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

Monday, March 4, 2013

Survivor's Guilt and Carnivores

Painting by David Otto

Just when I start believing I’ve got nothing more to say about widowhood thoughts kick around inside my head that could shock the panties off a nun. Why do I do that to myself? The day started out happy enough. It was sunny and finally I was getting out of the house. Destination: the bookstore, office supply and post office, Hobby Lobby and Culver’s. Plus I wanted to buy a shower gift at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Most of these places have marvelous things begging for my attention and I was happy to give it to them. At the bookstore, for example, I spotted a book titled Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and for a few moments I was excited. The author is the personal chef for Ellen DeGeneres` but for some wacko reason lacking logic I didn’t expect all the recipes to use pretend meat. In the used book section I found a vegetarian sandwiches book and bought that instead. Pear and goat cheese grilled sandwiches? Who wouldn’t be fascinated by that…or dumb enough to think you’d need a cookbook to make one? (Wait! Did I just call myself dumb?) When I got to Bed, Bath and Beyond I found a five inch sandwich and panini griddle with a cast iron press---perfect for my learning to cook-for-one project. Things were going great.

Near the end of my shopping trip I was eating a delicious Culver’s butter burger and trying hard not to see the sad faced cow in my head that donated the hamburger when it hit me how much Don used to love the “trap line” of stores I’d just checked out. In the bookstore he’d sit in the coffee shop trolling for cappuccino fans that might enjoy translating his aphasia language disorder into English. I’d come back to collect him and he was never at the table where I left him. At Culver’s his silly, wordless antics would make me laugh and forget how much I love pastoral settings with cows grazing in the summer sun. In April I’m going to be the same age as Don was when he died and then the year after that I’ll be older than him. Darn it, that’s not fair!

Do you know what else isn’t fair? Gift registers.Yup, I’m on the Debbie Downer train now and it keeps right on rolling as I wonder why widows can’t register at Bed, Bath and Beyond for our transition from living in a two-by-two world to living alone. The widowhood required redecorating alone can cost a fortune! Some of the stuff young people think they need fascinates me, though. The bride I was shopping for wanted two silicone baking mats for $25 each. I’ve had my wire cooling racks since Ring was a pup and he died in 1978. They still sell those wire racks…right next to the silicone mats and they only cost $9.00 a pair. From my bad mood view, you’d better be baking cookies that could win an episode of Sweet Genius to make $50 worth of mats make sense.

But the world doesn’t always make sense, does it. Why do we humans keep thinking it should? We find love then lose it again and throw ourselves more than a couple of pity parties before shoving a steel rod up our backs and walking forward. It’s a miracle! No more tears. Then one day some sad soul is singing about lost love on the radio and we’re left wondering how the hell that guy got inside our heads to flip the Good Mood switch to Melancholy. In a flash our emotions go from holding on to reality to wishing for the past. Does it make sense that I should enjoy a leisurely shopping trip while Don is dead? Is this my new reality---feeling guilty for getting happily involved in retail therapy? The Debbie Downer train needs to pull up at the station and let me off so I can quit asking these beat-the-widow-up type questions!

One last question, though, I’ve got to ask. If there’s a heaven or a Great Unknown as I prefer to call it, do you think the cows up there are forgiving? I can’t help it. I enjoy a good, brown sugar and bourbon marinaded Black Angus steak once in a while. And I’m only exploring the worlds of vegan and vegetarian because I can’t eat a whole beef roast all by myself. Woo is me, the widow who thinks too much. ©

The documentation of my first year of my widowhood is now available in a book format that can be previewed and/or ordered here.


  1. The bit about the vegan cookbook made me chuckle. Somewhere I still have the first vegetarian cookbook I bought, called something like "Meatless Meals." I bought it through a cookbook club, so I hadn't actually looked at it -- which turned out to be a mistake because the cookbook was all about fixing fake meat. I don't think I ever cooked a single recipe from that cookbook; I just don't get the aesthetic (or epicurean) appeal of fake meat. On the other hand, the sandwich and panini griddle sounds like something that could improve the quality of my life :-). -Jean

  2. Thank you for the comment! I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't get the 'fake meat' thing. Since writing this post I have used the little griddle twice and really loved it...a great addition to my kitchen for only $10.00. It cleans up in a breeze and is just the right size for one sandwich.