Towards the end of the first year after Jay passed away it seemed so many people had enough of me or the situation and didn’t know what to do with me anymore. What happened to all of the people who said they would be here for me? The support slowly faded and away they went. WAIT? What happened to the promises of “I’ll be here for you” and “I’ll call and check on you”.
Some friends said that after “THIS LONG!” I should be over it. I should (don’t use that word people!) have moved on by now. Moved on from what? My life? I don’t really know what that means. This loss will stay with me for my lifetime. It’s a very lonely world at this time in the loss. Now it’s even more awkward to see someone at the store. They have no idea what to say and “how are you” is more of a salutation than a real question. The couples we hung out with feel weird to have a single girl in the party. The guys who started to take me out said my theme song SHOULD be “Disturbia” by Rihanna (not kidding).
It seems to be a common theme for those who have lost a loved one- many of the people in my support system left. I actually couldn’t believe it when it happened. Especially with close family members. But it’s true. They just walked away. Maybe they ran away?
BUT I figured it out! For a couple of years, one of my very best friends was missing in action from my life. I used to see her all the time. Our husbands had been best friends and owned a business together. We had lived one street apart. Then Jay died and seriously NOTHING! No calls, no lunch dates, no communication at all. I could see on social media she was busy, but she was still ALIVE! A couple of years later I ran into her at the gym and we talked for a few minutes. What she said made it all very clear. She said she missed Jay so much, too, and had no idea how to cope. Hearing from me and seeing me made her pain even worse. She said she couldn’t be a good friend to me if she wasn’t stable herself. She had also lost her brother and her sister from cancer the past few years and couldn’t deal with it. I had looked at all of this selfishly asking,”Why isn’t she there for me?” She really couldn’t be there for me. I think the same thing happened with many of his family members. I was surprised that they weren’t there for me or my kids and it felt like they turned on me. Having her be honest with me helped me see a perspective I had never thought of. They were in pain themselves and had to heal before they could help me. Isn’t it great to see another way to look at things sometimes? Everyone’s life path is so different and I don’t want to judge them for not being there for me. That sounds narrow-minded now.
Luckily I did have some consistent people who checked on me or just listened. They were my rocks when I needed something super stable. I was walking this completely new path that felt like trying to stand on a surfboard for the first time. I kept falling and hurting and needed someone to hold me steady and get me to solid ground! Of course, my parents never left my side. One friend, Julie, whom I had known for about 14 years, but wasn’t really close to at the time Jay passed away, really stepped it up. She came every week and helped around my house, took me and my kids to dinner, entertained us at her house, and had fun with my kids when I was worn out, and everything she could think of. She just inserted herself back into my life and I appreciated it so much.
So don’t be hurt if your friends and loved ones have left for a season. They are in pain, too, or don’t know how to help you. This may not be their deal. Just remember everyone handles death and trauma differently. You can find help in another way. You can do this! Even if it’s on your own!