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, December 14, 2013

The Widow's Quilt and Tears

After Don’s stroke we had two auctions to downsize our lives---one of Don’s business equipment and collectible stuff that was housed in a large pole barn and one of household stuff, my wedding rental equipment and various stuff we couldn’t take to the one bedroom apartment we had moved into as we waited for our wheelchair accessible house to get built. At the time I had several half-done quilts that sold at auction and I think of those quilts every once in a while, wondering if they ever got finished. Their plight reminds me of my mother. In the year before she died she made a New Year’s Resolution to finish every project she ever started or dreamed of starting. She did things like refinish pieces of furniture she wanted handed down in the family. She finished all her knitting projects and she painted works of art for everyone she cared about. And then she died. It wasn't as if she had advanced warning of her impending death to make her want to finish up the loose ends of her life. She died from something totally unforeseen.

Since the auctions I managed to make another quilt, a queen-sized top that has been waiting ten plus years for me to mate it with its backing. Just before Don died, I had decided to take the quilt top to a long-arm machine quilting service---rather than me finishing up the project by hand---but it still hangs in the closet. I think I’m afraid if it gets finished then I’ll died of something unforeseen like my mom and Don did. Totally irrational thinking I know but, hey, I never claimed to be a sane and clear thinking person.

I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself because I missed the Red Hat Society Christmas party. I wasn’t willing to drive ten miles on secondary roads, through a winter advisory that included up to six inches of blowing snow. What’s wrong with me? From the mass e-mails going back and forth this morning I was the only one who canceled out. But then again most of the other women live in my adapted home town which is seven miles closer to the party location plus they all have kids/grandchildren who could pull them out of a ditch should they get into trouble. Two days ago there was a forty car pileup near-by and the roads have only gotten worse since then. The odds were high, in my opinion, that my little Malibu would have been in a ditch and I’d miss the party anyway. At times like this I miss having a four wheel drive pickup truck with an orange flasher on top. I felt safe in that vehicle and I was spoiled to have one at my disposal for so many decades. Life changes. We grow old and loss our self-confidence. Well, at least I seem to be losing mine when it comes to winter driving, not that I was ever very brave without my pickup truck.

So what was all that happy crap I wrote about on December 9th--choosing our change? I am sitting here choosing to make myself melancholy thinking about unfinished quilts and my unfinished life and wishing the former could get finished and the latter could go on forever. If I wasn’t so old I’d think I’m having PMS. I’m up one day then down with just a little hiccup in my master plan for making a new life for myself. No party. Boohoo. I should survive the disappointment, don't you think? After missing the party today I had gone out to get my mail and saw that a neighbor had snow-blown my sidewalk. His kindness brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t looking forward to shoveling all that snow. I don’t know the guy very well but he was the very first neighbor to introduce himself when we moved in and I could tell by the way he always treated my disabled husband that the man has a good heart. Why should this neighbor’s kindness make me weepy today of all days? I know, I’m a woman and women don’t need an excuse for turning into tear factories.

Oh, well, if I’m down today then that means I’ll be up tomorrow….or by Tuesday at the latest. The weather will be better by Tuesday and I have another party to go to that afternoon. This one, within a couple of miles of home. ©

My unfinished quilt that I call "Keeping me Sane" made while we were living in the apartment.

      If you right click on the photo you can open it up in a new window to enlarge it full screen.


  1. That quilt is quite beautiful! Maybe finishing it will free up any bottlenecks you're feeling? This from one who always has projects in various states of completion...

  2. Thank you. I think you may be right, GowithFlo. If Don hadn't died it probably would have gotten done by now. I had started researching and collecting information on places to take it.

  3. OHMYGOSH--that quilt is gorgeous!!! I have many projects going and when I finish one, it makes me uneasy until I can get another one going--I usually have two at a time. As for being down and weepy--I was that way the end of last week. It comes and it goes..and this time of year, it is very prevalent and NOTHING would have taken me out on the roads today-- nothing. We have had 19 hours of continual snow.

  4. Thank you. I just made blocks to amuse myself and then had to figure out how to put them together.

    Thank you for saying that about the roads. I just couldn't believe I was the only one of the R.H. ladies who baled out today and it made me feel so old and insecure to think other in my peer group would dare take on the roads, and I didn't.

  5. I think you are WISE to not drive in inclement weather ... or even predicted bad weather .... nothing is more important than your life! Including Christmas parties! I remembering calling to cancel a dental appointment that I was on my way to keeping when snow started. They were incredulous but my little town is filled with hills and curves, especially on my street.

    I love your quilt! I so admire artists who can do these. Such a work of love. I don't know how you guys can give them away to others .... my sister in law makes one for each new baby born into the family, including my grandson! Such a work of art. She also made one for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary with photos of all six kids throughout. Each fabric was chosen for a specific reason. I'm lucky to have that one here with me!

    Stay warm and stay safe!

  6. Jean :

    that quilt is gorgeous, hope you finished it. I am glad you decided going out for party in that kind of weather, I am sure you will enjoy yourself more in your next Christmas party

    sending you hugs for feeling better soon.


  7. Thank you both for your comments on the quilt. I haven't made enough of them to give them away. I wish I had thought about making one for my great-great nephew being born in April. I couldn't get one done in that short length of time.

    Thanks for the cyber hug, Asha. I needed/need it still.

  8. That quilt is gorgeous. I always thought I'd learn to quilt, but I never did and I think my eyes are too far gone now.

    I'm sorry you didn't get to your party, but you made the wise decision. Better safe than sorry.

    This is the time of year for melancholy and revisiting those old memories. I'm having a little of that too. I guess there's an epidemic. I hope your next party is doable.

  9. Thanks, Bella. I think I'm having more weepy days this year than last. I'm guessing I had high expectations set too high this year. Only 1-2 inches of snow forecast for Tuesday so I should be able to get out of the house by then/the next party.

    AW: Thanks for the information. That was sweet of you!!!!!!!!

  10. I think it was sensible to not drive on a night like that, so please do be gentle with yourself there. As for the choice, we can't control everything. This is sad. You're letting yourself feel it. What you are choosing is not to let it bury you, and you are certainly not buried. You've thrown yourself into all sorts of groups and projects and service and...life these past months. I raise a toast to you!

    And yes, that quilt is beautiful and vibrant. What a great long-term project.

  11. Oh, Fichereader...I so respect your words and counsel. l really do try to control everything and no one can.