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 17, 2012

The Last One to Go – A Tale of Friendship

Once upon of time there were four people who managed to stay close friends their entire adult lives and then some. The last one to pass over to the Great Unknown did so this week at 93 years old but what she and the others in the foursome left behind will endure for generations. Among their individual accomplishments in life, together they all modeled for their families a flawless example of what true friendship is all about.

Betty, her husband Harold and my folks met before I was born. For years they spent New Years Eve and Day together, took part in many social activities together and both couples built cottages on the same lake. In the summers our families intermingled almost daily. We kids swam together, played cowboys and Indians together, walked to the store for ice cream together, built forts together, and on rainy days we’d all sit around Betty’s huge table playing board games or poker. How did Betty put up with a gang of kids bringing sand and too much youthful energy into her house, not to mention our need for an endless supply of drinkable liquids? She put up with us with a warm smile and a heart that was always looking for ways to make us more comfortable in her presence. And no one ever went hungry at Betty’s house.

When I was young and still trying to figure life out I asked my dad why Betty and Harold and my folks were such good friends. I wanted to know what held them together because they all had such different personalities---even held different views on politics and social issues. Dad told me if we’re looking for friends who think just like we do then we’re not going to have any friends. “Friends,” he said, “are for having fun with and to respect for their uniqueness without trying to change them.” Oh, and did these four friends have fun. When they’d get together there was always laughter and lively, easy-going conversations. There were summer parties, too, where the foursome could be found singing, dancing, or just sharing a work project and making it more fun with a picnic thrown into the mix.

Betty’s service is the first I’ve been to since Don passed away and they say that first funeral post a spouse’s death is hard for a widow, often bringing flashbacks and tears for the wrong deceased. Betty’s service wasn’t like that for me. Not even for a second. It was a celebration of her life, filled with joyful tales about how upbeat, positive and giving Betty was. I could tell by the memories her family shared that Betty in her later life hadn’t changed much from the Betty I’d known in my youth.

Once upon a time there was a woman named Betty. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a dear friend to both of my parents. She knew how to love, laugh and enjoy life. She knew how to make everyone around her feel special and welcome. She knew how to work hard, knit, play cards, cook for a crowd and dozens of other things too numerous to list. But she probably never knew that she was part of a foursome who taught the world around them about the power of deep and lasting friendship.
As all stories go, Betty’s had to end and in my imagination she now lives happily ever after with her family and friends who’d passed over before her. My parents, I have no doubt, have been saving a place for her to sit at a gold-gilded pinochle table. Rest in peace, Betty, you deserve it. It was a privilege to have known you.  ©

“Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things.”
Author Unknown

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