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 10, 2015

The Whiny Widow



There’s a teaser promo that’s been coming on TV all week long for the finale of season six of The Good Wife, a legal drama that I haven’t watched since season one. In the promo it shows the main character, Alicia, saying, “I don’t have any friends and I don’t know why.” If there’s more to the promo than that one line, it’s going right over my head because that single sentence haunts me long after the promo is over. I’m venturing a guess---and I could be embarrassingly off base---that she has no friends because her husband and her once-best friend slept together and as a consequence she doesn’t trust or confide in others. She's a guarded person plus she’s busy being a mother and a defense attorney. How’s that for analyzing a TV character I barely know? I might just have to watch the show tonight to see why that promo line is the teaser to a storyline that’s supposed to hold viewers over to season seven in the fall.

“I don’t have any friends and I don’t know why.” That could be my theme song except for the fact that I do know why I don’t have any friends. Heck, I’ve spent all week long trying to puzzle out an explanation that doesn’t come off sounding whiny or like an excuse or a cry for someone to fix me. I’m not doing any of those things but if I was, “whiny” would probably come the closest to the truth. I’m just trying to make peace with the way things are in my life. And I guess this would be a good place to state the obvious, that I lost my very best friend and soul mate when my husband died. Before that happened, I didn’t sit around thinking about friends. Duh, I didn’t have that hole that needs filling. Like The Good Wife, I no longer have a confidante. Waaaa! Well, except for this blog. Whine, whine, whine and yes, I’ve got cheese to go with that.

Okay, moment of truth: It’s misleading to say I don’t have friends. The trouble is my closest friends and family---the ones where the give-and-take and the conversations flow seamlessly---don’t live close-by. And all the technology in the world isn’t going to give you a satisfying hug. Waaaa. Though I did get a hug this week from the son-I-wish-I-had. He stopped by. I love that guy. We chattered back and forth like a couple of magpies on a clothesline.

In the making-new-friends department, it doesn’t help that I’ve always been an independent person who is not afraid to be alone. I have this theory that it’s the people who don’t like being alone who evolve into extroverts. They invite, they organize, and they draw people to them to keep them company; me I’ve always been able to entertain myself so I depend on the extroverts to get me out of the house and away from my hobbies. Thank you, extroverts. You are an important pillar in the social order of old maids and widows. Do your thing. Just tell me where to be, when and what to bring.

I had hoped to sign up for some Olli classes this summer but everything they’re offering is dark and heavy like: The Dawn of the Nuclear Age, The Bubonic Plague, and Death Acceptance. Yuck yuck and yuck. Someone must have kidnapped all the artists and writers who normally teach the fun stuff because there isn’t a single thing in the new Osher Lifelong Learning Institute catalog that I’m interested in taking. Twenty-six classes and not one is a remotely upbeat class except for Chinese Music which conflicts with my Movie and Lunch Club. Whine, whine, whine. I am turning into a broken record. 

I have a busy week coming up. Monday and Tuesday I’m helping with the Mother’s Day banquet at the senior hall. That first day, I'll be helping to decorate the hall and setting the tables for 110 guests and on Tuesday I’ll help get the beverages ready, dish out the catered food and clean up after everyone is gone. Then later in the evening I’m going to my first “Write and Share MeetUp" at the library. Wednesday I’m going to a live musical production downtown. Thursday I have carpet cleaners coming and on Friday my Movie and Lunch Club meets. Yup, I keep throwing things into that hole in my life, hoping one day I’ll look back and say, “Where did it go? I don’t see it anymore.” I just wish I didn’t feel so restless in the meantime. What I really need is a meditation class so I can turn that whiny “Waaaa” of mine into Ommmm.  ©

18 comments:

  1. My daughter Karen and I were just talking about this yesterday. We have friends, but we don't have FRIENDS!!! Hers are all too busy and mine are dying off!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! Working people don't have time to nurture friendships like we might have done in times past. And some of us in our age bracket don't want to make new friends because we subconsciously fear they could die on us.

      I had wanted to add something in this post about the different ways we define the word 'friend'----where that line between 'friend' and 'friendly acquaintance' falls. I know people who throw that word around to quickly and I think I'm too stingy with it.

