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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) 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

Friday, July 27, 2012

Widowhood Reality Check

Today’s Tip: If you’re a senior citizen who normally wears glasses make sure you’re wearing them when you fix your breakfast. Otherwise you might end up like I did with cherry tomatoes instead of raspberries on your cereal. 

Fast forward through the day and as I write this it's three o'clock in the wee hours of the night/morning and even an Ambien didn't put me to sleep two hours ago when I took it. So I'm sitting here with my next drug of choice: Ben and Jerry's AmericCon Dream. If you're a fan of Stephen Colbert's like I am you'll understand why this flavor of ice cream started jumping into my supermarket basket a few years back.

I think my body fights falling asleep because waking up in the mornings is the hardest time of the day for me. I’m either on the edge of a dream I don’t want to let go or Don’s empty side of the bed often reminds me that I have another day ahead with no meaningful human contact. This stage of the grieving process---six months out from Don’s passing---feels like being stuck in between a rock and a hard place. The past (the rock) is over and we widows know we can’t live there, but the future (the hard place) is taking its sweet-ass time unfolding. I long for the time when living in the moment comes back in full focus, when I have all my ducks in a row to transition into the next stage of my life. In the meantime, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the widowhood paperwork that one has to do. Yesterday I went down to the township offices to pay my summer property taxes and to ask about the procedure to get Don’s name off the tax roles. I was informed I have to file a quick claim. Oh, goody. Add one more reason I have to have paperwork notarized to the other two I got last week at the lawyer’s office.

This week I RSVPed three ‘yeses’ to events at the senior center. One RSVP was for an ice cream social, another for a classic film festival. Whoopie doo, a hot time in the life of an elderly widow! Well, it’s a start. It’s human contact that comes with free ice cream and pop corn. I am looking forward to the fall color bus tour, though---the third RSVP. I haven’t been up north to the bridge in over twelve years. Going with a bus load of seniors and with only one bathroom on board should be interesting. I assume those buses have a bathroom on board, if they don’t I’m in trouble. My old kidneys are roughly on the same schedule as a little kid’s. Oh, my God will I ever quit looking for reasons to worry? I will go on the day trip, I won’t pee my pants. I will bond with a bunch of people in my age bracket. And if I don’t bond over those twelve hours on the bus I’d better come home with a basket full of good reasons that doesn’t include I didn’t try hard enough.

Did I tell you I used to have quite a reputation for being a connoisseur of ice cream? When Don and I first started dating he teased me unmercifully about my ice cream “addiction.” He said I couldn’t pass up a cone shop if my life depended on it and he took the photo posted with this blog during one of his teasing sessions. For my birthday one year he went to a local ice cream factory and got me a twenty gallon can of my favorite flavor. Those heavy, metal dairy cans were meant for commercial use only but that didn’t deter Don from talking his way into buying one.

The next year he gave me a sculpture of a girl eating an ice cream cone and I made him take it back. I was sure it would be like a bell to Pavlov’s dog, producing a conditioned reflex that would make me want ice cream every time I walked by it. I wish I had that sculpture now only because making him return it hurt his feelings---so much so that I never did that again. However, there were more than a few times when I could have made good use of a rubber stamp proclaiming “return for a refund.” Darn it! In my defense he did have some goofy ideas in the gift buying department. But that was Don---silly, outlandish quirks and all. Exhibit one:  The Valentine’s Day Gift    ©

Me - Circa 1972


  1. Good for you for signing up to try something new and get yourself out there. Ice cream is a good reason for going out any day. I can't imagine what it is like for you missing Don and what I am going through is not the same but your writing always makes me smile. Since my husband's stroke I still miss the man he was and the life we had before. It's so hard to realize that no matter what he will never be that man again. I wish I could just hear that laugh again one more time. I'm thankful he's here with me but this is not the man I married. I wish you some better days ahead and hope that you have fun on your outings.
    Take care

  2. Thank you Gugge, for the comments. I wish more of my readers would leave them on occasion.

    I know exactly what you mean about missing parts of your husband's personality since his stroke. Caregivers do go through a mourning period when we come to realize that the person we care for will never be the same again. I was fortunate in that Don never lost his ability to laugh and be funny even with his limited language.

    Take care, Jean


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