A friend and I had a conversation just recently. And we talked about how things have changed with my friends. For one thing, having lost a child doesn’t exactly put you at the top of an invite list for social events.
Once I noticed this, I made the decision not to be bitter but to host more events on my own and reach out more. Start my own party so to speak.
But why was I still feeling left out?
My friend said something interesting in our conversation, “We haven’t changed how we’ve treated you.” And in general, that’s true.
Except for one thing that struck me later that night.
On this occasion, this friend opened up about a recent personal issue. That’s when I realized what was missing.
This was my aha moment!
I finally figured it out–few of my friends reach out and share with me any more. Except for other angel moms.*
When they do, they feel exceedingly guilty and apologize. Except this past Sunday. Someone finally did open up. And she did not apologize which was fantastic. All of a sudden I felt included again and I didn’t feel like an outsider.
I am missing those one-on-one conversations with people who’ve always trusted me.
Now let me make it clear, this omission of personal confidence is not malicious or intentional. It is, in fact, out of love and respect for my grief.
In truth I think these close friends probably think their problems seem insignificant compared to my son’s suicide and so don’t reach out like they used to. Or that they don’t want to burden me with their problems because they think I have enough to worry about.
It’s not a burden
The fact is, I still need this connection. It distracts me from what is going on in my own head and my own life. I feel included.
Life isn’t about checklists. It’s about the people with whom you form bonds.
I know right after Charles’ suicide, I was not in the frame of mind to be there for my friends and family. I simply couldn’t process anything.
I have really struggled to figure out what was different in my relationships with friends. It’s such a huge relief to have figured this out.
While I can’t always solve a problem for someone else, I can listen and if you have asked for my advice or feedback, I can offer things to think about so you can arrive at the right decision for you.
I now understand why friends outside the “club no one wants to be in” hesitate to tell me about their divorce or separation, their issues at work, problems with their own kids. No one wanted me to feel more hurt than I already do. But in so doing, you’re actually leaving me out of your life.
In truth, hearing you talk about what’s going on with you, simply makes me feel like a normal human being again.
I’m just letting you know I still have ears and they are ready to listen!
*angel moms- moms who’ve lost a child