Posted on December 18, 2013 · Posted in Blog

The holidays are here and family get-together’s and dinners are being celebrated over the next few weeks.

Your spouse passed away three, five or even ten months ago. During this time you met a caring friend (woman or man) who understands the pain and loss you are suffering. You enjoy each other’s company, have the same interests, similar life experiences and make each other feel alive again.

It was decided that the family dinner would be at one of your children’s homes. You are eager to introduce your new friend to everyone and announce that you will be bringing a guest. The reaction you receive is not what you expected. Without saying flat out “NO”, you get the picture that it is a less than a welcome idea. It seems the kids and family members have spoken and all agreed you should come on your own.

You are surprised by their reaction and decision. You thought they would be happy for you that were getting out again, occupying yourself with something other than your loss. Your heart still aches, the tears still appear in the most inopportune moments, and your longing for your better half to return has not stopped. Every day you wish that your reality would change. Even though your brain understands that this will never happen, your heart can’t help itself.

From your children’s point of view, it is the first family get-to-getter after their mother’s or father’s death. They want to reminisce about the good times; the various traditions started by the family and carried on over the years.

It does not mean they don’t want you to be happy, but bringing a stranger into the mix would make it awkward for them to grieve and share their pain and joy freely. There is no right or wrong answer. It is a great opportunity to share each other’s feelings, fears and needs. The main goal would be to keep the lines of communication open and not let hurt feelings or misunderstanding take over.

You have lost your life long companion, and your kids have lost their mother or father, and from their point of view, they are not ready for a replacement. Sorting that out may take time and an unbiased mediator. Loss and rebuilding one’s life looks different for everyone. Finding that delicate balance to make it work is part of the journey. My experience has shown that inviting straightforward communication about each person’s views and needs will enhance the journey and perhaps even enhance relationships.

By: Diane Pratt, owner Phoenix4Life Coaching