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 25, 2013

Past, Present and Future

Part of my master plan for building a new life in my post-Don world involves volunteering at a small museum that is having its grand opening this weekend in the small town where my husband grew up. It’s a tourist town, now, with a lots of neat things going on and I’ve come to love the place as much as he did. This weekend is also the town’s Fall Festival and one of the fun things to do is watch crafters make life-sized scarecrows that are sold for charity. It’s a popular active and you can see people all over town dragging scarecrows to their cars or leaning them up against buildings as they eat and shop at the outdoor venues. Also in town is a jazz band that walks the streets leading people Pied Piper style past various places of interest in much the same way walking jazz bands have been known to lead mourners to burial sites in the Deep South. This year, one of the places the band will lead the tourists is to the museum where I’ll be helping with the opening and the fundraiser auction.

Yesterday I took part in a work session with other museum volunteers. Our mission was to make baskets up of assorted small items and gift certificates that have been donated to our auction committee. It was right up my alley, being an x-floral designer with a degree in art. I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging but it became apparent early on that I had the best eye for arranging stuff so the baskets looked appealing and everything that needed to show was showing. So that became my job. Another woman fell into the best bow maker role, another lady became the best at filling out the documentation needed and so on. Our little assembly line worked well together and we had fun doing it. In three hours’ time we got all the cellophane-clad baskets made and parked in our host’s extra bedrooms. Friday we’ll transport them to the building where our silent, basket auction will run in conjunction with our live auction outside. I can hardly wait. I already know I’m going to bid on some cooking lessons with a five star chef and some spa treatments. Can you believe the chef lessons have a value of a $100 per class and they’re not even private lessons!

The woman who hosted our “basket party” lives directly across the street from the cemetery where Don’s headstone resides so I stopped in for a visit before going home. It’s been twenty months since he died so it took me by surprised at how quickly I got teary-eyed standing there looking at his name carved in marble. I’m moving on---or I should say I’m doing my best to move on and yet I still miss having him in my life. Should leaving one chapter in my life and moving on to the next bring sadness this far out? I don't know. But I do know it would be sad if I kept reading the same page over and over again, never moving on to see what happens next.

This week I also made a run up to my antique booth/locked showcase to reorganize the space. I’m running some “bottom shelf” sales, reducing prices 50% with the goal of maybe moving out at the end of October. This is such a hard decision to make! I rented the space about four months after Don died and between the booth and eBay I’ve sold off most of my husband’s extensive collection of gas station memorabilia---gas pumps, globes, porcelain signs and cans going back to the early 1900s. Now I’m left with his smaller, less valuable collectables---gas station give-aways, maps, etc.---and I’m burned out on researching, pricing and selling. What’s left doesn’t take up much space, still at my age it’s wise to keep downsizing. But sometimes, when I go to the Land of Pricing Hell, it feels like I’m living my life in reverse or metaphorically reading that same page over and over again that I’ve been trying so hard to avoid doing. Oh, well, as my friend Scarlett O’Hara would say, “I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.” With that said, I’m going back to researching and writing my own spoof obituary. Apparently, I really enjoyed my life as a CIA black bag operative. ©


  1. I think we will always be a little teary eyed when missing our guys. Even ten years from now. Our 29th anniversary is Saturday and I'm already spilling tears today. It's not fair that all our plans and adventures were foiled. Despite being 79, he was taken TOO young. He was a perfect health specimen ... worked out a lot, took all the vitamins and supplements, and took extraordinary care of his skin.

    Damned cancer.

  2. I know a lot of widows that are still stuck in the "grief" chapter, but, I think it is better emotionally to close it and move on. Although, the memories from the chapter BEFORE the one on grief, still jump in every now and then, we remember the words and the story line. Fred's first job was managing a gas station in Wisconsin--later he worked for Clark Oil. He had a lot of gas station memorabilia too, but had sold most of it before he arrived on MY scene. Have a good time at the Grand Opening--I'll bet the floral baskets are gorgeous!!

  3. AW: I think you're right that there will always be a few 'triggers' left to make we widows teary-eyed on occasion even though I also believe they will get farther and farther apart and last for shorter and shorter periods of time.

    Judy: I know a few widows who are stuck in the 'grief' chapter, too, and I certainly don't want to be one. And I don't think I am. In fact I know I'm farther along on the 'grief' scale than some others who measure their widowhood in years, not months.
    If your Fred ever went to any of the gas station memorabilia conventions and swap meets when he was collecting we probably ran into him.