful) or I have not been invited to attend (more likely). I said how much I missed getting together and I wanted to plan a lunch together. I then listed over a dozen dates that worked for me (from mid October to mid November). I figured that the dates were so far in the future that they couldn't all claim that they were busy for all those dates, plus maybe there would be a little "peer pressure" (even if someone didn't want to see me or "a widow" they really couldn't admit that to the others).

Well, people are starting to respond, writing that they are looking forward to getting together and are eliminating dates that don't work for them. I'll post back in a few days if this worked or not.
I am smiling at your brilliance and ability to seek solutions rather than accept a less-than-kind status quo. No matter how your experiment works out, you are ahead.

Thoughtful and creative posts such as this one are what make forums great. Thank-you.
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Old 09-27-2018, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,150 posts, read 3,652,621 times
Reputation: 13572
Quote:
Originally Posted by august moon View Post
I had dropped out of my groups a couple of years ago when my son was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Then after he passed away last October, I needed lots of alone time to grieve and heal.

I knew it would be awkward for my friends when I re- joined the meetings and gatherings. I think people are afraid they might say something to upset you, or that you will start crying. Yet they don't want to ignore what has happened either. They are not sure if they can be their normal happy selves or if they should behave like they are at a funeral home.
Maybe they just take the easy way out and avoid contact.

On the days I went back to the groups, I made sure to think of a subject to discuss or a question for each member...to ease them into a conversation with me and let them see that I am stable and ready to join in everyday conversation.

I know, it's strange that the grieving person has to be the one to ease the situation...but it seems to be so.
People fear death and so many have no idea how to comfort someone after a loss.

Would you believe my own parents didn't call me after my son passed away? The night he died I had called my brother, who still lives at home with them, and asked him to break the news to them.
No communication from them until a week later, the day before the memorial service...I finally called them to see if they were even coming (they did). But why so weird and awkward?

Forgive your friends. Call them and say you would love to catch up and hear what's been happening in their lives. Tell them you are ready for some uplifting chatting with female friends so they will know it's okay to share good things in their lives.

Good luck with everything. I am sorry for your loss.
What a wonderful reply. Heart felt.
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