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, June 8, 2012

The Dark Side of My Grief

For some reason the dog decided to sleep in the living room last night instead of on Don’s side of the bed. I’d gotten so used to him being there whenever I glanced over that his absence took me to a very dark and lonely place, a place where I couldn’t stop thinking about all the changes that I’ve been through since Don death. I missed Don terribly and not even taking an Ambien could sweep those thoughts away and replace them with the sleep I craved.

I wandered the house by the glow of the night lights in every room, I attempted to let the computer distract me with a boring game of chess, and I even thought about physically forcing the dog to leave the comfortable little cocoon he’d made for himself in my chair and lock him in the bedroom with me. That latter thought made me feel even lonelier. When your dog---the one without opposable thumbs to open up the bags the treats he craves morning, noon and night are in---has to be forced to spend time with you, that’s pretty sad. Darn dog! Why did he have to pick last night to demonstrate a streak of independence?

Yesterday I got another letter from a volunteer at a local widow’s support group. She was inviting me to call if I want to talk to someone “who has ‘been there’ and knows how it feels.” The first four letters---one a month---got thrown away. I was doing okay, getting my ducks in order, handling things just fine, thank you very much. But for some reason this fifth letter got set aside to reread. I AM doing fine but the loneliness is starting to sink in, feel more permanent, and I know I have to do something to change that. My brother had been to a few meetings with this group but he had a typical guy reaction and said “he couldn’t take all that crying.” Then he joined an exercise class instead. I guess the main reason I haven’t checked out this widow group is because I’m kind of afraid I’ll end up being the one with the shoulder that others cry on. Been there, done that in caregiver circles and I’m tired of being the strong one who has to weigh every word because someone is looking to me for guidance.

It’s funny I could write that last sentence because this past week I discovered that a website I used to hang around a lot before Don’s death to debate politics has added two new forums: one for ‘Caregivers’ and one for ‘Grief and Mourning.’ Since these forums are not connected with traditional support groups, and people who have no experience with either state of being can chime in, I’ve been shocked at the hostility and lack of empathy going on. It’s like watching a train wreck about to happen to read through the topics. So as quickly as I made this discovery I’ve checked these forums off my list of places where I want to spend time. Caregiving and grief are both too fresh in my mind for me to stand by while bullies pick on people traveling down those roads. So, for my own well being I must stay away. I need to seek out peace, not turmoil.

According to the calendar it has been almost five months since Don passed away. Don: if you can hear me, let me tell you that not a day goes by that I don’t feel your love still wrapped around me. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank you for everything we shared. You and I both know that I will survive and thrive again in time---even if I have to resort to locking our derelict of a dog in the bedroom with me each night until the loneliness of your absence goes away. ©


  1. I somehow honestly don't think Levi is going to mind. He shares your grief in his own doggie way. I too know you will thrive, in time, when you're ready. Don't forget your forum home with us at Accentuate. It's been a long time since you've been there, but we're here for you too, if you need us, and you don't have to be the strong one if you don't want to be. The choice is yours, and I respect whatever choices you decide. I'm glad you're writing through this. I think that helps. I also know, at the Rainbow Bridge, Don hears you.

    Tell Levi wheelchairs simply aren't necessary at the Rainbow Bridge. Don stands tall and proud, calling Levi's brothers with a sure voice, and a lot more words than he could here on earth. Levi would be amazed to see how great Daddy is doing.

    For now, he loves Moomie!

    Hang in there, Jean. If there's anything I can do, anything at all, please don't hesitate to let me know.

    Love and stuff,

  2. Jean :

    I am so sorry you are going through your dark side of grief. I know I can't give advice to champ of life survivor, but will share what helped me get through my grief 1. have routine in life, 2. believe something good is going to come out of this ordeal too. 3. when you help others it takes away focus from your own problems.

    I really hope & pray levi moves in back with you soon


  3. Thank you both!

    Michy, I really should find my way to your forums again! It's a special place to hang around for writers and I had forgotten that.