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

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Big Wedding Widow Style

This past Saturday I went to my first wedding since Don passed away. Actually it was a long weekend away from home to an upscale tourist town in the northern part of the state. My great nephew got married on a Lake Michigan beach with a reception on the tenth floor of a 139 year old hotel with a panorama view fit for postcards. From all I’d read about going alone to a big event like that for the first time after being part of a couple for so many years I was anticipating  all sorts of emotions---awkwardness, being sad or scared, feeling out of place and lonely in a crowd. But I was riding up and back with my brother and his lady friend, how bad could it get? I was staying at my brother’s cottage with a boat load of family. How bad could it get?

Packing for the trip I thought about taking my locket with some of Don’s ashes inside, thinking if I kept him close to my heart the whole time I wouldn’t feel like a lost lamb surrounded by celebrating couples. But it didn’t look good with my dress and as I debated the wear-it-anyway question it struck me that I was being a king-sized, melodramatic widow. If I had thrown the back of my hand to my forehead and dropped down on a fainting couch, it wouldn’t have surprised me. A cartoonist would have drawn me as a Victorian lady covered from head to toe in black with a tidy bun at the back of my head and me clutching a heart-shaped ash urn locket the size of a box of a Russell Stover candy. What to do. What to do. That scene in my head finally made me smile. I was being silly to worry. I put the locket back in its box. I was a big girl. I could go to a place where a good share of the guests would be related. And for the bonus round I could even have a couple of fuzzy navels and not worry about being the designated driver for the first time in twelve years.

The biggest problem I had getting ready for the trip, though, was finding a kennel for Levi. I interviewed three before finding one I trusted not to seriously damage my little guy beyond repair. The first kennel I checked out had 15 or 20 dogs all running wild together in a sun drenched field on a 97 degree day. Levi likes the air conditioned comforts of home too much for that. At the second kennel the owner had forgotten we had an appointment and in the 20 minutes I waited around I discovered I could have walked right in an open garage door at the back of the building and let all the dogs out to play in traffic or worse. The third kennel passed the worried mom test and I was confident I’d found a weekend sitter who wouldn’t be spending all her time making prank calls involving letting Prince Albert out of the can. If you don’t get that joke then you can rejoice you’re not old like me.

The weekend was a wonderful break from life as I’d come to know it in recent months. I had such a good time. I laughed until my sides ached and the only time I got teary-eyed thinking of Don was during the exchanging of vows. At the reception unbeknownst to me my niece, niece-in-law, great-niece and assorted other relatives had all plotted to get me drunk and they kept the flow of champagne punch coming my way. There wasn’t enough liquor in the punch to get a mouse drunk but eight glasses later---which was seven more than I’d normally have---I was on the dance floor trying to keep up with the kids doing the Macarena. Don once told me I looked like a refrigerator on a dolly when I roller skated---he could literally skate circles around me---and while I was dancing the thought crossed my mind that I probably didn’t look much different trying to make my old bones find the clave rhythm. Hey, Macarena!

The bottom line? It was a beautiful ceremony, well-written and perfectly timed around a rain storm just off shore. The reception was fun and the stay at my brother’s cottage gave me a chance to spend some quality time with people I don’t see as often as I’d like. Thanks to my family who surrounded me with love, I made it over the widowhood hurdle of going to my first big social event without Don at my side and I not only lived to tell about it but I had a great time. ©


  1. I saw your post on Widows Speak Up and had to visit and read about your wedding/weekend. Glad you had a great time. My Sweetheart died Jan. 1, 2012, so it is almost 18 months. I rarely go to the Widows site anymore because it seems that some of them are making a career of being widows. They still have the shrines, the candles lit everyday--after 5, 6 7 years? To me that just keeps the wound open. Sure it still hurts at times, but some days go by and I realize that I haven't even thought of him. When I do remember, I smile more then cry because I was so very fortunate to have met him (late in life) and had the most wonderful 7 years of my life.

  2. I agree, Judy. I want to laugh over the good times more and more as time goes by. Our husband's died very close together, mine on the 18th of January, 2012 and I know he'd want that for me, too. Thanks for the comment!