I bought a book written by a woman slightly older than me, a widow who wrote journal style about the challenges of the first few years without her spouse. Since that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog, I thought it would be interesting to compare our experiences only to find we had very few in common. For example, she had a daughter to lean on. Don and I never had any kids. She struggled with house maintenance issues. I’ve been doing those sorts of things the past twelve years since my husband’s stroke. She had a core group of lady friends to pal around with. I don’t and I am struggling to build new friendships---when you’ve been a caregiver for as long as I was friends fall by the wayside.
The book’s author also describes the conservations she has with her dead husband---God, I do that, too! How do you stop doing something that had become second nature, in my case, for 42 years? And she describes going to social events where most of the people are paired off in couples. I was recently invited to an event like that where I’d be a lone stranger in a sea of people who’d glide into the place like Drake swans about to board Noah’s Ark and that morning my body said: Hey, you’ve been dreading this for two weeks. How about a little sciatica nerve pain to keep you at home? Coincidence, or are our bodies capable of manufacturing good excuses for things we really don’t want to do? Either way, does anyone know how long I’d have to wait to claim an un-given wedding present for myself? I could use a good set of knives. Darn it! Ms. Manners would probably say I still have to give it the bride and groom.
I did manage to move past one widowhood hurtle last week while my friend was visiting. We went to a restaurant I’d been avoiding. It was my husband’s favorite place and now I think I’m ready to try going to Applebee's alone. Even though people usually eat there in pairs, I can take my Kindle and pretend I’m sharing a meal with the “ghost” who is always sitting across my dinner table.
As I said, the author and I didn’t share a lot of the same experiences and I was somewhat disappointed in her book because I didn’t find the ‘wit’ promised on the cover. However, I admire that she managed to not only write a book but she also got it published. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to do that. And I’m jealous that her book has an entire chapter devoted to the fan letters she received in between the first and second printing.. I’m having trouble just getting people to sign my new guest book. Woo is me ---that’s one of my longtime favorite phrases.
The phrase quoted at the top of this blog entry is my newest favorite phrase. As I face each new widowhood challenge maybe what I need to ask myself is: What do I need most to get through this---a wishbone, a backbone or a funny bone? Like tonight, my first Halloween without Don to pass out candy. I should clutch my funny bone and come up with a costume in keeping with the few tears that might fall. ©