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, August 22, 2012

Please Remember Me, Don, and Johnny Appleseed

Lake Michigan Shore
It occurred to me recently that I’ve been “Johnny Appleseeding” Don’s ashes over two counties and six places. Half were buried in April at a cemetery in a little town he loved. But this week---at seven months out from his passing---I scattered a quarter of Don’s ashes at Lake Michigan. Also this week I scattered smaller amounts in 2 other places: 1) under the white pine trees we planted right outside the window where I sit at my computer, and 2) along a nature trail. The nature trail runs close to the back side of the 160 acre farm where Don grew up. Then there are the ashes enclosed in a four inch tall ash urn kept in a velvet box, plus the tiny amount enclosed in my sterling silver ash urn locket.

In the 1800s Johnny (Chapman) Appleseed had a purpose when he went across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania planting apple trees but I have no clue what my purpose was in dividing Don’s remains between so many places. Maybe I really believe that out of the ashes new life grows and I wanted be sure at least one of the places I deposited them will remain undisturbed until that new life comes forth. (It’s never been my style to put all my eggs in one basket.) Or maybe I just like the idea that Don gets a choice of places to haunt until his soul gets tired of hanging around earth. And then there is the strong possibility that I just didn’t like the idea of having to go to a cemetery to remember Don on days when we’re supposed to honor the death.

It’s a popular myth that Johnny Appleseed randomly planted trees in his travels as a missionary but the fact is he actually planted nurseries and built fences around them. Back in his days on earth, there was a law in the Midwest that required people who claimed frontier land to plant orchards to hold on to their claims and that made the land around Johnny Appleseed’s little nurseries popular plots to homestead because bargain priced nursery stock was close at hand. When he died his sister inherited 1,200 acres of his apple saplings, and to this day several locations claim Johnny’s gravesite. I can see how my decision to strew Don’s ashes over two counties could cause confusion over Don’s final resting place so maybe someday Johnny and Don will have a where-is-he type dispute in common.

The day I spread the ashes at Lake Michigan with my niece and her husband in tow it was a beautiful, sunny day. We went to Don’s favorite antique mall, had lunch where we could watch boats going by and, of course, we drove down to the beach. From there, we walked a short distance down the shoreline where we left the ashes---some in the water and some at the top of a sand dune that is near where the burnt remains of a small town is buried underneath the sand. Mother Nature took what the fire didn’t and now Mother Nature will have her way with part of Don. Don loved the folklore of that old ghost town and he had read everything ever written on the subject.

All of Don’s ashes have been spread now but I had a hard time stopping myself from dividing them even more. On the way home from Lake Michigan I was trying to figure out why it was so hard to bring an end to my Johnny Appleseed-like mission. Did I do the right or wrong thing leaving Don in so many places? Imagine my surprise when just after that question entered my thoughts I got a sign that I took as a seal of approval. As I turned a corner a rainbow, big and bright appeared in the sky and at the same time Tim McGraw was on the radio singing the song, Please Remember Me. ©

 "Remember me when you're out walkin'
When the snow falls high outside your door
Late at night when you're not sleepin'
And moonlight falls across your floor….

 .....please remember me.”


Top of the Sand Dune

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