“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Mar 31, 2014
Dear Amy: My husband died unexpectedly. Since his death I have had to deal with overwhelming paperwork and people.
To everyone who means well: Please do not tell me to get a pet. Please don't say that I will meet someone who will fill the void. Oh and (my favorite) please don't say that he is in a better place and that I will see him when I die. Do not tell me that if there is anything I need I should just call. Unless you can raise the dead there is nothing you can do for me.

Please just tell me you are sorry.

What I would like to know is: How do I cope with the immediate loss and pain? Does the emptiness ever go away? Does it ever get any better? Will I ever stop crying? Unexpected Widow

Dear Widow: I am so very sorry for your loss. Your anger is understandable, and one potentially powerful thing for you to understand right now is that any way you feel is the "right" way to feel.

Grief (like love) presents its own peculiar roller coaster of emotions.

However, if you let people in they will help, even if they don't know what to say or are clunky in their attempts to comfort you.

Do you need a hand with paperwork? Maybe a friend can come over and help you organize it over coffee. You need a break and you must give yourself a break.

You will feel better but this process of healing is slow and gradual and happens in discreet moments.

Your journey should start with you being gentle toward yourself and choosing to do whatever you can to get through these tough days.

Grief counseling would help you immeasurably. Your local hospice center can give you a referral for a grief group, where you will be among others who can understand, comfort you, and be comforted by you.

Joan Didion's account of her husband's sudden death is touching and powerful: "The Year of Magical Thinking" (2007, Vintage). This book might help you to understand what you are going through.

Dear Amy: How many times does one need to be excluded from a girls' group before they should realize that they are just not "one of the girls"?

I am in my mid-40s and have been friendly with a local group of ladies, consisting of neighbors and others. We have spent New Year's Eves together, have attended the block party together, and see each other regularly in and around town.

I thought we had bonded to a point that I was considered a friend. Yet, when I see them out all together attending a local function or having a girls' night at a local bar, I feel left out. They are friendly to me when they see me, but never include me in the first place.

What's the deal? Should I continue trying to be in the group, or walk away? I'm really too old for girls clique nonsense. Too Old for Cliques

Dear Too Old: You ask how many times it takes to realize you are being excluded, and the answer is: as many as it takes.

Groups like this often start with a nucleus of two friends who more or less make the plans and run the pack. These groups have a unique dynamic that cannot be easily pierced. Your exclusion is not necessarily about you, but more about the established social habits of the rest. One obvious suggestion is for you to make an effort to organize a group activity: Make the plans, contact the "girls" and accept the attendant social responsibility and risk.

If you try this and are still consigned to the fringes, then yes, you should accept it.

Dear Amy: "Conflicted in South Carolina" wrote to you, describing his "demand" that he have a night away from his wife and young children once a month so he could go on overnight breaks with his guy friends.

This daddy needs to grow up. Play dates and sleepovers are for children. Renee

Dear Renee: Scores of readers agree with you.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#2 Mar 31, 2014
LW1: You do realize that the responses you loathe are pretty standard answers to the questions you pose, right? But grief is different for everyone, so try and understand that these things might have worked for other people.

And for godssake! talk to a grief counselor and not an advice-column hack.

LW2: You state you're too old for this "girls clique nonsense" so why are you worried you're not in one?

If you're fine with the interactions you have now with these women, just accept that and enjoy the times you're together. If you want a closer friendship with these ladies, then you may have to do the reaching out.

LW3: Lame-o rehash for a Monday morning. Yummy!

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Mar 31, 2014
1 You sound bitter, and that's ok, but lashing out will not bring the dead back either.

2 If you're too old, then why do you play along?

3 Scores of you're readers are wrong!
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#4 Mar 31, 2014
1: I am very sorry for your loss. I agree that you should try grief counseling . I have been in the position, like most people, of losing people close to me. I do understand grief. I realize that losing a spouse or a child, something I have fortunately not experienced, is different from losing a beloved parent, sibling, or close friend. However, one thing you have to realize is that it is NOT all about you. Realize others feel grief as well when your loved one dies. When folks say awkward things, there's rarely any reason to find fault with them. They are doing their best to express their sympathy. So they don't say exactly what you want them to say. Maybe you aren't saying what they need to hear either. And I will suppose you are doing your best as well. It's a bad time overall and I think it's better in the long run to allow others their "mistakes" and not take them to heart. This is an emotionally trying time for everyone. Realizing this may make it easier to forgive and eventually move on.

