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No one to dance with: Adjusting to life as a widow

At certain times, the loss of a spouse is palpable

 

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I am a 60-year-old widow; my husband passed away in 2006. After that I lived with my daughter and her family until she decided that it was time for me to make my own life again. So I returned to Scotland to be close to my other daughter and my grandchild.

 

I have my own flat here, have found a part-time job, and have a lapdog that I love. My son and his partner are getting married in three months. Her family lives in South Africa so they’re getting married there. They’ve paid my airfare so I can be at the wedding but because it’s so expensive, no one else from my family can attend and I’ll be there alone.

 

I am so afraid because I’ll know no one except my son and his partner. I’ve never heard of a wedding where only the mother of the groom represents her family and this is truly stressing me out.

 

I feel so alone most times now. I really would love to make friends but am finding it impossible. Everyone already has friends and family—and has no need to be friendly with me. I enjoy my work but I can’t even afford to go to the movies. My children don’t even phone me every week because they’re too busy with their own families and friends. I miss my husband so much and never once thought I would be alone at this time in my life. I need advice please.

Signed,
Robin

 

ANSWER

Dear Robin,

No one can ever be prepared for loss as tragic as losing a spouse. It is sudden and unexpected, altering the life you once knew. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s great that you’ve settled in your own apartment and have a part-time job—and that you understand your family needs to lead their own lives, too.

 

About the wedding: Yes, it would be much nicer if you were able to be with your husband as you watch your son get married. But I’m sure you feel grateful that your son and daughter-to-be want you there with them, and have found a way to pay the expense. As mother of the groom, you have a special role in this wedding and shouldn’t worry about feeling out of place. People will want to meet you and it will be your opportunity to meet the bride’s family and friends. Try to focus on enjoying the wedding and the trip, both of which will be over before you know it but will leave you with new memories.

 

About your loneliness: It’s understandable that the upcoming festivities and the trip are exacerbating your feelings of being alone. But there are other people—single, married and widowed—who want to meet new friends just as much as you do. When all the excitement (and anxiety) of the wedding is over, make a promise to yourself that you’ll focus on making new friends. Below are several posts that offer ideas on how to go about it (many of them are no-cost or low-cost).

 

Have a good time at the wedding!

My best wishes,
Irene

 

Other posts by The Friendship Doctor about Making New Friends on The Friendship Blog and NBC Universal Life Goes Strong:

 

 

 

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Comments (3)

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  1. Jacqueline says:

    So sorry you lost your husband. It is rare that a couple is so close. Unfortunately, a woman by herself with “couple friends” is usually considered a third wheel. I don’t know where you are located or how old you are, but aren’t there any clubs you could join for women just like you? Do you have any children or family you could talk to? Are you retired? I urge you to find a professional who could help you. You don’t have to sit there and cry alone. Your life is definitely worth something and so are you. Please take care of yourself. I care.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I lost my husband feb 2007, we wera joined at the hip. I went back to the club where my husband and I used to go, it was fine for a while, until my friend told me not to phone her husband, while she was not at home , I did not know my friend was out, I was after all the husbands, I was mental and making up stories, so nobody talks to me I have tried to talk to the chairman but nothing is done about it
    there are not a lot of places to go as a lady alone so the club is my only outing except for shopping or walking the dog. I sit and cry because my life is wort nothing I’m just filling in time till I die

  3. Mickey says:

    Getting accustomed to “singledom” is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I know, first hand. Find a group you enjoy through your church, synagogue, hobby, etc. But the very best way is to volunteer. I’ve never met a person I didn’t like while helping others!

    Also, reach out. Don’t wait for them to come to you. At the wedding, introduce yourself. People will definitely want to meet and greet you. And I bet, your new family will welcome you with open arms.

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