Friends do not check up

My husband died at 54, four months ago. At that age not many similarly aged friends have suffered the loss of a partner.

Though we were not well integrated into the community ( I work Monday to Friday in another city), we had a few friends, I would say more like acquaintances where we live. My husband was an introvert and did not have any close friends at all. It was the way he was. We were very happy and content as a couple in our own company, each doing their thing but also being together. I am thinking I should have invested more in friendships but I did not want it to be something for something either, like a duty. So yes, happy as a couple not really needing additional company.

Initially it was a shock to everyone that my husband had died during a standard, routine diagnostic examination, a chance of 0.02%, so everyone wanted to know the (gory) details. I did not realise they only asked (I presume) because it was novel, unusual and perhaps something they themselves would like to know to protect themselves from the same fate. I am just guessing why they were so interested and engaging in conversations in a way they had not done prevously.

In any case initially people would come and offer help but that stopped soon after my parents-in-law left. Since then I have had no one here in my neighbourhood check how I am. The last conversation I had was with a couple - I have known the husband for 25 years - who live 250 yards away, I was pretty upset during that phone call and broke down in tears telling his wife I was worried about finances (actually cash flow) and would have to take on a cleaning job possibly. I am actually not in a poor situation if I sell our house which was the plan anyway, but cash flow unfortunately is an issue now, but not in five months potentially. She knew that. I

Since then I have heard nothing from this couple. This is a couple which we saw not often but last time was eight months ago eating oysters in our garden and then going to a summer party for people who live here in this part of town.

I am just surprised as they know I am all on my own here. I am more surprised when I consider the reason why I know her husband so well is because we are both committed Christians. They go to another church. I know I cannot expect Christians to be walking the perfect walk with God. I think I would have reached out if she had lost her husband. and I hope I would have done so at regular intervals.

I spend a lot of energy wondering why they have not contacted me for three months.
Anyone else with the same experience?

Other ones - some live quite far away - also do not contact me anymore. I am wondering if it is because seeing this has happened to me could remind them that they could lose their own partner suddenly. Better to keep these thoughts at bay therefore better keep a distance, one friend might think.

In any case, I do not have a large network of friends. Right now I could count on two people and on my sister and mother in law. It just feels like I have not done the right thing up until now, ie investing in friendships. Too busy working or being at home with my husband enjoying each others company.

Having said that I am ok in my own company, and I can park my grief if I have to, but it feels strange not to have someone here whom you can count on 100 percent.

By the way, I do know that some friends abandon you in bereavement. I had read that. I am if I am honest not surprised. But like a sudden death of a husband, you just don’t think it will happen to you.

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My wife and me needed no one else,having each other was enough for both of us,if someone visited us or we visited other people that was a bonus.
We treat bereavement in this country as if it is covid and we can be infected with it so avoid the people affected like the plague,we remind them that it can happen to them at any time so they avoid us.
I hope you sort your problems out.

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My wife and I were the same , only needed each other . Any time we had off from raising the kids was spent together , we had such a laugh when out just the 2 of us didn’t want / need anyone else .
Like a lot of people when covid happened we ended up staying in a lot more , that became the normal so didn’t even really go out much after that , were just happy at home in each others company . Since she passed 3 weeks ago me and the kids have even said to each other , we’ve been out more this last 3 weeks than we did as a family in the last 3 years , although that was just to get out of the house while we wait for the post mortem so we can at least start sorting the funeral :pensive:

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I can certainly understand and sympathise with you regarding the situation that you find yourself in. My wife spent a fair amount of time down the years encouraging me to build a network of friends and interests because bless her she thought it would benefit me generally,nothing to do with losing her. I never did because like you she was my best and totally reliable friend plus everything else,she set the bar high and no one else could leap over it. Now that she is gone I can see the wisdom of her words much more clearly because I don’t have what I call real friends and I’m not close to my distant family.
Even so my experience on this forum and one other has revealed that in many cases people who do have family and friends and hope for support from them find that it doesn’t happen,quite the reverse as they tend to disappear.
I don’t know the answer as to why,one possibility is that the subject leaves them feeling uncomfortable,not sure what to say,afraid of upsetting or causing offence. Whatever the reason it seems to happen quite often.
This new and unwanted experience reveals a whole load of emotions at the most unexpected of times,the loss,the loneliness,lack of a physical presence and as you say someone to talk to and rely on 100% of the time.
Christian or not it doesn’t take much in the ways of compassion and caring to devote a small amount of both and make a point of keeping regular contact. I send you kind thoughts and best wishes of strength.

