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, April 18, 2012

Diary Keeping

I started keeping diaries when I was just a kid with nothing to say of any importance---that’s not meant to infer that I have anything important to communicate now that I’m old enough to remember when “body shapers” were called girdles. I’m just stating a fact about all kids who write in diaries when they’re still in grammar school. Who knows why my mom gave me my first diary but I suspect she thought reading my diary while I was in school would be like a 1951 version of the 21st century practice of snooping around your kid’s Facebook page. Little did she (or my older brother) know that eventually Nancy Drew Mysteries would teach me a few things about setting traps for prying eyes. Sewing thread and baby powder kept my secrets secret for a lot of years. Or so I thought. Maybe they just didn’t care what I wrote about each night.

One diary entry that I made back when I was young enough to play with dolls still cracks me up and reads like this: “Today I took a spelling test and I funked it.” I’ve been a notoriously bad speller my entire life. Every day I thank the gods of spell-check and electronic dictionaries for making my diary keeping less of a chore than it was back in the days when I wrote everything out long-hand. A pencil with an eraser is still my writing implement of choice and wouldn’t you know it, I’d end up married to an ink pen collector. Don was a good speller and when we first knew each other he couldn’t understand why I’d wear down all the erasers in the house before the pencils were too short to use. And as smart as he was, I’m still shaking my head over the time he found me sitting in the car, balling my eyes out and holding up a pencil with a broken point. “Don’t cry! Don’t cry. I can fix that!” and he ran into the house to sharpen my pencil. Another woman, of course, would have known right off there was more to my wailing than a broken piece of lead. Guys! They can be endearing when they’re clueless.

Because people write diary style in blogs and forums on the internet, I see a lot of broken hearts and broken dreams on the widowhood site that I frequent. I see a lot of pain created by financial issues caused by the death of a breadwinner. I see a lot of anger and confusion brought on by finding out a deceased husband was having an affair or by in-laws who are less than supportive. And I see a lot of people who have lost their faith in God. I see all the same kinds of issues and coping methods that I saw back when I was hanging around a stroke support site after Don’s stroke. Sad but true. Change is hard and it’s easy to forget the rest of humanity goes on when own little corner of world stops and takes a giant breath. I’ve been lucky. I haven’t been disillusioned by circumstance or people in my widowhood and if I need to vent, I have my diary/blog and I think that helps.

Writing, diary keeping or blogging---whatever you want to call it---to me, is a way to empty out my mind when all my thoughts are fighting to see who gets to be king of the mountain. I hate it when they fight! I hate it when my thoughts chase each other around and punch and kick one another until one idea or the other goes limping off with a bloody nose. Writing soothes me and brings my life into focus. If I empty my thoughts out on paper then I can organize them, edit them and lay some of the more mundane or destructive thoughts to rest in a dignified manner than doesn’t require a first aid kit. Thank you, dear diary! And other times it’s just plain fun to spend an afternoon reading old diary entries like the time I was reminded of a long ago live concert I’d attended featuring Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis. I wrote about it a few years back in a blog entry titled American Graffiti that can be found here. ©

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