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, April 29, 2017

If You Could Ask Me Anything…Truth or Dare



I’ve written about my life in such trivial detail that I can’t imagine anyone who has been following this blog would want to know something I haven’t already covered. But I’ll play the game. Lurkers, newbies or long-time readers---it doesn’t matter---hit me with your best shot. (How-to instructions will be at the end.) I will answer anything except questions about bodily functions or questions with answers that could help someone steal my identity. Consider this the blogger’s version of Truth or Dare. 

Have you ever looked at Truth or Dare questions online? Most of them are so raunchy and intrusive I can’t believe people actually ask them at parties, much less in mixed company which apparently is a “thing.” I did find a site---Conversation Starters World---that had a list of “clean Truth or Dare questions” and they’re pretty tame compared to others I’ve seen. Here’s a sample:

- What are you most self-conscious about? (Spelling in public.)
- What would you do if you were the opposite sex for a month? (Cancel my lady-parts appointment.)
- What is the most expensive thing you have stolen? (A dime mother-of-pearl cross when I was a kid.)
- What is the most childish thing you still do? (Get excited over eating ice cream.)
- Have you ever let someone take the blame for something you did? (No.)
- What do most of your friends think about you that is totally untrue? (I have no clue what goes on inside other people's heads.)
- Have you ever cheated or been cheated on? (No and I don’t think so.)

To be honest if I had a teenager who came home and said he/she played Truth or Dare at a party, I’d be alarmed. Back in my day when we played Spin the Bottle the worst that could happen is we’d get kissed. I have memories of an awkward two minutes spent in a dark closet with a boy who was supposed to kiss me but didn’t. Today, Truth or Dare might involve a dare simulating giving a blow job using a cucumber and a question might be, “Do you like it better doggie style or missionary style?” And trust me, don’t google Naked Truth or Dare and I don’t mean Madonna’s line of perfume which might be a nice fragrance with its “warm spicy, floral and woody accords” as its website says, but I would never, ever wear something with Naked Madonna on the label. My favorite perfume, Amazing Grace by Philosophy, has a classy name and I’d probably buy it just for that even if it smelled like Vicks’ VapoRub. I love Joy, too, but I can’t afford to wear it the land of pension checks and Social Security. It’s $600 an ounce for the real deal these days! Back in the ‘80s my husband bought me a bottle for Valentine’s Day and I used it so sparely that I have a half a bottle that went bad. I still have it and its box, a souvenir now more than a usable scent. 
 
Truth or Dare is not an invention of our times. A variation of it called “Questions and Commands” has been documented as far back as 1712, and that game is thought to have evolved from games played by an ancient Greek king who commanded his comrades to perform for his amusement. The beat goes on, as they say. At the senior hall Gatherings (for people looking for friends) we always play Truth or Dare without the dares attached. The facilitator passes out questions that we each have to answer and they often lead to delightful or touching stories. Asking questions is the secret to being a good conversationalist. I learned by watching my husband over the years that talking with strangers is easy if you’re not afraid to ask questions. He had good instincts for knowing the right ones to ask and that came from being a well-read, intelligent person who was truly interested in people. Me, I still struggle with timing. I think of the right questions, the right follow-up comments two hours or two days too late.

Anyway, if you could ask me anything, what would it be? Play Bloggers Truth or Dare with me. Post a dare with your question if you wish (or not) in case you ask something I’d be too embarrassed to answer. That could be fun, too, if I have to follow through on a dare and report back on it later on. If you can't think of a question or you're a lurker, I dare you to just make your presence known by sharing the name of the state or country you live in. ©


How to post: Look below for the box that says, 'enter your comment...' If you don't see one, left click on the word ‘comments.’ Next put your question in the box where it says ‘enter your comments…’ . You may or may not be asked for an email address which will not be made public nor will I have access to it. Then click on ‘publish.’ Next, you'll see a message that reads, “Your comment will be visible after approval” which means it will appear when I come along and deem the comment is not spam advertising.

