Jump to content
widower

Do You Feel "abandoned" By Family And/or Friends

Recommended Posts

The only way I could heal was to be selfish, which was very foreign to me.  I was worried about my daughter and my therapist said, "she is an adult, and if you want to be of any value to anyone you must think of yourself first."  I did, I explained it to my daughter and husband and we all went our separate grieving ways, not abandoning each other, but each figuring out what to do and realizing it had to be done individually.  We all grieved differently, but weekly we would sit down, cry and do whatever we needed to do to start healing.  Some weeks we would not meet, others we met a couple of times.  Communication was the key and understanding that the process would be individualized.  Today, almost two years later we are closer than ever and trust each other with everything.  We still have moments of sadness, but they are getting further apart and do not last as long.  God Bless everyone on this painful journey.  Please be gentle and non-judgement with yourselves. 

 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm back from seeing my mom.  Very glad I went.  I visited a very supportive friend first (her dad died of leukemia) then hitched a 2.5 hour ride with her friend to my hometown.  Same people who offered me a place to stay and reiterated their offer.  Good people.  Mom had finished radiation a few days before.  My dad and brother remarked that her condition visibly improved since radiation ended; she doesn't use her cane indoors and she can prepare meals again.  It was some of the best time we have spent together.  She said it was a huge boost to her spirits, which is so important.  Already planning to return.

As for my friends, well, it became obvious to me those that are able to hang with the grief, guilt and sorrow and those that are not.  I am opting to focus on the former.   I try not to judge.  None of this is easy.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need supportive people around you right now.  It doesn't mean the others are bad people, just don't know how to handle it, their time will come to learn, I hope it's not rushed.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surfergirl, I know Im late to this but I know what you mean about seeing people who can hang with grief or not. And Kay is right, people who arent there dont help and make it worse. 

It definitely is hard to judge but I still have anger against some people about abandoning. They didnt know how to handle grief but damn! Neither do I! Like Kay said, their time will come to learn but its devastating to lose a family member and THEN friends. Like you arent lonely enough. I feel like I dont have many friends anymore but Im learning to take care of myself. I might need to start going to therapy because no one else can help me. Definitely post here if you think it helps. I would post everything if I could lol even my grief counselor thinks this place is great and offers it to other people she helps :)

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the same thing happen. My dad died in mid January and  initially I had a lot of support, and then everyone (almost) was gone, including my sisters, who just want me to hurry it up and get them some money, but they don't want to help or to talk to me. It is very painful and very isolating. This site has been very helpful and I've felt much less alone. Also a grief/bereavement counselor that works with the Hospice has been tremendously helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my mom died, I reached out to the rest of the family and tried to help them but not one did so to me!  It's weird how it works out, isn't it.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is very weird...but maybe it's not really. Rather than use their real names, here is this. My older sister, the Starving Artist, is functionally like an adolescent and cannot manage her own life-doesn't really want to work or do anything that is not totally of her own choosing. My younger sister, the Princess, has married two men for money and in between she basically conned our father out of something like $120-$130K to house her and her children, by buying her a house. It would have been better to have rented, but she thought that since her two sisters owned their own homes she deserved the same. No matter that I bought my own from my own employment income and the Starving Artist sister bought hers with money from her divorce settlement. The Princess had no equity in the mansion in which she had lived with her sociopathic husband because they refinanced several times to pull out the equity. When he lost his law license (embezzling from his law firm), she left as soon as the money ran out and started to work on my dad.

The Starving Artist showed a little more interest and concern in my dad than the Princess, but they both told him that is he wanted to move an hour away and live in the same town as two of this three daughters and all five of his grandchildren, he would see very little of them. They said this to a man of 78, living with Parkinson's in a split level house, who had just lost his wife (the only one for him since he was about 14). Small wonder that it was so easy to coax him out to Arizona! I really really wanted him to be out here with me, and we did have a great ten years together. All the stuff from the past (and there most definitely was some) was put behind us. We were limited by the degenerative nature of his disease, but not otherwise limited; both of us were willing to do anything for the other. It makes me cry writing this...I sure miss him! 

Anyway, here are my two favorite quotes (from myself-haha) gleaned from a couple of decades working with people.

"People do what they do". Meaning that whatever kind of behavior you have seen them dish out in the past - to you or other people - os a good predictor of what you are likely to see in the future.

