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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Christmas Letter



 
My Christmas cards and letters were dropped in the mail last week. I've been doing letters for well over a decade and the people who get them tell me I can’t stop now. They don’t take me long to write but it’s always hard to know how much of my life to reveal to my “brick-and-mortar” friends and family. (Can that term even be applied to people or is it just reserved for businesses?) Anyway, the blogging world is used to me spilling my thoughts all over the place but the people in my everyday world don’t have a clue what goes on in my head or my daily life, for that matter, and probably don’t even care if truth were known…except at Christmas when they get The Letter. That’s life. I won’t reprint the entire letter here but to give you a taste of what I wrote this year here’s the first paragraph:

Dear Friends and Family, 

Have you ever tried to write an annual Christmas letter and after a few false starts you decide your life is so boring that no one will get past the first paragraph before tossing your letter in the trash? Where do I start my 2014 letter? Nothing great happened this year, nothing bad either. And I didn’t take an exotic vacation you’d enjoy hearing about, although I did sit through a travel lecture on South America. Does that count? I didn’t take up drinking hard spirits or join a cult that chants before breakfast either in case you were holding your breath on those life changing choices that I’ve put on a shelf for someday maybe. Still, I went through my day planner looking for amazing and engaging data to jump-start this letter. January, February, March---yadda, yadda, yadda---all the way through to December and not a single thing had been penciled in worth sharing unless you want to hear about my shoulder surgery the end of October. Not to worry, I still have an arm and even though my surgeon has benched me from shoveling snow this winter, I’m thinking a long extension cord and a hair dryer might work to clear my sidewalks the next time it snows.

Then I went on to describe my adventures online and at classes I took during the year ending with a Facebook invitation to anyone who knew my parents and might want to see the photo essay book I just finished that covers their life spans. “I’m Jean R*****” I wrote, “if you want to send me a Facebook friend request. I only mention the name thing because there are people in my life who still don’t understand that I never took Don’s name when we got married. Note: I love you all anyway but when I die, I hope you remember who I am when the obituary gets written or read. I’m old and I have to worry about something.” Yup, I’m a product of the Feminist Movement, hear me roar which obviously not everyone has. I must be meowing like a kitten instead. And that explains why one of my nieces thought a hospital lost me a few years ago. 

By the way, once in a while people I’ve met in cyber space have asked to friend me on Facebook but I have never wanted to mix my “brick-and-mortar” family and friends with my cyber space friends. I still believe that’s the best thing for me to do to protect the privacy of my extended family. So 99.9% of the time I don’t accept friend requests if I don’t know the person face-to-face. Just thought you’d like to know in case you’re not Asha or Pam who make up that .1% and I have known them since shortly after Don's stroke.

Darn, it’s time to hop in the shower. I have to drop Levi off for his haircut, go get one of my own then brave the busy stores before swinging back around to pick up the dog. This week my day planner also includes a Christmas party and my movie and lunch club. Life, at the moment, is good here on Widowhood Lane. Thanks to my cleaning service, the house is sparkling and I even have Toll House cookies in the refrigerator to bake in case anyone wants to stop by between now and the end of the year. If no one does come to visit “the old widow” you’ll know what I’ll be doing on New Year’s Eve…drowning my sorrows in a glass of milk along with the German chocolate cookies. ©

P.S. Here’s a link to another post about the letter I sent out the first Christmas after Don passed away. Come the middle of January it will be three years since he died. Sometimes that seems like a 100 years ago and other days, it seems like only yesterday.

19 comments:

  1. Funny Christmas letter! I'd be interested in a Christmas letter that recounts your INNER life throughout the year, the one your journal has witnessed and we cyber friends have peeked at. Please, put it on your to-do list!

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    1. Ah, thanks but how could I condense that all down to one page? If I did it would sound like this: In January my thoughts were consumed by snow, in February it was ice. In March I worried I'd eaten myself out of my clothes because I'd been house bound so long.

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    2. Spoken like a true northerner LOL. And the spring and summer, and fall? Keep going!

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  2. Got to get a shower now....it's party day!

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  3. Jean :

    thank you for accepting my friend request, I always considered you as my older sister with who I can share all my fears, questions & joys of my life. In reality I share my inner thoughts more with my cyber friends than my family so you are stuck with me now lol & I also have excuse tabout being brain damaged lol

    Asha

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  4. We've all been through a lot, having we, since those days when we met online. I suppose it's normal for all of us share more with our cyber friends than our own families. We care more about the judgements that our family will make if they knew everything going on in our heads.

