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

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Widows Tears and Stephen King



Today I went to my second exercise class at the senior hall, this one a Stretch and Flex. I thought it would be easy but I’m finding out how out of shape I really am. I don’t have the agility I should have and my balance is shot. Standing on one foot for 60 seconds? Forget it!  Not to worry, those are things this and the Balance class I took earlier this week are designed to help. The only thing I excelled at was eye hand coordination which sounds impressive but just means I can throw tennis balls into a basket from various distances. Near the end of the class today the instructor put on a CD for one of those guided relaxation things. You know the drill, “Close your eyes. Relax the muscles in your face, your hands, your feet…” yadda, yadda, yadda. “Now visualize yourself in a place that brings you peace and happiness. It could be on a beach or maybe in a wooded place. Where ever you go that….” Oh-my-God!

I don’t know where they came from but tears rolled down my cheeks and not just a few. I was struggling to keep from sobbing out loud and bringing everyone out of their descending down to a relaxed state of mind. My mind I was anything but relaxed. I was running though places that I could visualize and all that did was remind me of things like the last time I was at the beach I left some of Don’s ashes behind and the last time I was under the towering pines up north Don was with me. I had no place to go! It even crossed my mind that maybe the cemetery would have to be my new place to visualize when doing visualization exercises which, of course, seemed ridiculous even to me, the person who dreamed up that dichotomy. Before the CD ended, I wiped my eyes and face dry while the others still had their eyes shut and after class was dismissed I didn’t stick around long for fear someone would notice I’d been crying. The lingering loneliness of widowhood bit me good and I still don’t know why/how my emotions could turn so quickly. It’s been months since I’ve shed a tear and even longer since there was sobbing involved. I want to go back to the Stretch class again next week but as sure as hell is hot I’d better have someplace lined up to visualize for the last ten minutes. I don’t want a repeat run of my knife-less, Madame Butterfly-like drama.

I also got news that the antique mall that I moved into last spring is going out of business when their lease is up in November. They will let us out of our leases early if we want to go so I have a new dilemma to think about. I was there Thursday to restock and start running some targeted sales and so far, they say, only one person is leaving early. I took some photos so I can place some Craig’s List ads hoping to generate traffic towards some big items I don’t want to haul back home. At this point in time I’ll stop bringing anything new in and start rotating 40% off sales on different categories of stuff each week, with a goal of doing a booth wide 50% off sale the last month. It’s a nice little mall and I’ll be sorry to see it go. But all good thing must come to an end. “Put that on a sampler and hang it in your kitchen.” That’s a line out of Stephen King’s Joyland and I love it almost as much as I love another line in the book: “When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.” We widows are especially good at that, aren’t we. We gloss over, we polish, and we minimize and inflate. We build our stories from whole cloth but in the end, nothing changes. All good things came to an end and our kitchen sampler isn’t big enough to give equal space to the blandness left behind.

Recently I’ve had several people remark that I’m keeping very busy and by their tone of voices I can tell they are saying that with approval or something akin to admiration…or even mild jealously. This is going to sound priggish or ________ (fill-in-the blank) but those remarks are annoying me for reasons that make no sense. (Or maybe they make too much sense?) I want to snap back, “My being busy isn’t taking the edge off my boredom! I still eat all my meals alone and the only one who leaves dirty socks on the floor is me." What makes the widowhood induced sense of emptiness come and go like it does? It’s been two years and seven months since Don died. How long is long enough? I hate the poor me feelings I’ve been fighting the last few weeks. I guess I should try to be more honest with people, let them know that “busy” doesn’t translate to “happy.” Hey, that brings up another Joyland line by Stephen King that I identify with: “I was raised by my parents to believe that barfing your feelings on other people was the height of impoliteness.” So I don’t. Instead, those feelings go in my blog/diary. Dear Diary, today I cried in Stretch and Flex class….. can you help me feel better in the morning? Boohoo, diary! ©

10 comments:

  1. Hey!!! Maybe that relaxation CD was just what you needed! You keep that stuff crammed up inside and it will eat up your liver--or brain--or something equally important. I have been having the "poor mes" for the last 2-3 weeks. I am just so lonely, but probably, in reality, it is coming from all the stress right now about money and I just want Fred to stop by and tell me everything is going to be all right and...maybe leave me a hundred bill. I know what you mean though, about the visualization--it always takes me back to our last and best trip to the Outer Banks and I can see myself sitting on the balcony, looking down at the beach where Fred is walking the dog. Sniff. Not a dang thing we can do about it either..is there. Keep yourself as busy as you can, but it's all still there when you slow down for a minute.

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    1. I'm so jealous that you've been to the Outer Banks. That's a trip I've always wanted to make.

      I keep thinking that my mood was caused or at least started by the 4th of July holiday weekend. It was such a long stretch of memories and quietness in the neighborhood, etc.

      I like your theory about me needing the relaxation CD as outlet for the stuff crammed up inside! That makes as much sense as anything I've come up with.

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  2. Oh MisAdventures ... I feel your pain. It seems these ebbs and flows will be with us forever. For better or worse. I also feel better when busy because it doesn't let the sadness and loneliness take over. So my evenings don't feel empty because I need the break!

    Braeden is spending the night tonight ... and at bedtime he got a seriously sad face and said "I miss my people". Me too.

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    1. Braeden is such a special little boy!

      Keeping busy, with all its pitfalls, does help. I do believe that. What happened yesterday caught me so off guard. I knew I was feeling kind of bland lately but didn't know I could be brought to tears like that.

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  3. oh honey, i know, i know. charlie will be gone 2 1/2 years on the 29th and although it is easier it is not easy. i smile, i laugh, i play, inside i cry, i moan, i pout. no one can see that side of me. i bottle it in tight. the days are really okay but the nights are so long. i miss human touch.

    hugs, bee
    xoxoxoxo

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    1. I'm so glad you left this comment! It's really helps to know that someone else on the same time table as me is feeling the same way. (Our husbands passed away only 8 days apart.) On the surface others would guess I've thoroughly moved on. Often I even fool myself into believing that but there is always that longing for something.....maybe it is human touch. Maybe it's a longing to be needed again, to be relevant.

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  4. I've got nothing profound to say….just gratitude for your courageous honesty about what's going on with you. Sending a virtual hug or slap on the fanny or toast to the ups and downs of life…whatever works for you as, "I hear ya, sister. Thanks for being out there in the joy and challenge of life."

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    1. I'm grateful that people still read my blog after I belly-ache all over the place. I'll take that virtual hug and go open a bottle of hard cider,

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  5. When I took yoga, I cried like a baby during the relaxation part. It releases things you aren't expecting. I think it's good for us to let it out, but I was surprised. It was a little overwhelming.

    It's hard to ever really know what's going on with others and they with us. When we look "fine" people think we are, but often that is not the case. Next time, think of yourself floating in the clouds.

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    1. Thank you so much for the "cloud" idea! I haven't been able to find a single place that didn't have too many memories attached. It surprises me that crying comes with relaxation exercises. Thanks for sharing that and I also read it today on a yoga blog that donnaajurene writes.

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