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, December 13, 2017

Christmas Letters from the Edge



I’ve been sending self-depreciating attempts at humor otherwise known as my Christmas letters out for so long that it’s hard to stop even though this year I planned on doing just that. Then I ran into several people at a party who mentioned how much they look forward to my letters so I went home and whipped one up for 2017. If you’ve been reading my blog this past year you might recognize themes in the letter below but people on my mailing list don’t know about my online life so they won’t spot the copy and paste sections……. 

Dear Friends and Family, 

I wasn’t going to write a Christmas letter this year but I’ve been in a holiday mood and it’s hard to resist bragging about---I mean sharing all the good things that happened in my life these past twelve months.

Let’s start with January when I spent the entire month obsessing about why two large box stores and some smaller ones in town don’t carry light bulbs that fit inside my refrigerator. Granted mine is fourteen years old but it felt like a vast conspiracy was under way to sell me a new energy efficient appliance by phasing out the bulbs with a compatible base. I finally found what I needed online, ordered two and life was good again. 

February I bought a work-out shirt that has printed on the front: Everything Hurts and I’m Going to Die! But I never got a chance to wear it to the ‘Move it, to Lose it’ class that I signed up for at the YMCA. I flunked the assessment test to determine if I was strong enough to join the group. 

In March I was a very bad girl who spent too much time in bed with Ben and Jerry and other comfort foods. 

April: Can you believe it, I was having trouble opening bags, jars, bottles and tuna cans! I can’t tell you how many times I’d thought about running food containers over to a neighbor’s house while yelling, “Help me! Help me!” Instead, I bought some handy devices for old people and now you can be assured that I won’t starve to death while trying to get into hermetically sealed bags, olive jars and pull-tab cans.

May was spent worrying about lumpy finger joints, eyelids that need lifting for better vision, moles that grow in strange places, nipples that point toward the floor, my fatty-fatty-two-by-four body, cataracts and conversations that go on inside my head when I have too much time on my hands. 

June, July and August I did some serious trolling for friends down at the senior hall and all those seeds I sowed are starting to grow. Don was my best friend for forty-two years but the blooms of yesterday sadly fade away and it was time to find some gal pals.

September? Who remembers September? If you saw me then, let me know what I was doing.

October I went to a thrift shop with my new gal pals where several of us put our purses in one shopping cart and it was like keeping track of the president’s nuclear codes football. “You’re in charge of the cart now.” “I’m taking charge of the cart.” “Where’s the cart?” “I thought you had the cart.” “I thought you did!” I was probably doing most of the worrying because in all the years of asking Don to “keep an eye on my purse” I never could trust him not to wander off.

I spent the entire month of November living in 1967. Not to worry, I wasn’t having a “senior event.” I was re-reading letters I got from Vietnam and copies of letters I had sent to the fifty penpals I had back then. I started my trip down Memory Lane after going to a lecture given by a guy from The Center for American War Letters and he said in the Q &A that they’d welcome my collection. Before sending them off, I wanted to re-read them and I hardly recognized the girl I was back then who loved to ski in the winter and sail in the summer.

That brings me to December and I’m immensely happy that the biggest decision I had to make this month was whether or not to write an annual Christmas letter. Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring us all a more peaceful world than the one we’re leaving behind in 2017.  Jean

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To my deep embarrassment I just discovered I sent that letter out to everyone with a typo in the very last line where I wrote “we’rge” instead of “we’re.” When will I learn to proof-read from the bottom up! I make the most mistakes in the last paragraphs of whatever I'm writing. ©


15 comments:

  1. Now that's funny! Our poor boring little lives! I'm glad you did this!!!

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    1. I know! But I'll take 'boring' over chaos and hair-raising at this point in my life.

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  2. Great letter! You definitely shouldn't stop writing them! It is really entertaining.
    Regards
    Leze

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    1. Thanks. I like getting Christmas letters, too.

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  3. I like the ones you can't figure if they're for real or not. I'd like to read a first draft from Melania or Hillary.... after they've had about 3 glasses wine.

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    1. I know! You can't always tell unless you know the person well enough to know their humor. Humor is so HARD to write. I would pay money to read the first drafts of Melania or Hillary's Christmas letters. LOL

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  4. Great letter. I do one every year too, with photos of my family, but last year I sent almost twice the number (23) I received (14) and even that was paltry compared to previous years when we all still did Christmas cards. This year I printed off 20 letters, but now am sort of embarrassed to send them. So far, mid-December, I've gotten 3 Christmas cards from others. I think this will be my last year. I feel like I'm a dinosaur with this tradition that is fast fading away. It makes me sad though to completely lose track of my old friends and distant family members....but in some ways I guess they are already gone if this is a one-way thing. I send but don't receive. How can they miss me if I don't go away? LOL

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    1. I think this coming weekend is when most people will work on cards, if they are going to send them at all. I've only gotten 3 so far, too, but I expect maybe 20 if last year is any indication. Don't be embarrassed to send your letters. So what if something like sending cards falls out of fashion, if you enjoy it, do it. That's what writers do...write. I kind of like people on my list seeing that side of me.

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  5. I *hate* receiving a card with just the names of the sender(s) and a trite message, and love newsy letters/e-mails (personally think its useless sending a card with no personal message inside).

    I went though that phase of not being able to open bottles - so frustrating! (I now have a nifty holder that does the job). And don't get me started on "child" proof bottles. Almost broke down crying in rage one day when I couldn't open/close the bleach bottle.

    Btw, thank you for your blog! its provided inspiration, guidance, information, and validation of my personal views on life, politics, etc. ~ Libby

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    1. I feel the same way about getting cards with just a name in it. Why bother? My letters might be unconventional but they still tell story of sorts about how my life is going.

      I have cried at not being able to open a bottle, too! It's frustrating but also a symbol of something we're not always wanting to face.

      Libby, thank you for reading here and occasionally leaving comments. I wish I wasn't crave feedback, but I do.

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  6. I laughed in recognition at "Who remembers September?" We certainly do, since September was the Harvey aftermath, but in truth, everyone seems to have lost September and October both. It's like time stood still while we all were coping with the after-effects of that storm in one way or another.

    On the other hand, the Ben and Jerry reference was pretty funny, too. A local grocery recently had Talenti gelato on sale for $2.50/pint. Of course at that price I stocked up, telling myself that it would be good to have it in the freezer for "later." Hah! I presently have a symbolic strip of tape across my freezer door, as a little reminder to stay the heck out of there, already!

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    1. Time does stand still when you're in middle of a disaster of any kind. It's always a surprise when you realize that the rest of the world kept going on when your world stopped.

      I love gelato but could never have extra in the house of that or ice cream. It doesn't take much for me to get in the mindset of, "If it's gone it won't tempt me anymore." LOL I'll have to try your tape idea.

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  7. (Jean--seeds you "sowed", not "sewed." Unless you stitched them, LOL.)

    I love your letter! I'll bet it gets read aloud by lots of recipients. I used to do a similar one for a long time, but then had to give it up when things got too crazy with kids, career, and family. I keep telling myself and everyone that I don't Do Cards because I am Doing My Part To Save Trees And The Environment.

    I'm almost starting to believe it myself!

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    1. Darn it! I should have posted this before I printed my letters out and mailed them. All you guys could have been my proof readers! I do know the sew/sow rule but I just didn't use it. LOL Oh, well, things like that are designed to keep us humble. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

      You keep telling yourself that about the trees. I had not heard that excuse before.

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