    I've been wanting to ask you what a dali chali sasural is all about. What a beautiful photo that is on your Facebook page!

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  5. I'd have a pretty boring Christmas letter. Boating, more boating and where we went. That's about the size of it.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. That doesn't sound boring to me at all. I spent all my summers on a lake around boats, canoes and pontoons. I would have love to do some REAL boating or live vicariously through people like you who do.

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  6. Jean :

    my niece who is like my baby got married in India & that was her picture where after wedding she will be going to her husbands home. in that prop (doli) now its used just for beautiful pictures purpose now they go in cars but 50-100 years ago women used to go in that doli which is carried by people to her husbands home. I missed my baby's wedding for my real baby's college application process which is nothing but stress lol should have gone to wedding :)

    Asha

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    1. Ah, that explains it. I was confused, thinking you had a second child I didn't know about---your niece. I can see why they use the doli for pictures. It's truly beautiful as are the amazing dress your niece was wearing.

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  7. I wrote my first Christmas in 1986 and my last on in 2012. Now, I send a double sided card with a collage of my pix on the front and a Christmas verse on the back. There is nothing happening here that couldn't be told in one very short paragraph.

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    1. I get a lot of those photo cards and I love them but for me, I don't take enough pictures to fill one up or at least I don't take photos of anything anyone would care about seeing. I'm just glad to get something at Christmas that keeps me in touch with people.

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  8. “brick-and-mortar” friends. Love it and will steal it!

    I just wrote a long comment and it evaporated. Don't you hate when that happens? It's probably the universe telling me that I'm too longwinded.

    I keep my blog friends and family separate, too. None of my family or friends know about my blog, at least I hope not.

    I wish you had posted more of your Christmas letter. I've never written one. Can you believe that? It seems like it would be up my ally. I love to receive them, though. When Dad died, the preacher asked if one of us (my siblings or i) would gather some memories and one of us would write them down for him. My brother piped up and said, "Oh, sure. Bella's great at that, but be prepared for a lot of writing." When we walked to our cars, I asked him and my sister for their memories. They both said, "Oh, you'll do fine." Oh, swell.

    I don't mix my family and friends with cyberspace friends either. My family and friends don't even know I have Cul-de-sac. At least I hope not. My best friend and D-I-L probably know I have a blog, but they don't know where it is, hopefully. I will leave access to it somewhere for them to find when I'm gone. That's if they're interested. :)

    Now I'm going to read the post about your other Christmas letter. Love your blog.

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    1. My family and friends know I keep a blog because I posted the address to it in a Christmas letter the first year after Don passed away but I only know of one person (my niece) who actually checks it out from time to time. My logic---at the time---was that the chance of "brick and mortar" people in my life visiting my blog would keep me from getting into writing anything negative or bitchy about people I know. Therefore I never have to worry about anyone accidentally finding the blog. In that first year when I was more into writing memories of Don I would even e-mail a link to that particular post about him to someone I knew would enjoy it. I've come to the conclusion that some people enjoy reading the inner thoughts of bloggers but most people just don't care about that sort of stuff---even if they know the blogger. Heck, look how few people even enjoy reading books!

      But cyber friends being able to see my families' posts through my Facebook comments on them, etc., is different. If they want to expose their photos, etc. to strangers it should be their choice. It drives me crazy when my close family members will tell about going here or there at such and such a time and "I'll be gone until Sunday." It's like saying if you want to come rob me, that would be a good window for you to do it. LOL

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    2. You're so right about not telling anyone when you will be out of town. That's a big no, no.

      I have a family blog where I post pictures of our family gatherings and write things about family members, the kids, graduations, weddings, etc. but I keep it private. It's for them. My brother and my sister and a few nieces enjoy it.

      I just reread my comment up there and it couldn't be more redundant. I think I was confused because I'd just written the whole post and lost it and then had try to write it again. Oops.

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    3. LOL redundant is my middle name.

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  9. I know, three years! Charlie will be gone three years January 29th. If you want to friend me on Facebook I'm Bonnie Closser-Cordle.

    Hugs, bee
    xoxo

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    1. I didn't realize how close your loss is to mine and Judy's!

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