Being the ‘one’ in a group of ‘two’s’…

There are no rules to follow, no handbook you can buy, that gives you real guidance on how to find a new ‘someone’ after losing a spouse to cancer.  In fact, some of us go for years without thinking about it.  We all have our reasons and there shouldn’t be any judgment one way or the other.  Some experts say it goes hand-in-hand with our own individual grieving process.  Other grief counselors encourage widows or widowers to actively search for new relationships.  They say getting on with life means getting on with life with somebody.

One thing I know firsthand, if you’re in a group situation, it can be really tough being the ‘one’ in a group of ‘two’s.’

Couples do things together.  They sit together.  They sit with other couples.  They don’t tend to sit near a ‘one,’ or if they do, the conversation is stilted and they find it uncomfortable for some reason.  A ‘one’ is a ‘one’ in a group.   A couple will eat together at a gathering or they’ll ‘couple-up’ but they tend not to include the ‘one’ into the group.

Being a ‘one’ I have lived this scenario more than once with people I’ve known for years and I’m always stunned by their behavior.

I call being a ‘one’ the leftover piece of the cancer journey that keeps on giving.  It isn’t bad enough that the world has shifted beneath our feet after going through cancer world, now we have to feel the added shift of going from a ‘two’ to a ‘one.’

Some days it’s not easy finding your place at the table.




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Al September 18, 2017 at 10:20 am

Laurie, I am a “one’ so I understand exactly what you are saying. I must say that my friends go out of their way to make me feel included. Nevertheless, the elephant remains in the room. In some cases we talk about the elephant….share many “do you remember when’s”. There is often laughter but the air of sadness and loss lingers like a wisp of smoke. They feel the sadness and loss just as I do and always will. My friends and family are enough for me to make it to the end of my road!

I have filled the holes in my life by volunteering. These efforts have been so rewarding for me. It is hard to explain to others but I know that these opportunities have saved my life. NextStep Ministries is a daycare for special needs kids who have “aged” out of high school. Many are in wheelchairs; many cannot communicate verbally; many are autistic and severely handicapped BUT I have found that there is great joy being with them as I have gotten to know them and they know me. We go bowling, yep bowling, every Tuesday and Thursday. Love these kids!

Meals On Wheels is on the other end, my end, of the age spectrum but is just as rewarding. I look forward to visiting with them each week. And God’s Garden 2-3 times a week. We have no money so everything we have is donated by local hardware stores, Home Depot, Bonnie Plants. We plant, water, weed, and pick the fruits and veggies that God grows and donate it all to the local food pantries to help folks in need. This season we have donated about 1200 lbs to the local pantry from a 50’x50′ plot of ground.

These efforts have helped me “get outside of myself” to know that so many have trials and tribulations far greater than my grief and loss yet there is joy, happiness and Hope. I’m blessed to have found these sanctuaries. I have learned so much and try to share my learnings with others who have lost someone and are trying to find purpose in their lives.


Kathie Scott September 13, 2017 at 7:56 pm

So very true. I am not a very social person to begin with but I think all of us “ones” experience it. I have a companion now and he’s Irish and you couldn’t find a more social soul so he makes it easier for me. I still find people don’t know what to do with widows.


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