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, November 8, 2013

The Gifts This Widow Gives herself

Have you ever researched something online, then for the next few weeks everywhere you go on the internet that product pops up in a sidebar or banner across the top? Right now I’m dealing with the reappearing toilet ads and to make them disappear I have to find something else to research. What should it be? Thrill seekers vacation packages? Serenity retreats in Tibet? Spanx undergarments? Anything to get rid of the Toto toilet ads!

I went out to our trusty plumbing shop this week and ordered a new ADA toilet. “Big deal,” you’re saying, “what does that have to do with widowhood?” Actually, quite a lot in my case. You see, for the past twelve years of Don’s life we had a potty chair over a low toilet because that’s the combination that gave my right-side paralyzed husband the most independence when it came to butt wiping. It took an hour appointment with an occupational therapist to figure that one out, but I like the height of the potty chair so I kept on using after his passing. Then the seat broke and they won’t let you just order a new one, you have to buy a whole new potty chair. It seemed silly to put $150 into a potty chair when I could use that towards a real ADA toilet that is costing me $340 plus labor to install it. Little by little the reminders of my spouse are drifting away. Don’t get me wrong. I won’t miss the ugly potty chair but replacing it is still a sad reminder that my life will never be the same with Don gone from my world. <big sigh here>

The Red Hat Society business meeting tea was my Wednesday outing. We each signed 80 Christmas cards for the shoeboxes full of goodies we’ll be putting together next month for homeless vets and residents at our adopted nursing home. We also chit-chatted about past fun and future plans. Somewhere in the conversation a lady made a comment to me that I should write a book. And dumb me, I outed myself by saying, “Oh, I already have.” Long story short, one of the other ladies e-mailed me several hours later to say she found my books online and ordered them both. My “secret life” won’t be so secret after she reads them. What’s the worst that could happened? No one will want to sit next to me unless I sign a pledge of confidentiality? They’ll ask me to drop out of the group because they can’t trust me not to write about them next? See, I told you I’m a worry-wart. I’m actually quite careful not to use people’s names when I blog/write because I do value other people’s expectations of privacy when they are in social situations.

This week I also got the test results back on my bi-yearly checkup---I’m going to live!---and except for a thyroid issue we’ll have to deal with I’m doing fine. Changing the way I eat has made a big difference in my blood work. Under protest I got a breast exam, too, which turned out fine as I knew it would. Also this week, my antique booth got a quick overhaul. The last time I was there I put my notice in that I’ll be moving out at the end of the month. The whole booth is now marked down to 50% and sales should be good through Thanksgiving. If I had any brains I would be moving out after Christmas but I don’t want to drive that far out of town in snow season so I’m letting commonsense rule over greed.

Today I volunteered at the museum where I spent a boring afternoon with the director of the place. He’s not boring---quite the contrary---but there was very little traffic coming in and that’s not likely to change until next spring except for an occasional Boy Scouts troop and other school aged group tours. One of these days I’m going to volunteer to be there when they are scheduled but I’m almost afraid to do it for fear I’ll get bit by the bug to do it again. It's kind of fun to play with the Lincoln logs in the kiddie corner.

The second anniversary of Don’s passing comes the middle of January and my holiday season in between now and then sure is lining up differently this year. Last year, there were no parties or social engagements, nothing to look forward to but the dark side of grief. Not that I would have felt like partying last year but by contrast I can see the fruits of my efforts to build friendships the past 4-5 months. I still won’t have any place to go on the actually holidays, but there are plenty of other parties in my day planner starting next Saturday with a purse party. Don’t ask me what that is. All I know is I said, “yes,” when the invitation came in to our Red Hat chapter. ©


  1. I got one of those high toilets just before my first hip surgery--I love the thing!!! and now, going potty at someone else's house is really difficult--not only to get down to it, but to get up. I feel it and converting my tub into a big shower room are the best purchases I ever made!!! Oh--I too have to print out and use a hard copy to edit my stories--with a red pen no less--just like in the olden days. If I try to do it on the computer, I lose my train of thought. I need paper in hand, sitting in my chair where I can flip pages back and forth and make arrows where I want to move a paragraph, etc. I think my friend Chris is like up to 10,000 words so far--something like that. Have fun.

  2. I'm the same way when I go to visit someone. I have look before I sit for something to grab hold of to help me back up again.

    I'm glad I'm not the only old fashioned editor. Do you know if your friend, Chris, is going to any of the live, in-person writing events this weekend? We have 4-5 of them in the area, but I'm not going because I don't like night driving.

  3. Ha! I've been coveting a high toilet!! I'm 5'7" and regular toilets seem to be getting lower and lower ....

    I admire you both for this writing project. I don't think I could come up with 50,000 words ...

  4. AW: When you get settled you won't be sorry if you invest in a high toilet. They do make a difference as Judy above also attested to.

    The writing quota is roughly two blogs a day for me in terms of word count which isn't that hard for me to do, knowing it will only last a month. I will have to go back over it all, though for spelling, etc. The whole idea of the event is to just let the words flow quickly and worry about the rest later.

  5. I'm going to be thinking about doing the writing project next year! I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it. The most difficult thing for me is choosing a topic. So I need to be working on that!!

    And I AM going to get an high seater!