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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Birthdays, Photo Albums and Old People Nonsense


I like to get up in the morning and start writing before my brain wakes up. That’s when I do my best pondering of insignificant things like why does the dog always take his favorite plush toy outside on his first trip of the day. Does Levi think his duck needs airing out? Does he think the duck will eat his breakfast kibble while he's gone? And why doesn’t the dog ever take the duck outside later on in the day? Mornings are turning me into a one trick pony. I ask a lot of questions but try as I might the answers rarely follow. I think Levi is germaphobic, though, because he never takes the duck down into the barked-over area where he pees and poops. He drops him off on the top step before he goes down to do his duty and then Levi collects the duck again when he comes inside.

All my life I’ve had a problem multitasking. My husband used to tease me with the nickname of ‘one track’ because I get so wrapped up with whatever I do that all else could fall off the face of the earth and I’d never notice. I always considered it to be an asset rather than a liability but I can see where someday it’s going to get me in trouble. Someday, for example, I’m going to have to explain to a social worker why I’m still sitting in my nightgown at 2:00 in the afternoon because some noisy neighbor got concerned seeing me not dressed so late in the day. "Ms. Social Worker, I got lost writing the next great American novel and here’s the proof.” Then I’ll proudly hold up one pristine page of nonsensical writing to show for my morning’s work.

I’m so sick of chasing magenta dust bunnies around the house that I’ve taken to wearing my chenille bathrobe inside out hoping that will contain the little fuzz balls from jumping ship. I’ve washed that robe a zillion times and it still creates those pretty colored dust bunnies. I even find them on my keyboard! I just know this act of wearing my robe inside out is going to be used against me in a sanity hearing one day. “Yes, sir, Mr. Judge. My aunt can’t even dress herself without getting her garments on wrong side out.” The older I get the more I want to write notes about why I do this or that and leave them all over house. If I put a note in the pocket of my inside-out-bathrobe do you think it would save me from getting shipped off to assisted living some day? How many calls from social services is one too many before your family gives up and says, “Take her, she’s all yours!”

Recently I found out that my older brother is throwing himself a big 75th birthday party. The years go by so fast, don’t they. One minute you’re in the prime of your life, then the next minute you’re looking back and wondering where it all went. I thought my half century birthday was monumental but approaching three quarters of a century is on a completely different scale. It’s very weird, indeed, to think of my brother (and me not many years behind him) as being as old as two of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World---the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. Nearly seventy-five years’ worth of memories, life experiences, book learning, laughter and tears is a lot of data to keep sorted in one tiny little brain. No wonder that data processing gets misdirected from time to time.

I’ve been working on a book to give to my brother at his birthday party. It's titled, The Boy Behind the Man and it’s mostly sepia tone photos that highlight his first 18 years. I also put in some poems he wrote and a few quotes that help describe his childhood. I can’t wait until the book comes back from the printers. Due to a divorce and moving I don’t think he has a lot of photos from his childhood and I know he hasn’t seen the ones my mom gave me a very long time ago. It was a fun project. Next winter when my social calendar dries up due to bad weather like it did this winter I’m going to make more topic specific photo books. I even made a notation in my day planner so I don’t forget.

Well, I’ve got to take a shower. The sun is shining and the roads are good so I’m going off to a Red Hat Society tea. We really should call it a coffee, though, because most of us stop at a near-by Starbucks before going to the community room for the meet-up. We’ll be planning an outing to see a dinosaur exhibit later this month. ©

Note: The photo above is of my brother and me.

6 comments:

  1. What a fantastic gift for him!!! I too am nearly my 3/4 century mark--it really weird's me out. I do get dressed before 2:00, but not before noon :-)

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    1. I kind of got the idea from you and all the great photo projects you did around Christmas.

      I have a rule that I must be dressed by noon but I don't always keep it. I honestly don't know what the big deal is about using that as a marker for senility. I'm covered up more in my nightgown and robe than in my street clothes and if you don't go anywhere that day it's more comfortable attire around the house. LOL

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  2. Jean :

    thats such a great idea I am sure your brother would love it, you are such a thoughtful sister & you look so naughty in your picture, I bet you gave hard time to your older brother during your growing up years. BTW right after my stroke when I had no where t go, when I just laid in the bed I felt more depressed, once I took over duties of my mom job & started waking up early & having routine in my life I felt so much better. I learnt hard way beauty of having routine in life & now I am sticking with it.

    Asha

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    1. Asha, My brother would agree with you. One of the poems he wrote was about how sisters are "bothersome things." When I look at the photo at the top I often wonder what he said or did that made me laugh so hard, but it's favorite photo of the two of us. together.

      I have a routine. It just runs on a different track than other people's. LOL

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    2. I just love how we feel a little "guilty" when our routine is different that what we think is "normal." Right now, I am wearing fat lady clothes that feel like pajamas!! I call them my Maui sweats. All cotton over size t-shirt and capris that match (don't monochromatic schemes make me look thinner, right?) My schedule has certainly changed with a three year old around!!

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    3. Isn't that the truth. Guilt guides a lot of the things we think should be included in our routines.

      I wish I had some Maui clothes! They sound comfortable.

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