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, November 23, 2014

The Ramblings of a soon-to-be Crazy Widow



There is something about my life right now that makes it feel unmoored or anchorless. Perhaps having my physical world capped in ice so shortly after a record setting snow storm has made me feel this way. When you have no choice but to stay at home it feels so different than staying home by choice. Perhaps it’s the coming holidays which accents my lack of family living near-by to share them with that is painting my world in a blue, transparent haze---the language of a would-be artist. Yup, I can be overly dramatic when I ramble-write. Perhaps it’s the fact that this will be my third holiday season without my husband; that’s a long time to go without the intimacy of being with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Or perhaps I’m looking for reasons to feel sorry for myself. But really, what do I have to complain about? My life is stable and secure and in between the end of the snow storm and the beginning of ice storm I was able to run some errands. So what if the most meaningful conversation I had that day was, “I would like a cup of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich” and the drive-through speaker answered back, “That will be $5.28.”

I dreamed about fried chicken and chocolate malts a few nights ago. Oh, boy, you know what that means. It means I’ve been dieting too long. Not only that, I was reading The Hunger Games and the first few chapters of that book talks a lot about food. Decadent food of all descriptions. The chili and sandwich was a splurge directly brought on by my food dream and that book. I’m just glad it wasn’t a sex dream or I might have been arrested for molesting the drive-through speaker pole and that would not have been a pretty sight. Okay, that sounds desperate. The cold, hard fact is lust at my age goes down the Ice Cream Road more often than anywhere else.  Speaking of lust, right now the 12 Men of Christmas movie is playing in the background. It’s about these guys who get badgered into doing a naked calendar to raise money for their rescue squad. Let me tell you, the casting director had a good eye for eye candy but as Christmas movies go it’s a far cry from It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Steward. “Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence! Save me from stupid Christmas movies that air on an endless loop designed to get us in the mood for Black Friday shopping."

I’ve planned my Thanksgiving dinner. I bought a package of frozen turkey legs, a can of cranberry sauce, a small package of King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls---I would kill to eat those rolls before the 27th---a squash and a frozen pumpkin pie. When I got the pie home I was bummed out that I have to actually bake it. I had it all planned out how I’d cut it into ten slices and defrost one sliver every three days. I’m afraid if the house fills up with pumpkin pie scents it will kick start some binge eating and I’ve come too far with my current diet to want that to happen. When I was growing up, my mom baked a lot of holiday pies. Her mincemeat pie filling marinated in a basement crock for weeks and was like no other you can buy today. Me? My only claim to culinary fame around the holidays was I could make a great pecan pie. Jeez, I can feel a roll of fat stalking and circling my waist just thinking about holidays gone by. But traditions are traditions and I will enjoy my drumstick and I might even make a green bean casserole with mushroom soup. I will Martha Steward it up by using fresh green bean---assuming I can get back out to the store.

Can you believe it, I’ve never once in my entire life hosted or cooked a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? I’m actually looking forward to doing it this year, however abbreviated and filled with cooking shortcuts it will be. In the early decades of Don’s and my relationship we’d always go to my parent’s house but after Mom passed away no one felt like celebrating. She was our holiday anchor. Then one of Don’s sister-in-laws started included us in with her large family. Both places were warm gatherings and at mom’s house we’d go snowmobiling or sledding with my nephew and nieces after dinner. With Don’s family, board or card games followed dinner and he talked so much he had a reputation for never knowing when it was his turn to play his hand. People would fight over sitting or not sitting next to him---depending on the game being played---so they could use that quirk to their advantage. Big sigh here. To paraphrase an ancient Ann Landers quote, “Old people reminisce about the past because they have no futures and young people dream about the future because they have no pasts.” How true that is in my crazy, widowhood world where I don't even know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow. I need an anchor, a place to moor my scattered thoughts so I don't turn into a forgotten marshmallow, harden by time. ©

18 comments:

  1. don't let her in for anything honey! slap her face even! i'm not sure what is happening with me either. i have this lovely man that was supposed to have been here last week but was delayed a week for work. will he come? i have no idea but if he does i will be smiling from ear to ear. if not, well, not so much. is he the one? i have no idea but i do know he's someone i'd like to give the chance.

    hugs, bee
    xoxoxoxo

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    1. In case anyone is wondering what Bee is talking about, I changed the ending of this blog before I knew there was a comment waiting to be published. Originally, I had written that Debbie Downer was knocking on my door.