2: I am assuming you are a single lady. Perhaps you once had a spouse and only started getting involved with this ladies group since his demise. I say this because you mention spending time with the group on occasions that are usually spent with a spouse if a person is married. Good for you for making the effort to find a group of friends. I do get the impression that you've been participating in outings that others in the group have initiated. Why not do something like that yourself. The other thing is, why can't just some members of the group do things without the others? To feel that you are being shunned because you are not ALWAYS invited to an outing is something of a "girls' clique" attitude from where I look. There's no reason some women can't go on a shopping trip, a movie, have lunch or dinner, or whatever else you may have seen with just a couple or more of the group. You do not have to be present at ALL the outings any of them have. It doesn't mean you are not part of the larger group. Why not invite one for more of these women over to your home or to a restaurant for lunch or dinner or to watch a movie in your living room. Invite those you feel closest too. See? Sometimes it's nice to be together in the large group. Sometimes it's nice to have just a couple of women over for a smaller get-together. It wouldn't surprise me if they're just waiting for you to do some of the things I've mentioned.

“An Apple a day”

Since: Jun 08

nil carborundum illegitemi

#5 Mar 31, 2014
Another group of completely boring letters. Are these people really SO clueless that they need to write to an advice columnist for these MINOR issues. Pathetic.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#6 Mar 31, 2014
L1: Grief counselling is a good idea.

L2: Face it -- you want to be in the clique. Invite them all over for dinner or have a game night. You'll find out soon enough, then.

L3: Yawn.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

#7 Mar 31, 2014
LW1: I am so sorry for your loss. People said a lot of stupid things to me when my dad died, too. I came to understand that death is the problem for which there is no solution, but people naturally want to help you. That is why they say the things that they say. If you can understand that their intent is to comfort you and be helpful to you, then maybe you can forgive their careless words. Try the grief counseling; it may or may not help. Staying busy and active are the things that will move you forward IMHO.

LW2: Team squishymama.

LW3: I don't know any married men who have monthly overnight outings with their guy friends. Zero. But whatever works for original LW and his wife.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#8 Mar 31, 2014
I agree... LW2 has to be proactive. And you're never going to be included in everything. That's just life.

Since: Mar 09

West Palm Beach, FL

#9 Mar 31, 2014
L1: What squishy said.

L2: If you have to ask, you're not in it.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#10 Mar 31, 2014
LW2: I wouldn't care one way or the other.

LW3: The whole, "honey, I wanna have sleep overs with other dudes once a month" thing isn't probably gonna go over too big with many women. Dude will just have to realize that his Brokeback Mountain days are in the past.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#12 Mar 31, 2014
1: I HATED all the standard ramblings after bro passed. I was so cold and off-putting because I could not mentally remind myself they were being nice. I was broken and barely able to deal with my own feelings, so people either got over it or got rude. Rude people are no longer a blip on my radar. Ones who got over it, we're fine now. I think the onus is on them to accept your grief.
I never did counseling, but to me, it was time alone and actually away from people that let it settle for me.

2: I love being an introvert and not caring.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#13 Mar 31, 2014
SIDEBAR to lw1:
Amy said grief is " its own peculiar roller coaster of emotions."
That reminds me of something: I wrote an article about my experience with bro entitled, "Grief Is Absurd."
I feel you do things in grief that done outside of it, would get you committed, lol.

Guess what??! It's being published in an illness journal this late summer!!!
Julie

Chicago, IL

#14 Mar 31, 2014
LW1: I'm sorry for your loss. I'm guessing that you/your husband are/were quite young.
By all means take out your anger on people who are trying to be kind to you. Eventually they'll stop trying, and then you can be angry with them about that, too.
BTW, Lamy, in the usage you gave the correct word is "discrete," not "discreet." Moron.
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

#16 Apr 1, 2014
Glance into the future:

Within two years, LW1's friend experienced a death of a spouse. and LW1:
(a) whispered "I don't know what to say"
(b) hugged the friend and wept
(c) asked, "what can I do for you? Remember, I'm still missing my husband, too, and if I say anything that sounds insensitive, you can tell
me I don't know what's helpful"
or
(d) other

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#17 Apr 2, 2014
(d) LW1 says to her friend: "Quit your whining already. My husband died and I went on. All you need is fortitude."

Of course, we all know she was lying her pants off.

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