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, January 7, 2017

One Widow’s Dream



Since Don died the first half of January that leads up to his sadiversary has always come with an undercurrent of emotion. With the first anniversary of his death it was easy to label that undercurrent as grief. No one gets past that first anniversary unscathed. Then came years two, three and four and the raw grief got replaced with regrets, sadness and memories. This year is the Big Five and I suspect it’s the marker where people who haven’t lost a soulmate think those of us who have should be “over it” by now. And you know what I say to those people? Mind your own P's and Q's.

One common factor that comes with the first half of January each year since Don died is an increase in dreams that have the power to wake me up. Last night’s episode had me and Don speeding on a busy freeway in a strange city and making a wrong turn. We pulled off the freeway in an industrial part of town and stopped on a dirt road next to railroad tracks where day workers that looked like characters from the Walking Dead were milling around. Don got out of the car to ask for directions and everyone he asked pointed him on down the narrow road. As he walked in the direction they pointed, I got concerned he’d get out of view and I got out of the car to follow. I made it twenty yards away when I remembered the keys were still in the car but I was afraid the ‘walking dead’ were going to steal the car as they crept closer to it. I woke up at a point where I was standing half way between Don and the car and I couldn’t decide what to do.

According to the online Dream Dictionary being lost is pretty straight forward: “To dream that you are lost suggests that you have lost your direction in life or that you have lost sight of your goals. You may be feeling worried and insecure about the path you are taking in life.” It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to know that’s spot on. The dictionary didn’t have a listing for the ‘walking dead’ but a ‘zombie’ seems close enough and this is what it said about them: “To dream that you are attacked by zombies indicates that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control. You are under tremendous stress in your waking life. Alternatively, the dream represents your fears of being helpless and overpowered.” I’ve never dreamed about zombies or the walking dead before and I’m not a fan of dark genre fiction. Is there a difference between the two? All I know is when a kid came to the door on Halloween wearing a creepy zombie mask I wanted to dump the whole dish a candy in his bag, lock the door up tight behind him and go find a plush kitten or puppy to hug.

After going to the dream dictionary, I went to a website that hosts widow/widower blogs---something I rarely do anymore---and right on the first page were two 5th anniversary posts. Bingo! That’s what I was hoping to find. One blog author says “sometimes it still sucks” and he was venting about still getting mail addressed to his spouse and says he’s stilling dealing with “the IRS fallout” from the death of his first wife---he remarried in year two. The other 5th anniversary blog writer says she accepts that she still experiences "intense loss and grief from time to time" but, she says, that acceptance gives her the strength to engage in life. And engage she did. She even went swimming with the dolphins but she also saw a grief counselor around her 4th anniversary. Her bottom line message was that engaging in life is a choice.

New topic: Do you believe in signs? I broke my Fitbit on the first day I started my new diet program. The only way I’ve ever been able to get my eating under control after a long, out-of-control period is to document everything that goes in my mouth, aiming to keep my calorie count under 1,000. Doing that on a Fitbit dashboard is wonderfully easy. And I’m addicted to checking out my sleep patterns every morning. Is the broken Fitbit a sign I should just accept myself the way I am---a diet and fitness failure? Is it a sign that I love my gadgets too much? After all, I still have paper and pens in the house that I could use to track my eating, but who’s going to count my steps and the calories they burned? All I know for sure is I’d better buy a new Fitbit before the inauguration because our new president is sure to start a trade war with China. Boy, don’t I sound like my mother! “Remove the zipper before you put that dress in the rag bag. If another war comes along we won’t be able to buy them.” Light bulb moment here: It’s the incoming administration that brought the zombies into my dream, it wasn't a dream solely triggered by my 5th sadiversary! Why does our subconscious mind manufacture dreams like that but it won’t allow us to go back to sleep to see how they end? Did I catch up with Don or go back to the zombies? I guess the fact that I woke up at all is the answer. LOL ©

25 comments:

  1. What a dream that was. I had a crazy one on Thursday night. I don't believe I've ever had a zombie dream. It sounds to me like a dream about being conflicted about the past and the present or future. I can see why you would conjure such a dream around the time of your sadiversary. Not knowing whether to go or stay reminds me of that Jimmy Durante song:
    “Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
    But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay,
    You knew it was right, wasn't wrong.
    Still you knew you wouldn't be very long.
    Go or stay, stay or go,
    Start to go again and change your mind again.
    It's hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
    But still have the feeling that you wanted to stay.
    Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si, do.
    I'll go.
    I'll stay.”


