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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Birthdays and Butterfly Tales

A few days ago I woke up to find the sky was crying its heart out. One could think: It’s spring and it’s just RAIN! No mystery or message there. Or the poet in each of us could say the universe felt my pain, the sadness of it being my deceased husband’s birthday. Looking at the world through the prism of our emotions and life experiences makes us hear and see things differently. Well, duh! No mystery or message there either… unless you have the soul of a poet or song writer or you’re a drama queen of a widow like I am. Then you see symbolism, analogies and paradoxes every where.

If I lived near an ocean I’d probably put a message in a bottle and send it off each year on Don’s birthday. The vastness of the water appeals to me. It’s a place where my tear drops could merge with a million other droplets and hide in plain sight. (Yup, only a drama queen could write that last sentence.) If I lived near the Badlands I’d probably wander around the buttes and spires seeking peace being out in the forces of nature that created them. If I lived in Alaska I’d want to be where I could see the pristine glaciers and tundra plateaus on Don’s birthday and in Florida it would the subtropical wilderness in the Everglades where I’d want to touch bases with the wonders of nature and my inner most thoughts on life and loss. But since there are no oceans or national parks near-by I went off to the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit, another place where if we listen hard enough we can hear our own hearts speak their Truth.

In the huge conservatory I sat on one of benches along side a brick path that meanders its way around the tropical garden and pair of Common Morphos---four-five inch iridescent blue butterflies from Central and South American---kept flying within arms length of where I sat. Around and around they went, always flying in the same direction as they circled the greenhouse. I learned later that this particular species likes to follow river beds and paths and the two butterflies were most likely males patrolling and defending their territory. If you read my March 31st post about my less than admirable thoughts should I find a pair of butterflies that seemed to speak to me more than the others flying around, you’ll be as relieved as I was to know that this pair won me over. They made me smile right down to my toes.

Last week I wrote the following quote in someone's blog comment box: “It's spooky sometimes how the universe seems to speak to us...how it always seems to know when we need to hear this or that to help us break through the silence and shame in our own lives or to touch bases with our inner most thoughts, dreams and memories. I have a theory, though, that those messages are always out there for the taking but we don't usually tune into them until we're ready to hear them.”

So what message do I think the universe was sending me this week? I’m not sure but it probably has something to do with the Common Morpho having pure black bottom sides and bright blue top sides and when they’re resting on foliage with their wings folded up all you see is their drab black coloring, but when they open up their wings and take flight you get treated to long flashes of iridescent beauty….kind of like we widows who are working on finding our way out of our sorrow. We get flashes of a rich life we could have back if we just have the courage not to huddle on the sidelines in our drab widow's weed too long. ©

P.S. For all the widows out there who have dealt with plugged toilets and are wondering how my appointment with the plumber turned out: my issue came about---this time---because the fill value was leaking causing the bowl not to fill up with enough water. Over time not enough water was going through the pipes to keep stuff moving. If you’ve ever had a plugged toilet that you can’t plunge through but it would go down all by itself 5-6 hours later, he called that a soft plug which is caused by low water flow and the plug point is usually lower in the pipes (rather than inside the toilet)---this was what was happening to me. I even got to look down the sewer connection in the basement when he checked to make sure it wasn’t a more serious issue than described above. I like my plumbing service. They don’t mind teaching you stuff as they work. Anyway, all is well again in my kingdom. My toilets flush and I didn’t kill an innocent butterfly.


  1. And, my dear philosopher poet, the very name of this butterfly, the 'Common Morpho', says in these 'common' moments, our spirits metamorphose when we flop our little wings best we can.

    O.K...over the top

    1. Very well put! We are all philosopher poets when we give ourselves permission to be.