Struggling to make new friendships

Hi, I am a 70 year old guy who lost his wife over 14 months ago, she was in hospital / Nursing Care for over 3 years and I made sure that I visited her every day. Obviously I was happy to do this, but during this time I lost my circle of friends, some married, some single.
I am now trying to make new friends, but I am finding it very difficult to do, I mainly go to pubs, I have tried other organisations without any success, but I normally end up sitting by myself all night.

Hello Peter, I am so sorry for your loss and I know exactly how you feel. I am 74 years old and I lost my husband also called Peter three years ago next week. I was his 24/7 carer for three years, the last 18 months of his life we hardly left the house as he was on oxygen and kept having really bad breathing problems, got a virus then got pneumonia and was rushed into hospital where I visited him twice a day. We also lost all our friends, and what surprised me the most is that they never, ever came to visit him or me for that matter. They used to ring and ask how he was or how I was and that was it. All my old friends still have their husbands but never once think about popping in, it is as if being a widow is contagious, I ask them if they want to meet up for lunch but it is always, I will get back to you, but they never do. These are my so-called friends I have known for over 30 years or so. I honestly don’t know what the answer is, what we want is our young lives back, we want to go back to when we were happy and had each other but we can’t so in my case, joining groups or clubs is not what I want to do, if I can’t have my husband back I don’t want any other kind of life. I love our sons and young grandchildren, but I don’t want to just be a child-minder all the time, I want and need adult company but I never see our sons unless there are our grandchildren with them so I never have an adult conversation with anyone. Oh Peter, life is rubbish, luckily I am healthy for my age and do everything for myself but the one person that can make this better is no longer here. Sorry for the rambling, but you are not alone, there are many like us on this site in the same position and starting a new kind of life at our age to me is totally impossible. I don’t want a new kind of life, I just want my old one back. Sending my best wishes. Sheila

Hi, I’m in a similar position. I was widowed 10 weeks ago. I’m only 55 and feel so alone. My children help, but they have their own grieving and lives. My friends seem to have disappeared too. Life’s so difficult and seems worse when people say they will keep in touch but don’t. X

Oh Babs, I am so sorry for your loss, I must admit, I sometimes feel ashamed for feeling sorry for myself for what I have lost because my husband and I had 50 wonderful years together and made some fantastic memories, but when I read about people like yourself, so young when you lost your husband it breaks my heart. My mum was the same age as yourself when my dad died, my brother-in-law was 46 when my sister died and I have distant friends who live abroad who lost their husbands when they were in their 50’s. I don’t know what it is but like I said earlier and like you have said, where are the friends we have known for years, is it because they still have a life with their partners and are afraid that death is catching, because one of these days they will wake up in the morning and they will be in the same position as we are and they will be knocking on our door wanting to talk. I remember when my husband died, three years ago today in hospital, he had been ill for a long time but seriously ill for about two years, my so-called friend I had known for 30 years, (we worked together, went out together, went shopping together) rang me as I was waiting with our sons for the paperwork we needed. I told her Peter had died and she said ’ I am so sorry but it’s for the best’. What kind of a friend says that to someone whose husband has just died. I am waiting for the time it happens to her then she will know what grief means. The last time I saw her was at my husbands funeral three years ago and she has never visited me since even though she comes to see someone who lives 10 minutes from me. If these are ‘friends’ I do not need enemies. I just take one day at a time, I am 74 now and luckily don’t have many years left to be on my own but when you are in your 50’s, a future without your husband seems endless and I am so very sorry, I really am. I am sending all my good wishes to you and your family at this terrible time and all I can say is to cling to each other, talk about him all the time, tell your children about when you first met and what you did. I never stop talking about my husband to our children and grandchildren, show them photos of their late great grandmas and great granddads, aunties and uncles. I am the last of my old family, I have my children and grandchildren but everyone from my old life has gone. How these poor people who have no family or have family who live in another country cope I do not know. Lots of Love Sheila xx

Hi Peter you sound just like me, looked after my wife ed and all our so called friends seemed to have disappeared don’t really do pubs tried to find clubs and events but only moved here last oct so don’t know anyone round here, like you end up at home Micky.

Hi Babs understand everything you say yes my girls are still trying to make sense of this, and as for friends where have there all gone,do we have the plague or something keep in touch Micky x.

Hi lonely what you wrote about rings true with me as well, yes I do wonder if the friends we had who are still together think there might catch something, one of our friends has cancer and going through chemo now, it seems that all we hear about is there something in the water or is it our age as it’s people the same age as us, keep going Micky.

