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, August 31, 2012

Keeping Busy, Keeping Sane

Oh, my God, I thought I was going to pee my pants sitting at my computer this week. I was so wrapped up in debating politics on a message board that several times I didn’t want to leave the keyboard to answer Nature’s call. I used to frequent the political message boards for a couple of hours every day before Don passed away and this is the first time since then that I’ve gotten my old fighting moxie and tolerance for the trollers back. Nothing like a national convention of politicians to draw me back into an activity I used to love. In college I was on a debating team and taking part on political message boards reminds me of those days with the added benefit of keeping the wheels in my old brain moving, like exercise to prevent Alzheimer’s from setting in. If this week is any indication, part of my pre-widowhood personality is returning.       

A couple of days ago I got a call from a woman who’d lost her husband about a year before Don passed away. Her husband and mine had a lot in common. Both had strokes in the same time frame that left them right side paralyzed and with extreme language disorders. They both worked hard at therapy and had positive attitudes. The four of us attended speech therapy classes together two days a week for several years plus we did a little socializing with the entire class of eight as well. You get to know a lot about another couple when you go through something like that and it didn’t surprise me when my friend said that she still cries almost every day. Widowhood is hard.

After that phone call I couldn’t help wondering why I’m not crying every day. At a widowhood support site I go to on occasion, other women further out than I am report the tears are still coming frequently. I decided it was partly due to the fact that I’ve been keeping myself insanity busy. Busy with downsizing Don’s stuff and daydreaming about what I want my next transformation to look like. I’ve turned my sun porch into a sort of hope chest; squirreling things in the corners that will fit the new décor of the condo I hope to buy next year. The antique gas pumps in Don’s collection are up for auction right now---the last of the big things to go---and his sign collection is gone. I did keep one sign from the bus company his father started back in the 1920’s. A beach cottage décor can always use a sign or two.

My speech class friend still has her husband’s clothing hanging in the closet. Hearing that made me so glad I bit the bullet early on and cleaned the closet out of all but a half a dozen of Don’s shirts. Maybe walking by a closet full of your deceased husband’s clothing keeps you from moving forward? I don’t know, but all widows have a hard time with closet purging. I had a hard time, that’s for sure. I blogged two entries about the process but looking back, for me, it was the right thing to do at the right time. Still, it seems to me the widows who are still crying daily after two years are the ones who haven’t dealt with their husband’s clothing. But could this be the classic question of which came first---the chicken or the egg? Do they cry daily because the clothes are keeping them struck in the beginning stages of grief or is the daily crying an indication of a deep depression that is preventing them from purging the closet?

I don’t have a good ending for this blog entry so I’ll just share the fact that my beautiful dog now has green feet. I made the mistake of taking him out to run in the back yard just after the grass had been cut. It was still wet from morning dew and it stained his white paws up high enough so it looks like he’s wearing socks. I know how to get grass stains out of clothing but I don’t know how to get it out of Schnauzers which just goes to show that no matter how old you get there is always something new to google.  ©

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