Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow, senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Jean

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Suck Your Thumb Stage of Grief

They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I don’t know where I’m at on that scale. Either I haven’t started the stages yet or I breezed through them because I can accept what’s happened without anger. And there was no bargaining at my husband’s death bed. He was too worn out for bargaining with the gods of fate to keep him any longer. I had him 11+ years longer than I should have and for the most part they were good years in terms of personal growth and bringing laughter and joy into our daily lives. But this time, with his pneumonia and respiratory failure, it was time to say goodbye. If there was a stage of grief called the sit-in-a-corner-and-suck-your-thumb stage that’s where I’d say I’m at right now, 13 days into widowhood.

Today I had on my job list to clear everything out of the bathroom that was Don’s. It took me all morning---including the timeouts to lie on the bed and stare at the ceiling. I ended up saving his Stetson cologne and even dabbed enough on me to smell like I took a bath in the stuff. I couldn’t help it. When I open up the bottle it’s like I’m smelling the essence of his soul. Well, that might be a little melodramatic to claim that, but I think most people will agree that certain scents go with certain people and Don was a Stetson man.

At their website today I learned that Stetson is a name that “embodies the authentic heritage and spirit of the American West. It’s individuality that can never be tamed or fenced in. Authentic style that telegraphs who you are without saying a word. And confidence that comes from knowing there's nothing you can't handle. Stetson Cologne," the website said, "carries on this legacy with fragrances for men and women that represent the pride, passion, and confidence of the pioneers. See, the real, true West," they claim, "isn't a place at all. It's a state of mind.” Wow! All that in a little bottle of spicy, gold liquid. But you know what? Don was authentic and confident, full of passion and a rugged individualist. And, oh, did he love the West! How ever he found the cologne many years ago, he definitely fit the stereotype Stetson wants their product to project.

I can’t say much for the taste of Stetson, though, which leads me to my little tip to other widows: always wash your hands after taking a bath in your husband’s cologne. You never know when you’ll be inclined to sit in the corner and suck your thumb. ©

Monday, January 30, 2012

Comfort Foods

Oh crap, widowhood is going to be fattening! I went to the grocery store today for the first time since the funeral. At the checkout stand, as I was trying to chock back tears while answering the clerk’s question about where my husband was, I discovered that I had loaded up my cart with all my comfort foods---Graceter’s chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Chocolove bars of dark chocolate with orange peel, frozen deluxe pizza, and a bag of Brach’s orange slice jelly candy. Why can’t comfort foods be something that grows in God’s great earth and is picked by migrant workers? Why can’t we put on our fuzzy, old bathrobes and curl up with a bowl of broccoli and feel the same warm, metaphorical hugs we get from eating chocolate bars in bed?

This afternoon I sat in the kitchen, eating the gourmet ice cream right out of the carton while making calls to cancel all of Don’s upcoming appointments and to get information on removing his name from various documents, etc., etc. etc. So much paper work comes with dying! A half a pint eaten, half the calls on my list completed. Do the math and you’ll know exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow. ©

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Widowhood: Day One

Widowhood: Day one after the funeral. I made some calls today to notify people about Don’s passing. One was to the medical supply company that rented us his oxygen machine and the backup oxygen tanks to use during power outages that never happened. Who wants to look at those big, ugly monsters sitting there no longer doing their job? Anyway, the woman on the phone says, “And when was your husband’s expiration date?”

Expiration date? I thought, We're not boxes of cereal with expiration dates stamped on our bottoms! If that were true we could have planned our lives better, darn it!

That thought got me to laughing and visualizing poor Don's bare butt with the expiration date tattooed on one cheek. No doubt Ms. Medical Supply Lady thought I was entirely too happy, given the nature of my call. I wasn't happy, of course, but I'd already used up my daily crying quota by noon and it was 2:00 in the afternoon.

How long do you suppose it will take her before it dawns on her that there’s a difference between saying, “When did your husband expire?” and “What was his expiration date?” Then again, maybe I’m the one with a warped sense of humor. Maybe she says that same thing day after day and I’m the only one who laughed and found it even funnier when she got annoyed at me for finding dark humor in trying to arrange for a pick up of medical equipment.