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  2. Friends are what you make it. I have wonderful neighbours that are there when I need assistance and I call them friends but others wouldn't call them friends. I have a wonderful friend in Florida, a woman that I just love her so much and friends that I just enjoy to be with. It's amazing when you think about it.
    Have a wonderful Mother's day. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Another blog writer who comments here on occasion (Step into the Future) pointed out once that we can have friends the serve different roles in our lives. In context we were discussing how widows and divorcees make the mistake of looking for a new friend to fill the void and that won't work because friends are very different than spouses. She made a believer out of me.

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  3. Aristotle believes that there are three different kinds of friendship; that of utility, friendship of pleasure, and virtuous friendship. I lost all of the first two after my stroke. I've managed to recreate lots of the third after moving to MI.
    http://cantory.blogspot.com/2007/12/aristotle-and-his-view-of-friendship.html

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    1. I've never heard that paraphrase of Aristotle's. Thanks for sharing. Losing the first two kinds of friendships after a stroke is SO common place for the survivors and their caregivers.My husband was very hurt when he was abandon by one couple in particular who he thought were better friends than they turned out to be. In hindsight I could see that Don was always the giver in the relationship and they were the takers. When he could no longer give, they went on their way. Even without speech for so many years, he was able to keep four (five if you count me) very close friendships for which I will always be grateful.

      I'm glad you were able to create good friends after moving to MI. I wish I knew your secret. I had some friends in the caregiver circle but once Don died, it was hard for them to be around me, to be reminded of what they could lose as quickly as I did. I guess they'd fall into the utility kind of friendship. I like those three categories!

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  4. I have a lot of acquaintances but very few friends. I have some very long distance friends that I love with all my heart. They are spread all over this country, and a few out of country. Love them to pieces. Here I have one really great friend and we enjoy our time together even though it's limited.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Me too regarding friendly acquaintances and I used to think I could turn a few of them into good friends. But I've since come to realize that both parties have to be in at a place in their lives where they are activity looking to add new friends for that to happen.

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  5. I've come to the conclusion that looking for friendship is like looking for happiness; you find it when you are focused on other things and not really looking. When I first moved to Pennsylvania (in my early forties), I made a concerted effort to develop some close friendships there and none of them worked out (my 'targets' were too busy with their spouses and children to have time for close friends). When I joined my singing workshop, I wasn't thinking of it as a place to make friends, but I seem to have made at least three that I think will last beyond the end of the class (it remains to be seen whether any of these will turn into FRIENDS). -Jean

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    1. I know you're right. Back before I met my husband I was in serious man shopping mode and wasn't connecting. So I wrote a letter to Ann Landers---hey, I was young and desperate, LOL---and she basically told me the same thing. She recommended getting out and about as much as possible doing things I enjoyed doing and it would happen when I wasn't looking.

      I'm glad you're finding some friend candidates in your singing class. I'm hoping the 'write and share' meet-up I'm going to will do the same for me.

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  6. It occurs to me that social life for women is too often work. Why can't we just hang out together?

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    1. It is, isn't it. But I also think we can just hang out together if you pick the right activities. My Movie and Lunch Club is that way. Finding the right fit for what we want out of friendships is the hard part, at least to me.

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  7. Camaraderie isn't in a whiner's toolbox. Unless it's with fellow whiners. Life is too short to join a pity party.

    My Friendship Coach has taught me to be an awesome friend to myself. So, maybe the law of attraction will work now. Thing is, I'm too content to care. LOL

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    1. I only whine when I write about myself and my inner thoughts.

      You are in a good place, it sounds like.

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  8. Seriously, a meditation class would be great, especially if someone rubbed your feet while you were meditating.

    My husband and I are best friends. We enjoy many of the same things, but have enough of our own things to give each other a break. I'd want him to be my friend even if we weren't married, but... And it's a big but. We have lost some of our best friends along the way due to death, moving, and several dropped out of the picture when we moved to Dad's. I worry that he will be very alone if somethng happens to me or vice versa. I don't think your post was whiney all. It's a problem that a lot of people face when their spouse dies.

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    1. I did a little bit of meditation in a yoga class I took last year. It really is relaxing.

      I was half joking about being whiny and I'm glad you saw that. Losing friends when a spouse dies or when you are sidetracked with caregiving is so common and that's one of the reasons I write about it as often as I do.

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    2. Bless all of you. You have this seven month widow laughing and laughing. I will take all of you for friends. Thank you.

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    3. Thanks for the comment. And Welcome to my blog although, I wish you didn't have a need to go looking for blogs written by widows. Sorry for you lost your husband.

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