37 comments:

  1. Well, for heaven's sake. I've never played Truth or Dare, and had no idea it was a thing. In fact, I'm not sure I even knew what it was. Here's my Truth or Dare question for myself: "How in the world could I hit seventy without knowing about this -- either in real life or online?" The answer, of course, is, "I don't know."

    Maybe my upbringing left me unable to play the game! After all, we were raised never to ask impertinent or overly personal questions of someone we didn't know. In fact, there was some belief that you didn't even ask family members some questions. I'm glad I got over that before my mom died, or I would have missed out on a good bit of history: likewise, with my dad.

    There's a question: have you ever failed to ask a question of someone in your genealogical research because you felt it was in appropriate?

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    1. Good question. When I started my first genealogy project---I did three---my mom had just died and I was building on what my mom had started years before. Her's was basic family tree facts from courthouses and it wasn't well organized. I was upset that the oral history of her family got lost with her and I didn't want that to happen to my dad or the current generation. So I set out to marry what she did with oral history stories and print it in a form that might get saved. I devised a questionnaire that I gave to everyone in the family including the kids. It never occurred to me that anyone could think the questions were inappropriate. I just wanted a book that told future generations what their ancestors thought about. I asked questions like: What advice would you like to pass on to others? What to you consider to be your spouse's special talents or abilities? What is special about you? What's your most vivid memories from childhood? What's your all-time favorite book or movie? Is there a bit of information or story about your elders that you'd like preserved in the family history? What was your first job? Looking back, who has been most influential in forming your way of life? Do you have a favorite saying? Those are the kinds of questions I asked and all but one person filled out the questionnaire and after the book was published and given to everyone that one person told me he regretted not contributing his answers.

      My next two genealogy books were fact driven from records, newspapers and history book and went so far back there wasn't anyone to ask questions of. I pretty much asked questions I was interested in knowing about people and that didn't include scandals or 'dirt' so to answer your question more directly, no I never failed or feared asking something inappropriate.

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  2. I don't like truth or dare, mainly because it feels invasive. So much stuff is Nunya or TMI anymore. There are so many outlandish questions people think they have the right to ask, just because they are playing a game.

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    1. I've got to tell you that I was shocked at some of the questions I found in Truth or Dare lists. But I trust people reading an elderly widow's blog will not ask me those kinds of questions. LOL But when I read other people's blogs, I'd like the opportunity to ask questions once in awhile, so I thought I'd give this game a try and hope others will follow suit. Mostly I want to know what people do or did for a living.

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  3. I never even heard of this!
    My question. Would you want to date or marry (now)?

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  4. I think all widows ask this question of themselves at some point/s and my answer always comes up "absolutely no way" to getting married or living with another man. That has to do with loyalty. My husband worked really hard his whole life and provided a comfortable enough life for me after he died and I can't imagine just letting another man walk into the picture to reap the rewards of his hard work, so to speak.

    As for dating, I honestly can't see that happening but I guess stranger things have happened. I might be doing a disservice to men in our peer age group but I think they are mostly looking for cooks, nursing and housekeepers and I've done my fair share of those things and I don't want to go back.

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    1. Your 2nd paragraph is exactly the way I feel.

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  5. Totally lost it at "Cancel my lady-parts appointment", brilliant and really funny.
    I thought about asking you about dating as that crosses my mind occasionally. But like you, I'm pretty sure guys in my age group are looking for a nurse and a purse.

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    1. Younger widows have more incentive to get remarried and/or to date...less to loss and more to gain in terms of having time for a lot of good years together before the nursemaid era kicks in.

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  6. My english is not what it used to be, that's the reason why I never leave a reply...
    I really like your stories! Sometimes very recognizable.
    Lian, (widow, 63 years old) from the Netherlands.

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    1. Welcome, Lian! I'm so glad you took the time to introduce yourself. I often wonder about the people who come by to read here. Thanks!

