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, January 18, 2017

The Police Officer’s Widow



A cousin of my husband’s died, a super nice guy who’d been with the police department for thirty-two years. He was eighty-two. At the time of his retirement he was running the pistol range and teaching newbie cops how to shoot. The funeral service was in a church and I’ve never seen so many awards and recognition plaques in my life. They were everywhere---on the altar, a side table and every window ledge. He was a true, community service kind of guy who loved working with young people. When one of his daughters got up to read a list of qualities she admired about her dad I thought, wow, I could have written the exact, same list about my dad! Never raised his voice, wise, taught ethics by example, loyal, patient, could fix anything---right down to them both having a sweet tooth. When his grandson described how his grandpa taught him how to fish and row a boat it was exactly what one of my nieces said at my dad’s memorial. No wonder I always liked this guy!

His widow greeted everyone coming in and when I said I was sorry to hear about his passing, she replied, “Don’t be! He lived a full and happy life.” She was so ‘together’ I was actually shocked. They’d been together fifty-nine years and had a best-friends-and-soulmates kind of marriage that was obvious to anyone in their presence. I was also shocked to learn that they were founding members of their church and very active in it. It was one of those churches that believes if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior, there’s no way in hell you’re getting into heaven but in all the years I’ve known this couple they kept their faith close to their vests. You have to admire people who live their faith but don’t try to push it on others. I couldn’t say the same for their minister---duh, that’s his job to push and preach---who’s theme for the day was “only Jesus can complete you.” I didn’t enjoy that part of the service and I wish he had explained why it ended with five gunshots and an equal number of bells ringing out. There were uniformed police officers there, so I do get the gun salute part, just not the significance of the bells or the number five.

At the luncheon that followed I sat at a table with five rabid Trump supporters---nephews and nieces of Don’s---who’d been posting anti-Hillary, pro-Trump stuff on Facebook throughout the primary and general elections. Even the morning of the funeral one of gals posted a meme about how Trump was going to "heal our nation and bring us all together" and I cynically thought, what kind of a fairy tale do you live in? Wouldn’t you know it, she wanted me to sit next to her at the luncheon. It helps, sometimes, to be an old person wearing hearing aids because you can get away with ignoring directions you don’t want to follow. No one brought up politics, thank goodness, although there is one person in the Gang of Five who is notorious for doing so at family gatherings…while his wife kicks him under the table. I must be a bad person because I can’t wait until these people figure out that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are one and the same. Several of them were able to get insurance for the first time in years through the ACA resulting in them getting some much need medical care and surgeries. Ya, I know someone reading this is thinking that the Republicans will pass a replacement bill that will be better and I’m thinking that I get to use the words “fairy tale” twice in the same paragraph. 

Back to the police officer’s widow: She asked me what I do to keep busy and I told her about being embedded in the activities of our senior hall---she lives nearby---and she said she’ll call me later to talk about her getting involved because she wants to stay busy. If she doesn’t call by the time the April/May newsletter comes out, I’ve already penciled a note in my day planner to drop over to her house with a copy. ©

24 comments:

  1. Funerals - not my favorite thing.
    Isn't it great that people can't hear our thoughts?

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    1. I would be is SO much trouble if people could hear my thoughts. LOL

      My husband works at a funeral home for several years and there was no way on earth he would ever miss going to a funeral. For me, the good parts outweigh the uncomfortable parts.

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  2. I greatly admire my Dad too - he believed in principles and stood up for them, against great odds.

    I liked the sound and attitude of the widow, and that the couple didn't ram down their religious beliefs down others' throats.

    'Rabid' Trump supporters describes them correctly. I've been reading of people who've just found out that ACA = Obamacare. I have no sympathy for them! EVERYONE warned against Trump - editorials around the country, etc etc. If you choose to be ignorant, so be it. And after watching Trump's antics, and his tweets to date, if you STILL believe in Trump - well.... what can I say!? I cringe when I read Trump's tweets - that one endorsing LLBean, from a Prez-elect!!! - and I'm not American. I understand that politics is partisan/tribal....but how can such disrespect for the office of the President not bug people, be they D or R?! I'm guessing its the same blindness/deafness that will not convict a police officer, clearly videotaped shooting an unarmed black person in the back.

    Good on you for keeping an eye out for her, to remind her if required about the senior hall. With friends like you, who could ask for more. ~ Libby

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    1. I hope he learns not to try to pick winners and losers like he did with L.L.Bean and Starbucks. Presidents effect the stock market and must be more careful with their words. Instead of stopping with the tweets, he's going to have two accounts...the official one from the White House and his current one.

      I can honestly say that you understand and follow our politics better than many Americans do. What gets me about the Trump supports who I know really well is that not one of them would allow their kids or grandkids to talk the way he does---not the bullying, not the disrespect, not the lying, etc.

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  3. "...figure out that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are one and the same." LOL

    Thanksgiving was the last time most of my relatives were together in one place. We did not discuss politics. I was glad. What a tense year it's been for our country. It's put everyone on edge.

    I'm sorry for your loss. The police officer's widow chose the perfect one to ease her into some activities. You are a whirlwind.

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    1. SHE is a upbeat and positive whirlwind, always has been so I'd be the lucky one if get to show her the robes.

      Can you believe how many people don't know that Obamacare and the ACA are one and the same? Blows my mind. I saw an interview of a coal miner's widow who had just found out the $600 a month pension she was getting was because of the ACA. The ACA has a lots of little fingers like getting every doctor and hospital to use the exact, same forms which streamlines payments, cuts down on mistakes in treatments and is posed to start saving the system lots of money as it is fully implemented.