      I've been wondering about that teasing cliffhanger you wrote about in your blog. I hope it works out for you but if it doesn't at least you're out there with your toe in the dating pool. That can fill up a lot of time even if nothing deeper or more lasting ever comes along. As Martha would say, "That's a good thing."

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  2. Debbie Downer or no Debbie Downer, the holidays are challenging for me and I still have my husband and a couple of grown kids. I feel blessed in that regard and I still struggle with the whole season never really living up to the Hallmark moments I see in all media representations. I know that's not realistic, but still….. Here's the deal, Jean. We go around the table at every meal saying what we are thankful for. On Thanksgiving I'm gonna say I'm thankful for "meeting" you on blogger -- your strength, humor, writing gift, and optimism are a gift to me. I don't say this just to make you feel better -- I don't do pity. If I say it, I mean it. So there.

    Oh…and that pie. I was at a social function last night where pumpkin pie was served and I conscientiously chose a small slice….and kicked myself for not going for the biggest, since the minute the first bite hit my tongue I was right back craving the "sugar crack". Be careful. :)

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    1. Wow, you flatter me... but I will lap it up like a kitten with a bowl of milk. By the way, I love your blog as well.

      That 'sugar crack' is real isn't it, and it's so easy to get right back in to it. A friend suggested I cut the pie in half before baking it. Then I can save half for Christmas. If I can figure out how to keep the filling from running out of the cut side, I will try to bake a half a pie. Maybe foil to act as a crust?

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  3. This will be hubby and I's first year not hosting the holiday meals for 25+ years. No one will lift a finger to help and we're tired. We've begged them to help out, but alas they just wouldn't listen. So we told them last Christmas that we were no longer hosting the holiday meals. Now they want to help. Sorry, way too late. We'll cook for ourselves and we're looking forward to not being worn out for several days after the holiday.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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    1. This year, they will realize how important those holiday get-togethers were and how much they took them for granted. I don't blame you for putting your foot down, though. If no one helps with cooking or clean up it's got to be a LOT of work to fall on the host and hostess...not to mention getting the house cleaned before and after...and the cost!

      It won't help you but a tip I'd like to pass along to others who do still host holiday parties comes from an old friend of mine who has a lot of experience throwing parties in D.C. She takes post-a-notes and writes things on them that need to be done on party day and sticks them on a cupboard. Then she tells her guests to sll read the notes and pick something to help get the meal ready, served and cleaned up.

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  4. and then, the third sadiversary is just around the corner in January. Well, kid--we just keep plodding along--through whatever comes along. I've been waiting for Bee's Big Reveal for weeks it seems. At least one thing to look forward to, LOL.

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    1. With our husband's dying just days apart, we both do a pretty good job of just plodding along, don't we. Even if we do have a down day here and there we get right back up.

      Me, too, on Bee's reveal. I want to know where she's meeting these guys---the cruises, the internet or own condo turf? We should go down there and ring some details out of her...about January when we're thoroughly sick of winter. LOL

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  5. You are right about staying home ... by choice is so much more luxurious. My traditions are changing as well. I don't want to shop, buy, prep, clean, cook, do dishes, pack left overs and clean again any more. 6 is my max and I am VERY comfortable asking each person to bring something.

    Tonight is Sunday Soup Supper at my house. Loaded baked potato soup. Someone bringing appetizer, someone bringing salad, someone bringing bread and butter and someone bringing dessert. And I have jumped the gun and put out some Christmas! I will be away for two weeks in Dec and I just want to enjoy my decor!

    Your turkey dinner sounds way better than I would do for myself! Although I AM searching for a slice of pumpkin pie ... or even a small half of a pie.

