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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting Lost in the Presence, Going Back to the Past

My doctor on Monday ordered a vascular carotid artery duplex scan and before I even got home the scheduler had left a message on my answering machine that I had to go in for the test on Friday, today. I called back insisting that I didn’t do tests in their downtown location “so schedule me at the hospital,” which is located in the suburbs. “We could do that,” the woman said, “but your doctor wants this test done in a timely manner and you’d have to wait three weeks to get in there.” Crap, I thought, by then snow could be flying and I don’t do snow either. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said when I whined about hating downtown driving. “There’s nothing to it. We’re just off the expressway and our parking ramp has very gentle turns.”

What she didn’t say is that the expressway has an S curve in the middle of the downtown area and off the S curve I’d have to take the connection to another expressway before existing again to their location, plus there is construction going on in the area. Under the best conditions, these are the most dangerous pinch points in the whole metro area of over 1,000,000 people. And I got lost. Thankfully, I left early enough so I could get myself turned around and back up north to familiar territory where I could start all over again. This time I routed myself without using the expressways which took my past one pit bull fight in progress and two hookers selling their wares but I got to the medical building in time. The next time some anonymous scheduler tells me to go to that building I’m going to tell her or him that I’d rather die waiting for an appointment at the hospital than to die from the stress of going downtown. On the good side, the woman who did the test said if she had found anything significant they wouldn’t let me leave. That was comforting until I remembered that they told my husband that he had passed his yearly physical with flying colors then two days later he had a massive stroke.

Change of Topic: For four-five years I‘ve wanted to take part in national novel writer’s month which takes place in November. This year I decided to go for it. In case you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, this is what their website says: “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” It’s not all online either. Lots of cities, including mine, have meet-ups at local coffee shops and food courts over the month so you can interact in person with others working on a novel.

The website calls people like me ‘rebels’ because we intent to break the rule about only writing fiction and/or the rule about writing all your words in November. I won’t be getting a “merit badge” at the end but I don’t care. I just want the pressure of writing with a deadline. They don’t mind rebels and the website offers a whole section for us to interact with one another. I’ll be working on a memoir/humor book about living with a spouse with severe language disorders, and I’ve actually got seven years of daily note writings that needs to be rewritten and ruthlessly edited down into a cohesive book.

As a widow it might not be easy reviewing what I wrote while watching my husband cope with his post-stroke life but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have a story to tell about a man who inspired just about everyone he met and thus my widow’s journey will be taking this detour to the past. I might get overwhelmed. I might give up in the first week. Or I might be a glutton for punishment and follow through. My November social calendar is also filling up and I’m beginning to wonder where I’ll find the time to sleep. Still,1,667 words a day is doable to make the word count quota for the ‘”write-athon.” After reading though the posts on the rebel forums I discovered I’m not the only widow doing a memoir which shouldn’t surprise anyone who reads blogs written by women. Whether we are using the book idea to put a period on the past or to keep ourselves attached to the past is a question I’ll let others decide. All I know is I will not be going to the downtown Starbucks in November for one of the local meet-ups of NaNoWriMo. ©


  1. My friend writer, is doing it too. She did it last year also. I hope you still have time to post once in awhile, LOL. I say, GO FOR IT--if nothing else, it will be cathartic for you! I agree about going to the BIG place to get tests done. I REFUSE to drive to Ann Arbor and will wait to get the tests done here at their satellite hospital--only a mile down the road. So there! I'm sure your carotid artery dopplar sonogram will be just fine. It is a good idea to get one done every few years.

  2. Wow, how interesting that you have a friend doing the NaNoWriMo. She must have had fun to do it again. You like to write children's books, You should give it a try yourself, maybe a book for teenagers that your grandchildren would like.

  3. I'm famous for taking wrong turns, but I don't believe I've ever come across anything as crazy as a pit bull fight... maybe a few hookers, but no pit bulls.

    Much luck on your novel. It sounds overwhelming, but I'm sure you're up to it.

  4. Thank you Bella, I need all the luck I can get.

  5. Now that IS a challenge! I agree that you should just go for it. Last year a teenage friend did it and was so proud of herself!

    I can ONLY drive with GPS. This rental car does not have it (and I'm too cheap to pay $10/day) but my iPhone has an okay version. Since I'm going to have to buy a car upon my return to Oregon, that is my number one option. And still I will hope to NOT have to venture downtown .. except during daylight hours and without rain and traffic. That's not asking tooooo much, is it?

    Did you Dr. say WHY that test needed to be done? Suspect something? Or just a baseline. I just hate worrying about that kind of stuff ...

  6. Gosh, I can't believe how many people have heard of NaNoWriMo! Makes me want to do it all the more.

    I don't have a GPS and never really wanted one. I do go online and decide on a route and take my paper folding "GPS" in case I have to make changes on the fly. I rarely get lost and it usually involves construction when I do.

    As for the test, I've been experiencing some discomfort below my ear. Ear doctor said it was a dental issue. Dentist said it was an ear issue. My internist just wanted to check it out since I did have a mini stroke back 30 years ago.

  7. Any word on the results of your test? I so want you to be O.K.

    As this Nanowrimo gears up, I hope you get 'in the flow' and discover, or uncover what is in your years of notes. Story telling is in your bones, so even if you accomplish a first draft by the end of November, it can be honed later, can't it?

    I'll not expect to hear too much from you in November, but I'm sending you lots of 'attagirl's. You go, Jean!

  8. Thanks for asking. No word yet. I had blood tests and urine tests done, too, so I don't expect to hear back until Thursday or Friday on all of it.

    In November I plan to post a 'flashback Wednesday' here of essays I wrote years ago that are till relevant today---I have two in the scheduler already---and to do an update post over the weekends. Writing 2,000 words a day is really doable for me and still get other stuff done.

    Yes, you can edit and hone your book later. In fact, the whole idea is to write fast and furious without looking back. Helps the creativity. I have been re-reading my notes taken over 7 years and am finding all kinds of things I had forgotten about. I'm glad I decided to do this project!