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I think people are mostly selfish and if it doesn’t concern them they are not interested. Also death is a taboo subject in this country, like the plague, avoid,avoid, avoid. Supposed to be in a day and age where there is help and support for everyone but sadly lacking for bereavement. When I lost my husband and had 4mths off work on my return to work interview my time off was recorded as personal stress, I said that’s not reflecting it was bereavement, HR said we don’t have a sick leave category for bereavement! well that sums it up doesn’t it. So if someone picked my file up seeing 4mths off for personal stress what do you think they would think?

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@LynT I think you are right that it is a taboo.

With regards to the category for bereavement, there is a category for it in medical language (i think it is called complicated grief). If you were written off sick, the employer does not need to know the reason. But I think perhaps the employer gave you time off, If so, she could call it sabbatical. The words there is no category for that sounds sarcastic and she does not want to help if she uses those words.

Thanks for sharing the experience and that it cannot be like that.
I really just enjoyed being in this house with my husband downstairs playing his video games or cooking for me while I maybe working or researching things on the internet. I certainly did not enjoy being with people for the sake of it. Plus we live in Germany, and often I find German conversations superficial. It is nearly like they are afraid of saying anything controversial, but often I think you have to dare more if you want to make real friendships.

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Hi, I was 52 when I lost my husband & my single friends were ok but the couples we knew faded off the scene quickly, we used to regularly see all these couples.

I was hurt & didn’t understand why I was “dumped”, i rang one of them & she was truthful saying that I now make the group uneven & as I’m now single would I go after one of their husbands” I replied if any of you lose your husbands you’ll know how unkind you’ve been & for the record I wouldn’t want any of their husbands yuk :face_vomiting:

So even if you have friends a change in your life can mean friendships are gone.

My in laws are still in my life and I’m grateful for that & have made new friends but I’m eternally grateful that I once had the bestest buddy in my husband & how grateful I am that I had my special person :slightly_smiling_face: who knew me inside and out & we faced life side by side.

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I lost my husband 28 weeks ago after 50 years together. I found it a great comfort immediately after and at the funeral to receive so many sympathy cards and seeing old friends turn up for his funeral. However, as the weeks have progressed, most of those friends have not been in touch again. My family are there for me, my children and brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins but where are our friends? It makes me feel that they were only really friends to him and that I don’t count any more.

my sympathies to you. it is a shock. it is a turning point in life, the loss and then when people “turn on you.” one of those hard, hard lessons.

you sound like a lovely person, educated. I would not do cleaning jobs. maybe administrative at a church, as that might be a comforting atmosphere. economize as much as possible. and take advantage of free counseling services. counseling helped me a lot, professionals trained helping one with grief. you do not have to worry about them not being nice and attentive. :orange_heart:

Hi yes I agree with everything you have all said about people losing contact. We had a really good friend who has been involved with our life for fifty years but now no contact at all. I just don’t understand why they think this is acceptable. I know people have their own lives but what does it take to make contact every now and then. I am lost for words regarding this person. It really hurts. Hope everyone can have a better day.x

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I have had same and just want to say: people sometimes leave our lives even after a long time. even long marriages with children end in divorce and the couple stops communication. that must be a real shock. I have had family ruptures after death and it took several years to heal and mend.

I think these things are common … but only when it happens to us, do we learn about them. I have had to let the people go who wanted to go.

I read an interesting quote: “I will allow someone in my life for as long as they want to be there. The moment they showed they didn’t want to be in my life, deceiving, insult, ignoring, irritated,
I respected their opinion and let them go.”

A good quote by Berit, and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
You can only move forward by starting from where you are. If we aren’t getting what we want or need from who we know, that’s sad, but it’s what it is.
The way forward is to accept it for what it is, grit our teeth and get out there, do more things, making new friends along the way. It takes time, but it’s there to be created.

I’ve had to let a few people go, I never give them a thought anymore, and never will.

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