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    1. I know they sell 1/2 pies closer to the holidays but I was afraid the weather wouldn't let me get out again before Thanksgiving. The day wouldn't be the same without it.

      Your Sunday Soup Supper sounds great and not too hard on anyone.

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  6. I agree with Awkward Widow. You'r dinner is better than what I'd do. I'd probably have a bowl of soup and sandwich. I've never heard that Ann Landers quote, but it rings true, doesn't it?

    I love the snow, but my sister, who lived in New Hampshire, used to remind me that I had no idea what it was like to have snow on the ground until spring. Most of the time when it snows here, we can wait a day or two and it's all gone. We have had bad storms, though, that kept us trapped. When we lived in MD, we were trapped for five days and my sister was visiting. We were very close sisters, but yikes. We were all stir crazy by the time we could get out and about.

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    1. I've always loved that quote and clipped it out of the paper, decades ago.

      Michigan snow doesn't go away in a few days like it does in so many other places around the country. I wouldn't mind that at all. Although this week a lot of our snow is going to melt and they are talking floor alerts.

      Trust me, what I am planing forThanksgiving dinner is not my usual style. I just want something traditional.

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  7. Kiddo, you're not OLD. Old is 101, or 102. You've got the philosopher in me thinking. When we throw our anchor overboard, do we throw it in the past, the present, or the future? Maybe we throw it where love is, toward dear sweet love like you had with Don and I had with my honey? Jean, you've developed a great capacity for love, evidenced here and elsewhere. Maybe it was 'Don shaped', or 'you and Don shaped'. Maybe now it's 'you shaped'. Frankly, your company might be way more fun than my own family's at Thanksgiving. Though....I'd only want the tiniest sliver of pie, even your pecan pie.

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    1. I feel old when I can't do everything for myself. I'll get young again in the spring when the snow season is over. LOL

      Interesting thoughts you've shared about throwing our anchors overboard. For me, it means being in a safe place to be ourselves, a place where our muse can be found. But I feel like I should correct your assumption that Don and I had a "sweet love." Sweet is not a word that I would use---deep, complex, I can think of a dozen words. LOL Sweet implies a romantic love and that was far from the mark. Some day I should write about that. How do we describe a relationship while trying to avoid the widow's trademark of putting our spouses on a pedestal?

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    2. Yes, our beau's and our relationships with them were complex. Cherries with pits. Sometimes I'm tempted to do a tell-all, but what's in print can't be taken back. LOL Besides, I was a handful myself.

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    3. Yes, cherries and pits---more meat to the fruit than pit and the pits are important because they are capable of growing bigger and better fruit trees. For me the decision not to do a tell-all is easy. (And couldn't all couples do that, no one or no relationship is or ever will b e perfect.) 1) It's not in my nature to bad-mouth people I love---learned that early in life from my parents who never, ever bad-mouthed anyone, and 2) Don left me in a good situation financially and in honor of that his "widow's built pedestal" deserves to remain in tact. I think most people know that widows tend to gloss over the flaws of our spouses and remember only the good. Not that Don had a lot of flaws but obviously, we ALL have our pits in the center of your fruit.

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  8. That feeling you describe as a blue haze is one I have sometimes experienced as having a glass wall between me and the world -- I'm interacting with people, but it feels as though I'm not really connecting. It's a feeling I dislike intensely, and fortunately it usually passes fairly quickly.
    If your love of pumpkin pie is about the filling more than the crust, a trick I have learned is to make crust-less pumpkin pie. Just take a can of pumpkin pie filling, pour it into a pie pan, and bake until it sets. You can cut it into wedges and serve just like pie. Delicious and nutritious -- a vegetable disguised as dessert! -Jean

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  9. Your description of a blue haze as interacting with people, but feeling like you're not really connecting is a perfect way to describe the way I often feel. We can be talking, having a good time even but still I know nothing deeper will ever develop.

    A crust-less pie would be better than one with a crust....well, at least store-bought pie crusts. I have a great recipe for pumpkin bread pudding. I just wish I would have remembered it so I could have made it for tomorrow. I think I will do it for Christmas, though.

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