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

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mathilde,

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.  I lost my mother to dementia three years ago but it wasn't sudden.

I'm sorry also that your family/friends aren't there for you as you need them to be.  I agree that we have to be explicit with people about what we need but sometimes even that doesn't help.  When my husband passed away, my family was there for me although they really didn't have a clue what I was going through.  All our friends disappeared, however!  My two best friends didn't even bother attending his funeral!  (both of them local)

it's true that death can rewrite your friends list.  I made a new best friend but after a few years she moved to another state.  I'm working on building new relationships, it's slow go and I'm still not there yet, not where I'd like it to be.  It's hard work!

All you can do is be honest with your "friend" about how you feel and show her the way back if she's interested.  I read an article years ago that really impacted me, it talked about how different people want different things out of friendship.  After a time we may outgrow a friendship or find our lives have gone in different directions and it's no longer working.  Although it'd be nice to have friends for life, sometimes it's just for a time and we have to let it go a different pathway.

http://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

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Dear Kayc,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply and for your links, I appreciate it.  I am sorry for your losses, your mother and your husband.  Two very big losses.  Its hard when people we expect to be there aren't.  It can not only hurt but also feels insulting.  Its very difficult to build meaningful friendships all over again as it takes years to build a friendship and know someone and for them to know you.  Much harder when you're older.  I appreciate the links.  I will re read and reflect on the words.  Thank you.

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And I pray for you and I that we make new friends, ones better suited for us in this phase of our lives.

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It seems to be normal for people to abandon you when you have been bereaved. My husband died in August and most of the people who visited him to the end plus friends and my step children have disappeared as if by a conjuring trick!  I have compared notes with other widows and they had exactly the same experience. Some say that people don’t know what to say do they drop out, others say that once you are a widow you are perceived as a threat. Whatever the reasons it came as a shock to me.

Looking at the positive side, they have done me a huge favour by identifying themselves as people who are not worth wasting my time and emotionally energy on.

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@Lynne Joyce
I am sorry for your loss, and sorry you have felt abandoned by people.  I went through the same thing when my husband died.  I would never do that to someone and I truly don't get it.  I know they say people treat death as if it's contagious, that it's a reminder to them of their own mortality, that it's not pleasant, they don't know what to say, they want to fix things and can't, etc. etc. etc.  But what does their absenting themselves from us say to us?  We are abandoned twice, once by death, and again by them.

I made new friends, but they have now moved or died (it's been twelve years for me) so here I am starting all over, trying to make friends again.  It's hard because everyone already has their friends and family, but still I persevere. 

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On Saturday, February 03, 2018 at 2:09 PM, Lynne Joyce said:

, others say that once you are a widow you are perceived as a threat.

That I cannot understand. How could we widows/ers be a threat and to what exactly? Whoever thinks that/makes you feel that way, doesn't deserve any minute from your time or energy. 

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I lost my two dogs and my husband within three weeks of each other last August and my mother is on the point of dying. I don’t think that it is a case of imagining that I have been abandoned, it is an actual fact. The people who visited my husband right to the end have all disappeared as if by a magic trick. I have compared notes with other widows and it seems that this is commonplace. They have their reasons. I wrote this poem to make sense of it -

Moving On

 

I’m starting to get being widowed

But I still haven’t figured out how

Those who used to be friends

Right to his end

Have stopped being friends with me now.

 

I know I’m a social pariah,

But I still do not quite comprehend

What it was I acquired

When my husband expired 

That made those relationships end.

 

Most of the people who knew me

Now never visit or call,

They don’t message or phone,

Though they know I’m alone,

They show me no interest at all.

 

It was shocking that it was so sudden,

Soon after he died I was dropped,

Once the rituals were done

Those people were gone,

And all interaction just stopped.

 

They say you find out who your friends are

When the going gets tough, and that’s true,

So the friends I have left

When they are bereft

Will find that I’m true to them too.

 

Those who left me have done me a favour,

They have outed themselves and saved me

From wasting my time

On a strange pantomime

With jokers without loyalty.

 

Moving on, moving up is my mission,

New people, new places, new things

The future is bright,

Without having the blight

Of the anguish abandonment brings.

 

04.02.2018

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, scba said:

That I cannot understand. How could we widows/ers be a threat and to what exactly? Whoever thinks that/makes you feel that way, doesn't deserve any minute from your time or energy. 

Ana,

Years ago there was the view that widows were loose and looking to steal husbands.  I honestly haven't run across that view in my twelve years of being widowed, or if I have, I failed to notice it, but women held a little tighter to their husbands and the widow wasn't welcome...they felt safer in a couples world so the widow was excluded.  I really haven't seen that, I think that was more a thing from centuries past, but perhaps it's a cultural thing and it exists in some parts, I don't know.  It's a stupid, stupid view with little validity.  Most of us are so in grief over losing our husbands and the last thing on our minds is acquiring someone else's!  We're just trying to get through the day as it is.

