Hello my new friend
Taken from From One Widow to Another, ©2009 by Miriam Neff – Used with permission of Moody Publishers.
What brought you to this topic? Were you, like me, surprised by the ‘friends’ that disappeared when you became a widow? Did you come here surprised, angry, lonely, disappointed? I understand.
I read before becoming a widow that we lose 75% of the people we believed were our friends. That won’t be me, I thought, as friends flooded our lives during my husband’s terminal illness. The statistic has been true for me as well. During my first year alone, the exit of friends has been one of the more painful parts of my journey. I have pondered, researched, wept, and confided in those still in my life.
What I can tell you is that your loss is real. Your pain is real. However, you can move forward. The pain lessens as you seek to understand. Freedom comes as you forgive. And there will be space in your life for new relationships.
In the months that I have been alone, I have come to chuckle over many of the reasons people tell me that friends have exited my life. I have also had the opportunity to help educate some of these dear people as they truly do mean well. I have learned much myself and look back at some of MY behavior in the past. I wish I could do a ‘rewind’ of some of my own blunders.
May I share with you some of the myths we widows believe? This list has evolved as I have become friends with a growing circle of widows who have been willing to be transparent with me. Our bond of widowhood, which, of course, we do not want, nor would we choose, is nevertheless, a powerful bond. We find ourselves describing an event in our lives or a feeling, and our new friend communicates “Ah ha, you too? I thought I was alone – until now.” Our circle of friends and acquaintances also believe many of these myths making it difficult (this is an understatement) to move into our new life without our mate.
What I can tell you is that your loss is real. Your pain is real. However, you can move forward.