|Grave Yard Picnic|
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, May 26, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
When my husband first had his stroke and was learning how to live in a one-handed world I taught myself how to do many things one-handed so I could then teach him by example. I even have a book on the topic, but cooking one-handed is something brand new to me. The first night I tried to fix dinner one-handed I cooked a large beet in the microwave and trying to cut it up caused my kitchen to look like a crime scene. Even the floor was red with beet juice skid marks. The dog got to the fallen beet half before I did and he managed to track red paw prints as he escaped to the living room to eat it. It was a juicy sucker and Levi looked good with red lips. Thankfully that caused me to remember the high sided cutting board and rocking knife made especially for one-handed cooks that was storage in the garage. (It was a gift someone gave to my husband who didn’t know that in his entire life Don never did anything more complicated in the kitchen than make coffee.) So now I have no reason to get frustrated cutting stuff up. But I’m worried I’ll impale myself on the deadly looking spikes in the middle of the cutting board that holds your food still. What would life be like if worry-warts like me didn’t have something to worry about?
At one the three medical facilities my broken bone took me to this week someone called me “sweetie.” Getting called sweetie struck me the same way it did the first time I got called “madam” instead of “miss”---like I’d just crossed over the border into the Land of Irrelevance with no return ticket in hand. I don’t know what came over me, maybe pain, but I stopped in my tracks, stepped back to her window and said, “Now, you don’t know if I’m sweet. I could be the crankiest old lady you’ve ever met.” She laughed (along with her co-worker) and replied, “I took a chance.” I had no come back for that so I laughed, too, and went on my way. But I do worry if someday I’ll bitch-slap someone for just trying to simplify her life by calling everyone over a certain age the same thing.
I saw my orthopedic doctor on Friday. He did both of my knee replacements and I love the guy. He said in a week when the swelling goes down in my wrist and elbow---thanks to his handy packet of Prednisone---I can try writing, typing and eating with my dominant hand again. He took away the rigid splint formed to my arm at the urgent care center that went from my fingertips to my armpit and he’s not making me have a permanent cast to replace it so long as I promise not to pick up anything heavier than a fork and I keep my arm in a sling when I’m not sitting or sleeping. I would have signed that pledge in blood if he’d asked me! He’s also setting me up for testing that could lead to me to get some treatments to strengthen my bones. Hallelujah! Maybe I won’t end up in nursing home someday with a broken hip and an aid that calls me “sweetie” or “dear” or some other bogus endearment that only means she does know my name. Life is good again…or it will be in 4 to 6 weeks when I can ditch the sling. In the meantime it could have been so much worse and I am grateful to the gods of good fortune that my streak of bad luck could actual end with something good---bones of steel! Wouldn’t that be too cool for words! ©
Friday, May 10, 2013
I was at the senior hall yesterday for a lecture given by a couple who in retirement spent seven years sailing around the world, living on their sailboat while at ports in places like Italy, Spain, Casablanca, the Canary Islands even some countries in the Middle East. What interesting and brave people they were. In my early twenties I owned a little sailboat and the lecture/slide show reminded me of some of the dreams I had in the days before Don---the non-swimmer---entered my life. The first week of their voyage the woman broke her arm in the middle of the ocean and had to wait to get it set. I would have turned around right there and then. But she didn’t let anything, much less her pain, get in the way of living out her dream. By contrast I just live to armchair dream. As they say no guts, no glory.
While at the lecture a wood carver was in the back of room with some of his creations. He was trying to drum up interest in a class he wanted to teach and it took me about two seconds to add my name to the list of interested people. He’s going to call us all to work out a day and time that suits the majority of students. So while other retired people are out seeking adventure around the world I’ll be sitting in a rocker whittling a block of wood into shavings. Oops. Back in the 80s I took a wood carving class and I still have an unfinished turtle to prove it. In college I once spent an entire semester carving a piece of marble into a woman’s torso---it started out as a rejected tombstone with a misspelled name and I got an 'A' that semester. Having seen Michelangelo’s Pieta when it was brought to The States for the 1964-65 New York’s World’s Fair, I wanted to be just like him. In my naivety I didn’t realize how huge I was dreaming. Now, I’ll settle for finishing my turtle before I die. My dreams are getting more doable with age.
Tomorrow I’m going back to the senior hall for a Victorian Tea. It will feature a speaker from the public museum who will come dressed in a Victorian nightgown and over her hour and a half presentation she’ll dress in traditional period garb layer by layer explaining each garment’s purpose and history as she puts it on. For more than a few decades of my life I was enamored by all things Victorian so I expect to have a good time. But I’ll be haunted by a summer when Don and I looked at every run down, fixer upper Victorian house for sale in two counties. We dreamed of restoring one back to its original glory. And now? I dream of finding something suitable in my closet to wear to a formal Victorian tea.
There are all kinds of dreams in our lives---big ones and small ones, old and brand new dreams plus broken dreams due to the death of someone important to us. Then there are dreams realized like the couple did who sailed around the world, and youthful dreams gladly discarded to make room for love like I did with Don and my sailboat. Our daytime dreams are unlimited but the ones that are the hardest dreams to make my peace with are the ones that come in the night and keep me from falling back to sleep. Like the dream I had tonight that forces me to acknowledge what my heart doesn't want to admit is happening: Don has been gone physically a long time now and I'm feeling his spirit around me less and less often. And that takes my sadness to a whole new level.©
above: painting by Betty Pieper
Sunday, May 5, 2013
SUNDAY: I couldn’t have gotten through last Sunday (or the rest of the week) without my handy Crocs rubbers. My basement was covered with three inches of water----every square in of it---and that’s how I know that Mother Nature has a sense of humor. She decided if I was going to bellyache about feeling guilty over my good fortunes in life (see my April 24th post) then she’d give me something to cry about. The sump pump that I often wondered what it did in the basement besides scare the bejesus out of me out failed while trying to keep up with the 100 year flood and record rain falls in my township. The guys who came today to pump the basement out couldn’t keep up with the water coming in from the broken sump pump so they packed up their hoses and left me standing in the water saying they’d be back at 8:00 AM Tuesday, assuming I could arrange for a plumber to install a new sump pump by then.