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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions and Revelations for the Widow



A new year is here and I’m sure it will be March before I let my guard down and revert back to writing 2014 on my checks. I’m as predictable as my yappy Schnauzer greeting his squirrel friend when she comes to our bird feeders. I try to get him to only bark when the squirrel leaves the ground feeders’ station to crawl up the pole but Levi still doesn’t get the difference between high and low, even though I let him outside on the deck when I see the squirrel eating from the hanging feeders. To his vermin chasing genes it’s like giving a glass of wine, a cannoli and kiss to an Italian. Okay, that’s a stereotype and we’re not supposed to do that anymore but I’m half Italian so I’m going to let it slide.

I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions yet. I put myself on a no-media schedule for the three days leading up to the holiday and the two days after so I could completely ignore the holiday and all the news people talking about last year’s big stories and this year’s celebrations around the world. This was my third New Year’s Eve since Don passed away and the no-media thing worked well for me. I wasn’t sad, depressed, teary-eyed or any other adjective I could put in front of my name. I did do a little toast at midnight with a few sips of wine but then I threw the rest of the glass down the drain. If I’m going to ingest empty calories I’d rather have a cookie. But I’ve been good these past few days and when the sugar monster wants to be fed I give him an organic, rainbow carrot. There you go, blood and guts, if you work hard enough you can turn that into glucose.

For the year 2013 instead of writing resolutions (which I usually did before my husband passed away) I choose to embrace the one word mantra idea that was floating around that year. I chose ‘courage’ and I even found a ‘courage’ charm and a Cowardly Lion charm that I wore on a chain whenever I’d go someplace where I felt my newly minted widowhood would be a tested for its strength and courage. It did the trick, it really did. I’d touch that necklace and be reminded to push forward into uncomfortable situations. Now, I don’t need to be pushed; going places alone no longer bothers me.

For 2014 I resolved to take and post more photos on this blog and if you follow it at all you’ll know that resolution got broken rather early in the year. My smart phone takes more photos of my thumb than anything else and my favorite camera is too heavy to lug around. I also picked another “widow’s mantra” to see me through the year and that turned out to be a mixed bag of marbles and feathers. I had picked ‘seek contentment’ and I envisioned that happening by doing two things: 1) Keeping a tighter lid on my expectations, and 2) using the social circles I had established in 2013 to find a few good friends within. I felt I had the bones to have a more satisfying life and I just needed to flesh them out. So here it is the dawning of 2015 and I can say I’ve gotten a good handle on managing my expectations over this past year---move that one over to the ‘success column.’ But I’m about ready to call it a big goose egg on finding a few close friends. I have many friendly acquaintances in the Red Hat Society and at the senior hall but I don’t see any of them developing beyond that. Hanging out in those two groups, though, is something to do and is good for a few laughs but that’s about it.

So, I’m off to Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz for a friend. If only it were that easy…but on second thought, maybe it is. When Dorothy, Toto and the trio of misfits they picked up along the way saw the Wizard didn’t they, essentially, learn they already had it inside themselves to get what they all sought? Sure, they believed in the Wizard long enough to think the useless items they got from him had special powers, but by the end of the movie Glinda the Good Witch set them straight on that score. The power was in them all along. And for me that lesson does apply, meaning if I look at my life through honest eyes I already have good friends---relatives and others I’ve known for decades who have been there for me, and would be again if I had a true emergency or I just needed to talk.

Hey, that gives me an idea! For 2015 I think I’ll pick for my mantra: “Hoe the row you’ve already got and don’t go off looking for new seeds to plant.” I don’t need new friends as much as I need to cherish the ones I’ve got.  And wouldn’t you know it, e-Bay has a Glinda the Good Witch charm I can get to remind me that I already have what I’ve been moaning and groaning was missing in my life.

What was I thinking? My soul mate is gone and a dozen brand new friends isn’t going to fill that void and that is a simple fact of life in the wild and crazy territory we call Widowhood.  ©

22 comments:

  1. That void will always be with us. Hopefully we can reinforce the perimeters of the void with family and friendships and hobbies and vacations and other passions. I think.

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    1. I think I've always known that but sometimes you just don't want to believe things like that.

      I know another widow (my age) an old friend, who is so determined to get remarried again to fill that void that I fear she's going to bet taken advantage. I think she's crazy. LOL But we all have our own ideas of what it takes to make us happy.

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  2. I've no personal knowledge of the emotions of losing a mate and I'm not in a hurry to find out, but I'm with you. Getting remarried would be at the bottom of my list. Oh why lie, it wouldn't even make the list.

    I love that you're going to embrace those that are already in your circle. That rocks.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Getting remarried doesn't make my list either. Not even in the 100th down space.

      I do think we all take our old friends for granted. At least I hope it's not just me. Time for me to change that.

