Follow
Share

My spouse is now in memory care. We have friends who stayed by our side.


Do I resume friendships with those who made a casual inquiry about our situation?


We’ve been friends for years, but I don’t think they could (or didn’t want to) be involved socially. The irony is I really enjoyed the wife’s company.


It’s not that I feel resentful, but I’m sure she will reach out once they hear he is no longer at home.


As we age, there are fewer friends around, and I don’t want to ignore it.


Am I being petty?

I am not in your situation, but I have found that sometimes I have outgrown my friends, for whatever reasons. Life takes us in different directions, and we no longer have that shared common ground...

Maybe this is an opportunity to make new friends, ones who are in your shoes and understand what you have gone through.

I have met so many nice, genuine, real people visiting their loved ones at the MC Home while I am there.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to JJGood19
Report

You’re not being petty, you’re being human.
We have a brain injured adult son and had to learn long ago that good, nice people don’t want to hear much about our situation with him. People don’t know what to say, it’s uncomfortable, they feel subconsciously it’s somehow “catching,” or they’re fixers and there’s no fix so it’s frustrating, or a myriad of other reasons. So to have friends we limit the conversation about him and move to other topics. I think you’ll find this true with your situation also, it’s not the best of human nature, but friends are hard to come by and we have to extend them some grace
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Report
Dolly1300 Oct 3, 2019
Yes, I guess I have to take the high road and realize it’s not always personal, and Thank God family is by my side for the important decisions and the rest is all fluff.
It all became undone when the slippery slope became a free fall.
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
Here is my way of looking at people who held back.
Some did because they had things going on that I was not aware of.
Some did because my pain caused memories of pain on their side that were difficult to handle.
Some did because they really were not interested.
Now, I could take the time to figure out which had which reason.
OR I can say I need connections now and no matter the reason for them holding back, I need them now.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Lynnnnn
Report

If someone has periodically reached out to you they may have wanted to keep in touch while also being reticent about the unknowns of what was happening to your spouse and feeling awkward about how they themselves should feel and react.

I think the ball is in your court. How about coffee at a local shop to give yourself the chance to take a read on where they’re coming from. You may get the chance to do a little “public awareness education”, or you may decide to move in another direction. STRICTLY YOUR CALL.

Some very nice people can be pretty oblivious about life as a caregiver. If you want to, give it a shot.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to AnnReid
Report
Dolly1300 Oct 3, 2019
Thank you, I guess women in general are more understanding while men look at friendships thru different lens and once it makes them uncomfortable , they pull back especially with this terrible disease .
(4)
Report
Old friends hold the memories of parts of our past lives. We can think it’s not anyone’s fault if we lose them – death, moving to another country. Or our own fault - we didn’t take enough trouble to stay in touch. Or their fault - surely(?) we would have done better if they had been in trouble and our lives had gone OK. Over time, we have fewer and fewer people with whom we share old memories. It’s worthwhile to find them again if we can.

I remember a story of the two oldest guys in a village, who spent most of their time sitting together even though they had been bitter enemies in the past. They said ‘no-one else remembers’.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

I firmly believe it is my responsibility to reach out to a person, if I think of them. I do not wait to see if they reach out to me first.

I went through a divorce that took years to resolve, we were told it should take 6-8 weeks. Much of it played out on Social Media, and it was ugly. Naturally many friends and family had divided loyalties during that time. It hurt that some took sides and others disappeared.

But now if I wonder how so and so is, I send a text or email. I do not refer to their behaviour during the divorce, I just say I am thinking of you and ask if perhaps we can meet for coffee.

It it may not be ‘fair’ that as the wronged party in the divorce I have to do the reaching out, but if I want the relationship to rekindle I need to take the first step.