I honestly don't think most of our ex-friends deliberately set out to abandon us, I think it occurred naturally without forethought.  I think death and grief is uncomfortable as a topic, that they don't want to be around someone in shock, someone sad, someone they don't know what to say to, someone whose situation they can't help or fix, and it makes them uncomfortable being around us because they know good and well if it could happen to us, it could happen to them and they don't want that reminder.  They want to enjoy life, have fun, superfluous and superficial as it might be, it's preferable to what we're going through.  So they call their other friends to get together and ignore us.  

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To Widower : You are very lucky just to receive a trickle of acknowledgement, interest or just someone to say "hello how are you."  Why do I say this?  Because I lost 3 members of my family three years ago and all within weeks of each other.  My last surviving sister died last December 2018.  I got NOTHING from extended family members, NO SYMPATHY, NO EMPATHY, NO CARD, NO HELP - NOTHING.  All I got was LAUGHED AT, MOCKED and RIDICULED as these evil morons gatecrashed my youngest sister's funeral.  Then to cap it all, I was threatened by them because I sent them a Christmas Card during Christmas 2016.  So, like I said, you are so VERY LUCKY to have heard anything at all.

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@Susieace  I am very sorry for your experience.  It's very hard when family/friends do not respond adequately to grief/loss.

The following article can not only apply to friends, but family members as well:

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

Grief can have a way of rearranging your address book!

 

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MY 26 year old daughter died Feb 21, 2018, my brother died 5 months later. Last day I saw my mother and sisters was about 6 days after my brothers death. My brother was disappointed with them before he died, although he never said anything to them.

 They never visited him in hospital the many times he almost died, and when he did they weren't there.

I don't understand why they were like this and I don't understand why they left me on my own. I guess I was never really part of their family.

Everyday I cry, everyday my heart feels like it's breaking and everyday I have no answers.

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I am so sorry for your losses, that is a lot to go through in such a short time.  I'm sorry your mom and sisters weren't there for you.  Some people aren't good copers and don't know what to say/do so they do nothing...I know, no excuse, huh, nothing excuses it, just saying that's how some are.  It does not necessarily mean they don't care for you or for your brother, just that they don't know how to be there for others going through it.  It's up to you to pick and choose who you care to spend time with and don't and it could be you prefer to be around someone who came through for you.  Grief has a way of rewriting our address book, that's for sure.

It might help you to try a grief support group to get to know others who get it.  I hope you're seeing a grief counselor, that is a lot to try to make your way through on your own.  I'm sorry, I can't think of anything harder than losing your child.  I've lost my husband, pets, friends, parents, sister, niece, nephew, it seems the older I get the more grief I live with.  My heart goes out to you and I send wishes of comfort to you.

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Have you tried talking with her about it?

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Abandoned by both family & friends after the death of my mom. Older sister with Alzheimer's is in a home. Older brother has wife to help support him emotionally & keep him company. When I was handling the executor duties of mom's estate & had money to dish out, he was very interested in maintaining a familial relationship with me. Once the money was dealt he was completely done with me. I've done yardwork, shoveled snow, bought dinner for us all so we could share time together (and he has *way* more income coming in than I do!), sent emails, stopped by his house to visit (3 doors up from me & half the time or more he doesn't even bother to answer the door), brought him cookies & cakes, tried phone calls (about as interested in me as he would be talking to a collection agency)….none of these actions is EVER reciprocated! Mom & dad would be rolling in their graves...we were ALL a loving family back in the day! I can't depend on my brother for anything---not even a ride out of town to have a cancer surgery performed. He could take paid time off work without any problem to do so, but the fact is he just doesn't care about me at all. I have to rely on a neighbor couple to take me! Neighbors/friends are all shocked &  sad to hear how callous my brother is! Yet he has time & money to lavish over a young woman & her daughter that he met in an internet marketplace site & will travel to the next state to visit her family any time she asks. And he thinks I don't love him!!! Ha! I've done everything in my power to show him that I did, but now I am backing away completely. Ditto with my former best friend who also hasn't had much time for me since my mom passed away---too close to home for her & her 90+ year old mother. So, death has taught me a lot about life. Most importantly it's taught me that the people you truly think will always have your back are not the ones who will be there for you at all; it's the folks you least expect who will actually step up to the plate for you with love & assistance. A hard pill to swallow, but a sorrowful fact of life. Moral of the story: just because someone is related to you by blood does not mean they are related to you by heart. Be strong, navigate your own way in this world & enjoy the blessing of having those who do care surround you.

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@Omar  I'm sorry this has been your experience, but you have done everything you could and then some.  I think I would back off too.  It's hard knowing what other people's trips are, but we can't change them, and you are so right about it's not always the ones you'd think that have your backs.  I lost all my friends overnight when my husband died, but I've made new ones since.  

Wishing you the best...

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