    I don't understand people who pass on their opinions about how soon someone should get over the loss of a spouse/mate or child. I don't know how anyone can put a timeline on something like that.


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    1. Oh my gosh! Funny that you should mention Jimmy Durante in the same post as talking about conflict between the past, present and future---which is probably spot on as well as my theory. I can't think of Jimmy Durante without remembering my dad. He was a huge fan of Jimmy and I knew all the words to his songs when I was very young.

      My theory is that some people have very shallow marriages or outright don't like their spouse so they think everyone should be able to move on as soon as the dying paperwork is done.

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    2. I agree with your theory and will add some people are just shallow no matter who they marry or for how long. 3+ years for me and there will always be that hole. I try to fill it with busy busy with people. It helps but ....
      I rarely remember dreams and in a way I'm glad..

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    3. I used to keep a dream diary and did the thing where you keep a pen and paper by the bed so you could jot down any details when you first wake up, that transfers the dream from you unconscious to your conscious. The more you do that, the more you get so you can remember and I got good at it. THEN when my dad got older he got so he couldn't tell his dreams from reality and I decided it's not such a good thing to remember dreams. Now I only document a few here and there in my blog.

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  2. I don't think I'll ever get over my husband's death, regardless of the years, full stop.

    I seldom remember dreams.

    I lost faith in the step counter when I determined that steps shuffling around the mall = walking briskly, both counted as same number of steps. Now I simply keep an eye on time spent walking.

    I make it a point not to watch scary movies, particularly alone at night. Never understood why people can pay money to be made scared. Although I do understand and agree with extending oneself by say, bungee jumping, parachuting, etc. A few years ago, did go-karting on mountain side, although I was scared stiff. It was good for self-morale.

    I was amused at reading about remove zipper from dress prior to discarding. I do the same. Also with expensive pretty buttons. I've now reached the stage that I'll probably *never* use the zips/buttons, but old habits hard to break. It's what's decluttering difficult, the guilt in throwing away stuff that could be useful. ~Libby

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    1. Those of us with parents who lived through WWII and the Great Depression really had it instilled in our brains to "waste not." My husband was worse than me and it's one of the reasons why he learned how to fix just about any machine ever invented.

      A go cart down a mountain side? You are braver than me but I get what you are saying about it being good for your morale. If I had the Air Force to help me like George Bush, I'd try parachuting. LOL

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    2. P.S. You nailed the problem of decluttering for so many in our generation.

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  3. Isn't that interesting?
    My first husband died the week after my 2nd had prostate cancer surgery.
    Jan. 29th!
    I've been having family dreams, from when our 3 kids were small.
    My 2nd hubby still has cancer and we're in the wait and see phase.
    I try to avoid sadiversaries. I try to just put it out of my mind. My mom died on Mother's Day. That's a bitch!
    I work really hard at that, pushing away the last memories, and dredging up the best on the anniversary of their birthdays! It's hard work, expecially when the dreams bring you back to reality!

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    1. I get the Mother's Day comment. My dad died five minutes into Christmas and my mom died on Easter.

      Whatever works for each of us regarding sadiversaries is good. I usually take what I call my "widowhood temperature" on my sadiversaries and probably that's because my blog has "widowhood" in the title and a good share of those who find my blog are widows. I enjoy the good memories I dredge up, very few bad ones anymore.

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  4. P.S. I was sick most of December and didn't leave the house except for a haircut!!!

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    1. Not a fun month to be sick! I'll bet that haircut felt good.

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  5. What does it mean when a person rarely remembers a dream? Once a month at the most? I'm a skeptic when it comes to interpreting dreams. Or maybe I just don't want to know? I'm such a Pollyanna that I would interpret only happy endings anyway!!

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    1. Read what I wrote up above to Mary about the dream diary and how you can work at remembering more and more of dreams, if you want. Everyone dreams, most people only remember them for a few seconds and they are gone. I'm fascinated by how the dream dictionaries seem to be more on point than not, though I suspect it's like writing horoscopes. I don't think I've ever had a dream with an ending. It doesn't work that way. LOL

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  6. Sorry that this will always be a sad month for you. :: hugs ::

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    1. Thanks! I'll take all the cyber hugs I can get.

