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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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 (( ))

Dear Shiela,
Thank you for sharing and your kind words. It has been only six weeks since Marion’s funeral. The memories are still raw. My wife suffered a stroke 12 years ago which left her in left sided paralysis. Hence I was her principal career 24/7. Despite her physical disabilities her mind was sharp as tack. It was pleasure to care for her. Health wise Marion went through horrors of time, first it was stroke then brittlebone condition which led to several broken bones after that bowel cancer then three years ago COPD and lung cancer. All through time she never complained or moaned. Do you know Shiela I miss her so much, I too do not look forward to coming to an empty home which we have resided for the past 28 years. The bus pass has been a Godsend along with the volunteering for a charity for the veterans.
I have yet to see to Marion’s clothes and her ashes, I don’t feel I am ready for that, as each time I open the wardrobe her scent is always present there.
All her disability aids and the chair were collected within three days of her death, the house looks so empty, which is quite depressing.
I am very fortunate to have very good neighbours. They look out for me. Today for the first time since Marion’s passing cooked a hot meal, and managed to eat some of it.
I am so pleased that I have support in comfort and encouragement from like yourself and fellow Sue Ryder subscribers.
I still have counseling from the Hospice as I am finding very difficult to cope with the final image of Marion’s passing in my arms.
Dear Shiela thank you for your kind words, and hope to hear from you soon, please do take care
Kind Regards

Dear Shiela,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding your lovely Knight in Shining Armour your husband Peter. It was far from long winded message. I have found out in such a short time that spilling out your thoughts, emotions and grief while crying does a lot of good.
Marion and I came from a unique situation that both of us came from one child family, therefore we could not understand the sibling bond. In the early stages of our relation we tried to have family unfortunately after several attempts we were told that physically it was impossible for Marion to conceive this was entirely my fault, due to extremely low sperm count. We concentrated on our careers and some years later we started our own business, we were so engrossed in our new business that time had passed by where we could have considered adoption and it was too late to take that path due to our age. Through this time our very close relationship compensated lack of sibling and family affection.
In 1992 we decided to move in a bungalow, do yoy know Shiela this was the most significant and important decision we made, as in past three years Marion’s COPD took its toll where it became very challenging to cope with slightest exertion. Therefore I completely understand when your Peter found it difficult to cope with his breathing and you had the role of stablising and making him comfortable.
Therefore caring is something that comes to you automatically and in our situation Shiela, with Peter and Marion’s love was unconditional. We will always cherish the memories of the companionship.
Today I am going to a fundraising event for a local charity with my friends, which I am looking forward to.
Meantime Shiela please do take care, look forward to hearing from you soon
Kind Regards

Hi Babs, I read your story and realised how unbelievably traumatic your experience has been. My wife died very suddenly at 50 and I am 58 and like you feel cheated, lonely, frustrated and daunted by the prospect of ‘starting again’. I have found that it’s the new friends I’ve made that have helped me get through so far, because they know and accept me for the person I am now, not half of a couple - I’ve found that’s a big difference. My sister occasionally rings me to check how I am, but that really amounts to a list of what I’ve been doing in the last few weeks - not a conversation. I feel like saying - please I don’t need reminding how crap my life can be at times, can we talk about something else! I still feel lonely but getting out and doing stuff has certainly helped - I’ve also been on a date, but that’s just my personal decision that I wanted to feel in ‘normal’ company and can cope in that situation. I wish you all the very best in your journey.