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. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Bucket List

With my birthday approaching and Don’s death not far in my past, I’ve been thinking a lot about making another Bucket List of things I’d like to before I die. In preparation---or maybe it was just a stall tactic---I spent the morning researched what other people put on their lists and I found a Squidoo Lens with 1,000 Bucket List ideas. This is a serious, heavy weight article with tons of links to things like a guide to the world’s best festivals, the National Geographic’s 500 most peaceful and powerful places on earth list and 100 of the greatest adventure books of all time. You name a category of human experience and they’ll be a link to it on that lens. As I skim-read the site, the very first entry on my Bucket List was born: to follow and read every single link on that lens.

I learned one important thing about myself as I scanned through those bucket list suggestions: I’m not interested in doing extreme sports or traveling. Not surprising. I wasn’t interested in sports when I was young except for a few years of snowmobiling, skiing and sailing nor did I especially enjoy traveling by trains, planes and ships. Don and I were more the RV and tent-camping in state parks type of travelers and I wouldn’t do either one alone. About the only place I’m seriously interested in seeing now is Nantucket Island---don’t ask me why. I really don’t know. But if I had the money I’d rent a cottage there and stay until I figured out why the place calls my name.

UPDATES: Items with a red number have been checked off this list since it was written. 9/24/15. Items with green numbers, I no longer care about doing, 4/12/16. Things marked with ** at the end are things I need to revisit for one reason or another, 6/1/19.

1. Read all the links in the 1,000 Bucket List Ideas lens.
2. Take a Tai Chi class.
3. Read more travel adventure books like the autobiography the movie Seven Years in Tibet was based on.
4. Plan my funeral and put my financial affairs in order so I never have to think about them again. **
5. Update the emergency care plan for Levi, my schnauzer, to include a vocabulary list of the words and commands he knows. (Once a caregiver, always a caregiver.) **
6. Spoil myself with more and more spa-like treatments. Okay, so I’ve only gotten one pedicure so far but I’m scheduled for finger and toe nails both next week. And I want to do the sugar thing to get rid of old lady chin hair. Who knows what will come after that---maybe a spa retreat in Hawaii or a Tibetan Silent Retreat. If I wasn't laughing so hard while I write this, I'd realize I could actually do these outer and inner beauty make-overs someday.
7. Buy more beauty products. About the only thing I’ve bought regularly since Don’s stroke has been Burt’s Bees watermelon lip balm.(Oh, my God! Maybe this is why so many older women start looking like they've been to the Clown School of Makeup Tricks! They get addicted to beauty products.)
8. Gradually upgrade my wardrobe. Jeez, will anyone know me when I finally shed my caregiver look? I’d been standing behind a wheelchair for so long I still feel naked without it. **
9. Put low lights in my hair. Don’t ask me what that they are. My hair dresser thinks it’s a good idea.
10. Take the dog to the dog park twice a week. This involves a long walk on the nature trail to get there so I’ll be getting my exercise as well. Dog parks can be dangerous.
11. Print the family history book I have sitting in the ‘My Canvas’ book queue.
12. Finish the book I started on living with someone with severe aphasia.
13. Print Levi and Cooper’s diary sitting in the Blogger’s book queue.
14. Continue to blog the first year of my widowhood, then print it and pronounce myself ready to move on. (Although the people at Widowed Village say the one year mourning period thing is a myth. It can---and usually does---take much longer than that.)
15. Write a fan letter to Oprah.
16. Do the NaNoWriMo challenge in November again. (Write a book in a month.) I tried it a few years back and it was---well, a real challenge that I couldn’t accomplish. But it was fun interacting with all the others trying to do the same. **
17. Get a comfortable computer chair for all this writing I’ll be doing on my Bucket List projects.**
18. Sell my house next year.
19. Buy a small condo next year. **
20. Go to Nantucket and/or turn my new condo into a cottage themed retreat. Accomplished part of the cottage theme in the house. ** Haven't been to Nantucket but I've got more cottage theme in the house.
21. Visit our world famous sculpture park in town again.
22. Visit our world famous art festival and contest in the fall.
23. Cook and eat some fried green tomatoes.
24. Go to a wine tasting.
25. Start drawing again. 
26. Start painting again.
27. Start baking bread again. (I had to stop last year when I was fighting chronic hives.) ** I'm into making scones now.
28. Visit Don’s grave on Memorial Days. (For decades we made the rounds of graves in three counties---a promise he made to his mother. We were buying flowers for people we never met so I’m thinking Don would want me to visit him.)
29. Never, ever forget the special place where I keep his memory tucked in my heart.
30. Read a couple of Dr. Seuss books. Can you believe I’ve never done that! ** Didn't read Dr. Seuss by I have recently read some classic children's books.
31. Buy a bike. (Although I’m starting to chicken out on this one after a relative said she fell while riding and broke her wrist. I asked the salesperson at the bike shop if I could get training wheels and he just laughed. But I was serious!)
32. Buy an iPad and take the class on using it.
33. Get a smart phone and take the class on using it.
34. Admit defeat and call the damn geek squad to set up my new printer that’s been sitting here since December.
35. Take up knitting again.
36. Finish the quilt I have ready for the backing or hire a service to do it.
37. Restore the finish on my ice box that dates back to before electricity.
38. Live to be a 100.
39. Enjoy life until the last breath.
40. Add 60 more items to this list before the end of the year. ©


  1. Rereading this list now, I can report that I've actually accomplished 10 things on the list. But I haven't added anything new...at least haven't added anything in writing. I do have some new goals, though. One is I'm taking my first all-day bus tour, a fall color tour. Spending all day long with strangers, going some place that Don and I liked to go is going to seem SO strange.

  2. Forgot to add.....last month I was cleaning out our spare bedroom and I found a list titled, "100 things I want to do before I die" that I had written 20-25 years ago. Amazingly, I had accomplished about half of those things. Of the things I didn't accomplish only one of them ended up on my 2012 list....guess I'd better make sure I take better care of my health if I'm going to live to be 100. LOL

  3. I just reread this list again and I've accomplished 15 things on the list to date.

  4. Just reread this again and I'm up to 18 things accomplished and marked with red. I need a new bucket list. Some goals on here I don't even want anymore...like sell the house and buy a bike.

  5. Jean,
    I've been thinking of buying a bike, but I'm afraid I'd ride it once or twice and then hang it in the garage.

    If you haven't already, try the fried green tomatoes. I love them so much.

    Can you believe it, we do not have smart phones, but my husband is itching for one. Our plan runs out this month. I guess it already has, so we can go shopping.

    I think I like the idea of a list because it makes us focus on what we really want. We don't have time to spend on things that we don't really, really want. And I think the things we want change with time. As you said, you don't want to do some of the things on the list anymore. Time changes things and we change.

    1. I think I need to take that bike off the list. I tried one of those three wheel bikes you lay down in, neat bikes but SO hard to get in and out of.

      I have the Jitterbug Touch smart phone.. The only real difference between them and the regular smart phones is they use words instead of tiny icons to navigate your apps. And their service numbers actually help you in a timely manner.