Monday, November 15, 2010


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.


  1. Wow! Great post again. I see you coming out of your pain and stepping forward, no matter how difficult, and making a life for yourself. I am proud of you!!! So excited about the knitting group. It reminds of when ladies would get together and quilt, all ages, different backgrounds and circumstances, enjoying their passion; talking, solving problems, laughing. I hope it brings great joy and friendships for you! Can't wait to see your finished projects.

  2. It's A again, I'm so happy for you stepping up and making yourself do something. I know it is easy to make an excuse not to.

    I had a great experience this weekend myself! I made myself go for a walk around the neighborhood and while I was out I met a woman walking. We started to walk and talk together. It turns out she loves to do yoga. I told her I love yoga also. She invited me to attend a group yoga session she does for 6 other ladies in her home studio. I was so excited, with so little effort I've found another path. Who knows where this could take me.

    We have to just keep trying.

  3. Thanks Beth for your support. The group is still a few weeks away and I hope I don't give up my nerve.

    A. - I am thrilled you were able to meet someone who shares your interest in such an unexpected way. I never believe there are any coincidences. Let us know when you hit the studio for your session. Knitting serves as my meditation.

  4. Good for you. I hope you go to the knitting group. I'm always shy about going to new groups but if there's something to do, sort of an agenda, it's easier. The knitting group soundes perfect. You already have common interests, so that's a start. And even if you only get together at the group, it's still better than being alone. I'm glad for you.

    I guess I don't think of socializing as a job, but if that helps you set a goal and do it, then why not think of it that way? Your comment has given me something to think about (as I sniffle my way through the evening--it's allergy time--really bad allergy time).

  5. Thelma - Take care of your nose and yourself!

  6. I like your post as well, because I certainly feel the same way. Thank God I have understanding friends, because I go from being somewhat social to totally non-social in a span of a few hours at times.
    I am trying to be more social, and put myself out there, but it is an effort. I go on facebook, and make myself respond to others. I also try to put something positive, and funny on my blog to give someone who has a bad day some humor. I like making people laugh, and though not feeling like laughing this past year, I do enjoy hearing my kids laugh at something funny. I will tell my best friend that I will get together on the weekend, but it always fall through because of me. I get scared, or feel like not going most of the time. She is very forgiving, and probably out of the three times we plan something, I do go out once. That's better than nothing, isn't it?

  7. Today, it is the one year anniversary of my husband's death. Bob, I miss you more than words can say, and I still love you very, very much!!!

    Thanks to all of you for putting up with me, and listening to me. You are a Godsend, and I am glad I found you all.

  8. Jeanne - You will be in my thoughts today and I will focus on sending you rays of hope and encouragement. I am sure others who will learn of this day will do the same. Please know that there are others out there, although faraway who stand beside and with you on this journey and want to help.

  9. Jeanne - Socializing has become a chore for me because it is sometimes difficult to get the motivation to go out. I am guilty of not answering the phone when my girlfriend calls or not returning her call because I know she wants to go out and I am not up to it. That is what I meant when I say socializing has kind of become like another job. Being out with friends wasn't when I was married. When the boys were younger, it was almost impossible to find the time to go out on a date. When I started to see someone, the only "dates" we went on were to sports related functions because my boys were so active in baseball, etc. So we'd go to a baseball game and then have dinner out, or just hang out at the house.

    You are very right in acknowledging that even if you get out once for every three times it is better than nothing. And I know that eventually the times out will increase for all of us.

    I am a very nontechnical person but got on Facebook even though I only have a few friends including my two sons! My youngest got very upset with profile and demanded that I change it because I said I was interested in men and women. He says that that means sexual orientation. I told him I want to meet both males and females for friendship but went ahead and changed my profile to say just interested in men because he was getting very upset with me. I laugh about this now!

  10. Oh I have always had friendship related problems. I somehow allow others to make the running. I have come to realise that friends love to hear from you and by contacting them you are nuturing something special.
    After breaking up a friendship that was dear to me, I felt at a bit of a loss, but have made a project of contacting old friends and organising activities. It has been wonderful. Dinners out, going to markets, hearing a band at a cafe. Not expensive or time-consuming but touching base really keeps things going.
    I feel that you are starting to come through the fog, but I am concerned that you are focussing on what you miss in having a husband. We can truly make ourselves miserable by putting our focus on something we don't have, be it material or a relationship or other things.
    You know the happiest people are those who can live in the moment fully. You are not disloyal to the memory of a spouse by seeking a different path than what you may have had together, and finding happiness in other things that will go some way to compensate for the hole left in your life. Even when my husband was alive, things were not perfect, and I try to appreciate the freedom I have to make my life my own now.
    Love always

  11. Julie - As always, you give me a lot to contemplate. I guess briefly, I feel that I am not concentrating on what I don't have (a husband) but am focusing on what I want to add to my life to bring me more happiness, security, contentment and fulfillment - a husband. I'm sure this will result in a post in the near future. And I agree with you that my marriage was far from perfect but it was a good marriage and far better (for me) than being single. I do better within a partnership and have had enough freedom to make my own decisions now the past years to last the rest of my life.

  12. Oh yes I understand about the tough decisions, sheesh I have had to make a lot of them recently, with the illness of my son. But as far as shaping myself, there are some pluses about being single. I certainly know about what I have lost, and felt it keenly when participating in an activity as a group on the weekend, and found it difficult trying to find a place to sit when everyone was in a couple.
    However, it is a gift that you CAN spend energy and attention on your children. I am very mindful of the age we are now that if we were to repartner, there would be complications within blended families. Knowing from past experience what a juggle that is, I am grateful for the moment to be spared that when my family this year has had so many difficult demands.
    I do believe that once you find a way to nurture your creative side and things that truly replenish your energy, the everyday difficulties will be easier to handle. I see so many similarities in our situations in that everything seems to hit us from all angles at once. However, there is peace for you out there ...

  13. Julie - I know exactly what you mean about the blended family stuff. Sam wants the boys to finish high school here but I am finding it increasingly difficult to make it through on my own. The trouble with only parenting is, is that you are so drained I'm not sure quality time and attention is always spent on the kids - that's my opinion because you're doing the work of two on your own. Sam is encouraging me to hang in there another year - we will be discussing the matter as a family over Thanksgiving break next week when we all go to visit him out of state.

    I have had the same situation as you, having to decide where to sit when all the tables are full of couples. I end up with couples but usually engage in conversation and it turns out okay.

    Peace to all of us out here on this road.