Bereaved Spouses/Partners, The Road Less Traveled

Widowhood and Our Married Friends

by Elle Fagan

Your married friends can make a big difference in the way life goes after a grief-loss; especially widowhood.

My husband and I had been blessed with great work and love and happiness all those years. Our friends were very good – we teamed for civic helping things, things for the children, sports, bridge and for just plain fun! We were not especially false. We were good to our friends onstage and backstage. And then the party was over – my husband a victim of sudden death to aneurysm of the brain.

I am sorry to say that my children and I suffered clinical grief shock – we discouraged our jolly friends with our stunned condition and some of them were impacted deeply as well, and would not complain to me, so heartbroken. I expected nothing.

Then an old High School girlfriend showed up and simply danced me all over the east coast to break the stupor.

A friend from the last group of projects helped me sort through my late husband’s personal things around the house and find the courage to put them away.

A neighbor became my fan club when it was time for me to date again and gave me courage to just plain “go shopping” and lighten up a bit.

A friend who was our school principal protected my daughter when her grieving prompted some fresh boys to tease her.

I owe my favorite photo of my late husband to a college professor friend who restored a bad image – a pro skill he enjoyed.

Our attorney was a prince a million times.

Another friend helped with jobs for me, till I was ok to do my own business again.

My housekeeper was the saving grace – an “other” to find sanity for the daily routine.

I almost remarried the world’s worst choice for a mate for me just so that I could be married and continue to work and play with my married friends, rather than make that adjustment to single social life. Since our location had to do with my late husband’s corporate work, it meant a painful goodbye to our home of 14 years.

Still, when all the demands of those early days passed, and we’d moved and adjusted to new work and schools, I looked around to find myself with mostly single friends and eventually loved it. “You lose all your friends when you are widowed” no longer frightened me. We hate the monster master Time and there is no way around it.

Years later, I find one or another of those who were there for me, on the bad day, for a good reunion, but then we all seem fine to let it go and go play with life right where we are again. I will never forget their thoughtfulness when it was key.

And when I look around at my social life, it is finally what it should have been – a wonderful mix of young and old, single and married, partners and opponents. Life wins, given half a chance I believe.

About the Author: Elle Fagan was born in Fairfield, Connecticut. She married sweetheart, Vincent “Peter” Fagan, Jr. in 1966. Peter died suddenly from Berry’s Intracranial Aneurysm at 39 in 1981. Since widowhood, Elle, an artist, continues to show her work worldwide and is a member of the American Watercolor Society. Elle is a lifelong member with American Red Cross and assisted during Viet Nam, local disaster, Operation Desert Storm and Y2K. She currently donates some of her prize-winning art to help good causes, from her studio on the waterfalls at Fox Hill in Vernon, Connecticut. She has two children, Peter John and Amy. You may visit Elle at her website

Read Elle’s other articles:
“Hang in. It gets Better”
First Holidays After a Loss 

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