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, October 8, 2016

The Daughter, the Millennial and the Ladies in Red



The last half of my week was busy with three things penciled on my day planner: 1) The geek-on-wheels to fix my printer that a Windows 10 update dumped off both my laptop and desk top computers; 2) An appointment with the car dealership to fix a recall on my air bag; and 3) A Red Hat Society tea. All these gave me plenty opportunities to interact with people but apparently it wasn’t enough because one afternoon I called someone I hadn’t talked with since mid-summer. Touching bases by phone seems to be a lost art in this age of social media but sometimes we just have to sit down and do it. My timing was perfect because the recipient started crying---heart-wrenching sobs. She said was “losing it” and needed to “unload.” She’s dealing with the repercussions of moving a loved one from a nursing home into a memory care unit with all the stresses that goes along with situations like that---siblings, spouses and the facility itself. We talked an hour and I think I helped. Sometimes just being a trusted sounding board is all someone needs to turn down the heat on a pot full of emotions ready to boil over. For me, it felt good to have someone place a value on my words and listening skills again. That doesn’t happen much anymore in my widow’s world of superficial conversation and causal acquaintances. 

It isn’t often, for example, that I go to a Red Hat Society tea when the conversation is something of substance. Usually it’s the normal chic-chat exchanged about family and who’s been doing what with grandchildren. Not this week. As we all took a place on an assembly line to fill up cellophane bags with Halloween candy to give out to the residents of our adopted nursing home, we got into a discussion of PTSD and veterans in general. All of us had stories to tell about vets we knew/know from WWI to the present day. Shell shocked, flashbacks, battle fatigue, PTSD---different names after different wars for coming back with varying degrees of emotional trauma. One woman told about her relative who during WWII was skilled at sneaking up on Germans soldiers and silently killing them with piano wire. After the war he got drunk and stayed that way for the rest of his life. We had a neighbor at our cottage who was in the Korean War and anytime he’d hear fireworks he’d end up in an ambulance on his way to a mental ward for a few weeks. If nothing else, at least Trump’s poorly worded comment about veterans with PTSD being weak got people around the nation talking about the topic.

It was a good week for conversation. While my millennial geek-on-wheels was here we talked about the election…tipsy-toeing around the subject without either one of us saying who we plan to vote for. Although it sounds like he’s not going to vote at all because---and this is an exact quote---“I’m a white male and will be alright no matter who wins, so I don’t care.” He said he works with two people who are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum and they both get mad at him when he says he doesn’t care. I had to agree with him on one level; he recognizes his white privilege and lack of a uterus subject to new governmental regulations. But on a deeper level I don’t understand not caring about policies and changes that could affect women, people of color and the LGBT community. Eventually, discontentment from any sector of society that’s getting marginalized trickles down to affect us all.

I brought up the nuclear codes and not wanting a loose cannon to have 24/7 access to them. The geek answered that it won’t happen because he thinks Obama will get a third term due to something massive happening on Election Day---major electrical grids hacked that will invalidate the election. Okaaaaay, I’ve heard that conspiracy theory a few times online and all I can say about that is if it actually happens---and I give it a 5% chance---I hope it’s confined to the southern states because it gets cold up here in November without our furnaces. And the moral of that story is we are all capable of having selfish thoughts, so I guess I need to ease up on my self-righteous, higher-horse-than-thou opinion of my geek for his seemingly callous disregard for others outside of his white male peer group. 

Conversations with the daughter, the millennial and the ladies in red this week made me feel good at the time but with a sad chaser. On one hand it was stimulating to be able to have in-depth conversations without having to type them on a keyboard. Real people with meaty words, none of that superficial stuff that often drives me to Boredom Village. On the other hand, when the conversations were over and I was tucked back into my quiet life on Widowhood Lane a mild sense of melancholy set in when I couldn’t regurgitate those conversations up for my husband to enjoy. Without someone to share the highlights of my days---well, get out the violin and play along. You've heard this song before. ©

18 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. Conversations of substance. Are we any substitute for your mate? Lately, I've been learning about different kinds of relating, kind of what you're talking about. 1)Relating with those who inspire us (by sincerely going deeper), or 2) relating with those who deprive us (by not really 'hearing or feeling' us). I'd say the choice is a no-brainer, but wait. In some cases, like maybe the war veterans', we'd rather not be 'felt or heard'. To relate superficially is to be deprived of thinking about painful experiences. It gets you through the day. I'd say the beauty of humor and friendship is the way it bridges the gap - it truly hears you and lightens the pain. Glad you did this for your friend.

    This election cycle might be one of those painful experiences no one wants to talk about. lol. But wait! After the latest Trump revelations, it's gotten a lot less painful. He's hemorrhaging support. Someone even wondered if he would dare to show his face at tomorrow's debate, to face the questions.

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    1. The blog community is definitely a substitute for person-to-person contact in our off line lives, don't you think. I do.

      What you said, "To relate superficially is to be deprived of thinking about painful experiences. It gets you through the day." I think I get what you mean. Often times, though, we don't talk about what is really bothering us because if we open up the flood gates, it might all come spilling out like it did with the daughter in this blog entry and we might not always be ready for that to happen or to trust the person who we'd be sharing with.

      I didn't see the latest Trump revelations until an hour ago. I wasn't really shocked---it's who I've always believed him to be. What gets me he can't even apologize without doing it like a five year old. "Billy Clinton did it first!"

