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, July 27, 2013

The Whispering Universe

“There is no such thing as objectivity. We are all just interpreting signals from the universe and trying to make sense of them. Dim, shaky, weak, static-y little signals that only hint at the complexity of a universe we cannot begin to understand.”
Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan

For the past three or four days a grasshopper has been walking around on my window screen, right where I can seen him while I play on the computer. Today I figured out why. He’s dinning on my parsley plant and he doesn’t even have to leave the screen to do it. He just leans forward and grabs a snack when ever he’s not crawling away from a tiny spider that is following him around like love sick puppy dog. Maybe I'm wrong about the love sick part. Maybe the spider thinks he’s David and the grasshopper is Goliath and he wants to do battle to re-claim his rightful place as King of the Widow Screen. Or maybe he thinks the grasshopper is a carnival ride but the grasshopper won’t stop long enough for the spider to hitch a ride. Thank goodness the spider isn’t black or I’d be imagining her to be an evil widow looking for a new victim to kill. What ever is going on I wish they’d both find something else to do because I’ve spent entirely too much time trying to figure out why they’ve invaded my tiny patch of the universe.

Did you know that grasshoppers in Chinese culture are fertility symbols and are often kept as family pets? When I read that I said to my grasshopper, “Your timing sucks. You should have shown up before I went through menopause.” Maybe if I’d been a ‘parsley farmer’ back then I’d have a couple of kids, now, who’d feel obligated to help their dear old mother figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Nope, I refuse to believe my grasshopper is of Asian descent and instead I’m declaring him to be an ancient Greek symbol of immortality. “Live long and prosper,” I can almost hear my grasshopper sing. (Or was that Mr. Spock I hear? Oh, I'm so confused!) But I know one thing for sure, if “he” lays eggs in my parsley pot I’m going to barf. By not killing the Orthoptera I could be single-handily starting a locust invasion that ends up destroying crops and starving everyone in the western hemisphere.

The whispering universe: Yesterday at the farmer’s market one of the flower stall vendors reminded me of the exact moment when I knew I was truly, deeply in love with Don. It was close to Valentine’s Day ten months after we met. Michigan was in an unusual weather pattern and the day was very spring-like, the sun was shining bright and snow was melting fast. I had a flower stall at the mall and I was so busy I could barely keep up with sales. Don, who normally would have been busy with his snowplow business, was at loose ends with no snow to plow or trucks to repair, so he came down to the mall to check out my new set up. When he saw how busy I was he pitched right in helping customers pick out flowers, taking money and making the wait for service fun for all of us. He was a natural born, people-person. The young guy working at a flower stall yesterday had the same gift of gab and twinkle in his eyes that Don had that day so long ago. And that sparkle said both guys were having the time of their lives and if I’m not mistaken they were both unabashedly aware that they looked hot---as in desirable---selling flowers for the women at their sides. Yes I remember love, Grasshopper. It knocked on my door one day and I let it in.

One of the things I like about reading other people’s blogs is we get a peek at the inner workings of their thought processes, to compare them to our own and discover that most of us are very much a like. We each experience happy and sad memories that we visit when ever something in the universe queues them up. We are each trying to figure out how we relate to the world around us, to the changes that occur---the grasshoppers that invade our lives and demand that we pay attention to them, the loves we've lost. We each have dreams and hopes and regrets. And what I regret most right now is that I don’t have enough aluminum foil in the house to make myself a set of antennas like my grasshopper has. If I did, I might get better reception on the “dim, shaky, weak, static-y little signals” coming in from the universe. I'd truly like to know how my life fits together in the grander scheme of things. Isn’t that what most of us want, to feel we are a part of something bigger than ourselves? ©

“There are no extra pieces in the universe.
Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill,
And every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.”
Deepak Chopra


  1. YES-I would like to know where I fit in. I have often felt like the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. My thought processes are not like other people that I know. I wonder, what am I suppose to do now. I don't seem to be doing anything very helpful to others. Just kind of hermitized here--what good am I anyway? Oh yes--old and still trying to figure out what it all means.

  2. Me too, Judy, regarding often feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Been that way my entire life. My theory---now that I'm a fan of reading blogs---is that the square peg feeling is far more common than I ever imagined in the past. I, too, keep struggling to understand the meaning of it and I'm starting to wonder if maybe we didn't try so hard we'd find that meaning easier. Maybe we're suppose to enjoy the simplest of things (like grasshoppers on screens) without the guilt of thinking that we should be doing something else.

  3. I love readings about the inner workings of people's minds, too. Some people blah blah blah about their inner workings, yet I find private people often have unique, interesting musings. I would have never thought to muse about grasshoppers.

    Have you found that your own piece within the puzzle is changing shape? Growing into new form?

  4. Yes, GowithFlow, I have found my own piece within the puzzle changing. For 12 years I knew who I was and what I was. I was a caregiver/wife and my escape was writing about the role. Before that I had my work to help define my puzzle piece. Now, as a widow, I'm struggling to grow into a new form and I'm not there yet. I have much in common with other widows in my peer group but I have just as much that separates us...the fact the I don't have children and grandchildren being a huge divide.

    1. I am aware of that huge divide as well. In essence I am childless. My two stepchildren lived less than a year with us in the beginning, and visited infrequently thereafter. Moreover, their birth mother loves them and raised them for the most part; it's appropriate their loyalty is with her.

  5. I can identify with that. I love my nieces as if they were daughters but they have a mother, father and a stepfather plus their own families that come first...as it should be. I'm very grateful when I am able to see them.