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, February 15, 2013

Widows on Diets and Lost Horizons

I have been dieting since I came here by way of the womb. Today I had to take a link out of my watch because it was sliding around too much. Darn it, who cares about my wrists losing weight! I didn’t give up Ben and Jerry’s American Dream ice cream for smaller wrists. How did that happen? Last week I shoveled snow 3-4 times a day for five days in a row and I was as so happy, thinking all that exercise was going to result in my pants feeling too big. Nope, it had to be my wrists that got smaller. I was so hungry last week with all that shoveling and cold air that I told the dog to stay clear or he’d find himself in the microwave.

Today I’m supposed to send my doctor another fatty-fatty-two-by-four Accountability Report and this month’s email can’t be written by my Ms. Sunshine persona. After a few ups and down I’ve plateaued with only a two pound loss for this month. How will he react? Will he let me slide by on my laurels? After all, over the past four months I’ve lost the extra pounds I put on in my first nine months of widowhood which is what he wanted me to do. But will that be enough to make him happy? Will he want to haul my butt down to his office to admire my slimmer wrists if I mention them in my report? I could just “forget” to send the email. He won’t miss it what with all the people coming in to his office for stuffy noses, acid reflect and cancer.

Yesterday I went to the first of six “cooking for one” classes that I signed up for at the senior hall. This month’s class was on making healthier deserts. The instructor, a wee-little dietitian from the health department, wasn’t the least bit intimidated by cooking in front of 15 women who all probably had at least 40 years of cooking experience under their belts----that’s 600 combined years in the kitchen! No matter what questions were asked the young dietitian had an answer and a lot of the questions went right over my head. I didn’t know, for example that good vanilla has alcohol in it let alone where to buy Madagascar bourbon vanilla in town. Nor did I know that vegans don’t use honey.

Apparently we’re going to use a lot of vegan recipes in these classes. After hearing that I decided to swing by the grocery store on the way home and pick up a couple of Black Angus steaks before the classes start making me feel guilty for eating things with faces. Today we got to sample vegan chocolate pudding made with avocados and she made fruit chai chutney that we’re suppose to use every which way except on Sundays. They both tasted great but I can’t picture myself making something that would tempt me to eat it all in one setting. How is that any different than having Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer? Silly question. Thanks to the class I actually know the answer---it’s all about the nutrient values in the calories we eat. If I’m going to live to be 100 I suppose I should start caring about stuff like that.

I started reading a book for the first time since Don passed away. I used to read all the time, belonged to a book club and couldn’t leave the house without a book for fear I’d have a spare moment and be caught without something close at hand to read. I lost my concentration for reading when grief settled in for the long haul but for some reason an old classic caught my attention last week---Lost Horizon which was written in 1933---and since I escaped reading it in the past I figured it was something I needed to do. I’m not enjoying the writing style and the character development was so slow in the first 50 pages I could have baked brownies in between descriptions of the main character’s facial features. I’m three-quarters of the way through the book and the only memorial thing the 200 year old High Lama of Shangri-La has said was, “Laziness in doing stupid things can be a great virtue.” Maybe more enlightening dialogue will come in the next quarter of the book. I hope so. What good is longevity if wisdom doesn’t come with it? If I had picked up this book while Don was still alive I would have quit reading it by page fifty. But I’m afraid if I quit the book I won’t pick up another for years and I don’t want that to happen.

I talked to a woman from my old book club recently and she said it took her five years to find the concentration to read again after her husband passed away. Sad, isn’t it, that widowhood affects us in so many imperceptible ways. Ways that are not like changes in our weight where a doctor notices and becomes a cheerleader to set our bodies back to square one again. No one notices lost concentration and if they did they wouldn't ask us to send an accountability report when we’re trying to get it back. No one notices or expects an accountability report when tingles of sadness come with signing up for classes on cooking for one. We widows move ahead in such tiny steps---like the character development in Lost Horizon---that we can look like we’re standing still. But we’re not and that’s worth celebrating with Ben and Jerry’s. Oops! You didn’t hear that. ©


  1. I can't believe it, the High Lama died a few pages after I wrote this! I finished the book and I get the point of this story---I think---that the protagonist(Conway)finds what he's been looking for in Shangri-La but leaves out a sense of duty to help his friends go back to the outside world. Then he tried to get back to Shangri-La but it's left up to the reader's imagination whether not he actually makes it back. Optimist versus pessimist view of the world.

    I don't know. Maybe the whole theme of paradise found, paradise lost was in my subconscious when I was attracted to this book in the first place...a transference of the widowhood experience, love found, love lost. I'm thinking too much. LOL Anyway, I didn't like the book.

  2. I belong to two grief support groups and neither one does as much for me as your blog. I'm so glad I found you! I'm sorry we have so much in common. Please keep writing!

  3. Denise, I'm so glad to meet a fellow traveler down this widow's road. I, too, am sorry we have so much in common. Yesterday I actually had the thought that I should quit writing about my woos so your comment is very timely and much appreciated.

  4. I like the idea of a cheerleader for nudging our concentration back to full power. And how about an enthusiasm coach for optimistic awareness? In any case... what helped you sleep better - shoveling snow or reading Lost Horizons?

  5. I think it was the snow shoveling but I've been sleeping better in general the since the first anniversary of Don's passing.

    I was never so glad to finish a book as this one. I skim-read so much of it I couldn't pass a test on it if I had to take one. I will pick my next book more carefully.