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, May 24, 2015

My Fourth Memorial Day Alone



To most people Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor fallen soldiers and still others think of it as the kick off of summer to be celebrated with a mini trip. For many years the holiday, for me, always included helping my husband decorate the graves of his ancestors on one day, seeing family on another day and the third day of the holiday we spent antiquing along Lake Michigan. Since Don died, I’ve been struggling to establish my new normal for the long weekend. My first Memorial Day as a widow was all about Don’s newly installed headstone and the unkempt condition of the grave site. My second Memorial Day was a woo-is-me time of loneliness and misery and I didn’t help myself much by watching back-to-back doomsday movies on TV. My third Memorial Day included a proactive plan to stay busy and stay off Facebook so I didn’t have to hear about other people’s plans. And it helped. This year---year four alone---the holiday weekend snuck up on me. I didn’t have a plan, didn’t have a single thing on my day planner. The cul-de-sac got creepy quiet on Friday when half my neighbors packed up their toys and tents and took off. That was my first clue that a long, lonely holiday was coming. Ohmygod! How would I get through these days without me metaphorically bellowing out “woo is me!” a few times?

Friday I got busy picking up the house even though no one would stop by and pronounce my life in a shambles because my kitchen counter top was loaded up with an assortment of stuff that didn’t belong where I dumped it coming in from the garage. That left Saturday, Sunday and Monday to sit twiddling my thumbs if I didn’t find a way to kick myself in the butt. So Saturday I decided to go to some of the houses on the annual Parade of Homes. Seventy-one houses on the tour and only three were condos. Of those three two were actually advertised as zero steps condos. Better than last year. There was only one. One of the condos I toured was in the perfect location and the other was in the perfect price range. It gave me hope that it will be possible, one day, to find a condo that is a perfect combination of both price and location.

One of the builders has a dozen zero concept condos in various stages of development. But he needs a crash course on what zero steps concept is all about. In his model house the master shower was big enough to fit four wheelchairs but the entry to the shower was only eighteen inches wide which is way too small to be ADA standard which is thirty-six inches. When I pointed that out to the agent, she said a lot of people had mentioned that. Duh! People looking for zero step concept want to age in place. There was no design reason for not doing the shower opening correctly. It even would have cost him less in ceramic tile work and labor.

Saturday I went to the cemetery and had a talk with Don. I told him that I think of him often and that I’m doing okay even though he took a piece of me with him when he left. I cleaned up his headstone which amounted to digging out the sod on all fours sides that have grown over the marble, then I cleaned the stone with water and soap and finally I glued another snoopy trinket in place. By fall it will be gone if past history predicts the future. I don’t bring flowers to plant because the sextons there want you to put them in footed urns that they put on top of the stone for the summer and I refuse to see Don’s name and dates covered up like that. It’s all he has left, for crying out loud!

It was quiet and pretty in the cemetery with all the bright flowers and the flags flapping in a gentle breeze. Although the x-florist in me wanted to rearrange all those terrible silk arrangement that people don't know enough to tweak before plopping them in an urn. Hint: Flower don't grow as straight as an eighteen gauge wire; give those plastic coated wires a bend! As I drove out of the iron gates of the quaint, small town cemetery and past its fieldstone walls, I fell in back of a car that had giant lettering from taillight to taillight that read, “Are you in God’s Hands?” I’m surprised I didn’t have a tailgating collision with the car as I tried to figure out if it was a giant decal or a custom, lettering job. If I’m in God’s hands I wish He would have slapped me silly when I got back home and spent the afternoon power eating my way to just one King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll short of an epic binge. 

