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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Corner of Memory and Widowhood Lanes

While waiting at the airport for my long, lost friend to arrive it occurred to me that it took a leap of faith on her part to trust that I’d be there to pick her up. After all, I’m old and old people forget things. Old people also get lost on the way to airports and IN the airports. And we’ve been known to die unexpectedly leaving people stranded and fuming on concourses. Okay, I admit it, I’m a worry wart and worry warts can come up with a 100 troubling scenarios when we have too much time on their hands. Was I waiting in the right place? Would we even recognize the wrinkled versions of our old selves? At one point I even worried that maybe she’d turned into a serial murderer and was coming to poison my pudding, pretend to be me and empty out my bank account. Worry warts are right at home in airports where an intercom voice is constantly implanting paranoid ideas about strangers who might ask you to transport “packages” in your carry-on. And I quickly got the idea that if I accidentally left my purse on the window sill some seriously tense young man from the bomb squad would be in charge of returning it.

But all my worrying was for not. My friend arrived and she was still the same warm, gracious and vivacious person I had met in grade school. And I was there to greet her---me, the same eager-to-follow-her-laughter-anywhere girl I was so many decades ago. Growing up just around the corner from one another we were two peas in a pod and practically inseparable for nearly two decades until college where she found her self a great boyfriend, married the guy and then followed his career across the country.

This week I found out that nine months out from Don’s dying was perfect timing for me to journey to the intersection of Memory and Widowhood Lanes. As time passes, we widows all regret that we get fewer and fewer opportunities to share memories of our spouses and it’s healing when we have a willing listener like my friend was this week We ‘played’ together in the stores, toured our local tourist attraction and took a ride up north searching for the past only to confirm that Thomas Wolfe was right: you can’t go home again---buildings get torn down and others take their places. And through it all we talked non-stop about everything and anything: how our lives and families turned out, the highlights and low points of decades past, our hopes for the future, the world and politics. With a little wine, a few tears and lots of laughter we swapped stories, just two old friends with years of ‘girl talk’ to catch up on.

At one point she said she refuses to admit that she’s getting older, which I found highly amusing because sometimes I pretend I’m older than I really am. Why not? It gives me an excuse for the mistakes I make like this week when I asked someone for directions to the tramp station. “The tram station,” he replied, “is just around that bend. You might find a few tramps over there.” But I see my friend’s point of view on not allowing yourself to think like an old person, let the years hold you back from what you enjoy doing. Back in my forties I was on a kick where I’d tell my nieces to remember I was doing screw ups (like my tram/tramp mix up) all of my life and not to rush me off to a nursing home when I do it in my Medicare years. Some things you definitely don't want to rush. Nursing homes and rusting in place are two of those things. Stay active, stay tuned in. Betty White, I'm coming to audition for your TV series, Off their Rockers.

In the coming of age movie, Stand By Me, the last lines were, “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” To that question asked by Richard Dreyfuss’ character, I’d answer, “No, no we don’t.” When you share so many ‘firsts’ and coming of age experiences with another person, you bond in a unique way and that bond is very special, giving you the ability to pick up right where you left off decades later when you meet again in an airport. My visit with my oldest and dearest friend was worth all the worrying. Our bond came with a life-time warranty. ©

second grade, 1950

3 comments:

  1. Hi, J.R. -

    We allowed Mama to sign your guestbook post. She says if you need to vent, feel free to do so.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

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  2. Thanks, guys. You're the best!

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  3. Hi, J. R. and Levi -

    Mama re-read this post again. She can identify with the last paragraph. She met her best friend in high school and they have been friends for 40 years. They don't get to see each other as much as they would like but when they do, they also have the ability to pick up where they left off.

    Her husband was one of Mama's classmates in high school so it was inevitable that the three of them were - and still are friends after all this time.

    Levi, please take good care of your Moomie.

    Love -

    Hershey, Kaci and Mama (Dianne)

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