Thank you Shelia , for your lovely words. Today must be painful and emotional for you. All the 1sts are , as I’ve been told. But I’m sure it is still difficult many years on…

My situation is a bit different, as my wonderful hubby took his own life, in a very traumatic way, when the depression that he suffered with most of his life, got too much for him. To say I’m still shocked is an understatement. The emotions are awful…and I’ve so many unanswered questions. I’ve had some people who have said to me ’ I know just how you feel ’ but, unless they have actually been through the awful ordeal of a suicide they really have no idea, the feeling of guilt, the what ifs and if onlys, eat away at me. The 3 children have been amazing, considering they are suffering too. But they still have their normal lives, work and friends etc. My world has stopped. I don’t have any grandchildren , and never will, I accept this , but it would be lovely to be a granny.
Friends can be a support, seemingly there at the beginning , and up to the funeral. But , it’s as if they think, time to move on as the funeral over so you can pick up a new life…I wish it was that easy though. We had been together for over 35 years, and had , I assumed, a happy and long life ahead of us. How life can change in the blink of an eye.
Please don’t feel ashamed about feeling sorry for your self over the years you had together, you still lost that very special person, who you shared the good and the bad with. Who was there for you. I’m sure you have many happy memories to share with your family. That’s good. Talking about him is so good too.,
My hubby was the only child of an only child, our family is very small, so we have no way of filling in the blanks over the families history now. The family line stops now, as does the name, that’s a shame.
One thing I have decided…I hate the word -widow - makes me feel old at 55, grey and wrinkly. Lol.

All the best and wishing you some peace in the days to come.
Babs. X

Hi Babs so sorry for you and you family, thought I had it bad, Micky.

Has anybody on this site tried Way Up forum online.I joined it a few weeks ago and they have all sorts of events going on around the country.I lost my husband in March this year after 50 years married.So hard.Miss him every minute of every day but trying to make a different life for myself ,Small steps. Take care all of you and be gentle on yourselves.Gill

Dear Peter,
I am sorry to hear the sad loss of your wife and the suffering of the dreaded loneliness. My wife of 34 years passed away six weeks ago after a long illness. During her stay in the hospital and laterly four weeks in the Hospice we enjoyed a huge circle of friends who visited my wife in the hospital and the Hospice, promising the earth that they would not leave me in the state of loneliness, well just five weeks down the line I can count on my one hand people who have maintained contact with me. I am very fortunate that I am receiving counseling from The Hospice.
I have taken up part time volunteering work with the Veterans Charity which gives me the purpose to get up in the morning and get out of the house. As I have previously said that I looked after my wife 24/7 for 12 years, I found it very difficult to fill the gaps of the caring time which now I was challenged to occupy. Therefore I got myself a bus pass, which enabled me to go and visit different places, which took my mind off the loneliness even just for a short time. Some times I take sandwich and coffee and go for a long journey. Do you know doing this tired me enough to go to bed at a reasonable time and broke the routine of caring. Pubs are fine but just for a short time and accompanied by someone. There are several organizations who have drop in facilities which offer company of others in similar situations over a cup of tea or coffee where you can chat about anything who in some cases offer volunteering positions within that organization.
Another thing I found out that if someone gave me 50pence for everytime they said “the time is a great healer” I would be a very wealthy man.
I miss my wife so much that there never is a moment where she is out of my thoughts. I have yet to collect her ashes from the funeral directors, the task I am dreading, the question of dealing with my wife’s personal belongings and clothing is always swept under the carpet.
Dear Peter please remember you are not alone in this grief, I hope you take some strength and comfort from all of us who are in this same proverbial boat.
Please take care of yourself and wish you all the best
Kind regards
Mac

Mac,
Regarding your wife’s ashes - I had them “glassed” into a small pendant that I wear in a chain around my neck, that way I have always "got her with me:
Good Luck
Peter

I know how hard it is to do things on your own when you’ve been used to being a couple, and also how many people just disappear from your life after something like this, usually the people you thought you could count on.
I’ve joined Way Up and find the site very supportive. I’m going for coffee today with another member, the first time I’ve met up with anybody, as opposed to posting online. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
I’ve also joined the University of the Third Age, which in my area at least, have a lot of
different activities. The trouble is of course, at the end of the day, you’re not doing things with the one person you want to be with.

