It’s very common for widows to lose 75% of their friends after their spouse’s death. When a couple is friends with another couple and a group of four becomes three, it upsets the “balance” and the intact couples will bail. Then there’s the matter of married women fearing that widows are “predators” who are after their husbands. It sounds absurd, but it’s a real thing. It has happened to my mom.
Knowing that there are people who my mom used to have breakfast dates with, who used to call my mom on a weekly basis, and who then decided they wanted nothing to do with her after my dad passed away is extraordinarily hurtful. She has always seemed to take it really well, as if it doesn’t bother her, but it definitely bothers me.
When my dad died, a lot of the people who I thought were my friends stopped speaking to me, too. That sucked tremendously, but I was able to get over it in a way I haven’t been able to when it comes to my mom. My friends were young and didn’t know how to handle someone who was grieving. My mom’s friends were over 50. They knew better. There’s no excuse for them to behave so poorly.
I’m protective of my mom in that way. She lost her husband, she lost the father of her children, and she lost most of her friends right along with him. She didn’t deserve that.
My relationship with my mom has evolved a lot since my dad passed away, and not just in the form of protectiveness. Since it’s just the two of us living together now, I think we’ve become more than just a mother and daughter. We’re both working adults. We both are in positions to support each other. We both carry our own weight – and it’s the same weight. We’ve suffered the same losses and lost the same battles.
If my dad hadn’t died, if I had moved out and gone away to college, if I had graduated college on time and found a job, I don’t think my mom and I would have the same relationship that we do today. Obviously, if we had a choice, we would choose to not have experienced our loss, but the fact that we always have each others’ backs is something to be thankful for.