I attended a get-together at a restaurant with some friends last evening. It was nice. I enjoyed the company of these people. I had gotten to know them over many years through John and they had become my friends as well. And they have been very supportive and caring towards me since John has passed. I want to make that clear.
Because I felt uncomfortable last night and it was not because of any lack on their part.
Everyone there was coupled except me. Everyone there was a husband or wife and I was...what? The token widow? No, that's cruel. I was their friend. But I was alone. At one point I sat there and looked around me at all the animated faces and the happy conversations and I felt so alone. I was in a crowded restaurant in the company of 12 people and I was alone. Number 13. The odd one. The one who was missing her partner so much. Who was remembering other times and other gatherings and being there with John.
Who wanted to run screaming from the room.
When I was first invited, I objected. I voiced an uneasiness at going for that very reason - I knew everyone there would be coupled and I would feel awkward.
Maybe awkward is the wrong word. Maybe there isn't a word to describe what I felt - or I don't know what it is.
And maybe what I felt was more than one thing.
I didn't feel unwanted. On the contrary, I felt very accepted and very loved. I know if there was anything I ever needed I could call on any one of those people and they would be there in a heartbeat.
It was the situation. Not them.
I was acutely aware that I was going home alone. Being there with all those partnered people made me feel all the more adrift. It reminded me that John was not there with me. It caused me to miss him even more, if that's possible. It saddened me.
And it's not something that someone can understand who arrived there and went home with their spouse.
So I think I may avoid those situations as much as I can in the future. It will be hard to get others to understand and not get their feelings hurt. I don't want to hurt anyone but the sadness I felt took away from the joy I was seeking by being in the company of these people. Maybe that will change over time. Maybe I will learn to deal with this better. But for now all I feel is the hurt and sadness.