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Friendship & Loss: What’s Normal?

 

On Sundays this month, I’ll be writing about widowhood and friendships. Today I’ll encourage you that shifts in your friendships are normal and to be expected. Next week we will think about your friend’s perspective–what she’s going through.  On the third Sunday in July, we’ll talk about forgiveness and reconciliation.  This is a subject that hits so many of us, and I pray this series helps you!

Most widows lose 75% of the friendships they had before their loss.

– source unknown

No one can tell me where this statistic comes from, but it seems to be out there, everywhere!  And when I first lost Tom, I thought, no way—after all, in that first year, there was so much attention on me I wanted to hide under a rock. It seemed like everyone wanted to help me in my grief.

But gradually, through the hard road of walking alone, I started to see some of that rule coming true—ouch. While new friends rose to the surface, some of my closest confidants struggled with my new status as a widow.

I wanted to talk to you about that feeling you get when you wonder, Where are my friends when I need them?

And I want you to smile and know several truths.  First, that this is normal. Second, that you can heal and forgive those who scatter. And third, that you can only heal and forgive when you can truly embrace your life as your own.  These are the main points of the three part series starting with today’s post.

Do you crave the kind of friendship that David and Jonathan had in the Bible?

When David was first brought in to serve King Saul, he and Saul’s son Jonathan found an instant friendship bond which lasted a lifetime.  Jonathan expressed his friendship towards David in a rather interesting outward symbol. He took his own robe (that of the son of the king) and put it on David to wear in public.  “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:3-4, ESV)  Can you imagine? Jonathan had to know that David’s popularity would make him a likely choice, over Jonathan, to be the next king.  Yet he demonstrated openly his admiration for his friend. No self-motivation. Only genuine love.

This kind of friendship is unusual.  The Bible makes that clear in Proverbs 20:6: “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” (ESV)

If you understand that healthy relationships come from wholeness, you’ll empower yourself to attract the right kind of friendships by being all God wants you to be first. Early on, not having my spouse by my side had me feeling a bit empty and frustrated. But as time passed, I became comfortable and even appreciated my alone time.  That’s when I noticed new friendships just naturally forming. It was as though having my own sense of confidence attracted new friendships in my life.

Father God, help my dear sister feel normal walking with less of a crowd around her. Many of her girlfriends might not be able to handle the neediness of her situation. Help her celebrate the ones who do. Also help her grow more healthy and welcome the right kind of relationships to move forward. Encourage her to accept where she is in life. Help her discover how her positive attitude will help her find more women stepping up because of her confidence.  Amen.

017_HinkleKit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Would you like to read more about friendships?  Here are some articles you might try:

Forgotten by Linda Lint

Friendships- Silver and Gold by Kit Hinkle

8 replies
  1. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    Praise the Lord, as I come to a close of year 2 I am seeing new friendships form. Yes I have wondered where are my friends, sometimes even my family when I needed them, but God is always there with and for me.

    • Kit Hinkle
      Kit Hinkle says:

      That was my experience too, Tanya. I was able to keep some old friends, but it was after the first year that some friendships drifted and new ones came in. God provides. Blessings.

  2. Candy
    Candy says:

    Hi Kit. I tried for 4 1/2 years to keep my friendship with my best friend who lives out of state. After awhile, I realized that I was the one doing all the work to keep the relationship going. Her husband invited me to her surprise birthday party last September. It was the first time we had been together since my husband’s memorial service.

    Everyone at the party were their couples friends. Her husband told me that after my husband Bob died, they had to move on and find new best friends. He is a very kind man that would never hurt anyone, but his telling me that did hurt. Yet, I understood. The few days I spent there with them showed me that it was time for me to move on from that friendship as well and I am okay with it now.

    So to anyone who is hurting from the loss of their friends I would say to do whatever kind of grief work you need to do in order to process through that in a healthy way so that you do not become bitter but better. After all……you are not the same person that you were. You have something different to offer now.

    • Kit Hinkle
      Kit Hinkle says:

      Candy, you are so right!

      Many times we are in our own grief and it’s hard for us to recognize that friends of our husband are grieving too. Not that we have to cater to others during our time of grief, but rather, that by understanding that grief hits everyone who loved our spouse, not just the widow, we can take these situations a little less personally and become, as you said, better, not bitter. I think I like the sound of that – you should write a blog post with that title, Candy. And if you don’t like it, let me know and we’ll use it!

  3. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    Its amazing whwn I think no one knows how I feel this is on Facebook from widows might. I thought it was just me. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Judi Evinic
    Judi Evinic says:

    My own son and granddaighter feel i am pushing them away. If i am i am not aware of it. They tell me they want their mom back like she used to be. But they dont understand i will never be that Judi again. I dont even know that Judi anymore.

    • Kit Hinkle
      Kit Hinkle says:

      Judi, I had a friend say those words to me and I thought about how I was when my husband was around. I liked myself then, and I like myself now. I told her just that. Both of me were just that — me. Me married. Me as head of my household. God prepares us uniquely for each season, and I like how He’s shown me different facets of me. I’ve grown!

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