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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crazy Old People and Me

I’m glad Levi is a dog, not a cat. I don’t dislike cats---that’s not it---but as a widow I wouldn’t want to be perceived as a crazy cat lady widow who spends her days talking to her four-legged mouse trap. There is something more ‘sane’ about a woman who talks to a dog rather than a cat. At least that’s what my handbook on aging tells me. This occurred to me while the woman from my new house cleaning service was here and I realized that I spend entirely too much time making ‘comical’ comments to the dog. “Did you park any barf in the corner of the living room this week, Levi? No? You’re such a good boy.” Why was I doing that? The answer, I decided, is because I’d spent the last twelve years of my husband’s life saying and doing outrageous things to make him laugh. I had become the entertainer-in-chief at our house since his stroke where before then---when he could still talk---he’d been the entertainer-in-chief.

The girl the cleaning service assigned to me only cleans houses two days a week. The other three days during the week she is working on her master’s degree in human services. She wants to be an alcohol and substance abuse counselor. So I figure she can handle one elderly woman who makes bad barf jokes while she’s in earshot. But if I was a paranoid old and crazy person I’d think she was there to spy on my mental health even though she seemed more interested in dust bunny wrangling than in my conversations with the dog. I was impressed, though, by her life goals and so thankful she can speak English. I had envisioned them sending a recent immigrant and I’d have to relive my days of playing charades with Don to understand stand things like ‘where do you keep your toilet brush’ and other important stuff germane to her mission to make my house sparkle.

But the barf in the corner joke got me to thinking about that line you cross when you become a crazy old woman for real. You can say things when you’re young that you can’t say when you’re old without people looking at you like your brain cells are dying off. And there is nothing worse that a pitiful look from someone who thinks you’re so lonely you actually believe your dog is human or that you’d take in every stray that crosses your path because you think animals treat you better than people. Lord, I really am struggling not to on a shopping spree down to the humane shelter. I wonder if they have a support group app for that at Apple? (Levi, by the way, does have a corner where he does all his barfing. I’m not making that up. He’s a very consider little bugger.)

At least I haven’t crossed the crazy-on-steroids line like a guy in my state did recently. He had told the funeral home he would deliver his father to the cemetery to save money. Instead, he put the body in his freezer. Authorities recovered the decease unharmed after finding the empty casket in the back of his son’s station wagon. They were at his house to check on why the guy never showed up at the cemetery for his appointment with the sexton. It seems the son thought he could resurrect his father back to life through prayer. I don’t understand that kind of faith in the power of prayer, but then again I doubt few people can. As near as I can recollect resurrections have only happened a handful of times in the whole history of mankind. Or so they say. I don’t keep up on current events like I used to do. But I suppose if you overdosed on reading about the Egyptian god, Osiris, or Jesus or the Greek mythology of the phoenix rising from the ashes you could believe in bringing back a loved one if you wanted it bad enough. Then there’s that whole karma thing to think about which is where Don and I placed all our bets.

I wonder what a sanity hearing for a man who thinks he can pray a loved one back to life would be like compared to a hearing for an old woman who hoards cats. Care to place a wager on who would come out ahead? Volumes have been written about the universal resurrection at the end of the world and about the resurrection of individual souls before then. A Clarence Darrow type could probably get the guy off. But a lawyer representing a lady who collects four-legged critters would have no scholarly evidence to offer that could her keep off the county’s crazy widows watch list. And that, dear friends, is one more reason why I need to stay away from the humane society. ©


  1. I don't know... From a cat lady's perspective those folks who sleep with their doggie under the covers earn a spot on the 'crazy lonely hearts' roster.

    I adopted two sweet felines after he died. Yet when his birthday rolled around I would get this irresistable urge... to visit the cat shelter.

    I stopped at two.

  2. I think we're both safe if we stop at two cats or dogs. LOL

  3. Looks like you would be a perfect volunteer at the dog (or cat) shelter! My husband's widowed aunt liked to go to her local no-kill shelter to "socialize" the animals.

    I--a lifelong dog person--have found myself with a new cat in my first widowed year. I adore this cat.

    Oh, and is there something wrong with talking to your dog?

  4. I am SO glad to know that I'm not the only one who has had the urge to get a pet after losing a spouse. I'm actually allergic to cats to the point of getting hives if I touch them or am exposed to their hair, so volunteering at a shelter where both are housed isn't an option for me. I have thought of fostering dogs but I decided I'd rather have another forever dog...if I do take the plunge this spring.

    As for talking to our pets, isn't that a requirement of ownership? LOL

  5. I think when I get old I want to be like Arte Johnson in the 'dirty old man' skit on Laugh In

  6. Dean, thanks for the fun memory. That's a great goal.