I received an email a few weeks ago from a woman I didn't recall knowing but I enjoyed it because it was all about the books she was reading and a number of them were ones I was interested in as well! Then the next week another email came and this one contained information about a weekly knitting group made up of about 30-40 women who rotate in and out. The email gave a description of the projects each woman who had attended the group that week had been working on. It dawned on me then that the email was from one of the women I randomly met at the knitting store I frequent and struck up a conversation with a few weeks back. She invited me to join the knitting group and asked for my email.
I haven't gone to a meeting yet because of football season and now they won't be meeting until after Thanksgiving but I am definitely going to attend the first week in December. There are two older widows in the group but still a connection and other women who although don't share my widowhood do face mid-life changes. It is not going to be easy to just show up and present myself to a group of strangers but the thing about knitting is that you can listen to others while keeping your hands busy and looking occupied. It was very nice that someone who doesn't know me took the time to add me to her email list and contact me.
I've written before about how widowhood has isolated me and that I have lost friendships I used to have because of my circumstances. Here is an opportunity to get back in a group and from there who knows where it will lead? I always believe that first steps result in others.
All of this reflection on friends made me consider the fact that sometimes I haven't been a good friend. I have two close girlfriends, both divorced and one has left me a phone voice mail message and another on Facebook, neither of which I've responded to. Widowhood sometimes robs me of my time management abilities. An issue comes up and I forget about the message. I use my circumstances as an excuse at times to not put the effort in I need to.
Friendship is a two way street as are relationships. They require give and take and the attention of both parties. I rationalize that because my divorced friends have lives a bit easier, they should do more of the "work." I realize that this is not the best attitude to take here. Yes, I have a stressful and tough life right now but that doesn't give me the excuse to totally throw in the towel. I may not be able to do as much as my girlfriends but I can do what I can. So I sent my girlfriend an email telling her I was thinking of her and wishing her well with the new man she is seeing. She wrote back and seemed very pleased that I'd thought of her and suggested we get together soon to talk. That will be something to look forward to.
I hate to say that I look at socializing as another job in among the many that are already crowding my plate. But I have to look at it as a job that will result in more good than negative and worth the extra effort I put into it. I do get so irritated that widows seem to have more than their share of jobs and that even non-jobs like maintaining friendships somehow become more tedious than they were before non-widowhood. I wish it were all easier and not so complicated all of the time.