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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I've been a bad friend.

It's only recently that the fog is starting to lift a little and I can see some things a bit more objectively.

One of those things is that I have not been good about keeping in touch with my friends back east. My phone calls have been few and far between, emails and Facebook messages just as scarce. I've had intentions to call and I think about them all the time, but I seem to find some excuse not to make the effort. Yes, I've been very busy here, but how much time and effort does it really take to pick up the phone and dial? The time difference is a factor for sure - three hours can really mess things up. I know my friends are busy, too, and time gets away from them just as easily as it does for me.

I still feel a little guilty about this, but after giving some more thought to it, there may be a bit more to why I'm not as quick to pick up the phone as I once was.

When I moved out here, I was well aware of the fact that I was running away from my life without Matt. I couldn't get away fast enough. I knew that grief would follow me wherever I went, and it certainly has, but many of the associations I left behind didn't. Not only was my home, neighborhood and job all associated with the life I had with Matt, but so were the people. As much as I hate the fact that my friends (who I love so much and consider them family just as much as my own flesh and blood) are lumped into that category, it's just a simple fact. Well, maybe not so simple, but there it is.

The brutally honest truth is also the fact that as much as I do miss everybody, missing Matt trumps missing anything and anybody else right now, and it has from the moment he died.  I think (hope) that in time that will change, but that's just my reality at this point.

I do resolve to pick up the phone more often. I can't let the friendships I've had most of my life, the wonderful people that supported me and got me through the toughest times when I lived in Buffalo, fall by the wayside. These are friendships I hold dear, and hope to have for the rest of my life no matter where I'm living or what is happening in my life.

(It also helps a lot that I finally bought a new battery for my cell phone which holds a charge way better than the other one that would quit halfway through one short conversation!)


Kate said...

It is so okay to be in this place. And I hope you allow yourself to be. People who love you understand. They really do. Connections with the people who remind us of our loved ones are just that - people who remind us. And we love them. No matter what. It just sometimes gets to be too hard. So go easy on yourself. You'll contact them when you can. And until then, just know that they understand.

Andrea Renee said...

Thank you, Kate. I sure hope you're right. xoxo

Crash Course Widow said...

I was a crazily busy social butterfly that first year after Charley died. I had social plans several times a week. People invited me to lunches, dinner, brunch...and I still don't know which happened first and thus was the "cause," but after the first year, it stopped...much like what you've described. Partially it was because I started falling apart after the first year and started--like you have--to distance myself a bit; life was just too hard right then, and it was easier to stay away. But a vast number of friends also stopped inviting me to things and checking in with me. Who knows why. I was planning to move, have another baby, had a supposedly clear plan for my widowed future--perhaps people were merely relieved and stopped worrying so much about me, content that I was past the worst of my loss? And besides, how were 99% of them to know that grief would continue much the same for many years to come?

Yet I self-imploded after that first year, and yes, I was a "bad friend" too...and as the years have passed and I'm aware how much the support from friends has changed and waned, it makes me sad how those friendships created a secondary loss on top of Charley's death. So I understand where you're coming from, Andrea.....

And I'll also say that, for all the friendships I had from "the old me"--the one before Charley died and from that first year of widowhood--and that have disappeared (or else mostly dissolved) since then, I've made so many amazing new friendships with people who understand and truly support me in this widowed journey, instead of feeling vaguely lost and uncertain how to still be a good friend to me. And those new friendships--both from widows (like you!) and nonwidows--are even more precious and priceless to me than the friendships of old. I'm glad so many times over that I found you as one of those friends. =)

Hugs, my dear...and best of luck with rekindling and reconnecting with your friends!!

Heather said...

One of the things I have found to be the hardest about this is finding a balance between who I was with James and who I am without him.

I have been a bad friend as well, I think in part because after 2 years, I don't want feel like I am just the girl whose fiance died anymore. While that is a huge part of me, it's not all that I am and right now, I need to figure out who the rest of me is so I can be a better person and in turn, a better friend.

Hang in there Andrea. Months 15 - 18 can be pretty brutal as the last of the fog lifts away. It sounds like you have a great circle of friends and your true friends aren't going anywhere.