Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 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 double-ass ugly. Comments welcome! Jean

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Widow's Letter to Myself

Are you tired of crying? Are you tired of feeling sorry for yourself? What are you waiting for? A committee of friends to bind your wounds or maybe a White Knight to come riding in to save you from the perils of your own thoughts?

Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone.
Don’t stress over the future, it hasn’t arrived.

Yada yada, yada we’ve all heard that two-line platitude before. It goes around Facebook like a round-robin. Whoever coined those words knows jack-squat about widows. We cry over the past. It goes with the title. We stress over the future and if a White Knight did come riding in I’d probably tell him to go kiss the frigging wind as he rides off to live in the fairytale where he was bred. The only one who can fix what is wrong with my life is me, the solutions to all widows’ problems has to come from within.

“Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”

Yup, we’ve been through a cyclone. But wait. There is something to be said for living in the moment, for straddling a line in between yesterday and tomorrow. Mindfulness has always served me well when the past was too painful and the future was too scary. Live in the moment. Concentrate on those vegetables I’m chopping up for soup. Drinking coffee? Pay attention to the taste, the smell, the color and way the steam curls above the cup. Live in the moment, fully engaged in whatever you’re doing. Jeez, I’ve sold that platitude short. Living in the moment is a rational way to cope and isn’t that what those two lines are really saying? Don’t think about the past, don’t think about the future. If you don’t have the courage to move forward, coast in the middle.

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure," Oz said.
“All you need is confidence in yourself.”

Are you tired of crying? Are you tired of feeling sorry for yourself? Are you ready to begin the process of rebuilding your life again? How do I start? Where do I begin to identify the route I’d take from the starting gate to the goal on the far side of tomorrow? We are all defined by the decisions we make. Time to decide: am I tired of dying inside? Moving forward means change. Moving forward means packing my past up in a clothe covered box---a box that can live in the back of the closet next to my ruby red shoes, magic and memories side by side, waiting in case I need them again. Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Is that where I start?

“It’s always best that you start at the beginning,”
Glinda the Good Witch from the North advised Dorothy and Toto.

Don’t stress over the future. I think we can all agree that’s much harder to do than tucking the past on a shelf. Some widows have too many choices, some too few. Do I move and if so where do I go? Or should I stay and if I do will the ghost in the house still help me feel rooted in something important? Some widows have children to consider; I only have a dog the size of Toto. And money, who doesn’t wonder and worry about that? Live in the moment when it gets to be too much to think about. Chop those soup vegetables up in nice, even slices. Chop, chop, chop until I get stronger and stronger.

“Look at the circles under my eyes,” said the Cowardly Lion.
“I haven't slept in weeks!”

Try to remember, dear cowardly widow and lion alike, that choices can’t hurt you, plans don’t bite. No one ever died from choosing between one thing or another---well, unless I decided to take a leisurely stroll in a war zone and I’m way far from being suicidal or stupid. A widow’s choices may not be as easy as plastic or paper but by finding our courage, as Glinda would say, it makes choosing doable. Choices are just a catalog of ideas that can be edited and revised over and over until the path forward is as plain to see as a yellow brick road in a forest. Don’t stress over the future; it hasn’t arrived and as sure as sure can be, plans don’t bite. ©

 “All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy,” the cowardly lion said.
“Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart.
I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there.
There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.”
”What's that?” the Tin Man and Scarecrow asked in unison.
”Talk me out of it!”



Quoted text is from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz which was based on a 1900 book by L. Frank Baum

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