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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wills and Widows Taking off Their Wedding Rings

This past week I finished up the last details of getting all my legal affairs in order. I hated reviewing and updating the end of life medical directives and other stuff involved for when I die or get incapacitated but I guess I’d hate it more if I didn’t take care of this stuff and something happened. It’s a crap-shoot, really. You like to think your family will make decisions in compliance with what you’d want but the best you can do is to get your wishes down in writing and hope you picked the right person to hold so much power over you and your estate when the time comes. The lawyer, twice, seemed to enjoy reminding me that you can’t reach out from the grave and control what happens when you’re gone. I was good when she said that. I didn’t snap back that I thought that’s what I was paying her for---to string some fancy words together that mean I do get a say. I keep wondering when I’ll turn into one of those old people who has lost that filter in the brain that keeps us from verbalizing all our rude or inappropriate thoughts. Maybe I’m even looking forward to that day?

On the widowhood front, the biggest news I have to share is I stopped wearing my wedding band. It wasn’t a planned change. It just happened. I had taken my ring to the jewelry store for cleaning and polishing and by the time I retrieved it a couple of days had passed. That first day back in my possession, I put the band on and took it back off a dozen times and finally I put it away for safe keeping. It was a sad choice and it's one I’m not sure I’ll stick to. I don’t know. Maybe the idea to get it cleaned was all part of a plot that the subconscious part of my brain cooked up to get the conscious part of my brain to give the issue some deep thought.

In the widowhood circles I touch bases in there is no consensus on the right time to remove your wedding rings. Some women plan to wear them forever---I was in that camp---but a few have taken them off shortly after their spouses’ funerals. Still other women have taken to wearing their rings on a chain around their necks and others have had their rings redesigned into dinner rings. Some women switch their rings to their other hand and younger widows take them off when they start dating again. It’s understandable why the wedding rings dilemma is such a huge widowhood hurdle to cross. We take vows with those rings. And even though those vows include “until death do we part” the wedding band symbolizes undying love and that love doesn’t go away upon the death of a spouse. The feeling of being married doesn’t go away right away either.

It feels weird not having that wedding band connection to Don on still on my finger. I feel naked and maybe it will find its way back on my finger. I have mixed feelings that include the idea that taking it off frees my husband’s spirit, lets him know he doesn’t have to watch over me so closely anymore…or at least that is what I’m currently telling myself. I’m a survivor and it’s paired with the fact that Don had all his legal T’s crossed and I’s dotted before his disability and evidential death. He did his best to “reach beyond the grave” as my lawyer says you can’t do. And because Don tried to do just that, I have far fewer worries and complications than widows whose spouses ignored the reality that we all do die someday. 

The moral of my little story here is get a will and medical directives if you don’t already have them! Okay, I'll get off the everyone-needs-a-will bandwagon before it gets rolling at top speed. But first I’d like to say this blog entry was brought to you by a senior citizen who thinks she'll start practicing for the day when the "be nice" filter in my brain isn't working any longer. I'll start when the teenager next door chases after a ball that's rolling across my yard. I'm going to open the door and yell, "Get off my lawn!" He deserves it. He's the same boy who 10 years ago told me he didn't care how much I paid him to shovel my snow because he just wanted to help old people. ©

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