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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Selling off the Past

This month was the beginning of a very long road I must travel---selling off the past. First Don’s ’78 Vette went up for sale, then this week his gun collection. I didn’t plan on this collection going so soon after his passing but a police officer friend of ours told me about an annual gun auction in March so I got my act together and got them consigned to the sale. I was happy for the way it turned out. Don would have been pleased with the prices his commemorative riffles brought. He’d always said they were the worst investment he ever made because you couldn’t shoot them, couldn’t display them and couldn’t throw the boxes away. Now they are someone else’s “bad” investment. But it seemed strangely fitting that the riffle Don came to dislike for political reasons---his John Wayne commemorative---was one of the highest bid guns at the entire auction. He would have loved taking so much money from a presumed Republican NRA member.

This week I also sold our 2012 Traverse with the wheelchair lift. It only had 12,000 miles but it brought too many memories with it where ever I’d go and with the money I got from the sale of the guns plus the Traverse, I’m buying a new Malibu next week. No more car payments! What’s not to be like about this change in my life? Still, it’s bitter sweet. To move forward, I have to leave bits and pieces of Don’s and my past behind. It’s all part of that circle of grief pain the experts say you have to move through while trying not to stall or stop at any point.

Next on the list to go up for sale is Don’s electric wheelchair. It’s not even nine months old but I’m told it’s going to be a hard sell and that first year of depreciation is at 50%. Why? Because most people get their wheelchairs through their insurance companies or Medicare so the pool of buyers just isn’t there. We bought the chair out of pocket last summer because Don didn’t qualify for a new chair until later this summer and I didn’t want him to have to wait that long for an electric wheelchair he could take down the nature trails close by. With his manual chair we never got too far away from the parking lot before we’d both run out of energy. Oh, well, I can only hope who ever buys the wheelchair will be as happy with the freedom it gives him or her as Don was. The look on his face the first time he drove that chair around the parking lot at the Amigo dealership is something I dearly wish I had captured in a photo.

I was lousy at photo documenting the highlights of our lives. Don was a little better than me before his stroke but not as militant about it as a friend of ours who spends every wedding, party and holiday behind the lens of a camera. I always thought it was better to actually take part in events rather than to document them from the sidelines. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we should have taken more pictures. But I did inherit a sizable collection of photos of all the cars, trucks and heavy equipment Don owned over his life time and had driven when he was in the reserves. If I thought the humor of making a memorial wall of those photos wasn’t so obscure, I’d do one like other widows do with photographs of their spouses, candle shelf below and all. That’s the kind of joke Don would have gotten right off, but without his laughter at an “altar of lost vehicles” everyone else would just think I’m getting weird in my old age. Selling off the past is not going to be that “dashing and bold adventure” my fortune cookie tonight promised is in my future but it sure is taking me to the dark humor side of life. ©

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