Many things surprised me, upon being widowed. Many things beyond just the shock of losing the love of my life so suddenly. I was very much taken aback at the swiftness of the changes in how friends and relations treated me. My experience is hardly unique. I’ve heard many other widows and widowers speak of this. Suddenly, we are persona non grata. Not welcome where we once were.
One of the first indicators was how quickly the invitations to join other couples for dinner stopped….dead. Screeecch !!!! The message was clear. Now widowed, I must be on the prowl for a “replacement” man, in the form of somebody else’s husband. I actually saw one neighbor grab her husband’s elbow to steer him away from me; an unconscious act, no doubt. Nothing was or is further from the truth. Dating and romance and intrigue was and is the furthest thing from my mind. I miss my husband, never more so than in the evenings. That’s when my day slows down and memories and thoughts creep into my mind. That’s the most enjoyable time I shared with my Pat, as we discussed the events of the day over a glass of wine and then dinner. That is the loneliest time….the evenings. Being cut out of the herd in the evening with other couples was excruciating, and in my mind, cruel.
Lunch invitations were abundant. All those wives patted themselves on the back for their good deeds of extending lunch invitations. They were just sure they were being noble. Spare me! Lunch was difficult. It lands in the middle of what are very busy days for me; an interruption to work that needed doing. Lunchtime company I didn’t really need. And, in a way, but not the way those ladies thought, they were right! I miss the company of men!!! I miss conversations with my husband, my Dad, my uncles, my grandfather, my co-workers. The normal world contains men. Men have interesting things to say. Men have a different perspective. My world ceased to be normal, and I don’t like it. Just because I don’t wish to date, don’t want a boyfriend, doesn’t mean I wanted men erased from my life.
Three years later (update – now six years later), it’s improved, but not much. I have a few, very few, friends who realize I’m not out to take their husbands, ladies who are secure enough in their marriages, that they include me in gatherings now and then. I have some contractors and service people with whom I can chat. That’s allowed because I write them a check.
I also eat out by myself a lot. That was not a high hurdle for me, as I often used to travel for business and learned how to do it and even enjoy it a long time ago. I can even share some tips about that with you here: https://wp.me/paDd5A-8o
Back to the new social construct…In the vacuum of otherwise normal, I have lunch with the ladies. In fact, I’m lunching with a lady today. A lady who is not threatened when I speak to her husband, now and then.
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