I'm pretty quick to make friends. I like people. I like to talk. I'm not shy, I'm extremely social, and I enjoy different perspectives.
After John died, I found a lot of comfort in my friends. They took great care of me. They still do. I found it helpful to spend time with people who remembered and missed John, and people who know John from childhood or as a coworker or in other ways that I did not. I knew how much richness John had brought to my life, and it was sweet and comforting to know how much others had loved him, too.
It's been almost exactly three years since John died, and my life has changed a lot since then. I have had two different jobs and moved twice. I've met new people along the way, people who never had the chance to meet John, some of whom I consider to be among my closest circle of friends. I've reconnected with people from childhood or other parts of my life that didn't include John. And now, here in Portland, I'm forging an entirely new life of which John will never be a part.
This means that I'm at a point where many, if not most, of the people I interact with day to day never knew John, never knew John and I as a team, and can't compare and contrast my life pre/with/post John. When I realized that this shift was happening, I found it profoundly disturbing. Going through the intensity of falling in love with John, getting married, his illness and death: that defined me. Those years were the happiest and saddest of my life. It almost felt like people who'd never known John could not, by extension, really know me.
That's all changing. I now find that it's harder for me to be around people who knew John and with whom he and I had a relationship as a couple. Being around those people brings up memories of what it was like when John was alive and we were together, and while the memories themselves are happy, the contrast between the memories and my reality can be painful. On the other hand, if I'm with people who never knew John, I simply take our interactions at face value. I forge that friendship based on my current situation, which makes who I am and the life I've created feel somehow more legitimate. Nothing has to be modified to the new reality.
I hear a little tune in my head, something about silver and gold and old and new friends . . . anyone, anyone? So trite, but at this point in my life, so true.