"As people age they become more of whatever they were before". Of course there exceptions to everything, and I wouldn't be working with people if I didn't think they could and do change. Nevertheless, what I have seen is that people generally become more distilled versions of themselves. If they are mean they will probably get meaner. Stingy people get stingier. If they were sweet and generous, haplessly drifting through life, they may be doing so at at a level that is a danger to themselves.The self-centered narcissist who has a firmly established image of how special they are...well we all have one of those around, and know where that heads! Look out!

Anyway, those are my thoughts on that...not that it kept me from falling into the same trap of hoping I would see better when my dad died...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope it is ok for me to post this on your thread and I'm sorry it's so long winded.
My heart is broken...my father passed away after a long battle with cancer six years ago. Thereafter I lost my partner and my best friend that I grew up with. I supported her when her father passed away but she did not even visit me when my dad passed, and soon after lost contact with me altogether.
 My father's brother, whom I loved dearly has also disappointed me deeply.. My parents supported him financially over the years. They also took him into our home multiple times when he needed a roof over his head. My mum cooked for him even washed his clothes. Now he has found a new partner and is settled so he no longer needs us. As for his new partner I find her to be quite disingenuous and manipulative.
This past weekend my aunty and uncle on my dad's side, came to visit from interstate. We were very close! My mother caught up with them and invited them over for lunch/dinner, and made a date that suited them. My mum prepared a banquet and contacted them on the day to confirm a time. My aunty told her she forgot and had made plans to visit her long lost neighbours that they ran into, so mum asked them to come over afterwards. She was then told that my uncle had organized dinner that evening for my relatives that were visiting. He invited his partner's children and failed to invite my family. When my mother said that she had prepared all this food, my aunty yelled that she did not come on a holiday to have an argument! She asked mum if she could visit the following day but my mother was so upset that she refused as she had a doctor's appointment. 
My mother, sister and I are so hurt. I am heartbroken that my relatives prioritised a neighbour over us and that we were not invited to my own relatives get together. I loved my uncle like he was my own father and now I feel like I've lost my dad all over again! I can't believe I will never see my relatives again and they probably think they've done nothing wrong. An elderly widow who went above and beyond for them. I feel so sad.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paula,

I am sorry this was you and your mum's experience.  Sometimes there's no accounting for people, and we can't begin to understand how they could act like they do because we ourselves wouldn't respond that way.  Sometimes it only points us to realizing they aren't to be counted on and the relationship perhaps wasn't as deep as we'd thought...and we let them go.

When loss occurs, previous loss often resurfaces, so it feels the grief is compounded.  I've learned it helps to try and separate the different losses and make a point to grieve them separately because when they stack like that, it can feel overwhelming to deal with, if you can do that.  If you haven't seen a grief counselor, you might try one, a few sessions can make a difference.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well ... here I am -- back again -- with a bit of an update. Looks like the grieving process has led my family to estrangement. Mom died in 2011, and in 2013 my sister told our Dad that he was not "core" family to her (that only her children and their offspring were her core family). After that, my sister and her family stopped communicating with our Dad/Grandpop. Their complaint with him was that he was, and still is, more interested in dating than interacting with family (even though Dad is now 86 years old). Ok -- I was able to maintain a relationship with everyone (separately), until Thanksgiving 2015 when Dad had no holiday dinner plans. I told my sister (the Sunday before Thanksgiving Thursday) that I will need to take Dad out if he has no dinner plans - which is what occurred. Well -- after that, my sister and her whole family started shunning me too. I know this happens in families, but, of course, didn't think it would happen in mine.

I have had some time to deal with this estrangement, and know that I did what I needed to do for my Dad and for my Soul (not to mention for my dearly departed Mom who loved my Dad). I am not conflicted in my decisions, and not to deal with my sister's family, as I am not interested in reviving a relationship with them that they can so easily cast aside. I am worth more. I have some good friends, but I know I am more cautious knowing how people can hurt each other so carelessly. 

Just signing back into this forum gave me some relief knowing I am not alone.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kayc,

 thank you so much for your response. I wrote my message thinking no one would read it let alone respond, however it helped somehow. I felt as though a load had been lifted off my chest.

Your advice makes perfect sense! You are correct, I would never treat someone that way and perhaps the relationship with my uncle was one sided. I thought I could count on him but clearly I can't. I will try to separate this loss from the loss I experienced with my father's passing. I need to be strong and stand up on my own two feet! It is also a good idea for me to seek some counselling. 

