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, November 30, 2013

Widows in Gilded Cages and Other Irrelevant Things

My Thanksgiving Day spent with near strangers turned out good. I had a pleasant conversation with the hostess who is a nice lady and I was grateful that I wasn’t one of the two people she asked to say a prayer before we all made our way through the food line. I sat next to my nephew during dinner---the group was made up of people in his wife’s family---and the food was tasty. After we ate I was invited to play a card game called B.S. (or 'bull shit' if you’re trying to Google it). Playing the game involves lying and deceit and I played with a large group ages 15 to 78. I found out I can’t get away with lying. I got caught nearly every time.

Then I came home and spent the entire night and Black Friday being sick and living on anti-diarrhea pills and Gatorade. I don’t know if it was something I ate or if I caught one of the bugs going around but my symptoms were more in line with food poisoning. I’ve hesitated calling anyone who was at the dinner to find out if I was the only one who go sick. It just doesn’t feel right to do that. On the good side, I didn’t gain any weight over thanksgiving and I didn’t bring home any of the offered leftovers just to throw out and make me feel guilty if the source of my food poisoning turned out to be something else.

Saturday afternoon I got all the ‘guy bling’ out of my rented showcase/booth at the antique mall….all six shelves worth of gas station and car related advertising giveaways, many of which are smaller than a quarter. You just never know when you walk into a place like that if you’re going to find that coveted Mercedes stick pin for your ascot, a brass token worth a free gallon of gas for your new 1939 Desoto coupe` or a 1914 gauge to check the air pressure on your balloon tires. Need an empty, embossed glass oil bottle to fill and sell in front of your hardware store to those crazy people who think cars will catch on and horses will all be put out to pasture one day? I still have one left. This is the kind of stuff I’ve been selling at the mall since Don passed away. I’ve done well. Between eBay for the big stuff and the mall for small stuff, I’ve downsized an entire three stall garage full of gas station and car related stuff and I’m now down to a few boxes of smalls that I was able to bring home in the trunk of my car. I might try a smaller venue closer to home next spring or do eBay again. I haven’t decided.

When I found out what my final check from the mall will be, I promptly came home and ordered the smart phone I’d been lusting after and for a shocking $59.00 savings because I had ordered on Black Friday weekend. Who knew? Then I arranged for the cable company to come out to upgrade me with Wi-Fi in the house and I got a bundle that is actually going to save me $100 a month plus I’ll be getting some bells and whistles I hadn’t counted on. They even waved the installation fee because it was Black Friday weekend. Apparently they want old people like me to step into the 21th century, a place I’m not sure I belong but, what the heck I’m not getting any younger. We did try digital TV with on-demand a few years back but Don couldn’t manage the complexities of the remote so we sent it back in favor of letting him have more independence in his viewing habits. With both the new phone and the cable company I’m getting a money back 30 day free trial, so we shall see how tech ready I am.

With all the things going on in my life I’m still finding the time to get bored. Or maybe it’s because there IS a lot of stuff going on in my life that I’m bored. I’m going through the motions of a full life but I haven’t fallen into the life pattern I want for myself. And who can I blame for that? I’d quote Miss. Piggy here for an answer, but I don’t know how to spell in French. Does it explain anything if I say I’m starting to feel like a bird in a gilded cage again? I know that place well. It’s the cage where you think ‘stuff’ is going to make you happy, make you forget about the unobtainable things in your life. It’s that cage you sit in, knowing you’ve got it much better than many other people and it makes you feel ashamed that what do have isn’t enough to make you truly happy. You still want that intrinsic hug or kind word from someone special in your life, that phone call that never comes to say ‘I love you.’ You want human warmth and companionship or maybe the life you left behind.

In my case, the special people I miss the most---especially around the holidays---are all deceased so I know in order to find what is missing in my life I have to keep on getting out in the world, keep on accepting invitations from near strangers. And I need to keep on asking myself to dig deeper into the Kingdom of Jean in order to make peace with what was, what is and what will be. But one nagging question keeps dogging me: who am I when I can’t find my refection in the eyes of another? No man is an island---or so they say, but I feel like one, a storm-torn island.  

Oh, boo-hoo! I hear a voice in my head saying. If you had any talent you could write yourself a country western song and it would resonate with half the population. I’m guessing that resonate-with-half-the-population idea is an important clue along the road I’m traveling? Sometimes my inner voice talks in riddles, sometimes she's full of bull and other times she's spot on. Which is it tonight? Okay, I'm going to quit typing now and go sit in my gilded cage until I can figure it out or sing like a tufted titmouse---which ever comes first.   ©


  1. Sounds to me like you had a case of the Norvo Virus--nasty thing it is. Although, if it was just diarrhea, then perhaps you ate more then usual or too much fatty stuff? Anyway, it is gone and that is good. I don't think I will ever figure out who I am or what I want to be when I grow up. Perhaps we are just as we are? Perfect in every way--or at least, good enough? By the way--Tufted Titmouse ( or is the plural Titmice?) sing beautifully!!!

  2. I have no doubt it was a virus or food poisoning. This was different than normal diarrhea. I've been nursing a headache and an earache for two days now. I'm not sure it they're connected or not. I hate not feeling well.

    Funny you should say that about not knowing what you want to do when you grow up. I used to joke about that very thing before Don had his stroke and I was a 'taking classes junkie.' Maybe our restlessness IS just part of the human condition.

  3. Oh, my God, isn't it the truth? What good is a kingdom without someone to share it with. The good news is that you keep plucking away, and while life may not ever be what it was, I believe you will find what you need to make it work for you. I think about all this. One of us will be left to "carry on" as they say. Sometimes I think we are too dependent on one another. I'm always encouraging my husband to play golf, to stoke those "other" relationships, but of course, we fall into our comfortable patterns.

    Food poisoning. I bet you my kingdom it was food poisoning. The same thing happened to my sister a number of years ago. She attended a family gathering with her husband's family, and half of those who attended got sick. Like you, I would suffer in silence. I'd never have the nerve to mention it. Yikes.

  4. Belle, Before Don passed away I always felt I'd be the first to go and I worried more about finances than I did about being alone. I've always been a bit of a loner and I didn't think it would bother me. I was a bit of a loner alright...as long as Don was there to support me in my craziness. Oops, I'd forgotten about that. LOL

  5. I'm at the stage where a hug would be nice, a drive somewhere with a commentary instead of the silence and a shared experience with someone to talk it over with would be even better. I go about but in smaller circles than when I was young and certainly no eligible person has crossed my path so far.

    Yes to others I am rebuilding my new life, to me I am just marking time. Jean, we are probably doing the best we can for now. We have an aching void where our dear one was and that is not going to go away anytime soon. If this is going to last the rest of my life I had better take up a LOT of new hobbies...lol.

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Anonymous. I know you're right about the ache that probably won't go away anytime soon. Hobbies are going to be my salvation but some are hard to do in the winter when I don't get out as much.

  7. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear.
    Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say wonderful blog!