Dinner out with the ladies was, as usual, healing. There is nothing like meeting with people who are in the same type of condition as you are. The conversation was a little stilted at first, we seemed to be skirting around why we meet. Fact is, under any other circumstances we would never have met, we are a diverse group with little in common. But we did, because of death and loss, and because of our need to find some sort of light to guide us out of the darkness.
Consequently, our fluffy conversations don’t flow. We can’t talk with ease about the little stuff because we don’t share the same values or priorities. So we met and tried small talk but it just fell into silence until someone commented on a milestone or accomplishment and we slid into harmony again. Then the chatter began. I think at this point this is when we advance this specific friendship. Like the friends you make at work, you have work in common; and the friends you make at the hockey arena when you’re watching your kids play hockey – you have hockey and kids in common. We have deceased husbands, it may sound ghoulish, but it isn’t. We have a common loss. Talking about it helps.
For me, I usually have specific questions I want to ask. I need to normalize the things I am experiencing, thinking or feeling. And these meetings help, for the most part I leave feeling relieved. I get the chance to ask, ‘am I odd, or has anyone else noticed …’ and ending that question with whatever is bothering me. I may not get the response I want, but I definitely do get feedback that is informed, practical and sympathetic.
Looking back, it was a good thing all those months ago attending that grief group. The strangers that I met there have now become an important part of my safety net, and I hope that they feel the same way about me.