We have all lost someone we have all had friends who don’t come to visit . But don’t be hard on them they just don’t no what to say , would you know wat to say if the shoe was on the other foot. We can’t bring or love ones back we will never be normal again but we can have a new normal we can have a life , but we have to do it alone . It’s hard , very hard but we have a choice we live or lives as well as we can or we lie down and die we have that choice or love ones never got that choice . I am not a big beleaver in the after life but if there is life after death then my dear wife would not want me to rush to her side . She suffered me for forty eights years so she deserves some time on her own and if there is life after death then we will meet again we will hold each other again . That’s what keeps me going just now that’s what makes me get up in the morning although it’s very lonely but I have very found memories of or life together and I feed of them . I have days that I feel like ending it but why will it bring my wife back no it won’t . You may think I am over my grief but I am far from it but I am trying for a new normal which is not easy it’s hard . I hope what I am writing makes you think about your choices and is some comfort to you and I am sorry if I have offended anyone . I understand how real your grief is and how hard it is to carry on living but I have made my choice and I hope my lovely wife is happy I have

Wilson,
I am not complaining about old friends not contacting me or visiting me, I am simply stating how difficult it is to make new friends,
It maybe in this internet age there is very little face to face contact, which is precisely what I believe that I need to help fill this void in my life.
Peter

I hope I have not upset you peter it was not what I ment to do I know it is difficult to fill that void hope you find the new friends you seek

Hello Peter,
That is a brilliant Idea

Thank you for your kind words. I am so sorry for what you have been and are still going through but when all is said and done, your husband was an ill man, whether it be cancer, Dementia, heart problems or any other life threatening illnesses, he still had an illness which can kill just as surely as any other illness can. My husband died because he was a smoker. I was so cross with my husband because I begged him to stop smoking as I never smoked nor did our sons, but he refused, the specialists told him straight that if he had never smoked he would be a very fit man. Our sons said what a waste mum, our dad has died for the sake of a cigarette. I was so cross for ages, thinking about the years he had thrown away. Because if he hadn’t smoked he would still be here. I think in a way that is what hurts the most, knowing it should never have happened. My nephew has depression and has been on suicide watch and his wife is going through hell. She is only in her early 40’s and living day to day not knowing when she gets home from work what she will find. Depression is a terrible thing and unless you have seen it first hand no-one realises the devastation it causes, not just for the person involved, but for the whole family. It is like living on a knife edge every minute of the day. I hope you and your family will, in time, get through this nightmare and find some peace, but it will take time perhaps a long time because of all the unanswered questions. Lots of love Sheilaxx

Hi all
I read a your posts and can relate to them. I was 55 when my husband ( would you believe was also called Pete ) died after a short but brutal illness. At the time I felt my world had ended, however time does heal. I will NEVER forget him & love him so much bit didnt think I could live without him. I have since learnt thanks to cruz that I have got to find out who I am as a person. I have changed so much but I still believe after 2years to live 1 day at a time. My family were an amazing help to me plus I had my job. I even got a rather large dog for company. Wouldnt it be good to arrange meetings so we can all chat & help each other through difficult times. Lots of love
Rita x

I agree with all you say. The stigma that’s still attached to anyone who has mental health issues is so wrong. It’s just the same as any other illness. For some reason men seem to think they can’t ask for help , or think it’s not manly to admit they are suffering. Depression is called the ’ hidden illness ’ . There also a bit of a stigma over suicides. I hate the words ’ committed suicide ’ as it makes it sound like they are doing something wrong. I know years ago it was illegal to attempt it. But in these , thankfully, more enlightened times, there’s more understanding, but still some way to go. I say he ended his life but it was the illness that made him do it. It still seems very unreal and hard to understand.
I feel for your family, as they face this awful ordeal , not knowing what or when it could happen. I can also see, how the person thinks they have no other way out. Their minds are in turmoil , so what’s illogical to us, seems their only option. I also think, and some may not agree, that it takes a certain type of courage to actually go through with it. I know I couldn’t do it. But I also see and feel the devastation it brings…and many emotions. I was told by some one , look at it this way - we all have skeletons in the wardrobe, but when a person ends their life, they leave their skeletons in your wardrobe - I actually understand what they meant now.
My hubby was also a smoker, but had given up for 2 years. His dr gave him a talking to and it did help him quit. I just wish all his other issues could have worked out too.
Life’s certainly very different now, for all those who lose someone, which ever way it happens…
Sending you a cyber hug (( ))
Babs.x