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  7. I remember year 5. Grief graduation - according to some... So to the busybodies, Yes! Mind your Ps and Qs.

    What a dream you had. How about this ending: You turn around and !young! !handsome! Don is in the car, and as you join him, the years and pounds erase from your figure, and the zombies turn into trees.

    (Do get a Fitbit before the inauguration.)

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    1. You know what is funny, in all my dreams we're always young and in are prime. Zombies that turn into tree. "Thanks for putting that notion in my head. Now I'll be afraid to walk in the woods. LOL

      I will get the Fitbit soon. I feel naked without my old one.

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  8. I haven't had a weird dream in a very long time--thank goodness. Mine are always about some man trying to attack me and I wake up yelling and kicking and scaring the cats. In the dream, I think I am yelling, but if I wake up right at that point, it sounds like I am growling in slow motion--a deep, gutteral sound of "GEEEEEEEEEEETTTT AHHHHHHHHWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY". Weird.
    I've often thought to get a Fitbit, not for counting my steps, but to wear at night to see my heart rate and how I've slept and all that stuff.

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    1. I'm glad my reoccurring dream isn't as disturbing as yours! Not a good way for you to wake up.

      When I wake up to go the bathroom, I often check my heart rate. There are cheaper gadgets out there that will do that and monitor sleep, if that's all you want it for. My next post is about my new one and all it does.

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  9. My younger brother died 1/22/16 from a long and horrific slide from cancer. This 1st year anniversary is already taking a toll on my sis-in-law and his adult children. They live 3000 miles from me and I don't know what to say or do to support them. Ideas? I don't think one ever "gets over" a death of someone close to them -- and a soulmate even less so. Thinking of you at Year 5 with hugs.

    I frequently have dreams of being lost on public transportation. I get off at stops that look like the landscape you describe -- rather bleak and industrial. No zombies though. :)

    What part broke on your Fitbit? Mine broke last week too! Just that plastic part that surrounds the charging port, so I glued it back on. I did contact the company and they said my Warranty had expired but offered me a 25% discount on a new one. Contact them....you might get a discount too! (I did it via email through the website; they were super responsive and we had a nice exchange.)

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    1. I'm sorry for your loss. I haven't lost a sibling yet but I'm sure that's tough, too. I can only tell you want helps me on sadiversaries... contract from people. A call or card, a chance to talk about Don. So many times in the first few years, especially, the anniversaries feels like an elephant in the room and it's just comforting to know that a widow in not alone in missing/remembering. being able to talk about Don, helps. I have three people who loved him and who will touch bases with me mid January and it does help.

      That's exactly the part that broke for me! I knew the warranty expired so I didn't try to contact the company. I did try to glue it back but it didn't stay on for long, then I tried charging it without that part on and I think I shorted it out. I was bummed out but now that I have a new one with such fun changes I'm glad it broke so I had to upgrade. I just ordered a screen protector for the new one, so I'll never have to look at scratches again. They come six to a package. The way the new one charges, I don't see it breaking like the old one.

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    2. Thanks for the help in knowing how best to support my sis-in-law. I have been in touch with her a lot lately.

      I am tempted to get a new one. I haven't worn mine since I glued the part back on. If it breaks again, I'll take them up on their 25% off offer....maybe I will anyway since you say it's better. They told me the value customer feedback to constantly upgrade their product. So maybe this happened enough that they fixed it on the new versions.

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    3. You know what, I think I will email them...not for the 25% off which won't do me any good since I already bought a new one but just because they should know what happened. The new version has an entirely different charging port that doesn't put pressure on the plastic so I think they already knew it was a weak point.

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  10. I don't have a fitness monitor, but I've had some luck tracking food and exercise calories with MyFitnessPal. I use the online version, but there's also a phone app.

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    1. I have used MyFitnessPal and the Fitbit website logs are very much like that only it sends the information from the Fitbit to your dashboard and it reconfigures the calories you can eat through out the day based on the exercise you've done. And, as mentioned above it tracks your sleep, heartbeat and lots of training stuff I don't use.

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