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, March 1, 2015

Blogging from Widowhood Lane



Last week my view counter ticked up to and over 150,000. Not bad for three years and I really wanted to do some sort of commemorative post thanking people who return to read from time to time. I guess I didn’t put it high enough on my priority list to follow through. Or maybe I held back from doing so because of something I wrote at the 100,000 mark. Along with thanking frequent readers, I bemoaning the fact that I get so few comments and I was rewarded with a snippy comment suggesting that I must be a comment whore. I replied back was that if I was writing just for the comments I would have quit a long time ago. To date, I’ve chalked up 1,494 comments. Does that really sound like I’m writing just for the feedback? I rest my case. I am not a comment whore even though I treasure each and every one I get. Thanks for asking, Snippy Lady. 

Why do bloggers blog? I read somewhere the blogging is dying out in favor of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. I get that. I get that not everyone loves to write and at all those social media sources, short throw-away posts and comments are the accepted norm. I have accounts at all those places but I read far more than I post. Saying things in 120 characters is too darn hard for me at Twitter. Facebook I use mostly to keep up on what is going in Don’s and my family. Pinterest feeds right into the bulletin boards I was crazy about creating in my younger days but it bothers me that we’re telling cyberspace advertisers exactly what kinds of things we like. (As if Google doesn’t already know that.) And Instagram. Dear Instagram where I love the photos family posts and the concept that others can’t nab or share them, but I can’t seem to manage a cell phone picture without my thumb included so that leaves me out of the sharing process. No, I’ll stick to blogging where I hope/can pretend I have a connection with people who don’t care if the format is on its way to Horse-and-Buggy Land. If you are still reading this, thank you.

A far more interesting question, though, is why do people read personal blogs written by ordinary people, living ordinary lives? I can only speak for myself but I enjoy getting a window into how others feel about their day to day existence---the frustrations that get them down and things that make them feel joyful inside. I learn about myself from reading what others write, too. One of my favorite bloggers, for example, couldn’t be more different than I am when it comes to core values and life experiences but we are so spooky, scary alike in every other way that I just know we’d be great friends if we lived next door to one another. Without reading her blog, I never would have gotten beyond the labels we put on others to discover that, and that helps me when meeting new people in person. Reading personal blogs also makes me feel connected to a community when the isolation of going through life-crisis’s such Don’s disabilities and eventual death, then the whole widowhood “thing” could otherwise make me bat-poop crazy. We care about each other in cyberspace just as much as if we were talking over the back yard fence. At least that’s my view from here. Oops! My View From Here is the name of another one of my favorite blogs to read and I just plagiarized Donna’s catch phrase.

(Note: I wanted to say above, "...could make me bat-shit crazy..." but when I used the word 'sexual' in the title of a recent blog entry Bloggers sent me a notice that blogs with x-rated content will be turned private in the near-future. Oh, my, I thought, swearing content can’t be far behind on the no-no list if THAT post got tagged!)

A few people may already know this but I’m going to repeat it in this post because I’m old and that’s what old people do. Anyway, I started blogging a year after my husband’s stroke as sort of a gratitude journal and speech class diary. It was so hard back then to pull myself out of the darkness that goes with a life changing event like the massive stroke of someone you love. So I consciously made the decision that I couldn’t go to bed each night without first finding five good things to write down about my day. Before I knew it, I’d find myself saying during the day, “This should go in my journal” and that turned into seeing the funnier things that were happening in my world where I was a caregiver/wife to a wheelchair bound guy who worked very hard at building up his vocabulary. A vocabulary that turned out to be at its highest point only 25 unprompted words on a good day. When he died the bottom fell out of my world again and my blogs had to go with him.

