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, September 18, 2013

Building a Social Life, Enacting the Master Plan

I’m exhausted. Being a social butterfly is not easy and it’s starting to feel like a job. You know the drill. Rush to get ready, drive somewhere in heavy traffic, grabbing a cup of Starbucks along the way.  Get back home with tired feet and an over stimulated brain. In the past few days I’ve been to a Red Hat walk-about, an ice sculpturing demonstration and the opening of a glass sculpture exhibit at one of the top 100 most-visited art museums in the world.

The walk-about was…well, fattening. The indoor/outdoor farmers and specialty foods vendors market where we went had everything from whiskey truffles to fresh fish that cost $45.00 a pound. Round that out with all the fruits and vegetables in season plus enough bake goods, salads and butchered meat to fill a cruise ship and a doubt anyone could leave the place empty-handed. One vendor was selling pie for $9.00 a narrow slice. Who pays that much for pie? 

The self-appointed trail blazer in our group as we made our way around the market was pushing a walker at warp speed and wearing bright purple oriental-style silk pajamas, a huge red hat and enough jewelry to stock a small store. One of her rings was flashing different colored lights and in my mind I nicknamed her Rudolph. She’s nearly a decade older than me and is quite a character. I liked her instantly. She is signed up for a 10 day overseas tour through our senior hall and I’m thinking the thirty-something facilitator will have trouble keeping up with her.

The market was my first experience in nearly a decade of walking about in public all decked out in red and purple. I had forgotten about the people who stop Red Hatters and want to take our pictures. “You ladies look FABULOUS,” one woman said as she pointed her cell phone camera at us. And you couldn’t help noticing how many smiles we put on people’s faces…whether they were laughing with us or at us is mystery I don’t care to solve. But I’m told it’s not unusual for young guys to stop chapter members in full color and ask how they can get their mothers involved. How sweet it would be to have a son like that who acknowledges older women having fun and wants to see his mom doing the same.

Monday, a perfect fall day here in Michigan, I sat under the pavilion behind the senior hall watching a member of the ice carving team from the culinary arts school in town as he carved a howling wolf out of a 400 pound block of ice. I didn't even know culinary schools send ice carving teams to competitions against one another. It amazes me that someone so talented enjoys creating three dimensional art forms that will disappear so quickly. 

Then Tuesday I went to a dessert reception for a new exhibition opening up at the sculpture park where I became a member last spring, my first art opening in more years than I care to count. I knew it would be well attended---people fly in from all over the states for their openings---but I didn’t expect them to fill up a 600 seat auditorium for the artists’ panel discussion. Wow! I’m not a fan of contemporary art but hearing artists from around the world---some talking through interpreters---talk about their work was an exciting experience and many of their pieces were absolutely mind boggling. One of my widowhood goals is to get back into the world of art so I drank in the atmosphere for as long as I could.

All this running around had me dreaming last night of being in an apartment building trying to find Don. Looking for something in a place with lots of doors is a reoccurring dream for me but I don’t always know what I’m looking for. Last night’s variation had me feeling around the tops of door frames for keys to doors that wouldn’t open. Near the end of the dream I actually did find my late husband sitting on a short retainer wall when I came out of one building and was headed towards another. When I sat down beside him he put his arm around me and said, “I’ll always be your friend.” “Ya, great!” I nearly shouted back. I was so mad at him for saying that. What good is a friend I can only see in my dreams? And I wanted to hear him say “I love you” or “I miss you as much as you miss me.” I wanted to hear that finding him was real and his dying was a dream. I woke up with tears on my cheeks and a sense of sadness trying to find a way to mess up my master plan for building a social life in my widowhood world. ©

Note: Glass work above---Cascade---was made by Kait Rhoads. It measures about three foot tall and is amazing to see in person.


  1. I feel sad, too, reading about your dream searching for the keys to open doors. But I am struck with gratitude for Don's appearance. He so believes in you. I believe in you, too.

    Youre aware that I recently concluded that living alone suits me, after a foray into living with a boyfriend. Still, I've written a profile for Matchdotcom and joined the site. Why??? I hesitate to post it and entertain the responses. In confusion I wrote to my departed husband "Am I supposed to do this? Look for someone interesting to go to Boston and eat out with? Someone enchanting (a gentleman)? " I deserve that", came his gentle agreement.

    Granted this conversation took place in my spirit, as did yours. But far be it for me to limit communication with our late husbands to the sound waves that reach our ears.

    Don is an amazing man, who loves you. This is coming through loud and clear. Hang in there, dear Mistress of Merry Mishaps.

  2. Thank you for sharing that, gowitheflo. Only another widow understands what's it's like to have 'conversations' with our died spouses whether they take the form of nighttime or daytime dreams. I suspect we're just looking for validation for the direction our lives are going from the one person whose opinion we value the most.

  3. I don't like waking up with tears on my face--or with my mouth wide open in a scream. Perhaps the closed doors and you trying to open them has to do with your finding your way--wanting to know which door to open. What's behind Door Number One. Or, should I choose Door Number Two. I don't open any doors and that probably, is out of fear.

  4. Tear aren't as bad as waking up with a scream. I did that recently, too, and it's been years and years since that's happened. I took the closed doors to mean the same thing you did..sort of. I think I was looking to find a new life for myself much as I've been doing while awake.