Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

magnetic friends

It’s funny to think that there was a time when my wife and I resisted each other enough to tell our friends that we’d met at an inconvenient time in our lives. We were both young, having fun and blind to what was happening. We were falling in love. The bravado was just part of the flirtation.

Tonight I hung out with some of my best friends. Friends who were there when we happened. People who were around when I still thought my wife’s name was Des’ree. The mates who I was having so much fun with at the time that I might well have decided that it was too soon to get serious with a girl. Those whose company I might have chosen over hers all for the sake of attempting to extend my youth and having what, at the time, I deemed ‘fun’.

As we toasted an engagement, a birth and a girlfriend who couldn’t make it, I realised I was the only one there who was technically alone. And I thought about how there was no way in the world I’d have been able to sit through it all a few months ago.

But I guess I came round to the idea that it was where I should be. With friends who knew her. Who loved her. Who know me. Who love me. Who can talk. Who can be quiet. Who can bring it up. Who can leave it alone. Who can speak a thousand words with a look, a nod or a discreet touch. Magnetic friends whose company I might not always think I’m ready for but whose positive charge can repel the negativity without even having to try.

4 comments on “magnetic friends

  1. Celia Marszal Iannelli
    June 28, 2013

    I understand completely. A couple of months ago, the gang we went to dinner with
    asked me to join them…No way! Couldnt do it. Tomorrow night I am going to a birthday party alone……first time alone at a party…Party did someone say party? I am hardly in the mood for it; but then again, I found myself wondering what I would wear….mixed emotions……

  2. Dawn
    June 29, 2013

    Ben your words always move me and I am sure everyone else that reads your blog. Thinking of you always x

  3. amelia redding
    June 29, 2013

    Such a great tribute to friends. I am lucky to have all the friends who were there when we ‘happened’. Sometimes they make Jon’s absence feel so much greater and the gulf that’s opened up between their lives and what was our life seems just too vast. But you are so right in calling those true friends magnetic. I know that they are always there for Esmé and I. They will bring out the Jon in Esmé. They recognise the spirit of fun and crazy sense of humour that she has that was his. And when it all seems so unbelievable they silently reassure me that what we had was a truly amazing relationship that nothing can ever change in all our hearts and minds. A really lovely post, and a reminder that sometimes when I feel my ‘always there’ friends are too painful to be with, they are the ones I should be with. It’s easy to forget that best friends are as rare and difficult to find as the love of your life.

  4. Trudy Proctor
    June 29, 2013

    Metaphorically speaking, I am a driver behind the wheels, making my way to the latest destination. Things are great because I know where I’m going. I called ahead and made short-term reservations and left specific instructions. My calender is set with future goals, plans and desires. I’m enjoying the breeze against my skin, the beauty of the horizon with its picturesque scenery of the trees, each their own color, as the leaves change with the welcoming of a new season.

    The birds and butterflies always seem to have a story to tell, which I interpret as “happy chatter” contagiously contaminating the air. I loved it. I loved everything life was offering and things were great.

    I was totally absorbed in it all never expecting to make a sudden turn.

    It wasn’t planned.

    In fact, I had no plans of encountering this juncture for a very long time.

    Suddenly I find myself at a crossroad, four arrows, each pointing to an unknown destination.

    Sorry, but no maps or GPS this time.

    I can ask for directions, but the decision is all up to me.

    But who do I ask for directions pertaining to the rest of my life?

    How did I end up at this unforeseen “stop” sign?

    Dear Death,

    pardon me for being so blunt but this I need to ask. Why?

    Why did you do it?

    I’m sure you knew of our plans to spend the rest of our lives together.

    I’m sure you knew we had plans to start a family and build other areas our of lives, yet still you chose to intervene and interupt.

    You have no answers?

    I have so many unanswered questions I’m hoping time can have an answer to.

    At the moment, my car is parked as I sit with my emotions, a chaotic mixture of grief, fear, pain, hurt, sadness, confusion, loneliness, all bubbling and oozing like hot lava, stinging my cheeks.

    What’s next?

    No one knows.

    This one will need to be prayed out carefully and fervently.

    Still, I’m grateful for this day, knowing that God won’t give me more than I can bear.

    As for now, I’m still at the “stop” sign……….Waiting……

    It’s in his hands.

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