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, March 17, 2013

Changing Circumstances and Dreams

While looking for a quotation for another blog post, I ran across the following words that I saved for later dissection and consumption:

"I’ve been thinking about the human spirit lately, that delicate, resilient, ageless part of us that holds fast to our dreams, hopes, needs, and wants. And I’ve been wondering, can we keep the changing circumstances of our life, both good and bad, from changing that essential part of us?”

It’s a wonderful string of words, don’t you think? But do they have the ring of universal truth? I’ll get to that later. They were written by Lilli Jolgren Day, a debut author of the book The Wonder of Ordinary Magic. After reading about the book on Amazon and at the author’s blog I don’t think the quote is from her novel but rather it’s a random thought dispersed in with her lovely photographs. But I was pleasantly surprised to see she was offering free downloads for Kindle readers. She says the book explores “grief, courage, vulnerability, family and connection” so it might be awhile until I read it. I’m not ready for that yet, to grieve again even for a fictional character. The story unfolds in a hospital room as family members come and go at the bedside of a young writer who is in a coma.  He is aware of what is going on around him and he struggles to finish writing---in his head---the book he’d been working on before his accident. Any teachers who might be reading this will laugh at my attempt to condense/review a book I’ve never read…so if I gave you a reason to smile today, your welcome.

Back to the quotation. Ms Day asks if we can keep the changing circumstances of our lives from changing our dreams, our hopes, needs and wants. To me, the answer is a no-brainer. Editing those things is inevitable with changes in our circumstances. It’s the changing circumstances of our lives that makes us grow and helps form the resilience she talks about. Candice Lightner founder of MADD would not have started the organization if not for the death of her daughter at the hands of a drunk driver. If not for the Civil War coming along Clara Barton probably would have died an anonymous teacher instead of becoming the driving force behind establishing the Red Cross. These are extreme examples but they illustrate my point that the changing circumstances of our lives can’t help but alter our dreams, hopes, needs and wants.

Now at the dawn of my second year of widowhood I’ve been cataloging my dreams, hopes, needs and wants to see what I’ve outgrown or no longer desire in my new, single-hood world and what I might like to add to the list. Widows all eventually get around to doing this; I have no doubt about that. And I’ve been thinking about moving my computer cabinet and kitchen table out of the breakfast nook and claim the area for an artist nook so I can take up painting again. Here’s the hang-up: it would involve making room in the library for my computer cabinet. I’ve started taking some of Don’s books to my antique booth to sell but the enormity of the job of downsizing his collection is overwhelming. It will take me forever if I don’t go into full battle mode with eBay listings. Believe it or not, going through his books is almost worse than purging his clothing from the closet was. He didn’t care about clothes, but he loved his books. Donating the books isn’t an option I like because many of them are too valuable and I’m too practical for that. Why does it have to be so hard to get from A to point B? After fourteen months of widowhood you’d think I’d get used to these bumps in the road, wouldn’t you. Sometimes I feel like a turtle crawling along the sand trying to keep the Sea of Enormous Possibilities in view, but wanting nothing more than to draw my head inside my shell until one of these widowhood induced issues goes away.

Art classes will be starting up soon at the sculpture park and when I go out to see the butterfly exhibit in April---the week of Don’s birthday and our anniversary---I’m going to sign up to become a member and pick up a class schedule. It’s a start. Maybe it will give this turtle the scent of the sea. We shall see if the changing circumstances of my life has closed or opened a door to past dreams.... ©


  1. Jean :

    your blog always makes me think & I love that so much that I m hooked on to it. I love the way you think spiritually. I bet you will find your new normal soon. Enjoy your art classes


  2. Thank you Asha. It's always a good day when you touch bases with me. I think you've been following my various blogs since my very first entry posted at SN 8-10 years ago.

  3. The art classes seem like such a good way to turn to a fresh new page and see what kind of life you begin to write there. Singlehood brings its own challenges, but one of its pleasures is the opportunity to think about what pleases you without worrying about how it will affect your spouse. I think it was in the second year of my mother's widowhood that it suddenly occurred to her in the supermarket one day that she could buy beets, a vegetable that she loved but that she hadn't cooked in more than 60 years because my father disliked them -- a seemingly small thing, but she called me to tell me about it. -Jean

  4. Thanks for sharing that! I've already had a similar light bulb moment in the super market to your mother. If I had someone to call about it, I would have. Small things like that keep popping up all the time.

    Years ago, my husband used to like to watch me paint and draw. My biggest concern about getting back into art at this point in time is it will distract me from my long term goal of downsizing so I can move into a condo next year. But I feel the pull...

  5. What progress, and all starting with the decision to take an art class. I just wrote a post about one thing leading to another. I'd say I copied you, but it seems that widows run into this rearrangement/purging from time to time.

    I cherish the thought of you painting in your breakfast nook.

  6. I think there is comfort in finding other widow blogs where the widow is tracking on the same path that we are.

  7. Jean, I wanted to let you know that I bought Bio-Cleen, on your recommendation. It came to the rescue last night during a toilet incident. Thank you!

  8. Great! Read the directions for your kind of system. For sewer systems you can use it once a month for a preventative and it really helps. Not sure if you use it the same way for septic tanks.