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  7. What is the weirdest thing you've eaten?
    What is your favorite movie?
    How many times have you read the same book?
    What was your BEST vacation and why?
    Which internet browser do you use the most?

    I could go on and on and on ...

    Favorite ice cream?

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    1. Great questions.

      The weirdest thing I've ever eaten? I'm not one to try foods on a dare because I have a lot of food allergies, a few that could kill me, others that give me hives. I would say violets and pansies and other flowers that I ate back when I was in the flower industry and cake decorators used them on wedding cakes.

      Favorite movie? Don't make me choose between Seven Years in Tibet, In Pursuit of Honor, A River Runs Through It and Stand by Me.

      Read the same book? I'd say three times. I'm not big on re-reading the same book but I don't like parting with books I really love.

      Best Vacation is a hard one because I liked different ones for different reasons: I'm going with the last one I took with my parents when I was in high school and we went out East. I'm picking that one because it spared a life-long love affair with antiques.

      Internet Browser? Firefox.

      Favorite Ice Cream? Mint and Ben and Jerry's Americone Dream.

      Thanks for playing!

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  8. I suppose you can call me a lurker, for I visit your blog through Judy's blog, and don't leave comments for you. I do find your blog to be interesting though. I'm a 76 year old FARM-HER in Arkansas, and probably have very little in common with most of the other women who leave comments for you. Sorry, but I don't have a question.

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    1. I don't care about not getting a question, I'm just thrilled that a lurker is introducing herself. I recognize you from Judy's blog. Thank you for stopping by!

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  9. Hi Jean, I may not fit into the subjects or situations of your blog or followers but I have enjoyed having you join in the discussions on my blog and appreciate you allowing me to hang out here.

    Truth or dare looks like a fun way to bring folks who otherwise won't comment right into the conversation, well done Jean.

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    1. I hope it works out that way, Jimmy. I love getting comments from newcomers and lurkers as well as the 'regulars.'

      Our two blogs might seem different on the surface but they're really not that far apart. Our lives and the topics we write about might be different but our values and sense of humor seem very much the same. I've enjoyed getting to know you, your wife and family through your blog.

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  10. Hi, I'm Robin and I live in Utah. I lurk here all the time. Sounds creepy, doesn't it...but really it's because I enjoy your blog. I admire how you push yourself to keep investing in life; whether it's joining the Gathering or exercising or signing up for outings. I also like the way you write and think, you're a hoot!

    I could only think of one question, but I think it is probably too intrusive or you may have covered it in your early posts (all of which I haven't read) so I won't play. I did think it was a great idea and post, though!

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    1. I was right in the middle of replying to your comment last night when our power went out so I took a sleeping pill and went to bed. What I wanted to say is to not feel creepy about being a lurker on blogs. I'm one myself at a few places. Anyway, thank you so much for introducing yourself and for the compliments. You should have asked your question. If I didn't want to reply I would have found a humorous way to avoid it. Maybe by asking you one about the Walking Dead. LOL

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  11. I love your blog and feel as a fellow widow a connection to those types of feelings. Your previous answer about marriage and dating mirrors mine. I tend to think of deep questions, which may not be what you are seeking here. Easy question is what are a couple of choices you made in life that you regret? And more "deep" is do you fear death and if so, why? Hint...I'm not religious.

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    1. I'm up for both kinds of questions.

      Choices that I've regretted afterward? One would be a time when we were on vacation and in Texas. Some how my outgoing husband got us invited to go to a party for Ann Richardson that was going on near-by. At the time, I had no idea who she was or how important she would become in the Democratic party. My husband couldn't talk me into what I thought would be crashing a private party but really wasn't. She won the seat she ran for that night and it turned into a victory rally. Most of my regrets come from what I didn't do or say rather than from anything I did do or say.

