Quite a while back, I joined a Meetup group in my area for young widows and widowers. Events had been somewhat few and far between, until recently when one of the members offered to organize some weekend activities for those of us with young children. Our first get-together was today, when 8 widows ranging in age from about 35 to 45+ (I suspect I was the oldest at 47) with kids between the ages of 3 and 7 got together at a local park. It took a little while to get comfortable with each other, but then we had the predictable progression of topics: 1. How long ago was your loss. 2. How did it happen. 3. Are you dating, and how is it going.
It is so comforting to be with other people who are living much the same experience. We all laughed at our automatic reaction to seeing a man with children: check the ring finger! We commiserated over the pain of school Open Houses, with all those couples enjoying their children's work together. We talked about how our kids request a new Daddy (B continues to ask). And we shed a few tears over those who had planned to have more children.
There were several women whom I really enjoyed meeting, and I would really like to have more friends in my situation. The challenge will be making the time to reach out and nurture these new relationships. It's so easy to just stay in my shell, going from work to home to social events with familiar friends. And I notice with great dismay some hesitation in getting close to someone who might be needy. Ouch, what's that all about? Maybe I can rationalize it as protecting myself, since I barely have enough resources to keep my own head above water, let alone support someone else. I hope that's what it is -- I don't want to imagine that I'm not a generous, compassionate person.