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, March 9, 2013

Mister Rogers and the Widow

I woke up this morning wishing I could hear Mister Rogers singing, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you me mine? Could you be mine?” But in my mind all I heard was Elvis singing, “I’m so lonesome I could cry.” Well, that’s going to change, I thought. I have places to go and things to do.

I took a two minute shower then played with my hair for a zillion minutes before calling it a lost cause. My hair dresser recently put low-lights in my hair and she made me look like a skunk. (Mercy me, there are so many anonymous older women on earth I need to apologize to for my wicked thoughts. It never dawned on me until I became a skunk myself that other women don’t necessarily request their salons give them coal black hair that doesn’t go with worn out skin. I thought they were just trying to recapture their youth.) But I wasn’t going to let my hair keep me home. I had a date with a snake. Literally. The senior citizen hall was hosting a presentation put on by the zoo’s outreach program. Besides, I knew there’d be a few ladies there with Easter egg pink or blue hair and maybe even another skunk-like do. It isn't fair that when you’re young and have “unique hair” it’s called cutting edge but when you’re my age people just think we need an intervention from a make-over squad.

I actually got to touch a half dozen animals and reptiles I’ve never touched before. Not that it was on my Bucket List to do so, but I do what I have to do fit in and it was interesting hearing behind-the-scenes stories about caring for the animals. Each day at a certain time, for example, a brown bear at the zoo beats on the metal door to the enclosure where their food is left while the other bears in the habitat keep right on doing what they’re doing until they hear the door open before they mosey on over. Isn’t that a lot like what we humans do? Some of us rush ahead trying to mold things to our timetable and liking while others among us wait for the future to unlock its door and then we walk through it.

I don't know if I'm a door-banger or a waiter but I wish I’d check myself in the mirror more often when I’m rushing off in an attempt to make new friends in the neighborhood. When I got home today I realized my sweater was buttoned up wrong. I went all day like that and no one told me! I suppose there is an etiquette rule that dictates one is not supposed to mention transgressions like these to the transgressor. But I’d rather be told so I only spend half a day---instead of all day---having people think I’m a few mistakes short of being shipped off to an assisted living facility. “Put another punch in her Old Person Card. Only seven more and off she goes.”

The senior hall is a god-send for widows, though, even if they don’t tell you when your sweater looks like you let the three year neighbor button you up. The summer newsletter was available today and I’ve already signed up for four day trips, three luncheons and three life enrichment lectures plus I have the monthly cooking-for-one lessons as well. I keep thinking I should do some of their drop-in exercise classes---yoga, line dancing, zumba, or pilates but contrary to popular belief not all old people like getting up at the crack of dawn---at least I don’t. Instead, I’m thinking of finding a beginner dog dancing or agility class or maybe another summer dog training class. I’ve got this four-legged creature living in the house and he needs something to look forward to besides having me follow him down the nature trail stealing his poop deposits.

Aside from working hard at trying to find myself a social life, I don’t know what else to do about the loneliness widowhood brought into my life. It’s starting to frustrate me and I’m having a terrible time controlling the impulse to stand on a street corner and sing like Mister Rogers: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you please, PLEASE be my friend!” Well, he didn’t beg like that but he was such a beloved educator, songwriter, minister, author and TV host I doubt he ever got so lonesome he could cry. ©


  1. What a great plan! These trips and classes sound like so much fun. I don't know what to tell you about the loneliness, but you are doing the right thing by getting out of bed and out the door.

  2. Thanks! They have a great program director at the senior hall and the events and trips are well attended. I'm thinking I need to start volunteering for some of these events to network into a circle of friends. It seems so strange to have this problem at my age. Don was my best friend and I never gave it a thought that I'd ever need another.

  3. Your blog is such a blessing to me. I too am battling the lonliness. I push myself out the door to attend functions thinking I'll meet other women closer to my age but alas. Either the age groups are 75 plus or 45 and under and I being 62 don't fit anywhere. I do have friends older but alas in the last year 4 of them died and yesterday when I learned another one went to a happier place I wanted to go out onto the street and scream ENOUGH now! Don't ever stop sharing with us. And just in case you find a group of widows under 75 send them my way!

    Denise in NC

  4. Denise, thank you so much for sharing that. I am less than a decade older than you and the senior hall has many women there of all ages over 60 BUT for some odd reason I feel younger than many of them. Sometimes I wonder if I don't have a distorted view of myself/my age and how I relate to others in my peer group. Maybe we all feel a different age than others perceive us to be? All I know is making friends is hard!