      Do I fear death? That might be a good question to spend an entire blog post on but the short answer is "yes." I'm not religious either, so I'm not worried about going to hell or meet-ups in heaven. I just don't want to be scared or along at the end or in a lot of pain. And I really, really don't want to die in a car accident. I used to know an ambulance driver who'd describe dead people at accidents in such a disrespectful way and that's where that fear comes from. I also want all my ducks in a row with I die and I struggle with wanting to do that and balancing it with actually still living my life. Downsizing for example, reminds me that I can't live forever but I don't want to live in a Monk's shoe-box waiting and playing games inside my head. I'll stop here in case I decide to expand this topic to a blog post some day.

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  12. I don't often post but I read every one of your posts and look forward to them. My question: if you could change anything about your present life ( bringing your husband back doesn't count) what would it be? Looking forward to your answer.
    Denise in NC

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    1. That’s really a tough one to nail down to changing just one thing. I write about wanting to make a good friend/s so often that I sound like a broken record but that is still something I long for. I see great promise on the horizon in that department and I’ll probably write a blog about it next week and define what I mean by a good friend and the plan for the summer to build friendship. Another thing I’d like to change is my relationship with food and exercise, but that’s been a life-long challenge and probably doesn’t count as an answer to this question. I guess I could say the one thing I would like to change is to be at peace with with life, shake the feelings that creeps in from time to time that I'm either just bidding time until I die or trying to get everything done I want to do before that happens.

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  13. I am amused by your post and the commenters because there is a definite connection between this post and the last one where you wrote of conversation starters. In a sense, this game seems to be a conversation stopper in a similar sense to those general questions that were mentioned last week: how was school today, what have you been doing all week/month, what question do you want to ask me!! I, along with many other people, really like to read your blog because you are a really good, entertaining and enriching writer. But do I have any general questions for you?? Yikes...which way should my head turn....it's spinning in the same way you mentioned the other day when someone asks what have you been doing all month. I think that blog commenters are inevitably asking and answering questions by commenting and getting into conversations with you. They are not necessarily structured as questions but they open the conversation and the dialog that ensues engages both parties.
    So...what made you ask that question...or play that game??!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Simple answer, I was bored with writing about my usual topics and I hoped some questions would give me some topics for future blog posts and challenge me to write about something other than "I went here and did that" stuff.

      The not-so-simple answer is that every so often I get really, REALLY, REALLY curious about lurkers and I hoped this game would bring a few of them out of the "darkness." For example, this post since it went live yesterday has had 243 unique views, but even begging for comments it only got me ten. I appreciate them all---more than you know---but I'm still curious about the other 233 people. All bloggers wonder about this same thing, it's just the nature of the hobby to want to know who is 'out there' reading.

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  14. Thank you so much Jean for answering my question. Like most of your blogs you hit it on the nail with my feelings re: changing one thing. I too yearn for good friendships. Some people who would enjoy going to a movie, restaurants, book club etc...it would be so nice. My relationship with food and exercise must change due to a recent abnormal EKG and an exercise stress test facing me this coming week. I often wonder if this is all that's left for me biding my time till I die. Certainly not I tell myself but it does seem that way as much as I fight it. It's so hard to make friends. But I guess if I don't put myself out there no further than the grocery store, Target etc... I'll never meet people. I learn so much from you keep it coming!
    Denise in NC

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    1. Best of luck with your stress test coming up. Let's hope whatever they find is minor and just requires a life-style change that you can accomplish with a little hard work.

      Putting yourself out there is hard at any age and especially hard in retirement years. But I'm learning.

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  15. I love to read your blog. I am not a widow, I have been married 47 years this August.
    I think I found your blog from Onward and Upward or from The Awkward Widow. I think I found those from muffin 53 who I know from cruising with her. I don't often leave comments but felt I should this time.

    My question is - what is your favorite season?

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    1. Isn't it interesting how bloggers and readers find each other and are all connected. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Fall is my least favorite season because from childhood on it's always represented a lot of work---tons of oak leaves to rack and burn, wooden storm windows to put up and wash. After I met my husband we did all those things at four houses, helping our parents. Plus moving all his snow plow equipment out of storage and writing up contracts always came with fall.