Eleven days later, in January of 2012, this widowhood blog was born. Fast forward to now and here I am, knowing that the blog world has helped, does help and will help me again with whatever challenges life throws my way. It’s given me a place to spill my guts---my secrets, my desires, my fears, my disappointments and joys and my plans A, B and Cs. If you’ve been here often enough to see me put Band-Aids on my broken heart and rip them back off, thank you. If you’ve been here often enough to see me rub salt in my own wounds then wash it back out, thank you. If you’ve been here often enough to care if I ever put some real adventure into my widowhood days, as the blog title implies I should, a double thank you. ©

24 comments:

  1. OH WOW!! YES!!! I miss some blogs that I used to read faithfully and get a good message or laugh from--they got into FB and quit writing. Makes me sad. I too have to blog! I HAVE to. I used to write in my journal every day--now with arthritis, it takes a big effort to write, so I type and blog and of course, type way more than I'd ever write in my journal. I like to go back and read and see how I've either changed or changed my mind on some subjects. I get so much out of other's blogs, have found wonderful friends (that I have never met). I have also been helped by reader's comments. I NEED it, so please don't quit writing!!!

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    1. Judy, I have a mini mourning session on the weekends when you don't blog. I'm addicted and I really learn a lot of about myself from what your write.

      Last week I momentarily thought about ending this blog and going back to revive my dog's blog. I like that "he" can write things about me that I can't really say about myself and the dog blogs world is just so supportive and fun. But then one comment came along from someone who rarely if ever comments here and I got energized again all over again. Oh, my gosh! Does that make me a comment whore? Maybe. LOL

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  2. There are so many folks that quit blogging. I've lost contact with them and I'm not happy about that. Things change in the blogging world like it changes everywhere else. People come into and out of our lives. I think it's meant to be that way.

    I've not gone through the loss as you have and I don't want to either. I'm in my 60s and healthy, but we all know that could change in a heartbeat. Hubby and I just enjoy life to the fullest each day. We both know that it's all we can hope for.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Sandee, I love your humor blog. I stop by every morning to give me something to smile about.

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  3. I have recently stumbled onto your blog, first by reading about your caregiving. My husband had a heart transplant nearly 3 years ago, but during the transplant had a stroke. Thankfully it was not severe, but I needed insight on different coping skills, and I found you. While I am not widowed, please don't hate!, I enjoy reading about your latest insights into the world. I started a blog, mainly for family and friends, when Bill was being considered for the transplant. Without it I think I would have lost my sanity! Please don't stop blogging, you never know who you are helping get through something!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your husband's health issues. I'm glad to know my old blogs from my caregiver days are still serving a useful purpose. And I'm glad you started your own blog and it helped you. I really do think they service as important coping tools.

      Thanks for reminding me that we never know who is reading our blogs and what they may be taking away from it. in terms of it being helpful on some level.....

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  4. Jean :
    I love your reading your blogs & I 100% believe blogging is very therapeutic for your soul. I feel reading & writing blogs have immense healing power. I know first hand they have worked for me wonderfully. I know after stroke reading struggle of others gave me strength to fight my own struggle. & I always feel sharing my joy it stays in my memory bank long & does not go as ordinary granted moment. So thats my story of being blog junkie & I am sticking to it. This blogs have helped me come off my happy pills after stroke

    Asha

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    1. I think you have the distinction of being the only person who has read my blogs (at their various platforms) from the very beginning on the stroke support site we were both active. In many ways, I think you are stronger than me because you are still there, helping others with the struggles that you over-came. Anyway, thanks for being a friend and follower all these years!

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  5. Jean :

    please never stop blogging you don't realize how powerful your blogs have been. each and every one of your blogs have given me strength and how to have positive perspective when inside you are scared silly to even get out of bed to face the day. your blogs gives hope, strength when some of us are unable to find our own. No wonder I have been following you wherever you go lol.

    Asha

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    1. Now you're making me blush. LOL I don't think I'm going to quit blogging in the near future but I am thinking about giving Levi the Schnauzer a couple of days a month to be a guest blogger here. "He" can say things about my life that I can't and I really did like "talking" in his voice when "he" and his angel older brother had their own a blog.

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  6. Well, my original comment went somewhere out into the ether....

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    1. It happens that way some times. But thank you so much for trying.

