Losing a partner is devastating, and it's at times that this we need people around us to support us.
One of the things that surprised me when Tim died was the people who reached out to me. Some of them were the people I expected. My family. My closest and dearest friends. But some of them were people I didn't expect. People I didn't think I was close to, or I thought I'd lost touch with, but who were kind, loving and actually, all-round amazing. And our friendships grew.
Sadly, some widows say that what has surprised them are the people who don't reach out, or who cross the road rather than talk. Who send a message saying 'is there anything I can do', and then just vanish. This may be because they don't know how to deal with grief and are afraid to say the wrong thing and upset us more. It may be because they can't bear to see us in pain. It may be because they have experienced bereavement, our grief has reawakened their feelings of loss, and it's all too much to deal with. It may be they think we are after their partner. Or it may simply be that being around death makes them feel too vulnerable.
It's so hard to lose friends, especially at a time when life is tough. Sometimes we can reconnect with these people, and sometimes we just have to let friendships go. Grief support groups (for me it was Widowed and Young) are so valuable at times like this, because they are full of people who just get it.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.