The funeral/memorial service is over. All the family and friends who've crowded around bringing comfort and casseroles and cookies have gone back to their own lives and you're alone. For me, that was one of the toughest times of my early widowhood. So what's a widow/widower to do? Wait for the phone to ring? Wait for a friend to drop by to see how you're doing? Sometimes the wait is long. Too long. It's too easy to be bitter because everyone else's life is going along just as it always has while yours is changed forever, too easy to become the reclusive widow/widower. My advice: don't, please don't. Take the initiative. Make the call. Invite a friend out for lunch. Invite another widow for coffee. And you set the parameters. If you want to talk about your late spouse, say so; if not, say so. Friends may feel uncomfortable, unsure what to talk about. Did you widows know that the healthiest women are those who socialize with other women? For widowers it may be harder, but if you have family close by, get together. Have a barbecue--isn't that what men are supposed to do?
If couple friends leave you out of plans because you don't fit in, think of asking a couple for dinner. Remind them you're still around. Sometimes it's not that they think you won't fit in but that they think you'd be uncomfortable. Maybe you would be, but you never know. On a trip to Spain a few years ago, I met a woman whose husband had died about the same time mine did. She was with a couple that they'd often traveled with...and the next month she was going to Mexico on a solo vacation.
And speaking of friends, don't forget about furry friends. My cat was one of my greatest comforts when my husband was ill and after he died. If you don't already have one, maybe you need to adopt a pet to cuddle with and take walks with and teach tricks. (My cat never learned a trick, but I had one long ago that did.)
My wish for you is to keep your friends close. And please stop by next week for Tip # 3.