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  4. You do a good thing for this widow. I'm 7 months into a new town in a conservative part of the state and also quite religious. I have to keep my thoughts to myself often and the thing is, I really like these people and just can't wrap my head around their pro Trump stance even when they see proof to the contrary. It's like they've made a commitment ' till death do us part'.

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    1. It's hard for me, too, to wrap my head about the fact that nothing Trump does seems to shake his base of supporters. I, too, like many of these people and in some cases I think their continued support is because they only pay attention to a narrow band of media and they aren't seeing the complete picture of Trump thus they believe his outright lies and misrepresentations for facts.

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  5. I have attended a few funerals that turned into revivals because the minister was more intent on saving present souls than speaking of the attributes of the person who has passed on. It depends on the denomination of the church, I guess. We Methodists have a lot of singing at our funerals and the entire service is all about the deceased--then we always have red Jello with bananas or pineapple in it, for the luncheon. :-) We also don't talk politics from the pulpit or funerals or weddings or even family gatherings.

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    1. We are more conservative on this side of the state, we have orange Jello with pineapple and bananas. LOL On my side of the family we never talk politics but on my husband's (and there are a couple of Trump supporters) but on my husband's side the guy frequently brings up something controversial because he loved to argue. This funeral included two songs and two men of God, one I couldn't understand a single word he said---poor voice quality.

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  6. 'Those folks who think this nut job is their savior is the exact people who he will hurt the most. Sometimes ignorance is bliss isn't it?

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    1. It is those them but I'm not sure I'll survive their ignorance. LOL

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  7. hmm. There ARE certain privileges to wearing a hearing aid. You get to live two lives - the sweet, old person and the incisive journalist. Wonder what these people would make of your funeral - where your blog really should come to light. I'd love to be a fly on that wall. Some people feel entitled to rock everyone's boat 'for their own good'. I know you're the model of discretion, but it would be cool to leave a little Jean truisms in your wake.

    You may not appreciate my bringing up a post Jean era....it will be a long way off. lol

    So nice of you to make a note to check in on this widow in a few months, when it all starts sinking in. I am so glad for her that she has this 'home away from home' - the church, where she will feel secure.

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    1. I wrote my own 22 page booklet/obituary (as a joke) so I can take you bring up the post Jean era. LOL

      This widow has so many kids, grandkids and church friends I doubt she'll get lonely but seeking out widows, I think, helps some people.

      I've got something to say about rocking boats and blogging---just happened today---but I think I'll save it for a blog entry next week. Got to let it sink in.

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  8. You have a very good attitude about that funeral. Before attending that kind of funeral I have to give myself a severe 'talking to.' I have to remind myself this funeral is for ''tis family and if it's meaningful to them then so be it. Still when the minister begins a fire and brimstone message I get madder by the moment. I try to consider the source in times like that but it's not easy. Perhaps you have found the friend you've been looking for in this lady.

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    1. Funerals are for the comfort of the families but every time I go to one I find it fascinating that so many people can believe the things that believe regarding religion. I really do try to understand...what am I missing? I, too, have gotten mad at a few. Years ago I went to a funeral that was SO fire and brimstone that several people walked out in the middle of it. I wasn't one of them but I was upset for quite a while afterward. The guy who died was the sweetest man in the world, always helping anyone who needed it but the preacher condemned him to hell for not going to church.

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  9. I'm grateful Mr. Ralph refused a funeral/wake/celebration of life. I was a blubbery mess. So glad new Widow is so upbeat and busy. And glad you got to go!

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    1. For many people planning a funeral/wake/celebration can be a good start to the healing process. It was that way for me to do that one last thing for my husband. Funerals important to him. Your husband probably knew you well and chose was was right for you both.

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  10. Sounds like a great guy. I'm glad that they loved their religion but try to push it on others. I dislike those people that knock on my doors and try to show me that their religion is greater then my especially when they come to the door with a small child trying to tell me how important that their religion so great. I feel so bad for that child.
    Oh well, that's life. I've started to begin packing for my cruise. Crazy isn't it but I love every aspect of preparation of my cruise. My wife thinks I nuts but heck, she married me didn't she and we've been married for 42 years. I must have been good for something. Ha,ha,ha.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday Jean. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. We get the Jehovah Witnesses here too. If you take one of their papers, you'll get them on your door monthly for years. One old guy carrying an oxygen canister around was working my neighborhood. Hard to be rude to people that committed.

      Hey, you get double the value out of your cruises when you enjoy the weeks of planning and packing ahead of time.

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  11. We are going to London tomorrow to be a part of one of the world wide "sister" women's marches on the day after the inauguration.
    It is simply hard to believe people who don't realise enough about where their money or healthcare comes from. Your other commenter is right...I guess ignorance can be bliss.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. That makes three people I know who are gong to march this weekend---one in D.C., Seattle and now London. I am proud of you all.

      Ignorance frees up a lot of time because those who practice it don't have to study both sides of issues, watch hearings and learn. They just believe what one source wants them to believe. Be safe and know you represent others who can't be there!

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  12. Remembering the funeral is for family is the most anyone can do when confronted with those kinds of ministers sermons which I suppose is acceptable for deceased's family. Religion means different things to different people I guess. I'm always a little leery of those who feel compelled to advertise theirs and don't appreciate having them promoting it to me.

    I wish DTs supporters would be the only ones affected by his actions, but we all must suffer the consequences, too. Impt to prevent his becoming the authoritarian, even dictator, he aspires to being, that and his desire to build his personal/family business empire. There's likely much more at stake with Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and others behind the scenes.

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    1. I had my husband's service at the funeral home and I took the non-denominational minister they recommended. He was perfect for us. At my direction he used the Lone Ranger quotes instead of the Bible.

      On DT, you are right! No more sitting on the sidelines. When we see something we don't like, we have to let our senates and representatives know.

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