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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another Letter to my Deceased Husband - Rest in Peace

Tomorrow is the six months anniversary of your passing, Don. I hope you are resting in peace. Rest in peace. People say that all the time but what exactly does that epitaph mean? You know me, I wasn’t exactly sure so I googled it. Apparently it’s meant as a prayer that the deceased person---that would be you---will find peace in the next life, free from the struggles of living in this world. Well, we’re running into a problem here, aren’t we Don, since we’re not Christians and don’t believe in the resurrection, final judgment and heaven which makes it a little hard to think of death as a jubilant rest in paradise with angels floating on the clouds. It’s an interesting visual to imagine, though---what paradise would be like. My dad believed in the traditional, Pearly Gates and gold lined streets kind of paradise but if I believed in an after-life paradise it would be different for each and every one of us, like in Robin Williams' movie, What Dreams May Come. (I need to rent that movie sometime. It’s been 14 years since I’ve seen it and every so often the storyline runs through my head and it still intrigues me.) My paradise might be like the heaven Robin's character experienced of walking around inside of a freshly done oil painting. What fun he had slipping and sliding. Your idea of paradise would probably look like one of the covers on the magazine Garage---neon signs and guy-bling every where and shiny, old cars with a group of guys sitting in the corner drinking coffee.

Rest in peace. Minutes after you passed away you had the most peaceful look on your face. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that look. It gave me comfort then and it gives me comfort now. Maybe it seemed so special because earlier that day you looked confused and scared, like a little boy who needed his mother to hold him and rock him in her arms. But you were hooked up with so many wires and tubes that I couldn’t get close enough to do more than hold your hand. I still wonder if you knew you were dying. None of us talked about the gravity of your situation in front of you and without your hearing aids in there was no way you could have overheard any of the doctors or nurses as they came in and out of your room. Maybe you could read our faces. Maybe your body was telling you it was ready to give up the fight. Or the activity in the room was giving off clues. Remember when my dad was within an hour of dying? The Hospice nurses would come in every few minutes to check his toes, and then they'd say, "It's almost time." It reminded me of opening an oven door to see if the cake inside was finished baking yet. I can't remember if anyone did that to you on the day you died. Probably not. I'd remember the surreal absurdity of that. Questions without answers.

Rest in peace. I know it isn’t the common meaning of the phrase but I prefer to believe it means that our soul or spirit can be at peace because the people we leave behind think of us with love. We sow the seeds of our future heaven or hell by the way we live our lives i.e. if we’re cursed after we die and no one has a good thing to say about us, then we’ll be  in hell. But if people loved us and we’ve left good memories behind then we’re in heaven for as long as we're remembered. In other words it’s the people we leave behind who create our heaven or hell in their minds by the imprint we left on their lives. No Pearly Gates, no gold streets to walk unless our loved ones envision us there. That's where Dad is in my imagination, where he wanted to be. None of us can know what comes after we die, of course, but I do know that by my definition, you’re in an American Picker kind of heaven, Don. You’re in that tricked out garage and you are resting in peace, laughing and telling stories with a cup of Starbucks in your hand.


P.S. I still miss you, Don. ©
 



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7 comments:

  1. Jean :

    being Hindu I also don't believe in hell or heaven, I feel we create our own hell & heaven right here on earth with our thoughts & actions. I believe in law of karma, do right things & all things will work out in life. Because of your blogs I miss Don as well, in my intial post stroke journey your stroke blogs about Don comforted me that with right attitude like Dons I can find my inner strength too, so even though I never met you guys you both have touched my life

    Asha

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  2. Thanks, Asha. Eastern philosophy has influenced my thinking in this area. Don knew about you, too. I used to read the SN blogs to him from time to time.

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  3. It's eight months out now and the second paragraph I wrote in this blog entry still brings tears to my eyes. I wonder how long it will take for the memories of the day Don died to no longer have power over my emotions.

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  4. (((((((((((((((( Jean))))))))
    You have always been an inspiration to me. You were the first to Welcome me to S.N.
    Your Love and Devotion to Don was a shining light to many.
    I know Don will be remembered and Loved through you; Sharing stories and adventures.
    I also want to Thank You for the link to the Widow Site. It is a gift you have given, and you will never know how much of a gift it is to me.
    the book "Widow To Widow" be Genevieve Davis Ginsburg is very good
    Love and Hugs
    Bonnie

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  5. Thanks, Bonnie. You've always shared so much of yourself at at S.N. and I'm not at all surprised that you've found a Widow Village a good fit for give and take.

    I read the reviews of "Widow to Widow, a Practical Guide to Rebuilding your Life" and can see how it could help a lot of people. For me, not so much. I went through the process after Don's stroke of rebuilding and have a pretty good start at doing it again after his passing. So much of it is the same....

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  6. I came across this by "googling" - I typed in "Where is my deceased husband?"

    I LOST MY HUSBAND, 12 DAYS AFTER YOU DID-JULY 29, 2012 AFTER HE SUFFERED FROM PANCREATIC CANCER WITH METS TO LIVER, ETC., WHICH WAS DIAGNOSED WITHOUT ANY WARNING, AS A SHOCK TO US.

    I MISS HIM, AND I DON'T EXACTLY KNOW WHERE HE IS. I READ A LOT ABOUT HEAVEN, AFTER LIFE, ETC, BUT WHERE IS HE?

    sometimes i ask God to please let me find him by making me not wake up. I can't do anything to myself because I believe I would never see my husband again and would rot in hell.

    PLEASE TELL ME WHAT ALL OF YOU THINK-WHERE ARE OUR LOVED ONES?

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  7. Anonymous, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't answer your question---no one can answer that for another person in my opinion---but I believe their spirits are still here with us. I see signs of that all the time in my life.

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