It is interesting yet sad to see that I am not alone. Thank you again KC, you have helped me process my feelings and see things more clearly. ❤

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paula, I wish you well going forward.  We have no control over other's choices but can only set boundaries for what we will and will not put up with.  Finding his behavior unacceptable gives you thought for the boundaries you might want to set.  If you feel it's a relationship worth having in your life, you might leave the door open.  If you feel he's narcissistic you may want to close it, only you can decide what's best for you and it's okay either way.  We forgive people but that doesn't mean we have to keep letting them trample on our feelings.  I usually convey to them what the boundaries are and if I think it important, why.  I've found often it may not matter to them, but it matters to me and that's what counts! :)

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kayc,

 I do believe that door is well and truly shut. I won't be initiating contact and time will tell if he will. As he no longer needs us, I highly doubt he will. If he does I will explain why I'm so hurt.

It's the loneliness that is so hard. 

Thank you again for taking the time to help, you are lovely x

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured that door was shut, only you can make that decision though.  I truly understand.  Sometimes we have to let people go for our own peace of mind, we want to acknowledge our value of ourselves and sometimes that necessitates boundaries on how they treat us going forward.  At least that's been my experience.  If they want to change and treat us better, they can demonstrate it and we can see how we feel like dealing with that then.  

Good luck to you, you've been through a lot.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have just discovered this group after many years of wondering why everyone seemed to abandon me soon after my wife died, and if anyone else had ever experience that.  I don't live in the USA like the rest of  you, but in England.  But I can say that the issues described on your pages are exactly the same as those I have encountered.

My wife died seven years ago, after 39 years of marriage.  There was a wonderful turn-out at the funeral of family and friends.  After the funeral though, the friends I had been socialising with found reasons not to keep to our weekly get-togethers, and in the end I gave up calling them.  None of them ever called me back, and have now gone. 

Only a handful of colleagues at work bothered with condolences, the rest just pretended nothing had happened.  The worst was one of my staff complaining to my manager that I had 'gone quiet'.  When I explained (as if explanation was needed) that my wife had died two months before, I was told they still expected me to function as normal, and my loss should not interfere with my role as a manager.  So being quiet two months after your wife dies apparently turns out to be a disciplinary offence!

However, saddest of all was the reaction of my family.  They all called me after the funeral to find out how I was, and then.... nothing.  I tried calling them, but they were very cool.  None of them called me or visited me.  I went into depression and was put on medication.  Three years later my brother - whom I had previously got on well with - rang me, annoyed that I had left the price tag on a birthday card I had sent his wife, which showed I had only paid a paltry 49p for it.  I couldn't say that my life was in a mess, that I struggled to remember or send cards or do anything else come to that, so I took the reprimand and apologised.  He left with the words 'see you sometime' and I said 'when'.  I said I didn't go anywhere, that I would love to see him, that I was free that weekend and 'please can I come and see you'.   I was literally begging him to let me visit him and his wife.  He replied that he would check his rota at work and let me know the next weekend he was free.  I was overjoyed.   He never called back, and I sunk deeper into depression.  Two years later I was still waiting for his call. 

Five years after the death of my wife, my sister rang and asked if she could visit me, saying she  had been meaning to call me but couldn't find the words after so long.  I broke down on the phone.  I am now back with my sisters, but not my brothers.   I understand that during those five years, my family got on as normal with each other.  They visited one another, went on holiday with each other and socialised together.  For whatever reason, they just didn't want me to be part of that anymore.  I had been valued as part of a couple, but on my own it seemed I was nothing. 

Yes my loss was seven years ago, and those who have never experienced the loss of a loved one, would probably think I should be 'over it' by now.  Perhaps they are right.  But I still break down at the memory of happier times, or when a particular song takes me back to the old days, or at the drop of a hat really.  I cry a lot.  That is my legacy.  Perhaps if I hadn't felt so abandoned, perhaps If I'd had the support I needed so badly, I would be a happy 'normal' person now.  I don't know!

I'm sorry if I seem to be wallowing in self-pity.  I'm just telling my  story as it occurred, and trying to understand why things happened this way.  I've been wondering also, for many years, if it is normal for a bereaved person to experience reactions such as this, and sadly this site confirms that it is.  Perhaps someone should do a study.

I've never been able to tell anyone about this before.  Thank you for letting me tell my story now.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so sorry for the loss of your wife.  I am glad that you have found this place.  And we know that it does not matter how long our loss has been for we will always miss our beloved ones. Here you do not wallow for we know and understand what you are going through. Thank you for your story and know that those who are here listen. I am glad you are able to tell your story.  