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  2. Did everyone have trouble with the win10 update? Seems like it, also seems like it probably cost some bucks. Hmm. Hadn't heard the thought of something big happening on election day. It's bad if so many folks are day dreaming calamity for the two candidates.

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    1. The geek said the windows 10 did catch a lot of people by surprise and caused troubles. Some people's passwords got changed and they couldn't even get into their own computers.

      Conspiracies regarding this election are really crazy and includes predictions of another civil war if Trump doesn't win. LOL

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  3. I don't think I'm in a position to comment. I don't live in the world of widowhood so to comment would be inappropriate. Windows 10 is also not a world I live in, everything is Apple/Mac in this house. Hope you have a good week.

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    1. Apple/Mac products do seem to have much less problems, don't they. I've been using windows for 20 year and I'm not sure I'd like the learning curve to switch.

      Only three sentences in this blog entry were actually widow related. At least in my mind, but either way I don't think one needs to be a widow to comment on anything I write about. We bloggers all "put it out there" so all comments are welcome and fair game in my opinion. We learn from one another.

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  4. There are so many kinds of conversation I miss with Mr. Ralph .... gossip because I knew it would not go any further than our giggles. Financial ... we each challenged the other from our left brain/right brain strengths. Political ... although he would get LOUDER the more he tried to change my mind. For now I'm happy with light conversation. Blessed with a small brain, I guess!

    APPLE/MAC here too!

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    1. You nailed in on kind of conversations I miss, too, with Don. Although we never disagreed on politics.

      When it's so well known that Apple/Mac is more dependable why isn't it the leading operating system? Doesn't make sense, does it.

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    2. I think Apple/Mac is more expensive is one reason you don't see as many. PCs are usually much cheaper. My first experience with computers was with Apple/Mac. Many years later I was forced into the PC world and used those for a number of years before returning to a Mac. The Windows stuff turned me away from PCs. It would be quite a learning curve I suppose to switch if you'd never used a Mac. I also like the online support Apple/Mac provides.

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    3. That makes sense. I hate that Windows is always changing!

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  5. The Millennial's are the "all about me" group, so I wasn't surprised by his answers and comments. I had not heard about the election night conspiracy, but had heard something horrible is going to happen in late October. I don't believe either. I believe the real horror will start on Inauguration Day and last for 4 years.

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    1. No matter who wins, a large portion of the population won't respect/accept the president so you're prediction could be right. I have seen the conspiracy theories online about armed militias trying to take over after the election if Trump doesn't win but they will not have the backing and support from the general population they expect and will be put down quickly.

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  6. "...to turn down the heat on a pot full of emotions ready to boil over." I loved that term of phrase.

    I'm glad that someone could express to you in-person their appreciation of your listening and advice skills. I find this blog genuine, and hence return to it. I, like you, experience loneliness and grief at times. Yes, friends and rellies don't want to hear about it. But that doesn't make it go away. Its reassuring that others also pass through those tunnels of dark at times.

    Re Trump, think Pence is much worse (legislation to pay for a foetus' funeral; conversion therapy for gays, bald faced lier, etc). GOP is now helpless as the recent rally minus Trump shows. Trumpsters cannot do without their daily bottle of T.

    I understand people vote for their party hence T's support, but it still baffles me. Would I vote for my party's candidate, regardless? - I hope not. ~ Libby

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    1. I'm glad you mention that "pot full of emotions." I rewrote that sentence at least six times before I was happy with it.

      Thanks for what you wrote in the second paragraph. I don't want to sound like a broke record in this blog but I feel what I feel and that includes an occasions melancholy mood. The important thing (to me and maybe others) is that those occasional "dark tunnels" don't last long or keep me from doing things.

      The idea of Pence for a president is just as scary as Trump but in a different way. I don't think Trump's fans are strict party people. It's more the people who want to give the country the middle finger. If he doesn't win there are going to be some angry people.

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    2. NYT Gail Collins today "Dining out on Donald" expresses my sentiments fully. I don't understand how top politicians can advocate to waste your vote. ~ Libby

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    3. Me neither. But nothing about his election cycle is normal so I'm worried about what will happen.

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  7. There is nothing in this world like a good friend to whom you can unburden yourself. I do feel for your friend. She was lucky that you called at just the right moment.

    When you write about your relationship with Don, it is familiar to me. I bounce every idea and conversation that I have off of H. He is my best friend.

    Your computer geek is one of many, I'm afraid. I'm looking forward to the debate tonight. I'm going to take a nap this afternoon. I was not even mildly surprised at Trump's latest exposure with the tape. How can people still be surprised by him? How many times does he have to reveal who he is? I voted early because I was afraid something would happen with the procedure to prevent me from voting. :) Maybe an overreaction, but this is an important election.

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    1. I would have voted early, too, if I had been in your situation. It's just who we are.

      I agree that no one should be surprised by this latest tape of Donald talking about how he likes to grab the crotches of beautiful women. What gets me is he wants us to believe his sexual/marriage history doesn't matter but wants us to believe Bill's 30 year old infidelities should be. And Trump's crotch grabbing isn't old history according to a FOX news person who leaked that he did it to her last year.

      I've been reading your blog long enough to know that you and H do have the same kind of relationship that Don and I had. "Best friends" is a perfect description.

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