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This has been an interesting year for me.  I am finally able to think straight or I thought I was able to until I bought into a couple of relationships that I now see as toxic.  I am one of those people who accept everyone at face value.  If you come up to me , smile and say:  "I am pleased to meet you." I will be pleased to meet you too.  But not all people improve with getting to know them better. I have found out that a couple of my acquaintances really are sweet to me so I can do them favours, It seems as if they need a small loan, need a lift because the car is getting serviced (saw through that one as the car was parked just up from me in a parking area) they also said they would love to help with something and never turned up, all of it is nothing very major but enough for me to see them as not being very consistent.

I got to know a man who had friends in common with me, we didn't go out but he was friendly whenever I met up with him. Then I overheard him in a conversation with a friend saying:  "S... is quite well off, has her own home and all I could do worse." And this was before he had even asked me out on a date.  Ouch! that hurt my feelings as I didn't see it coming.  I thought he was genuine. Well silly me. Luckily when he did ask me out I did genuinely have another appointment so I said sorry and I thanked him and nothing else has happened since then. I think it was a close call. I do understand that I am no beauty and so a future suitor would have to see an advantage in getting to know me, but it does not have to  be that blatant.

I went to a widows group from my church and we went out to lunch together.  I loved it as it filled in my Sunday and that was a real bonus.  At first it was really good, then some of the older ladies dropped out, died or moved away.  When we were down to a small number I realised these were the gossips, the people who were always ready to run someone down. I knew that when I wasn't there I would be the subject of that too so I slowly moved away from the group.  It was hard at first as I really did like a couple of them but on consideration decided that I would be better off leaving the group.

The last couple of incidents were a real learning curve for me as I realised also that I had been leaning on the leader of the group and really shouldn't have been.  I wonder how long it will take me to really stand on my own two feet? If  I do go out on a date that is different, I am more alert, looking at the person with different eyes I guess.I don't think I am critical but maybe I am.  Maybe I am looking for too much both in a friendship and in a relationship.  But honesty would be nice and maybe in the case of the gentleman getting to know me first before assessing the assets I might have. And it would be nice to find someone I am comfortable being with just as I am.

Apart from that life has gone on with the usual ups and downs.  I paid a visit to my daughter and her family down south, had a good time with the grand children, went to see my Grandson become a senior solider in the Salvation Army, went to his presentation of an award for Food Technology at his High School Presentation night.  I am very proud of him, he is academic but I think headed for some hands-on career. We also went out to dinner for his 16th birthday. My grand daughter is sweet and we had some talks together. I have enjoyed travelling down to them on buses and trains but it will be so much easier when they come north to within an hours drive of where I live.

For the last couple of days they have been staying here as a family and using my house as a staging post to go up and see the house they will move into in January.  That way they have been able to see both new schools, the house they will be living in and the worship centre Shirley will be running. It doesn't make it any easier to move, they have loved living where they are for the past six years and have so many people they will miss when they move.  What it does do is make it seem more real I suppose but also in a way is reassuring as the place they are going to is now more known to them.  I loved having them here, it is good when there is laughter and happiness around the dining table and through the night the boards creak and let me know part of my family is under my roof again.

Today we had a chain of thunderstorms and plans to do some visiting of the nursing home residents had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.  We did need the rain and there are still a couple of days left when I can do the visits. I am beginning to form some kind of relationship with the staff of a home I go to often now, people on the staff recognise me and some even call me by name.  It is a tenuous relationship as of course people do come to the end of their life in a nursing home so the relationship with resident and staff has a finite end. This is one of the things I have got use to over the years.  I meet people, I get to know them and like them and then they die.  But I figure it is better to know a nice person for a short time rather than never having them in my life. As a mature woman I can be a surrogate for daughters, sisters and others who do not visit.  It is a sad fact of life that many I get to know really don't have any relatives left and so my visit is welcome. I guess to some people that sounds morbid but it doesn't seem so to me.

My links to the groups I used to belong to with Ray are slowly fading also.  If I do drop by I find new people have joined, others I liked have left.  I seem to still be in contact with one or two from each group so do at least have that.  My relationships change and evolve and I guess I have to be happy with that.

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Comment by Blue Snow on December 20, 2015 at 7:06am

I've had people ask to borrow money from me too, since Don died. My theory is if a bank (or credit card company) doesn't think they are a good risk to loan money to then I sure as heck am not going to do it. It never works out to loan money to people you know. If they don't pay it back, what are you going to do to collect? Nothing.The friendship is over because they start avoiding you and you get resentful. The guy who said he could do worse to date you because you were "quite well off"---I would be so ticked off he'd never get a date. My husband worked too hard to provide a good nest egg for me and call me selfish, but I couldn't share that with a guy who starts right off looking at me through gold digger eyes.

Have a good holiday, Sue. With your family around it sounds like you are already.

Comment by Callie2 on December 16, 2015 at 1:26pm
I understand that Sue. We're all vulnerable to some degree. I have allowed people from my past to hurt me too and now, I am a whole lot less trusting. I'm not suggesting you be less sociable, it's important to be who we are. We can still set those boundaries and not allow ourselves to become too involved with people we don't know very well. On the other hand, I know how disappointing it is when we think we know someone and after experiencing what you have, they simply disappear. We all have fair weather friends, I suppose, but it's when the going gets rough, those still next to you would be true friends. Truth be told, we are lucky to have a couple throughout our lifetime. Try staying away from the gossipers, too, they are usually backstabbers. I was friendly with a group of women from work for a number of years that proclaimed to be friends. They would go out with each other on a social basis, visit each other at home, chat on the phone, etc. and when one wasn't around, they would talk about them! Who need friends like that?
Comment by only1sue on December 16, 2015 at 11:07am

Callie, because of the changes in my life I guess i am vulnerable again.  Some of the old relationships I took for granted stopped when I became a widow.  The long term caregiver is probably more vulnerable too because some of the friendships I thought were lifetime ended when Ray died.  Ii know a good friend never asks for money but these people did seem genuine.  I will have to be more aware I suppose. It is hard to make new friends, it is even harder to break into a group you have previously stood back from for other reasons.  I guess it is all down to experiencing new things on my own, some good, some not so good..

Comment by Callie2 on December 16, 2015 at 8:38am
There are people that will take advantage of a friendship but they can only do this if we allow it. When someone you hardly know asks for money, either tell them you have none or that you were going to ask them for some. I can never, not even once, remember borrowing money from a friend, except maybe during adolescence. I hope I never have to! If you do someone another type of favor, don't do it expecting anything in return, do it because you are a nice person. That way, they can't disappoint you and you won't have hurt feelings. You never know though--there is no expiration on favors--may come back to you, but never keep score. The reward comes from doing something good for someone.

As far as that male friend passing a remark like that--well, I know what I would do. It sounds like he is measuring your qualifications as a potential girlfriend but he needs first to look around to see if there is anything better out there. Confront him and ask if he said it first. It needs no explanation, if he said it, that would be it for me! That is an indication of how he respects women. He fails the duck test. Just my thoughts, Sue. There is a huge difference to me between a friendship and an acquaintance. Friendships are deeply rooted. There are different types of friends, I believe, ones with certain boundaries but we still value them. They still take time to cultivate.

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