Anne

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Les,

I am sorry you lost your wife, but very glad you've found your way here.  We don't "get over it", but we can, with a lot of effort, learn to adjust to the changes it means for our lives, and build a life we can live and find purpose.  I don't say that lightly, I'm 12 1/2 years into this and it doesn't happen automatically nor overnight.  

The responses (or should I say lack of) you've received from family and friends is all too common, unfortunately.  People are uncomfortable with death.  They act like it's contagious.  They want to "fix" things and can't, so they withdraw.  Going from a "couple" to one person changes dynamics.  Our "friends" never had anything to do with me again.  Amazing.  I don't want friends like that, I was stunned by it, but I have worked hard at building new relationships in the years since.

These articles might be of interest to you: 

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2015/11/in-grief-feeling-let-down-by-closest.html 

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/grief-support-when-others-fail-to-meet.html 

I have been fortunate, my loss was friends, but my family stood by me.  They did not, however, understand, they can't, they haven't been there.  They still have their spouses, they don't know what it's like to be alone.  It's vastly different growing old alone with no support.  I am very glad your sister finally reached out.  It's like she wanted to and didn't know how to, so I'm glad she finally braved the gap and just did it.  Sometimes we have to show people the way back to us, make it possible by letting them know how.  It's not about their deserving it, it's about what do we want at the end of the day when all is said and done.

I hope you will continue to come here.  It really does help to voice ourselves and know we are heard.  And here...we "get it".

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend, I cannot say it any better than Kay just did. I hope you will feel welcome here, as you find yourself among kindred spirits. We often say here that grief is better dealt with when it is shared, and no one will understand what you are thinking and feeling more than those who've experienced a loss that is similar to your own. Your fellow widows and widowers are your best source of support. It also helps, I believe, to learn all you can about what is normal (and therefore to be expected) in grief, so you'll feel less "crazy" and alone in your reactions. As you come to know us here, you'll find lots of useful information and suggestions for coping too. As the saying goes, you can take what is worth keeping, discover what does and does not work for you, and let the rest of it go by.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Marty , that is exactly why I came back to what I call my safe haven . Everyone on here was and is wonderful .

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to you all for your wonderful replies, you have been a great comfort to me.  Thank you Kay for those links which I shall avidly read.  It is sad that there are so many of us who have lost loved ones, but that is the inevitable consequence of life and love.  I am grateful I had someone to love for 39 years.  I think back now on the times we quarreled or fell out with each other, as all couples do, and realise that just a hug or an endearment would have fixed things, and wonder how I let all those occasions occur and what a waste of love that was.  If someone were to ask me, that would be my lesson to all couples everywhere. 

You are good people, and yes I do feel welcome here.  Thank you.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Les said:

I think back now on the times we quarreled or fell out with each other, as all couples do, and realise that just a hug or an endearment would have fixed things, and wonder how I let all those occasions occur and what a waste of love that was.  If someone were to ask me, that would be my lesson to all couples everywhere. 

