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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Same Time, Next Year



Three of my husband’s oldest and dearest friends were in town this week and we all met at the Sculpture Park. They were killing two birds with one stone---seeing me and the new Japanese garden at the same time. I didn’t mind. It was a sunny day at a beautiful setting that is ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums in the world and three of us are arty-farty types. Before we explored the new Japanese addition, we took a half hour, narrated tram ride around the 158 acres that took us past many of the 200 permanent pieces in the park. I’ve been on the tram many times but it was only my third time going to the 8 ½ acre Japanese addition. 

Once inside the gates to the Japanese Gardens, we found a private ‘alcove’ near the Zen garden that overlooks the lake and the zig-zag bridge and we sat on polished marble bounders talking about the good times we’ve had over the years. And there have been many. Parties, vacations, raft races and just a hanging out over pizza. Don and these three had been friends since junior high and even though two of them haven’t lived here for thirty years they’ve all stayed close. I feel honored that after Don died they still include me on their ‘must see’ list when they come up from Georgia. And it’s always fun to be with people who knew my husband before his stroke. Knowing Don is like shorthand for knowing me. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people left in their families to bring them back to town, so I couldn’t help feeling like this might be the last time I’ll see them. Ohmygod, taking in our physical conditions---one guy in a wheelchair, the other woman badly needing a hip replacement, her husband fighting cancer and me with my snow white hair and old-lady sweater in the summer---one of us might not be alive same time, next year. 

Seeing these people every summer for so many years it can’t help but remind me of the 1951 movie with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn, titled Same Time, Next Year. They played a couple who for over twenty-five years would met once a year for a romantic tryst and along the way they managed to develop an emotional depth they hadn’t expected. Not sure if it would work that way in real life for lovers, what with the guilt thing and suspicious spouses getting in the way, but I know for a fact that for life-long friends emotional depth can be maintained long-distance. 

Paul McCartney once wrote: 

Must we wait another year
For the celebration, dear?
If we do, we’ll hold it here,
Same time next year.

I'll be here, the same as ever,
Maybe wearing something else.
Ah, but nothing changes,
Ah but nothing changes.

Wrong, Paul! Everything changes from year to year, especially once you get past seventy. Sometimes it’s even hard to recognize people who’ve been in your life for decades. But I know what he meant. The warm feelings don’t change. The love and respect doesn’t change. But the melancholy of saying goodbye hits you harder when you get older, knowing that a wonderful afternoon like I had this week could be our last one together. At least until one of us dies. We all have cemetery plots right next door. It tickled my husband’s sense of humor to think about being neighbors in death.

After spending three hours at the park the four us went to a restaurant/bar in my adopted hometown. The others have been going there since their teens and a trip to Michigan always includes a pilgrimage to eat their “famous” hot dogs that aren’t that good in my book. But you don’t mess with an iconic place so deeply engrained in someone’s mind. Like I told them when they asked about the other hot dog place in town and I said, “Their dogs are better but you guys don’t come here for the food. It’s the memory triggers of this place that makes it special.”

And with that, this widow can report the ending of another day filled with laughter, a sincere appreciation of beautiful people, relationships, things and places plus a few melancholy thoughts wondering if we’ll still be all together this time, next year.  ©

14 comments:

  1. "Til we meet again." I always want to say this when I leave my Old School Gal Pals lunch, but it would be a downer. We know how quickly we can be gone, I guess that makes these meetings all the more sweeter.

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    1. I love that saying and song. I don't think it's a downer. "All the sweeter"---isn't that the truth.

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  2. I'm glad you had a wonderful visit with friends. You're right some hot-dogs are better than others, but it wasn't about the food.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. At home I only eat Hebrew National hotdogs.

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    2. And now I love the ONE POINT 97% fat free Hebrew National hotdogs!

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    3. I should have guessed they'd be Weight Watcher approved. I will no longer feel guilty when I buy them.

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  3. I haven't seen that movie "Same Time Next Year" for many years but it was wonderful. The acting was good and it was a combination of emotions...amusing and tender. And there is such a tenderness and melancholy with old friends as we get older mostly, I think, because we are more and more aware of mortality. In most people it does bring forth a certain sweetness.
    Then there are others who, no matter how old they are, can't seem to shake the unpleasant characteristics that they carried forward from their youth...because I really do think that most people don't 'get nasty' as they get older...it is who they have always been. Oh well!
    You are fortunate to have such friends that you can meet with from one year to the next.
    Regards,
    Leze

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  4. I am lucky and I've got other once a year friends. We're always able to pick up right where we left off.

    I agree with you that most people don't get nasty as we age, aging just deepens the qualities we've had all along.

    That's is such an old movie but isn't it funny how it stays in your mind. Lots of movies are gone from mine a week after I see them. Lots of stories are just repeated plots but I don't think that one has been done very often, if at all.

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  5. I feel the melancholy tone and and joy also. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this ode to friendship and the passing of time. Wish I could visit that park!

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    1. I could live in that park with the deer, turkeys, mink, racoons and other wildlife. I don't doubt a person could get away with it...lots of deep woods and nooks to hide in.

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  6. I love how you make the most of each and every day. And each and every friend. The best part of growing older is the enjoyment we pry out of everyday life.!

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    1. I only write about the days where I get the most of the day. Sometimes I vegetate the crap out of my days. LOL

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  7. What a lovely day. It is true that as we get older we never know who will not be here next year, including us. I guess that's why we cherish things more and take less things for granted. I'm glad you had such a nice day with old friends, and that you got to talk to people who knew Don before his stroke. I can see how that would give you pleasure.

    I love that movie, "Same Time Next Year." Now I want to see it again. I may have to buy it. :)

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  8. I can barely remember it. I may have to track it down too.

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