      I used to like winter more when I was younger than I do now because of the isolation it brings. Summer is a great season of opportunities for fun and interactions with people but I'm going to say spring is my favorite season at the age I am now. I love seeing Mother Nature coming back to life.

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  16. Hi Jean,

    Last September I found your blog about the time of my 2 year marker as a widow. After 44 years of marriage, the last 8 of which I was my husband's sole caregiver, I relate to many of your topics. I enjoy your writing and candor, and I look forward to your blog each Wednesday and Saturday.

    I, too, really miss the close friendships of younger years, but I doubt they will ever come again. At age 73, I have been back in my Indiana hometown for several years after living away for 35 years. Without siblings or children, it is nice to be with people who have known me a long time, but the conservative mindset prevalent here is disheartening. It is unlikely that I will move though, mostly because I don't know where I would go. I spend a lot of time going through things trying to downsize belongings just to get down to those things that really have meaning for me now. (As an only child, I have been the keeper of my parents' and grandparents' treasured belongings and now those of my husband.)

    Thanks so much for your blog. I appreciate that you take the time to share your experiences and thoughts. You have helped soften the confusion that comes with being a widow, especially one who has been long-married and a caregiver.
    Ann

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey to get to where you're at in life. You are so much braver than I am, having moved to another state to Indiana. I break out in cold sweat just thinking about the pros and cons of moving to the other end of my city. That being with people who've known you a long time is what I miss the most about losing my husband and what makes it even sweeter when I see my family. Maybe you could find a grassroots liberal political group down there to volunteer at to balance out the conservative mindset.

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  17. Don't you just love Awkward Widow. Look at all those questions!

    You don't have to answer and there is no dare attached to my question. It's kind of personal. If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
    Fun post!

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    1. Yes, she knows how to play games.

      What I would change, if I could involves my mom. Before she died she was going to her country doctor every week for weeks and weeks for pain and he told my brother she was just getting old and complaining for attention which wasn't like my mother at all. She died of something totally preventable if the doctor had taken her seriously. Another doctor afterward told me that what she died from was the most painful way to go. She bled to death internally, slowly over the weeks her blood was leaving her veins and filling up her body cavity. If I could change anything, I would have insisted on changing doctors early on. Then the ambulance caught on fire on the way to the hospital and they only had ten minutes to work on her. They said if they had had more time then could have saved her. Her death was the hardest thing in my life to make peace with and what I'd change if I could go back.

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  18. How awful it is when something senseless and needless takes a loved one from us. It has to be one of the most difficult things to accept, to move on from. If we could only go back with the knowledge we have today. My biggest regret involves my mother, too. I didn't see how sick my mother was during the year leading up to her death. Whenever people talk about denial, I think about that time in my life. Years later, I looked at the photos of her through that year and was shocked that I didn't see how bad it was. I was young (23), but still... an adult. As a result, I wasn't as attentive to her as I would have been if I'd realized, if I'd been more mature - like I did with Dad. I still wish I'd understood and acted accordingly. Both of our regrets are about our mothers.

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    1. I thinking at 23 we're all still young enough to think our parents would always be there. I'll bet underneath it all your mom was glad you were in denial and could live your young life the way a young life is meant to be lived.

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  19. I'm a newbie here, just popped in via Jim's Opinion, where I'm also relatively new.
    My question for you is-do you read the blogs of all your followers and how do you keep up with them all and still get anything else done during the day? I'm a slow reader and can barely keep up with reading and commenting on the few followers I have.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm new to Jim's Opinions, too.

      I read all the blogs in my "Blogs I Follow" list in the right hand column plus I make it a point to read a few new ones every so often. I don't really know who all follows my blog---some follow by e-mail, some by Bloggers and some from blog catalogs and I'm not privy to who they all are unless they make their presence known here. If someone comments and there is a link back to their blog via clicking on their name, then I will check them out. That's how I found Jimmy's blog. The first hour of my day is devoted to blog reading along with coffee.

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