True enough, but when we're living in that moment sometimes things feel bigger than they are and we're dealing with our emotions, which can be anywhere on the chart.  :)  Fortunately we lived with no regrets, the moments at odds with each other were extremely rare.  For two humans, I think we got along about as well as anyone can expect, and I bet you did too.  All is gone now but the love and that stays with us forever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all, my mother died 11 months ago.  It is harder now than it was after 4 months.  Its real grief now after the shock and adjustment.  I'm mostly estranged from my family.  My sister and I don't speak and after a lifetime of enduring her bullying, I am glad to be free of her.  My cousin I am very close to but since my mothers death she has never called me.  We email once a month but she has never called.  Its disappointing and hurtful.  I have expressed how hard it still is and she replies but never a call.  After my mother died, my best friend of 30 yrs sent a text saying, so sorry.  That was it.  No call.  Few days later another text saying, how are you?  How would I be after losing my mother I was so close to?  I didn't reply.  Few days later, another text, hope you're ok.   I would have thought it was obvious that I wouldn't be ok?  I didn't reply.   After a week I got a curt and demanding text saying, I understand its a difficult time but your ignoring me and I'm oblivious to what I've done.  Please enlighten me.  I was stunned by the sarcasm.  I lost my mom, pick up the phone and call me I felt like saying.  I received a birthday card from her 2 weeks after my mom died saying only Happy Birthday.  No condolences or anything.  I couldn't believe it.  So I decided to explain to her in an email how devastated I was as she knows how close I was to my mom.  I said her 3 worded texts, I had no idea how to respond to.  The birthday card was shocking and that she had an opportunity to say something other than happy birthday but she didn't.  How would I be having a happy birthday 2 weeks after losing my mother?  She seemed more annoyed that she was being ignored rather than concerned?  Basically she demanded an explanation I told her off.  10 days later she replied in a very formal almost legal wording?  that is not the way she speaks at all but she basically dumped me in a very sarcastic tone.  I was stunned.  30 yrs of friendship gone just like that.  Even if I told her off a bit, I lost my mom!  She made no effort with her 3 worded texts.  I wasn't ending our friendship she demanded an explanation so I told her and that was that.  I never heard from her again.  2 losses.  Whats wrong with people?  One would think you'd know someone well after 30 yrs?  I still can't believe it.  I've basically got 2 other close friends that live in other countries.  I speak to one once a week the other every 2 weeks and thats it.  I'm alone the rest of the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend of 30 years, and although in some ways we know each other well, I can't read her mind and I find that when she tries to read mine it leads to misunderstandings. I find that it's helpful to directly say what I mean and ask for what I want, and it seems to work best when others do the same. Many times people don't know what to do or say when others are grieving. "How are you?" and "Are you ok?" sound like attempts to reach out, but maybe not knowing how to do it or what you might need. It sounds like you really needed a phone call and chance to talk things through with your friend, but she didn't know that. I hope you can find a way to work things out with her...it's hard to find 30-year friends.

I can relate to this I have a 30-year friend, and she and I have had a lot of ups and downs. In fact I called her last night with some good news and she was obviously angry. After awhile she said something to the effect that she thought I was calling he to brag and "lord it over her" because she was having a bad time in the same area. So she realized that there was no way I was trying to hurt her with my good news because I couldn't possibly know what had happened to her - she hadn't told me. Last summer I had gotten so tired of her irrational responses to things that I told her that I had just had it. I told her something like, "Look - you are my only 30-year friend and I know that I am your only 30-year friend. We need to just get beyond these things that come up and move on anyway because we probably won't live long enough to get any more 30-year friends." So far so good - I think...

Emails and texts are really hard because they carry no tone of voice, body language or anything else, and a message that would sound warm and caring in person or even over the phone may sound totally cold. I have learned the hard way that some things can only be made worse by more writing and I need to make the effort to work it out in person or on the phone. 

Good luck with your friend. It's hard for anyone when we are grieving and things seem really hard and we don't always react rationally to things. It might be worth picking up the phone and see if you can go back and try to have a "do-over". It sounds like a miscommunication both ways, and you might get your friend back...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry this happened between you and your friend of 30 years, mathilde, and I know how much it hurts. I don't disagree with what Laura has said to you, but I want to acknowledge that, unfortunately, your experience is not unusual. That is why you'll sometimes hear someone say that "grief re-writes your address book." Only you can decide if this friendship is worth saving, or if it's run its course.  

I too have lost a friend of more than 30 years, a person I love dearly and always thought of as my soul sister. I never would have dreamed it could happen to us, of all people, but we had a serious falling out stemming from a total misunderstanding of something that happened between us, and despite all my efforts over a year's time to explain myself, to apologize and ask to be forgiven, we've yet to come to any sort of understanding. It breaks my heart to say so, but for my own well-being eventually I had to accept the reality that our friendship had come to an end. It has been one of the most painful losses I've ever known. I spoke with a therapist and did a lot of reading about this ~ you may find some of these articles helpful too. See, for example, When Old Friends Stop Being Good Friends  

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Marty & Clematis,

Thank you for your replies which I appreciate.  Yes Clematis I think you're right it was a misunderstanding but given what I went through and that I am now alone I think she should have apologised in the email or at least said can we talk about it.  She was so quick to drop me.  I also felt the email was coached by someone else because the vocabulary isn't how she talks.  it was not heartfelt, it was cold and uncaring.  Because of that coldness and uncaring I can't forgive her.  I too like Mathilde never ever thought something like this could happen to us.  We have been there for each other for decades.  But if I'm completely honest as her life has changed with grandchild extended family etc..she was a lot less available.  We spoke every 2 weeks but i always initiated it.  I do feel its over.  I'm sad it happened given that I'm going through the most difficult time in my life and she's not there.  Thank you for your replies.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×