So in your case, take the first step. Call the wife, let her know you have been thinking of her and let her know that you have more free time now that your dh is in care.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Tothill
Report

I think that you MAY have too many deep seated feelings there to reconnect without honesty. It seems you feel that some were there and some more or less abandoned you.
I wouldn't try a reconnect without it being an open thing, or you will feel resentful and when you are with this once much loved woman the question will sit between you over lunch, causing indigestion.
I would do the following. A brief and very loving letter. "Hi Isabelle. I wanted to write you, and let you know that Stan entered memory care on (date). It has been very difficult, but I do now have more time to resume the relationships and friendships I had that I have missed more than you can imagine. You are certainly one person I have missed most. I have lost many over the last months (years?) of caregiving. I have not known if that is because my friends felt helpless in the face of what Stan and I were going through, or because my friends simply moved on when I was unavailable.
I would love to hear from you, to have lunch, to discuss together if we can resume where we left off; as I said, I have missed you and all we shared more than I can say".....
Whatever. Blah blah. I think thereby you acknowledge that you DO NOT KNOW WHY you lost this person. I think it begs a question. Why did I lose you?
If I were on the receiving end of such a letter I would have a decision. A) do I WANT to resume the relationship; have I moved on and am too busy B) What can I say, what must I say if indeed I missed you as you did me? Because I would feel I owed an explanation.
I know for me what it might be. That you were not available and that you were trapped in the care of your beloved; that I didn't feel free to say "have you considered placement, because you are losing you life, our relationship being the least of it". That your life had become all about being a caregiver and I felt helpless and inadequate in knowing what to say and do, that I felt I had lost you to the constant needs of your hubby, and that I took the coward's way and moved on, gradually letting what we had go, and that I MISSED you, too.
I will tell you now a secret of my own. Something similar happened to me. A loss of a friend more precious to me than many in my own family over a course of 20 years, a friend I once roomed with after we lost our respective spouses, a friend I shared EVERYTHING with, a fellow nurse, a person I worked with daily. She moved away and moved on.
Then, after another 20 years the friend wrote me. Had a cancer. Knew I had survived a cancer 30 years ago when we were friends. Wanted to reconnect. Had missed me and knew I could be such a support and so on. I was so hopeful to recapture one of the most precious relationships of my entire life.
But it wasn't to be. We were changed. Not so changed as I think things I was once charmed by in her now annoyed me, seemed things she let hold herself back. It was different. It was not to be recaptured.
I will always love what I loved about her.I will cherish what we had; it changed my life. I will be a support if needed, but again we have dwindled into not much contact save on birthday and Christmas. And I don't miss her as once I did. It is resolved. So just try not to prejudge how it will be. You may move on to other things, volunteer, or otherwise, knitting club, book club you name it. Make other friends. But if you are honest with one another, if it doesn't bring back the friendship it WILL bring peace, I think--I hope.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report
MargaretMcKen Oct 3, 2019
People move on, and the 'old relationship' rarely comes back. I'm not sure that writing a letter that's likely to make someone feel guilty, will help much. Perhaps better to talk about the past.
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
Why not be the one to reach out first yourself? Throw a little BBQ or get together at your home and invite those friends with whom you want and now have the time to socialize?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Report

I have very few friends so I tend to take whatever is available for social interaction, that said when someone does something to lose your trust the relationship will likely never return to what it once was.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie
Report
cwinter Oct 6, 2019
So true.
(0)
Report
I have found that most people are fairly clueless of what it’s like to be a caregiver and therefore can’t express the empathy while a friend goes through it. Unless one has walked a mile in another's shoes, they just don’t get it. So the,y don’t inquire about you or the care receiver. I have finally learned to not expect something from those who don’t get it and I count my blessings that I have some that do. As I reflect back on my life, before caregiving, I too wouldn’t have understood. So I think if you truly miss and value the person's place in your life, it is worth reconnecting. And of course it won’t hurt to be truthful. Let them know you missed them but you are aware that they were uncomfortable while your husband was at home. Give them a chance to explain after you ask them if that was what was causing their absence in your life. When people know better they do better, if given a chance. And if they don’t, then you know who they are. It was surprising to me how some of my friends never inquire but I know they care for me. So I turn to those who I know "get it".
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Harpcat
Report
CaregiverL Oct 6, 2019
Harp, I couldn’t be that forgiving or understanding. Bless you 🙏🏼 Hugs 🤗
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter