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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Quest For Friendship Continues

Saturday I woke to a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The sun was streaming through the venetian blinds, the birds were chipping and the dog had spotted a rabbit outside the window which made him enormously happy. When he’s happy, no one sleeps in. It only took me one cup a coffee to decide it was time to go back to the Breakfast Only Café and after a quick shower I was out the door. I love that noisy, busy place.

I took a seat at the counter with all the other diners eating alone and soon a conversation started between three others about a book one of the women was reading. Unfortunately, I’d never read the author so I couldn’t add to the discussion but I made an important notation in my manual on How To Make Friends After Seventy: bring props along as conversation starters. Exhibit B: Another man at the counter had a fancy-ass Apple smart phone that he laid down with his car keys and that drew a question from another guy two stools down. I thought about whipping out my “granny phone” to give them a good laugh since I was sitting in between them but I suddenly got hungry for an apple pancakes and I was trying to find it on the menu before the waitress came back. These two guys were obsessed with their Apples apps!

The monthly senior hall luncheon was last week and I sat next to a woman who had also broken her arm within days of me breaking mine. So naturally we compared progress reports and I learned she’s ready to throw in the towel, doesn’t see the point of living much longer if all she’s got to look forward to is more of the same. I don’t think she was serious. God, I hope not but as I sat there surrounded by a sea elderly ladies it occurred to me there should be way to grade and tag all of us so the Debbie Downers could all sit at one table and the Cathy Crazies---who like to moon strangers on our bus trips---could all sit at another table at the opposite end of the room. All the “normal” ladies could sit in the middle of these two groups. Why? I’m a little afraid it would be Westside Story all over again if the two groups ever got fed up with listening to the one other. Grab your butter knives, ladies! There’s going to be a rumble! There must be a pharmaceutical solution to this potential problem. Perhaps the program director needs to start spiking the applesauce like I’m told they do in nursing homes?

As part of my quest to find friends I went to my second meeting of the museum committee to help raise funds for their new building and as promised, this meeting was better attended than the first. It was clear, however, that most of these people had known each other since high school a half century ago, so I was questioning my judgment in joining the historical society. But after the meeting was over 3-4 ladies introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to the group. Two even thanked me for wanting to get involved, so I’m still hopeful it could lead to some friendships. I volunteered for an auction committee called the “basket ladies” and the museum director told me that committee has the most fun of all the committees. It involves shrink wrapping smaller donated items into groupings that makes them worth the time to auction them off.

They say to have a friend you need to be a friend. I thought of that when I was talking to my broken arm twin. She’s got a good friend from her working days who comes with her to all the luncheons and the bus trips and who’s been driving her around since May because her wrist is still too messed up to get behind the wheel. Now, that is a good friend. Plus she has kids and grand-kids in the area so, unlike me, she’s got back up for emergencies. Translation: I lust after what she’s got. Did I mention that she’s chatty which is one of the reasons why I like her; she reminds me of Don before his stroke---she talks, I listen. But when she asks bold questions like, “Don’t you wish you could just throw in the towel and end it all right now?” I, in a not so tactful and shocked way, reply, “No way! I still have goals to achieve one of which is to get up every morning and see if it’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” ©

8 comments:

  1. That sounds like a serious inroad with the museum volunteers--the welcoming after the meeting. Whew! Basket committee sounds right up your alley.

    I see a book project in the bar stools at the breakfast joint. Of course, you don't want to betray any confidences, so you'd have to embellish.

    And, yes, it was a beautiful day yesterday.

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  2. I know! They seem like a friendly and interesting group at the museum.

    Recently I picked up a copy of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' and its been so widely read I think it will be a good candidate to bring with me next time I go to the cafe. It's not my normal choice of reading genres but I only paid a quarter for the book so I thought it was worth checking out what all the fuss was about when it first came out.

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  3. I recently had lunch with a woman who is a transplant to my area of Maine and looking for friends. She has spent most of her adult life as a corporate wife, relocating every few years for her husband's job. I was amazed at the skill with which she put herself out there socially. She used the contact form on my garden blog to introduce herself and invite me to go with her for a day-long garden tour that included a favorite nursery that I had reviewed on my blog.
    I'm finding gardening to be a great source of new friendships -- perhaps because gardeners are always looking for new people to swap plants with! -Jean

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  4. That is an amazing way to meet new friends! I've been blogging for 10-11 (?) years and never once has anyone ever wanted to meet me in person.

    You're right about gardeners always looking for people to swap plants with. Most of the perennials in my yard came from garden club members and now I have enough that I'm looking for people to give splits to.

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  5. One of my goals is to see if this winter is as well behaved as our Michigan summer has been or if it is going to rip roaring. Probably more rip roaring over your way--all that Lake Effect stuff. Throw in the towel? She only feels that way because she is in pain and can't do anything with that arm. I think she will feel differently when she gets better. I felt that way before my hip surgery and now I am doing more then I have in 4 years--physically. I'm not quite ready for going out searching for new friends--I like a very few I have and I tend to be a loner, so.....

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  6. You have Pearl and her husband and a cast of other interesting people in your life. You don't need friends, you already have them. LOL

    Your most like right about my broken arm twin. I never thought of the pain angle and not being able to do every things she wants. That does depress you. Several of my fingers aren't working right yet but she's still in a brace and is limited on what she can do.

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  7. OOh. The Debbie Downers scare me. Pain, grief, fear have cut my good cheer off at my knees before, even to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. But this was before I realized that Beethoven's 9th is worth living for.

    I don't know how I'd feel in your broken arm twin's case. I'm down to one arm for a while, and possibly down one dear man. If his ship sails, or mine sets sail, I'll enter lonely seas. I could be down for a while.

    I hope we all find friends that light up our life. Even if we haven't met personally, we're in a circle of caring here. Keep reaching out. Loneliness can become as scarce as darkness is, when one little light switch flips on.

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  8. Beethoven is definitely worth living for.

    I don't mind being alone but I do wish I could talk to someone once in a while. I often go days without hearing a human voice except on TV. Sorry to hear things are up in the air with the guy whose been in your life lately.

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