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, February 29, 2012

A World without my Husband

The bathroom looks different since Don passed away. I did my widowhood redecorating in there. The urge to redecorate seems to come with the widowhood title. “Here are the death certificates for your husband. Now go do some shopping therapy.” Usually it’s the shared bedroom widows want to change, to get rid of the reminders of illness or death the room still holds or the memories of happier times that are so painful each night. I thought about redoing that room myself. Lord knows our bedroom could use some help but it seemed like a waste of money considering I want to move in a year. So, instead, I took down a poster in the bathroom I never really liked then bought a new shower curtain and a large throw rug for the floor. I could never have throw rugs in the house with Don’s wheelchair. There, I got my required widowhood shopping therapy done. What’s next? 

Tax time and I’ve been purging the filing cabinet. I’ve never been good at doing that chore which became obvious when I discovered how many years worth of stuff had accumulated. The stack of statements from Medicare, Blue Cross, doctors, therapists and hospitals was painful to go through. Poor Don, he’d been through so much since his stroke! A thousand shred it/keep decisions later I was emotionally spent and ashamed of my self for feeling so worn out from shredding all day when Don never complained about anything the medical community put him through. “Bring it on!” he would have said if he could have talked. “If it doesn’t make me better, at least it will get me out of the house. Some where to go, ink pens to steal out of pockets and off desks.” Every where he went for the past eleven plus years, he’d flash his baby blues, play his I’m-a-guy-in-wheelchair-who-can’t-talk sympathy card and usually people would let Don keep their ink pens. I’m thinking of bundling them up by the dozen and giving them out like door prizes to anyone who comes to visit. I should run out in the year 2025.

The widowhood crazy train is slowing down. I have my own Blue Cross card now---I’m no longer a dependent off Don’s account. Social Security and the pension administration finally got all their “I’s” dotted and their “T’s” crossed. The life insurance check is supposedly in the mail and I’m finally able to access my prescriptions again. Who knew my blood pressure pills would get locked up in the red tape of widowhood! I didn’t. Shortly after Don’s passing---but not soon enough---I started a log of all the death related phone calls I had to make. I’m at forty-five entries in the log at one month, ten days into widowhood. And I’m not done yet. 

Another widow was telling about a phone call she got after her husband died where a guy claimed her husband had pledged a hundred dollars to some obscure charity and he wanted the check. She knew it was a scam but that got me to thinking about what I would do if I got a call like that. I’d decided I’d get great pleasure out of saying: “Why, yes, I remember Don telling me about that and his exact words were: ‘If that guy calls back tell him to go fuck himself.’” Life without my husband has me living most of my life inside my head. ©


  1. I'm so sorry to read about the loss of Don. Today for the first time I was thinking of you and wondering what had happened. I've checked a few times for updates. Your description of Don touched me close to my heart - I can't believe the similarities between him and my husband. Snowplowing is one thing that my husband can now do after his stroke. He can't work but luckily he can drive and I am so grateful that he can do his few driveways when we get snow. He is also able to bowl now and is having so much fun with his friends again. He did finally give up the 16 pound ball and move to a lighter one and insists that he practice on the weekend in the mornings but as long as he is happy - I'm good. His stroke was 4 years ago and I'm still finding out what he can and can't do. I wasn't prepared for our last driving trip to Texas - he's always been able to lookk at a map or directions and know immediately how to get there and get around. This trip he couldn't find his way out of the parking lot much less figure out how to get around town. We went the wrong way so many times all I could do was laugh. I just kept saying that we were on an "adventure" and luckily we did end up where we needed to go in time. I've never learned to read a map because he has always taken care of everything on the road trips. Thankfully the nice worker at the hotel was very patient when I called 3 times to get directions....never a dull moment....
    Your way of describing what you went through with Don always made me smile - people who have a spouse that can't speak clearly just don't understand. It's amazing how easy it is for me to read his facial expressions and know what he is thinking and can't get out clearly or fast enough. My husband's baby blues are very expressive - although to be honest I still can't get used to him only smiling with the one side of his face. I am thankful for the small things and am grateful that he is with me but sometimes so miss our lives before the stroke. I never thought that I would be the breadwinner - we have to have medical insurance and are not yet old enough for medicare so off I go every day to work and he stays home. Thankfully he is able to take care of the house but it's not the same. Now I'm the one working 10 hours a day and tired and he's ready to go when I get home. He loves organizing and making sure that all of the soup cans line up and face front. He likes things in the kitchen to be just the way which is funny because he won't cook anything at all but thinks my extra bottles of sauce go on the bottom of the cabinet way in the back out of reach and out of sight for me.
    I hope that you will continue writing - it does help to read something from someone who knows what I am going through.
    Take care.

  2. Gugge,

    It's always so heartwarming to hear from others who have found my writing about Don's stroke and our experiences with aphasia useful in their struggles with the same. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Best of luck you and your husband in your journey in these post-stroke years.

    I will probably keep writing but the focus will no doubt change as my life changes. But I still think I have a book about aphasia in me.


  3. My mom used to get call like that after my dad passed away. She would let them go through there whole talk then tell then try to contact him, he is dead.the she would hang up on them. She would tell me this and laugh about it, but now I am sure she was hurting inside.

  4. I'm sure you're right. Some people use humor to mask their pain.