Two days of the holiday are down and two more to go. Woo-is-me it’s supposed to rain both days so I won't get my flat of moss roses planted. So now all I have left to do is decide if I'm going to marathon watch the SyFi channel in a heroic effort to avoid setting up my summer eBay station in the garage or try to find the concentration to read one of the gazillion books in my library. Not a good plan but sometimes a widow just has to hang tight and lick her wounds. ©



14 comments:

  1. I'm not really what to say after reading your blog but your husband was a lucky man having you. Hang in there Jean. Tomorrow is another day, another good day for you. Smile, I'm thinking of you. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Thanks Paul! Hanging in there is my specialty. LOL

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  2. There's a Holiday? When?
    I watched Sunday Tiger baseball and a golf tournament--per usual.

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    1. It would be hard for me to ignore Memorial Day and going to the cemetery. It was such a big deal to Don to do it for his relatives going back three generations that I'd feel like a bad person not tending to his grave.

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  3. It's interesting all the work involved to NOT go away for the long weekend. Poor Mr. Ralph doesn't even HAVE a grave!! I'm thinking about a permanent place for some ashes here in Portland. Then I feel like he'd rather be in Maui .... do I spend that kind of $$$ to have him in both places? And what about his hometown???? Which is why I have done nothing.

    It's busy as can be living with these four and the big dog! So glad I have my little hotel room here. And today I sent them to the County Fair and the amusement park so I could get my three newsletters started. The little boys fell asleep on the way home ... success!

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    1. Don really, really wanted to be in the cemetery in his home town and we bought the plot $250 back before he died. Most of his ashes are there but I also spread some in 5-6 other places that had meaning to us.

      County Fairs are fun when you have kids.

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  4. A tough holiday for sure. I remember your last Memorial Day. Your plan worked pretty well for you, but sometimes these things sneak up on you. Today is the last day of the long weekend. We usually hang our flag in this weekend, but it's still hanging at the other house. We haven't put the bracket and pole on this house yet. I hope you have a good book. That's always my favorite choice for getting through a tough day... That or a good movie. You need a lighthearted movie. It sounds like you really got Don's stone in shape. We don't maintain the stones here. The cemetery does it. I do put flowers on it on holidays. Here's hoping that today is better than usual for you.

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    1. They mow the grass at cemeteries in this area and remove stuff you put on the graves if you don't get them off by the dates they post. Winter winds carry they stuff all over the place if you don't. But some stones can get completely covered in sod if they are set too low (like Don's) which I swear they do on purpose to make mowing easier. The sexton is not going to be happy with me digging a three inch deep and wide trench all the way around the stone. Tough cookies! I decided I need to dig sod twice a year instead of just in the spring. It was a hard job for me because it was so dense.

      I do have a good book! I think I'll crack it open this afternoon.

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  5. Life changes when you least expect it to and there's nothing we can do about that but adjust. I see you're trying to chase away the blues. You had a wonderful marriage and I'm sure it's tough to go it alone.

    Have a fabulous day and crack that book open and get lost in the pages. ☺

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    1. Adjusting is sometimes a blood sport. You win a round, you lose a round but you have to keep fighting.

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    2. Hello Jean,I love your blog, and you seem like one strong lady. I read your comment to Sandee, from Comedy Plus, (Sorry, I'm not usually noisy.) and decided to stop by and say hello. I hope you have a great day!

      Ann, from A Nice Place In The Sun.

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    3. Welcome Annie. I do the same thing when I read comments on other blogs. Sometimes I find places I want to go back to. I don't think it's being "noisy". If someone doesn't want you to read their blog, they wouldn't comment with a link back to their blog.

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    4. Hey Jean, I wanted to let you know that you're the only one who guessed which story was true on my weekly, Monday's Stories post. My mother is adamant about the fact that the second story is true, but, you know before I read your comment, I never thought the possibility that her father could have exaggerated the puppies predicament. Thank you for participating, and I hope you will return to this Monday. I added a link to your blog in yesterday's post.- Feline Friday.

      Thanks again, and have a terrific week-end. :)

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    5. I'm guessing your got your humor telling gene from your grandfather who tells little kids that a litter of puppies was born with upside down noses. LOL
      I'm adding your blog link here, too.

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