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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The ripple effect...

The irony in all of this is that those who were closest to me before Andie died are now the ones I find myself having difficulty relating to. There is a sense of disconnect that has slowly crept in. I have changed so much that they can no longer relate to me as the “old” Brooke, and I can no longer relate to them as the “old” them. I have been forced to evolve into a different person and they have not. They have not changed and grown with me and so it seems we have grown apart. The old expectations they had of who I was, how I would react to things, how I think about things, is no longer valid and they are left not knowing who I really am anymore. Most days I don’t even know who I am anymore, so how could they possibly be expected to know me. They try to interact and relate to me in the same ways as before but it results in a hollow feeling for me. Sometimes it feels forced or contrived. I don’t know if they feel it too, or if this is a one-sided observation on my part that we just aren’t clicking like we used to.

We are out of step and out of sync. With me being several paces ahead of them in some areas and several paces behind in others, but never quite getting into the right rhythm together. It’s not really fair to expect the rest of the world to undergo this growth process with me step by step, but in the end I believe some will get left behind because they aren’t keeping pace with me. I find myself nodding my head and smiling in agreement with people, and inside all I can think is, “You just don’t get it.” But that is through no fault of their own, thank God they can’t actually relate to where I’m at- I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. This is not a judgement of others, but merely observation of how things have changed in my life.

This is the strange ripple effect of death; it doesn’t just take the person who actually dies. It takes all those around the dead person with it, and irrevocably changes who they are and who they will become. The closer you are to the one who dies, the more you are changed. And by extension of that, it changes how all those people relate to each other. But all of this is unspoken and everyone seems to be bewildered and unable to put their finger on what is so different. Nevertheless, it is different. So very different that it’s palpable, yet unexplainable.

Strangely I feel at peace with this. It is sad to think of losing friends or people who have been close to me, but I understand that it is probably the natural course of things so I’m not angry or resentful. I’m just aware that it might happen.

I feel like they want to hold onto the “old” me as much as I want to hold on to Andie, but the brutal truth is that the “old” me died with him.

And neither one of us is coming back…


  1. I loved what you said...all of it, it's so true. For me, it was interesting to see what friends stepped up a notch and which friends disappeared. Some expected, some surprises.
    I moved to a new town and started a "new life". I'm so glad I did but not that I wouldn't trade my married life for it. I no longer hang out with my married friends, even the ones that knew my LH. If he was the connected between us and another family, I do not have any contact with them anymore. I didn't think this would happen, with all the people at the funeral saying they would help with the legacy, etc.
    So, it leaves me to hang out with my single friends, most of whom have never been married. But, I can't fully identify with them because they don't have kids, I can't pick up and go meet them for happy hour, a quick trip without making some big arrangements first. We are in the middle of those two worlds and I can't find another in my town with similar life experiences.
    As a side note from another one of your blogs, I attended a widow's group at my church, only to find out I am the youngest by 30+ years. I didn't think I was going to go back, but now I decided to help this group of women and am having a fun time doing it. In my widowhood, I have lost the ability to help people because I am "stuck" with my kids. Helping this group of women has helped me bring out a part of the person I used to be and missed over the last 3 years.

  2. So true. I find myself having to remind some of the people in my life that I've been through quite a lot and I'm not always up to handling things the way I used to. Seems like it shouldn't even have to be said, but life goes on and people seem to lose perspective.

    I was widowed in 2010, too. This is my first visit to your blog. :)