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  3. Jean :

    I love the idea of embracing ones already in my circle instead of keep on looking for another close friend. Sometimes it is so easy to take our loved ones for granted. will make sure to not do that & seek contentment this year. love you & your blog

    Asha

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    1. I'll bet you, too, have friends and family that stuck with you all though the aftermath of your stroke and who would be there again, if needed. I don't see my longtime friends all that often as I used to (we all get so busy) but when we do, it's like old times. I am going to try to at least call more often.

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  4. By Jove-I think she's got it!!!

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    1. I do Judy, I kept thinking new friends who were footloose and fancy free like me would fill up a need in me, but it's not and for the same reasons I don't want to get re-married. It takes time to form lasting friendships.

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  5. Amen, sister! The treasure inside us and around us doesn't need a Wizard to create. We simply need to open our own eyes to what we have and who we are. And BE who we are. And, if you tickle your relatives and friends' fancy, you indeed have a treasure!

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    1. Eyes wide open ---wasn't there a movie by that name?

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    2. I think the movie was Eyes Wide Shut with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman?

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  6. Oh, my gosh! Look at you, figuring it out. I love those light-bulb moments. I know so well what you mean about your Red Hat friends being great for a good time, but not filling the bill as a true-blue-can-confide-anything-in type of friend. I found the same thing to be true with my book club. I had hoped that I'd make one or two "real friends" but I found that the trip to and from the meetings with my long-time friend, who got me to join the club, were the most fun. We talked and laughed and confided. One night she told me that the best part of the book club was the ride back and forth. I agree. It's a great idea to cultivate new friends, but deepening our existing relationships is equally important.

    And one more thing... check out a small point-and-shoot camera. I keep one in the car at all times so that I have it when I forget or don't want to take my "good" camera.

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    1. I admire all the photographs you post in your blog. I aspired to do the same at the beginning of 2014, but I failed terribly. I'll have to put camera shopping on my to-do list.

      I found the same thing in the book club I was apart of up until Don got so sick at the end. It was interesting but we didn't bond like I envisioned. When/if I move, I'll try another one though. Most of my good friends are either younger than me and still in the work force which makes it harder to get together.or are busy babysitting for grand-kids.

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    2. "It's always best to start at the beginning~ and all you do is follow the yellow brick road." Glinda, the good witch of the north.
      Love you to the moon & back,
      your niece

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    3. I love you to the moon and back, too!

      I need to write that down about it's best to start at the beginning so I don't forget over the next year...since I see lots of changes coming a year from now and they're bee a 100 details to keep straight.

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  7. I haven't visited your blog for a while but getting thru the holidays was tough and I needed to connect with someone walking in my shoes and who tells it like it is...so, I'm back. Your blog today hits on a topic, finding new friends, that I struggle with daily. But your right. No amount of new friends will ever fill the void of our husbands. I wish I lived closer so we could sit and talk or do fun things and just laugh at our struggles with mundane things. Thank you again for your blog, your honesty, and great gift of bluntness.

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    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and comments. Sometimes I wonder if there is any real point to blogging other than it's a lot like diary keeping which I've done since I was ten.

      Have you tried going to widow/widowers meetings? I haven't, mainly because my brother went a few and he found them more depressing than helpful. "Too much crying," he said. But that might just be a man's prospective were a woman would see it differently.

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    2. I did attend for two years. At that time I felt I wanted more from life while some didn't or weren't ready to move on. I didn't want to wallow in tears anymore. I also did one on one with a grief counselor and the usual suggestion of volunteering at the hospitals, charities, and doing for others etc...I already babysit my grandchildren and pick them up from school one day a week, keep them during summer break, make meals to help the parents so I felt I was doing for others. It's hard but I'm not done trying. I signed up for a sewing class the end of the month as my interest is with quilting. I'm also considering a book club at the local Barnes and noble but so far the book choices aren't interesting to me. It's such a comfort to read your blog and realize there are a lot of us out here and this is normal for us. We all struggle and keep trying.

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    3. Everyone says that about trying volunteering and I gave it a year but it didn't do anything for me and call me selfish but after being a caregiver for my husband for 12 years and 5 years of sharing-caring for my father before that, I want time for me and my wants now.

      Quilting is fun. I did a lot of it back 7 to 10 years ago and have thought about joining a club again. They have a very active one around here. Hope your class works out for you.

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  8. Jean, After my marriage ended when I was about thirty, I went through something similar regarding friendships. I kept trying to create a single "best friend" pair bond that would have all the emotional characteristics of a good marriage -- one person that, above all others, you can confide in and rely on in the world. It took me many years to realize that friendship is different from marriage and that I need different friendships for different aspects of my life, needs, and interests. It can be an uphill battle, though, because I think our culture is always telling us that meeting our needs with many relationships is inferior to meeting them with just one primary relationship. -Jean

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    1. You bring up a great point about seeking friendships for different aspects of our lives. That makes a lot of sense. A spouse IS different than a friend and I have to keep that in mind. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

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