We write about widowhood as we live it. Together we examine the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person. The views expressed here are those held by each individual author. We take no credit for their brillance; we just provide them with a forum for expressing their widowed journey in words that are uniquely their own.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Friends vs. Family
A friend posted this on facebook.
- She/He has been changed to they/them -
I have heard the horror stories. Of widows feeling
forgotten, left out, treated like their widow status is contagious, by friends
It has never happened to me.
I have a friend, that I have been friends with since before
Seth got sick. They have always been there for me.
Recently I knew their birthday was coming up. I anxiously
waited for word on the party.
See, this birthday party is always so fun. I have never
missed it. Even after Seth’s death.
As I waited for the invitation to arrive, I didn’t realize
the party had been planned, was happening on a certain night, and I was being
I was shocked when I logged on to facebook and saw pictures
from the party. Our mutual friends were there. I frantically looked to see if I
missed an invitation. Facebook event, email, text, snail mail.. to discover, I didn't miss a invite.
I wasn't invited.
I was hurt. I felt forgotten. I felt like maybe me being a
widow was too much for my friends to be around and try to grasp. Maybe they don’t
want to ignore the elephant in the room anymore. Maybe they don’t want to catch
my disease – widowhood.
I have kicked this hurt around in my head for a while now.
Trying to understand.
Through my birthdays, Seth’s birthdays, the death
anniversary, I have never forgotten to invite them.
I mean really, how do you forget a friend?
I once forgot to invite a friend to Seth’s yearly memorial.
Another friend asked why this certain friend wasn’t invited. I quickly realized
I didn't forget my friend, I just didn't include her in the invite. I quickly
added her to the invite, and texted her and begged for forgiveness.
She of course forgave me, and came to the memorial.. Phew.
If I forget a friend, another friend will ask me what’s
going on, and I will realize I didn't include one of the most important people
in my life. I would never forget a friend on purpose.. and I will try to correct my mistake.
So it made me wonder, as they were celebrating, did none of
our mutual friends say “Where is Melinda?”
Through trying to understand it all, I feel forgotten.
I have heard all the horror stories of widows going through similar
things with their friends and family. Being at 30 months, I thought I was
passed the point of when people would excuse themselves from my life.
I guess even 30 months in, people change their mind. They
decide to not be a part of my life.
But this far out from my husband’s death?
I expected this in the early days. When I first entered
widowhood and my in-laws turned on me. I expected it then.
Being this far out, and it is just barely happening, makes me
Makes me realize that the world around me is forever
And is forever changing with each day.
Who I thought were my friends and family, is still changing.
Makes me realize that people don’t want to be around a 32
year old widow. After all, "this" won’t happen to them.. and you sure as shit don’t
want to catch my very contagious disease. You don’t want me to cough, spread my
germs to you, and have your spouse drop dead the next day.
One of the very few things I remember from Seth’s funeral is
my dad hugging me, my mom, and my brother.
In a big, bawling, group hug.
Through my dad’s own sobs, he said-
“We will get through this”.
“As a family”.
“We will get through this”.
My dad was so right. As a family we are getting through
this. I realize that my friends are not just friends, they are my family. We
are getting through it as a family.
I realize I am still learning about the new world around me.
And how nothing ever stays the same.
Family isn’t always
blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones
who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see
you smile, and who love you no matter what. - Unknown