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Suddenly single: Female friendships after death

January 9, 2008 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

A writer is suddenly single after the death of a spouse…

Perhaps no event is as life-changing as the death of a spouse. After my friend and colleague journalist Mickey Goodman of Marietta, Georgia lost her husband Phil, she never realized that the loss would have such an enormous impact on her female friendships. It simply threw many of them into a tailspin.

Mickey graciously shared her reflections which are abstracted from a longer essay and printed below:

There are books, pamphlets and web sites devoted to practical matters that must be dealt with following the death of a spouse: advice on attorneys, wills, insurance policies, retirement, social security, bank accounts, ad nauseum. There is no advice on dealing with people who crush your spirit.

When a friend from my teaching days who had also lost her husband approached me after my husband’s funeral, I expected a life preserver. Instead, she threw me an anchor. You have to join my group, she said. We call ourselves the Merry Widows.

Who knew that once close couple-friends would suddenly stop calling or that another would advise me not to continue in the couple’s book club because I would be more ‘comfortable’ among women? I never dreamed that the husband of an acquaintance would sidle up to me, wink and say, “If you ever get lonesome all alone at night, just call me on my cell phone, any time.”

In contrast, so many friends soared with the angels. The neighborhood dinner club brought mountains of food, (wo)manned the house while we were at the funeral and cleaned up afterward and left enough meals in the freezer to last for weeks. My next-door neighbor still calls frequently to check on me. Phil’s buddies have initiated me into the Monday lunch bunch.

Though I’ll never become truly accustomed to the single life, I’m thankful for many wonderful new friends and a closer relationship with others. My children were (and are) my sustenance, my seven young grandchildren, dessert. And my life marches on to a different beat.

To read more of Mickey’s work, go to: www.mickeygoodman.com

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Category: Death, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello Elaine,

    My husband died in February. I have a sister nearby, but no other family. I now live on my own with my dog. I am not interested in relationships yet, just friendship with other women in the same situation. It is hard because most of my friends are part of a couple, or fully involved with children and grandchildren and have no need for me. I think feeling needed is so important.

    Try the website http://www.fishingforafriend.com, as it is not only a dating site, but a place where you can meet other women just for email friendship and/or companionship.

    Good luck 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I lost my husband Jean- Paul in March 2012 whom I miss very much but this does not stop me feeling lonely.
    I have a good family & friends whom I can talk to when I am feeling low but it is things like holidays and just getting away from things for a while but I don’t feel up to going on my own.
    Can you give me some advice on how to make friends with other people who are in the same situation.
    Thank you Elaine

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