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 double-ass ugly. Comments welcome! Jean

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vent - Young Widows Versus Old Ones

Pulling off my nightgown and putting on a clean pair of cotton underpants this morning, I thought about putting on the same sweatpants and turtleneck I wore yesterday. Who would notice? Not the dog watching me from the bed and if he did, he’d probably think, Oh, boy, I love the smell of that chicken soup stain! Even when Don was still alive, he couldn’t have told on me either if he’d caught me wearing the same clothes two days in a row. Living with someone with aphasia, apraxia and agraphia did have a few advantages.

I discarded the idea of wearing yesterday’s clothes, not because the dog seemed too interested in sniffing the garments but rather because when you’re living in the land of elderly bliss---and I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek--- people like to assign words like ‘dementia’ and ‘forgetfulness’ to the simple concept of laziness and trying to cut down on laundry. You can’t get away with anything when you’re my age. For example, a head of gray hair looks silly all dyed up in the Easter egg colors like some of the twenty-somethings do these days and if I were to cover up my head of unruly hair with a brightly colored scarf no one thinks, How beautiful!  No, they’d be thinking, Poor dear, she must be getting chemo.

I have crumby thoughts running around in my head today. I just heard that line coming from the TV in the living room. What an apropos way to phrase it---crumby thoughts in my head. But in fairness to other people my age, you don’t have to be old to wake on the wrong side of good-natured and merry. Crap! I just stubbed my toe and the dog is smirking behind his schnauzer beard. Where are your glasses, old woman? his dark eyes are asking.

Growing old is just as hard as growing up because people are always watching, waiting for us to screw up so they can take our car keys away. The biggest difference is when you're young they give the keys back after a period of contrition and begging and you don't have to worry about your family taking your measurements in the middle of the night so they can order your casket.

I have to quit reading over at the widowhood website where I learned yesterday that we old widows have it made in the shade. We can sit around sipping sweet tea and let our memories hug the crap out of us. Apparently because we’ve got so many of them it’s not supposed to hurt as much as only having only a few years worth under the preverbal widow’s belt. To that I could counter that at least young widows have time left on earth to find happiness again. They don’t think they will, but most of them will eventually love again. I know that firsthand from a love I lost with dark and deep grief before my 42 years with Don. All we old widows have to look forward to is some mean person in a nursing home using our liver spots to play connect-a-dot.

Sometime I’d like to pick one of those kitten-widows up by the scruff of her neck, get right in her face and screech in my best old, mommy-cat tone, “Look, thinking your grief is somehow worse than others isn’t helping you heal. Grow up before I'm tempted to slap you silly.” ©

12 comments:

  1. I'm grateful every time I read your blog that I found you! You say everything I've been thinking. Thank you!

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  2. Thank you, Denise, for the comment! I often wonder if anyone reads these things and if so, what they think.

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  3. I'm in the middle ground. Mid 40s, no kids. But my dad died the same year my husband did. My parents were married for over 40 years...so I see what my mom is going through, and I see how her loss is different than mine. It's like I lost more of my dreams, and she lost more of her past (and her identity). Never would I assume her path through grief to be easier. Overall, as much as I respect the grief "process" - and it is overwhelming - I get tired of the whining (even my own) in any support group. I do feel like my life has "crumbled". But I try to be thankful for what I still have, or what dreams may still come. And, if I might add, I don't know how old you are, but you've got more spunk and positive attitude than many of the young kittens. - Katja.

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  4. You have a unique view of the world of grief as a daughter and a widow both in the same year. Not an easy row to hoe by any means. You sort of hit on one of the things I really wish people on supports sites could acknowledge more....that while grief is different in different ages brackets, grief is still grief and it hurts like hell for all of us. I am a positive person by nature and sometimes I feel like a Mary Poppins when I post too much at support sites. I can almost see others throwing stones my way. LOL But I try to remind myself that life experiences makes a person stronger so I have an advantage over the young kittens. The reminders don't always work like when I wrote this little vent.

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  5. Grabbing kitten-widows by the scruff of their neck and talking some sense into them? That had to feel good to write out! I'm so glad you have a forum to turn this into art, and I'm really sorry that you were made to feel that way. That's cruddy. But what a nice point you make--the grieving lash out. We've got to check that, and heal.

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  6. Fichereader: "Grieving lash out" is a good term for both what I wanted to do in the last few lines of this post and for what kitten-widows do when they speak out about older widows that they perceive as having it easier than they do. 'The Grieving Lash Out' would make a great topic to write about. I can think of lots of situations where we do that and shouldn't. Hummmmmm.......

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  7. This kitten widow actually envies the elder felines and planned to be one. Life always has other plans, so a little grief pouting gets sprinkled in with grief lashouts. Best to write "I'm joking" alongside the pouts!

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  8. I wish these blog comment boxes had icons we could add. 'Eye rolling' and 'I'm joking' would get the most use by me.

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  9. and that...is why I had to quit reading at that widows website--among other things like--making grief/widowhood their career? Oh my--here I am lashing out!!

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  10. Feels good sometimes, to lash out, doesn't it, Judy.

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  11. And here I am, a year later, reading your great information! I read a few widow blogs which helps me WAY more than bereavement counseling or group therapy or anything else. Truth. And humor!

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  12. I feel the same way about old vs. young widows today as when I wrote this. I'm glad you found it, AW.

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