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, February 3, 2013

Loneliness and Dogs that Play Dead

I don’t know how pioneers did it…stay sane while living without much human contact for months on end. It’s been nearly a year---slight exaggeration---since I’ve been out of the house to talk to anyone, and that was just a clerk at the supermarket. He was a chatty-Kathy but that was hardly enough to keep the marbles in my head from falling out. Between periods of snow, fog, pouring rain and ice the weird weather has me trapped in 1500 square feet of boredom. But the fact is I’d have no where to go even if I could. I’d have to make something up---like a desperate need for purple eye shadow---just so I’d have a reason to back the car out of the garage. I have one week out of the month where all four of my reoccurring social events fall and then it’s nothingness again until the next month. I can only have so many conversations with the dog before he lets me know I’m about as interesting as watching a digital clock tick off an hour. I could take up bingo and go the senior center once a week but I don’t need can goods and with my luck, I’d win a bunch of soup and lima beans.

I’ve been hanging out on YouTube a lot lately where I fell in love with Bobby McFerrin a few days ago. Why has the world been hiding this genre bending guy from me all these years? I got all excited when I found out he’s actually going to do a concert in my town in the spring but that was a short-lived excitement because the tickets start at $350 and if I didn’t want to go alone I’d have to buy two and arm-twist someone else into going with me. But who? I can’t think of anyone I like $350 worth. Damn it! It’s all Don’s fault for dying and leaving me alone in the house with too much time on my hands.

On Facebook someone posted a picture of a dog with a sign hanging around his neck. It read: I spontaneously drop to the floor and play dead even when no one tells me to because I’m hoping for treats. That intrigued me enough to look the trick up in my dog training book but after reading the instructions for teaching ‘play dead’ I realized that while Levi isn’t too old to learn it, I’m too old to teach it. It would require me to get down on the floor with him which old people who live alone and have fake knees can’t do if they ever want to get back up again. The last time I was on the floor, I had to have Don park his wheelchair next to me so I could climb up the side. Woo is me. So I’ve been trying to teach Levi to balance and catch treats placed on his nose instead of playing dead. He thinks I’m crazy and looks at me with disgust. If he could talk he’d say, “Who wants to eat a treat that’s been on a nose during flu season? That’s gross!” And that’s coming from a dog who licks himself.

Paul Tillich, who I don’t know anything about other than he wrote a cool line that ended up in an internet collection of quotations, once said: “Language has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.” I wonder what word good old Paul would use for that limbo place in between loneliness and solitude. That’s the place I’m at. I still miss Don daily but I can’t call it ‘painful’…not like it was in the beginning. But I’m not ready to say I’m at peace with being alone like the word ‘solitude’ requires. It’s boring at best and boring at worse with more boring in between. If it gets any worse I’ll start baking cookies to take to the neighbors so they’ll be obligated to invite me in for coffee. I wonder if that would work. Better yet, if I go to the mall and spontaneously fall to the floor and play dead I'll bet I’d get treated with a lot of attention. Damn it! I forgot. I’m snowed in! ©


  1. This post makes me think of May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude and Alix Kates Sulman's Drinking the Rain. Both are memoirs about women living in chosen solitude, not loneliness. It's nice to find fellow travelers on this solitude journey.

    I'm glad you happened upon the Bobby McFerrin in your internet surfing. What a delightful find!

    (I think I posted this last night, but I must not have followed through. Sorry if it's a double)

  2. Thanks for posting those book titles. I'm going to see if I can find them at the library or for my Kindle.

    I posted a MeFerrin YouTube video on my FaceBook page hoping someone in my family shows enough interest in the concert that I'd feel like buy two tickets.

  3. If you look, it's Shulman, not Sulman.

    How great would that be to turn it into a treat to yourself and go to the concert. It is a lot of money, and I've never spent that much on a show. That said, I've never regretted seeing a performer live. The memories keep giving, over the years. don't you think?

  4. I found both of the books you mentioned at Amazon and have them saved in my wish list there. Got to read the reviews, first, before deciding which one to order.

    I just checked the ticket place for the McFerrin concerted and was shocked to see they are only about 25 tickets away from being sold out. I guess that's explains why the tickets left are so expensive.

    You are so right about live performances sticking with you for years...but not always for a life time. I once wrote a blog about forgetting I'd seen a live concert with Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Barry, Buddy Holly and others from the Rock and Roll era...my very first live concert. Forgot all about it until one year when I found a page in one of my 1950s diary. http://fromtheplanetaphasia.blogspot.com/2009/01/american-graffiti.html

  5. Mama laughed when you described how the dog plays dead for treats. She and Papa did teach her first dog to play dead. The dog hated it so much that she would look up at Mama as if to say "Can I stop this stupid trick now?"

    I (Hershey) actually catch treats in the air without dropping them. That is fun!

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

  6. Hi Hershey and Kaci, You are so smart, Hershey, to catch treats in the air. I had to give up on with Levi on the trick he just didn't get it. So we've been doing dancing more. His cutest-to-watch trick is walking backward. He can do it both in front of me and along side me. I throw in some circles and going through my legs and running and he thinks we're dancing.