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

Friday, February 10, 2012

Heart Shaped Boxes of Candy

My first Valentine’s Day without Don in 42 years is coming. Can you hear it marching towards me? Did you see all the red heart shaped candy boxes on display in the stores or hear any radio advertisements to send your sweetheart flowers? I did, and I know from reading the writings of other widows online that this holiday is one of the most dreaded dates on the calendar, not just that first year after a spouse passes away but for many years to come.

Today I came upon one of those candy displays and at first I was going to avoid walking by it. But from deep within I heard my inner voice saying: “Embrace the holiday. Embrace the memories that go with it.” So I walked right up to the display and purposely let my eyes linger over each square foot of confection. The first thing I spotted was a heart shaped box with Snoopy on the front and he was holding his yellow bird, Woodstock. It was like a sign from Don! I never understood his love of Peanuts characters but in our early years together I’d gotten more than a few gifts featuring Snoopy and his feathery friend. That is until I said, “Enough all ready! Snoopy is your thing, not mine.” In all the years we’d known each other he’d always had a Walt Schulz comic strip character some where in the house---on a watch, on coffee cup, on an article of clothing, etc. Snoopy even made it to Don’s funeral compliments of a patch sewn on my husband’s t-shirt quilt that was displayed in the corner.

As I stood there in the store, I was getting the hang of embracing the memories and not nursing the pain of spending a Valentine’s Day without my husband. I moved down the candy display cataloging all the memories seeing those hearts brought back, smiling at each one until I came to some Reese’s peanut butter cups wrapped in red, a company’s attempt to cash in where they don’t really belong. Those peanut butter cups were Don’s all-time favorite candy and seeing them today was like getting second sign of approval, this one from my inner voice. And that sign was saying I did good embracing rather than avoiding the Valentine’s Day display.

I ended up going back to the box with Snoopy and Woodstock and it’s now sitting on the kitchen counter. I’m going to eat one of the five chocolates inside every day for the next five days leading up to V-Day. And instead of crying or hiding or feeling bad, I’m going to hug myself with 42 memories of the 42 Valentine’s Days I was lucky enough to share with my soul mate. ©

This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about Valentine’s Day. In the blog I kept as Don's caregiver after his stroke I did an entry about him getting out some very special words on V-Day. The other entry I wrote about a time pre-stroke when he gave me the biggest turkey of a Valentine's Day gift a woman could get. Find both entries here: http://fromtheplanetaphasia.blogspot.com/search/label/Valentine%27s%20Day


  1. I read Levi's blog post yesterday and then came here to learn more about your husband's death by reading your back posts. Later I was in Publix looking at all the Valentine displays -- and there was that little heart-shaped box with Snoopy. I stopped and looked at it, touched it even, thinking about what you had said, and sharing that fear I think we all have, of losing someone whom we can't bear the thought of losing.

    Even though we've never met, your several blogs have always touched me -- and I've often wondered how you and your husband and Levi and angel Cooper were doing. Now I know -- and I can only send you my warmest wishes for comfort during this rough time.

    You know how we all rally around each other when one of our canine companions crosses the Bridge; this has such a more inexplicably profound dimension, that it's hard to know what to say. I just hope you know how much even your virtual friends care! ]

    Joan (of the Barkalot Boyz)

  2. Joan, Thank you so much for the kind words. When you write blogs you never really know if anyone is reading. Levi thanks you too...you're Barkalot Boyz are superstars to him.