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  7. Jean, I'm a piker compared to you, I only have 1453 comments, no one seems to want to talk to me. I love reading your insights, gives me ideas about what goes on in other minds.

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    1. That makes me feel better, knowing your comment total Dean. I can better understand it with your blog, though, because I image most people who read there are in the heat of battling the repercussions of a stroke in the family and don't have a lot of time. Light bulb moment here: that can probably also said about people who come here looking for information about widowhood.

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  8. I love reading all of your blog posts. I am still going through some of your older caregiver posts. While I am not a widow at this point some of your posts have made me think about the future and wonder how I will cope. You have the talent to write about things that happen and your honest feelings make it easy to read. Sometimes people are touched by something you said but can't comment. Keep writing and we will all keep reading!

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    1. What I nice thing to say, Laura! In hindsight I am proud of many of the posts I wrote during my caregiver days and like I told Beth above, I'm glad to know they still get read. Thank you......

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  9. I get so much out of blogging, both writing and reading. I would miss it terribly.

    You may not quit blogging. Please. I love your blog and look forward to it so much. I agree with you about learning from fellow bloggers. I was isolated when I cared for Dad. I don't know what I would have done without it. I needed to express and I needed to engage with others. I probably was a comment whore. :)

    I know it's your blog and your choice, but I hope you keep on keeping on.

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    1. I think the long, boring days of winter aka cabin fever caught up with me. When I start getting out more, I'll get out of the writing funk I'm in.

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  10. Hi Jean, Keep on keeping on!!! Love your blog. Think I told you I found it looking for advice, support for my sis-in-law when my brother died in Jan. 2013. I've printed many, many of your blogs for her. (She has macular degeneration and can't use computer). But in doing this for her...I became such a fan. You're a great writer...insightful, funny, (the rat hockey comes to mind>>>ha) I look forward to reading you every day and from you I branched out to Judy at Onward and Upward as well as dear Balisha. Prayers for her. Sorry for the long comment, but just wanted you to know how much you mean to people who have never met you. Oh...kudos to Levi as well. I enjoyed his guest post today. Go, Levi!!!
    Alice in Texas

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    1. No need to apologize for a long comment. As far as I can tell, Bloggers doesn't care and I sure don't. I'll take them any way I can get them. LOL I think it's just the long winter of being trapped inside that makes it harder to write right now. That will go away after it warms out and I can get some stimulation. I might also let "Levi" be a guest blogger once or twice a month. He can say things about me that I can't say.

      Thank you for saying what you did when I really needed it!

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  11. When I was young and naive and thought that the world could be changed I focused on large, grandiose ideas. In my 60's I understand the beauty of each one of us ordinary average undistinguished human beings. And I think we are none of those adjectives: I think we are all interesting and unique and worthwhile. I don't want to read about the lives of the celebrities or the one percent or the politicians. I feel more comfortable reading about people, like you, who I feel I could talk to if we met because we may be very different but we seem to have an understanding of the world that links us together.
    And I have complete and total empathy with you about cabin fever! I decided yesterday, being March 1 that I was going to go for a walk and I put my hiking boots on (usually if I leave the house it is with snow boots) and it wasn't really pleasant but it was doable! And I did it again today even though it was snowing but I need to feel like spring is coming!
    We are not going to change the world but there is such comfort in knowing people who have similar thoughts and ideas. I join others in thanking you for blogging.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Thanks for weighing in now and in the past, Leze. I, too, am not interested in reading blogs by celebrities, the wealthy or political figures. They don't seem authentic to me at all. I agree there is comfort in knowing others have similar thoughts and ideas.

      Going for a walk sounds so nice but as long as there is snow and ice outside I won't chance falling with my bad bones. Glad you were able to do it.

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  12. Though I just discovered you a couple of days ago by way of my living alone series, I am so grateful! I truly look forward to checking in with you to read about your glorious, heartbreaking, beautiful misadventures. <3

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    1. I have bookmarked your blog, too. I love discovering new women to read.

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