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, December 29, 2012

New Years Eve: a Time to Remember, a Time to Begin Anew

New Years Eve and Day comes with many traditions that vary in scope from family to family. I’ve always been grateful my New Years Days didn’t include the tradition of having a bunch of armchair jocks sitting in front of the TV set. I would have hated being a ‘football widow wife’ like my neighbor whose house is party center every time there is a game playing anywhere in the world of professional sports. Growing up, my parents and 2-3 other couples had a New Years Day tradition that involved watching television. They were very rare back then so it was a real treat to be invited over to view its tiny screen no matter what was on the scheduled lineup. But after a huge brunch that included us kids, they shipped everyone under seventeen off to the roller skating rink for the afternoon so the adults could crowd around that black and white TV set.

By the time I started college we still didn’t own a TV set and skating had faded out of my life, but fast forward 25 years to when Don and I found our selves at an adult roller skating party. He could literally skate circles around me while I had lost the skill and my confidence. It didn’t help much that he teased me, saying I skated like a refrigerator on a dolly, “Pick up your feet and glide!” How could I? I was sure I was going to fall, break a hip and end up in a nursing home before I even started menopause.

Parties---I’d been to my share of New Year’s Eve parties in the ‘60s before I met Don and in the next few years afterward. But Don didn’t like going places on New Years Eve because, he said, the service was always bad and the places were so crowded. And since he owned a snow plow service, we often spent the night on snowy parking lots. One memorable night after a storm had ended and the landscape was sparkling white and beautiful one of the other snowplow drivers got out of his truck at midnight and made a snow angel in the headlight beams of his truck. Before long all five of us had parked our trucks in a circle and we all made snow angels, laughing at our silliness. We’d never done it before---or since---but it was magically that night to get in touch with the child in each of us.

Now that I’m a widow, there is something positive to be said for not having to mourn the loss of a holiday tradition that rang in the New Year in style and mayhem that included champagne and fancy dresses. Watching Dick Clark and the crystal ball dropping at Time Squares on TV was about as festive as we got over they years. But I do have a tradition that I’ve followed faithfully on New Years Eve or day for over a half a century. (Wow, I’m old!) I get my old diaries out and read random pages. This got started at a New Years Eve slumber party when I was barely into the teens. We played a game called ‘diary roulette’ which was a variation on spin-the-bottle. A date was called out, the bottle was spun and where ever it pointed when it stopped that person had to read whatever was written on the corresponding date in her diary. I remember spinning a few tall tales on the spot, not wanting to share the words actually written in my diary.

New Years Day is a time to make resolutions and many of my old diaries include a list resolutions and/or grandiose introductions the way only a youthful pen could write. I was going to make a resolution list this year, too, until this morning when I picked up an idea from another widow’s blog. For her second year of widowhood she had used a one word mantra instead of making resolutions---brave---and for the coming year she’ll use ‘believe’. The idea is to pick a word that expresses your intention for the coming year, like an inspiration to apply to your life. I used a four-word mantra during my caregiver days and it really helped me through a lot of tough stuff so I fell in love with the idea of picking one word to inspire me throughout the coming year. Therefore, I am declaring that my word for 2013 will be ‘courage.’ If you read my last blog, a Widow’s Letter to Myself, you’ll understand why I am embracing this word (and the Cowardly Lion) as my 2013 inspiration and mantra. I even found a ‘courage’ charm and a Cowardly Lion charm to wear on a chain. I love eBay. You can find anything there.

It doesn’t matter if you follow the same tradition each New Years Eve or you start a new one. It doesn’t matter if you laugh or cry at midnight. What matters is it’s a time for acknowledging the power of starting anew, of making promises to your self. Call those promises resolutions or a ‘word for the year’ but whatever you call it I hope we all have a better 2013 than the year we’re leaving behind. ©



2 comments:

  1. Jean :

    want to wish you happy, healthy & prosperous New Year. I like the idea for one word for coming year. I like yours mine will be "morejoy". if you can think of one word for that emotion please let me know & I can start using it.

    lots of love
    Asha

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  2. Asha, How about just the word 'joy'? Several widows I know are using that word to inspire them to seek more joy in their lives. There are also lots of charms with that word written on them if you need something to touch to help you remember what you've promised to do for yourself over the coming year---to approach each new day with a new appreciation for the little joys in life as well as the big ones. I think 'joy'is a great word for you. It has spirit, promise and a great attitude. 'Joyful' would work, too, as a goal for 2013.

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