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Grief Addition is Hard to Compute

Monday, December 11, 2017
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Grief Addition is Hard to Compute

Facebook got me connected to myself and where I am in this grief journey this past Sunday. Sounds silly – eh? Some people post everything on Facebook, others avoid it all together – me, I’m between the two extremes. Here is what I was working through yesterday:

Checking my Fb newsfeed early yesterday morning, I realized I have a limited role with some friends. I decided the problem is that I’m a “1” – versus a “2”. When you are a one – you can’t hang with twos. But then I got to thinking that this isn’t true with all of my couple friends. The issue is with new “2s” – the ones that came into my life since my husband died. Friends from high school and college knew me before Dave. They embraced him when we started dating and then married. After he died, they continue to include me in social outings. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the same state as these friends so my time with them is limited.

Couple friends that Dave and I developed are also right by my side. I really lean on these friends as they are a great source of sharing stories about him. But I have moved from where we lived – so I’m making new ones. A primary resource for finding new friends is my daughter. These new friends never knew Dave. They are kind and support me when I talk about him, but they don’t have that history. Back to Facebook.

            Looking at my newsfeed I see a post by my closest new friend. She is at a bar having fun with other friends. They are all couples. I know some of the couples – not all of them – but realize I’m not considered part of their “gang”. When it comes to activities for our kids – I’m part of the group. When it comes to a girl luncheon – I’m part of the group. But when it comes to a couples outing, I don’t fit into the equation. I’m a one and they are twos. What is the deal with this?

            I wondered – am I a threat? Nah - Nope - Not at all. I’ve never been a flirt, plus I know how hard marriage can be. The last thing I’m looking to do is break up someone else’s and start one of my own. I don’t share with them dreams of getting married again so I don’t think they see me as a threat.

            Maybe they don’t like me? Maybe they are just being nice when they include me. In considering the question, I reflect on our conversations and time spent together. I trust that we are honest with each other and have a lot of fun. So yes – I believe the friendship is real.

            Why I wasn’t included?!? I think it boils down to I’m not viewed in the light as a two. I’m a one and 2+2+2+1 doesn’t compute. Our nature is to pair up. Odd numbers/groupings work well in design and aesthetic but not in social settings.

On Sunday I spent few hours mulling this over. Even saw a member of the gang at church who was friendly. She shared about their night on the town and how fun it was that her in-laws were visiting so she could relax and not worry about getting home to a babysitter. She wasn’t bragging or rubbing my face in it. It was a very innocent conversation between friends sharing what was going on with each other.

I decided I must apply my focus of the situation on something learned in grief class at Willow Creek. They stressed that there is a time for everything. There is a time for sadness, there is a time for celebration. There is a time for dancing, there is a time for solitude. When grief starts it is a time of overwhelming sadness – but it won’t stay that way forever. They shared that we should embrace the sadness but be open to the time when your heart changes.

When Dave died my social life ended. It doesn’t help that I had my hands full with a one-year-old child. When I reflect back I can see where I embraced the sadness and then changed and opened my heart for joy. But when it comes to solitude – I realize I’m ready to change. This new gang doesn’t know I want to go out and join them. They didn’t maliciously uninvite me. And in hindsight, if they had asked I would have probably said no as it was my first day off in 13 days. I have stayed very close to friends that are old and ones that knew Dave. But the newest ones - I have kept my distance when it comes to socializing. Things are starting to change for me. I’m wanting a life where I’m out and about with 2s. Still not ready to be a two, but wanting to hang with them is my first step.

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