I started to think again about our first phase of widowhood. I guess the first few months after our husbands died we were "giving" as we met once a week and started writing about our feelings and uncertainties. Like Barbara we needed to be connected outside our family and friends. You and I were strangers. While you helped me adjust to living with a missing partner, maybe the stranger in Barbara's life is helping her accept her new life. Maybe the will to help keeps us all from depression.
Depression keeps victims hostage, but not us. One of the big steps in widowhood is moving, connecting and eating out alone. Barbara hasn't taken that last step, yet. She has started to accept being the extra person as couples invite her out to dinner. It is an awkward situation but she has accepted the challenge. She might enjoy more eating alone, feeling close to Katherine Hepburn, like you mentioned in FRESH WIDOWS.
For now she seems most enthusiastic about trading in her car, the car with the spotless trunk. I will have to ask her, Why?