Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Popeye’s Elbow, Flashers, Babies, Jumanji2 and the Flu

Dr. Google says I have Popeye’s Elbow otherwise known as Olecranon Bursitis. Leave it to me to get something weird. What is it? It’s a golf ball sized lump at the tip of my elbow. Apparently there’s a body part there called a ‘bursa’ which is a cushion in between the bone and the skin that gets inflamed and fills up with fluid that sometimes gets infected and needs to be drained. Fortunately most of the time they go away on their own in 3 to 4 weeks with a little rest and ibuprofen and by using alternating ice and heat pads. The weird part is I could also have tennis elbow because before I noticed the Popeye’s ball of warm flesh at my elbow I’ve also been experience mild pain in my forearm. I haven’t played tennis since I was fourteen and batting a ball back and forth in the middle of the street with my best friend when a guy stopped his car by each of us to “ask for directions.” He was totally naked from the waist down.

Being naïve teenagers who giggled over anything remotely funny we nearly split our sides out laughing as we ran into the house to tell my mother. When we finally got the story out Mom called the police. Ohmygod, that poor, young Officer who came out to the house. We were still laughing and his questions just added to our amusement. Of course, we didn’t remember any other details but his penis staring up us. Did you get a license number? What kind of car was he driving? How old do you think he was? What color was his shirt? Was he wearing shoes? Wearing shoes? I doubt we’ve have noticed if he didn’t have any feet to put them on. Yadda, yadda, yadda. What I remember most from that interview is my mother giving us a stern directive to get a hold of ourselves and stop laughing. But how was that even possible when the policeman had to explain what he meant by ‘erect’ or ‘flaccid’. Like I said, we were naïve kids and we didn’t know what the guy was doing. But he definitely didn’t have both hands on the steering wheel. And they say back in the ‘50s everyone lived in Mayberry where things like that didn’t happen.

Speaking of sweet innocence …I got a good dose of babies on Sunday. One of my nine great-great nieces and nephews (all under two and a half) was having a first birthday party. It’s amazing to see their little personalities forming already. One boy was on the selfish side wanting to take toys away from the others, one would try to take it back, but another would have a look on his little face that said, “What the heck just happened?” And when a boy was quietly pilferaging all the Mardi gras necklaces out of the other kids’ party swag bags his great aunt nagged him and said, “Aren’t those pretty! Let’s share the pink and purple ones with the girls and share the red and green ones with the other boys.” When one boy slammed a toy frying pan down on the top of another child’s head and when the crying started, the pan swinger said, “Sorry” and hugged his victim as per his mother's directions. I saw some wonderful parenting going on, always watching, always stepping in with teachable moments.

It’s been a good week for socializing. The day after the party I was sitting in the Guy Land Cafeteria with two of my Gathering Girls pals and after a long lunch two of us went to see the movie Jumanji2. Neither one of us had a clue what it was about other than what we could pull up on our phones which was, “Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game.” It was starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan and we laughed from beginning to end. We didn’t expected that. In fact before going in we joked about being too old to understand what was going on since neither of us was into video games.

I wrote the above paragraphs when I got home from the movie theater. Two hours later the flu hit. And the next fourteen hours I spent alternating between projectile vomiting and projectile diarrhea and sometimes doing both at the same time. At one point in the night I woke up to find myself on the bathroom floor and I had no idea how I got there. The worst seems to be over but all I did on Tuesdays is sleep, sip Gatorade and take the flu meds I, thankfully, had stocked up on last fall. I did manage to get a shower and do a load of laundry but some clothing I just threw out. My goal for today is to eat something and hope it stays inside my body but from what I've read I'm progressing on the flu timeline right on schedule. I can expect to be weak and tired until the weekend. This is a terrible strain of flu! ©

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Another Valentine’s Day Under my Belt

After a long stretch of dreary winter days, Valentine’s Day was so bright and beautiful I had to put sunglasses on as I drove home from the grocery store and serendipity brought Travis Tritt on my radio singing “…it's a great day to be alive. I know the sun's still shining when I close my eyes.” I was feeling good. I even had one perfect red rose with baby breath in the back seat as well as a heart shaped box with three pieces of chocolate candy inside. Heck, if there’s no one else around to treat me, why not do it myself. I love me, right? No crime in that. 

While I was picking out the rose a young man was near-by and he was studying one miniature rose plant after another trying to decide which one to buy. The ex-florist in me wanted to ask him if I could help because I could see he was leaning toward plants that were nearly bloomed out and the ones with a few flowers still in bud would last longer. I laughed at myself when it crossed my mind that he might think I was trying to flirt with him if I offered my opinion. Me 70-something and him 30-something. Dream on, old lady! My second thought was that I should write a note for him to give to the recipient of his gift, telling her she’d better appreciate the thoughtfulness he put into picking it out. He was as serious as a Tibetan monk as he studied his choices. But I had my own perfection to find and that’s not easy in this day and age when supermarket cut flowers are so jacked up on preservatives that they often don’t open. I hate that. 

When I got home I went to my Facebook page. I rarely post anything there---a few animal videos just to let people on my friends list know I’m still alive. Mostly I go there to read my news feeds and look at family photos others post. But I had something I wanted to share so when Facebook asked me “What’s on your mind?” I wrote: “It was on a bright, sunny day just like today and I was selling Valentine's Day flowers in the middle of the mall when Don came strolling in after plowing snow all night. He ended up staying to help me and he was so good with the customers. If that isn't love, then I don't know what love is. Still miss you, Don!” That day at the mall is one of those days that comes floating back to the surface when I’m trying to decide exactly when and where I was when I first knew I was in love with Don. I have five-six memories like that fighting for first place on my love-smacked list.

Like all couples, I could also conjure up a short list of memories when I wanted to kick Don to the curb. But there’s something that happens to many women when we get knighted with our WIDOW titles that diminishes memories of fights and hurt feelings and changes them into regrets or comedy skits. Not long after Don died I was in the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store and a couple was arguing over what brand of toothpaste to buy. I had a hard time resisting the temptation to step in between them with my metaphorical referee’s whistle and telling the couple to buy both brands, for crying out loud! “Isn’t having a peaceful marriage worth four bucks and a little extra space in your medicine cabinet?” I’ll never understand why people argue over trivial stuff like that. We never did that. Ya, right. It’s too bad there wasn’t a newly minted widow around the day I picked a fight with Don because the night before I had dreamed he was cheating on me with a woman who looked like Jennifer Anderson. Back in the days when Friends was the hot TV show he developed a crush on her that lasted his entire life. How does a guy defend himself against a dream? See what I mean about how fight scenarios when viewed after death could easily be turned into comedy skits? The mind is an amazing place when it’s trying to justify our own illogical behavior. 

Valentine’s Day night I dreamed something with details that are fuzzy to me now but when I woke up in the morning I was happy and I knew Don had come to visit me in my sleep. Often times my sleeping life is richer and more fun than my daytime life. And if the need to pee didn’t wake me and force me out of bed, I wouldn’t mind living in that twilight zone between sleep and wakefulness. Too many mornings I throw my legs over the side of the bed and sit there for a few minutes dreading the long, lonely day ahead. I don’t know how to fix that feeling when it comes… ©