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, July 17, 2012

Another Letter to my Deceased Husband - Rest in Peace

Tomorrow is the six months anniversary of your passing, Don. I hope you are resting in peace. Rest in peace. People say that all the time but what exactly does that epitaph mean? You know me, I wasn’t exactly sure so I googled it. Apparently it’s meant as a prayer that the deceased person---that would be you---will find peace in the next life, free from the struggles of living in this world. Well, we’re running into a problem here, aren’t we Don, since we’re not Christians and don’t believe in the resurrection, final judgment and heaven which makes it a little hard to think of death as a jubilant rest in paradise with angels floating on the clouds. It’s an interesting visual to imagine, though---what paradise would be like. My dad believed in the traditional, Pearly Gates and gold lined streets kind of paradise but if I believed in an after-life paradise it would be different for each and every one of us, like in Robin Williams' movie, What Dreams May Come. (I need to rent that movie sometime. It’s been 14 years since I’ve seen it and every so often the storyline runs through my head and it still intrigues me.) My paradise might be like the heaven Robin's character experienced of walking around inside of a freshly done oil painting. What fun he had slipping and sliding. Your idea of paradise would probably look like one of the covers on the magazine Garage---neon signs and guy-bling every where and shiny, old cars with a group of guys sitting in the corner drinking coffee.

Rest in peace. Minutes after you passed away you had the most peaceful look on your face. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that look. It gave me comfort then and it gives me comfort now. Maybe it seemed so special because earlier that day you looked confused and scared, like a little boy who needed his mother to hold him and rock him in her arms. But you were hooked up with so many wires and tubes that I couldn’t get close enough to do more than hold your hand. I still wonder if you knew you were dying. None of us talked about the gravity of your situation in front of you and without your hearing aids in there was no way you could have overheard any of the doctors or nurses as they came in and out of your room. Maybe you could read our faces. Maybe your body was telling you it was ready to give up the fight. Or the activity in the room was giving off clues. Remember when my dad was within an hour of dying? The Hospice nurses would come in every few minutes to check his toes, and then they'd say, "It's almost time." It reminded me of opening an oven door to see if the cake inside was finished baking yet. I can't remember if anyone did that to you on the day you died. Probably not. I'd remember the surreal absurdity of that. Questions without answers.

Rest in peace. I know it isn’t the common meaning of the phrase but I prefer to believe it means that our soul or spirit can be at peace because the people we leave behind think of us with love. We sow the seeds of our future heaven or hell by the way we live our lives i.e. if we’re cursed after we die and no one has a good thing to say about us, then we’ll be  in hell. But if people loved us and we’ve left good memories behind then we’re in heaven for as long as we're remembered. In other words it’s the people we leave behind who create our heaven or hell in their minds by the imprint we left on their lives. No Pearly Gates, no gold streets to walk unless our loved ones envision us there. That's where Dad is in my imagination, where he wanted to be. None of us can know what comes after we die, of course, but I do know that by my definition, you’re in an American Picker kind of heaven, Don. You’re in that tricked out garage and you are resting in peace, laughing and telling stories with a cup of Starbucks in your hand.

P.S. I still miss you, Don. ©



  1. Jean :

    being Hindu I also don't believe in hell or heaven, I feel we create our own hell & heaven right here on earth with our thoughts & actions. I believe in law of karma, do right things & all things will work out in life. Because of your blogs I miss Don as well, in my intial post stroke journey your stroke blogs about Don comforted me that with right attitude like Dons I can find my inner strength too, so even though I never met you guys you both have touched my life


  2. Thanks, Asha. Eastern philosophy has influenced my thinking in this area. Don knew about you, too. I used to read the SN blogs to him from time to time.

  3. It's eight months out now and the second paragraph I wrote in this blog entry still brings tears to my eyes. I wonder how long it will take for the memories of the day Don died to no longer have power over my emotions.

  4. (((((((((((((((( Jean))))))))
    You have always been an inspiration to me. You were the first to Welcome me to S.N.
    Your Love and Devotion to Don was a shining light to many.
    I know Don will be remembered and Loved through you; Sharing stories and adventures.
    I also want to Thank You for the link to the Widow Site. It is a gift you have given, and you will never know how much of a gift it is to me.
    the book "Widow To Widow" be Genevieve Davis Ginsburg is very good
    Love and Hugs

  5. Thanks, Bonnie. You've always shared so much of yourself at at S.N. and I'm not at all surprised that you've found a Widow Village a good fit for give and take.

    I read the reviews of "Widow to Widow, a Practical Guide to Rebuilding your Life" and can see how it could help a lot of people. For me, not so much. I went through the process after Don's stroke of rebuilding and have a pretty good start at doing it again after his passing. So much of it is the same....

  6. I came across this by "googling" - I typed in "Where is my deceased husband?"



    sometimes i ask God to please let me find him by making me not wake up. I can't do anything to myself because I believe I would never see my husband again and would rot in hell.


  7. Anonymous, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't answer your question---no one can answer that for another person in my opinion---but I believe their spirits are still here with us. I see signs of that all the time in my life.

  8. My husband had been under hospice care for only about 5 days when he died. I was alone with him when he started the active process about 11:30 at night, just before I was going to go to bed in another room. (I'm so glad I checked in on him when I did, even though I had been using a baby monitor to listen to him. I probably wouldn't have realized what was going on.) Hospice had provided me, among other things like medications, with a binder of information that had a section that described what to look for when someone might be starting the dying process. One of things was a mottled appearance of the skin, which I could see on his arms and hands. Also his fingernails were becoming a bluish color, even though he was on oxygen. That is probably what your father's hospice nurses were looking for on his toes. Yes, it was surreal but also at the same time it truly helped me to understand what was happening. The whole thing took about an hour and a half. A day or so before, when my husband had said he was ready to go because this wasn't living, he joked that he wished his heart and cardiovascular system weren't so healthy and that it would have been better if he'd been a two pack a day smoker like a friend of ours because he would have gone more quickly.

    1. I'm sure you're right about my dad's Hospice nurse but it still struck me at the time and has stuck with me all these years. It really is a surreal thing to go through but at the same time I'm glad I was with Dad when he died and I regret I wasn't with my husband.

  9. I miss you husband u left me with the kids I love you so much


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