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

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Holiday Blues in Widowhood Land

It had been four days since I’ve talked to another human being so today I decided to go to the gas station and while I was pumping gas I saw my first 18 wheeler full of Christmas trees, going through town on their way to some southern state. It happens every year about this time, of course, but seeing them today sent me instantly to a place of pain. For the past twelve years we had a tradition of counting all the Christmas trees we’d see on the top of cars during November and December. On the weekends after Thanksgiving we’d even grab a coffee at Starbucks and sit at an intersection where there are Christmas tree farms in three directions. It started out to be a speech class exercise, for Don to get out numbers, but it evolved into a wheelchair friendly activity that we could do to get us in the mood for the holidays. Most years we chalked up on our little chart, over 125 trees. Seeing the 18 wheeler today made me realize I need to avoid the “tree farms” corner until after Christmas. I don’t need 125 reminders that Don is gone and I’ll need to build new traditions.

The last day of October I sent an e-mail reservation in for a Christmas luncheon at the senior center next month and I got a message back saying, “Sorry, we’ve filled our quota of 115 reservations already.” I didn’t think going to that party meant all that much to me until I got the rejection. Damn, it’s going to be a lonely season! At least the pet store won’t let me down. I can still put ‘reindeer horns’ on Levi and take him in for their humane society fund raiser and photo shoot with Santa. He will snack up and down the aisle of bulk treats that I’ll end up buying, pick out a new toy for his Christmas present and greet the other dogs all doing the same things.

I was looking at a photo album a week or two ago and found an old black and white of a Christmas tree with presents underneath. It was taken back when I was six or seven years old. At the side of the tree was a child’s table and chairs my parents got at the Salvation Army store, plus a doll with her array of homemade clothing. Can you believe it; I still have all that stuff! I’ve been planning to put a new coat of paint on the table and chairs so I can use the set as a coffee table combo and to frame a few of the doll’s clothing for my dream condo when I downsize next year.

Fast forward to one of the first Christmas’ after Don and I met. His idea of decorating back then was taking a full string of Christmas tree lights and making a ‘crown’ for the deer head hanging on his front porch. This was at a time in my life when I was spending 14 hour days decorating rich people’s houses and clubs for their holiday parties. I guess the point I’m trying to make to myself is this: time marches on and holiday traditions change---sometimes by happy choice, other times out of necessity. Traditions this year will be non-existence in my widowhood world so I’ll need to ‘cowboy up’ to get through the season. Can I do it without spilling a few tears? Heck yes! Whenever I feel those pangs of regret and missing Don coming on I’m going to pretend I’m Daron Norwood and start singing at the top of my lungs: “I can make it on my own. These can't be tears in my eyes 'cause cowboys don't cry. Cowboys don’t cry.” ©

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home.
Carol Nelson

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