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, January 1, 2014

The Second New Year's Eve

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve I wore out the Hallmark and LifeTime channels watching Christmas movies, my first time doing a marathon like that. (I know, I’m a gluten for punishment.) Last night, all I saw of the New Year’s Eve festivities on TV was the final 28 seconds of the ball dropping in Time Square then I turned back to a stupid Christmas movie about a three-years-out widow who found love again. Did you know that a surprising number of Christmas movies feature widows finding love again? I didn’t. Other popular themes seem to be the workaholics and the confirmed bachelors/bachelorettes who find love. Christmas, apparently for some script writers, means it’s a good time for romance. Queue the mistletoe and the people who invite their single friends home for the holidays who accidentally meet their neighbor/brother/uncle/the lonely widow who sings in choir or the single father who owns a coffee shop and you have a genre holiday movie. And I can think of at least three house swapping Christmas romance movies including the one last night. There seems to be a rule about house swapping movies that requires not one, but two couples to fall in love and at least one of the four must be widowed.

The overload of romance Christmas movies didn’t bother me---it’s Hallmark and LifeTime, after all and they do genre, formula films so I knew what I was in for---but what really got me irritated with the Christmas movies is how many costume directors don’t seem to know that snow is cold! They have couples walking along snowy streets, having snowball fights and watching tree lighting ceremonies while wearing nothing more than summer weight clothing. Hint to movie makers who grew up where it never snows: when there’s two foot of that white stuff on the ground and snow is gently falling, it’s below 32 degrees! Your actors should be wearing coats unless you show them with their teeth chattering so much they couldn’t find each other’s mouths for a romantic, winter kiss if they tried. And high heels might be sexy but they aren’t ski lodge and icy sidewalks friendly.

One widow themed Christmas movie I saw twice and on one level it intrigued me because it feathered the woman’s devoted husband who appeared as a ghost that only her teenage son could see until near the end of the film when the ghost finally appeared to his wife as well. The ghost said she couldn’t see or feel him because she was still mad about him dying and leaving her with so much debt and responsibility. Thus, he couldn’t go on to where ever it is that ghosts/spirits go. But true to genre romance films along came a white knight, aka her son’s school counselor and a widower himself, who saves her from being alone and lonely. She finally forgives her died husband allowing his ghost to pop into her life to say a final goodbye. The timeline of her finding love again so closely following her husband’s car accident and his spirit appearing in her life was totally unrealistic and silly in my opinion but it got me thinking about my experience with Don’s ghost in the house. (I wrote about here.)

At the time I thought I had a ghost in the house I vacillated between thinking there had to be a logical explanation for what was going on with my wedding ring appearing where I didn’t leave it and thinking that Don’s spirit was playing head games with me. But after all this time passing with no more ‘ring incidences’ the most logical explanation leads me to believe spirits do hang around awhile after the physical body dies. Before then, I believed spirits and ghosts fell in the realm of pure fiction. Like the teenager in the movie who felt his dad around him, I could feel Don around me until sometime this past summer when one day I woke up and couldn’t feel him close-by anymore. Even though life got lonelier after that revelation I viewed it as widowhood progress. It was like Don had decided I was standing on solid ground and I didn’t need handholding anymore.

I’m glad the holidays are over. They started out with so much promise but ended in a whimper. I didn’t manage my holiday expectations very well and that led to unnecessary disappointments. I also didn’t make any resolutions to start the New Year which, except for last year, is out of character for me. For 2013 instead of resolutions I used a one word mantra of ‘courage’ and that worked well for me. I repeated it many times over the first part of the year, to get me out of my comfort zone. For 2014 I thought about picking ‘choose your change’ as a mantra for the new year but then I decided that makes it sound like I’m expecting a whole year of transition. Instead, I going with the mantra of ‘seek contentment’ which I hope will help me keep a tighter lid on my expectations and help me to settle in, building within the social circles I established last year. I have the bones to a more satisfying life, I just need to flesh it out.

Whatever you’re goals for 2014, I hope we'll all find success in the coming months. ©


  1. Jean :

    wanted to wish you happy, healthy & Prosperous New Year. I love your one word mantra. I will borrow your seek contentment mantra for this year too.


  2. Great! We can compare progress with our mantras as the year goes by. Hope you and your family have a good New Year!

  3. Happy New Year!! I love 2014's mantra. What is more important than contentment?

  4. Wow! You survived those movies with your sanity intact. Your descriptions are hilarious - I think I'll go out in the blizzard tonight in my high heels and meet the lonely widower who just happens to get stuck in his pick up at the end of my driveway.

    You've got me thinking. Managing expectations is power. You've got the power and you've got the sanity. What a gorgeous combination!

  5. Thanks, AW! Contentment really is what is missing in my life right now.

    GowiththeFlow: I actually watched all those Christmas movies in an attempt to desensitize myself to the holidays---at least that was the plan and I think it worked to some degree. After awhile all the holiday happiness seemed so unrealistic and fairytale like. It was the Grinch's up against those who go all out for the holiday with nothing in between.

  6. Thanks for watching those shows so I don't have to. ;) All that wish fulfillment is pretty sappy, but I can see how it ropes you in.

    Ah, contentment. It evaded me for most of 2013. I've little doubt that you'll find that contentment, now that you're looking for it. I entered these holidays with lowered expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised at the simple pleasures I found. It's a fine line--lower expectations without being pessimistic or grumpy. You're not grumpy, though, so that should be a problem.

  7. LoL No problem, Fichereader. With Valintine's Day coming next, I will probably watch enough of those movies for both of us, too, before I'm ready to wrap my brain around something more complicated. I was knitting a complicated pattern baby blanket while watching those movies so it helped not to have to concentrate on hard to follow plots while knitting.

  8. I'm a sucker for those made-for-TV Christmas movies, too. They're perfect for wrapping gifts by. I think the answer about the clothing may be that all those movies are filmed in southern California, where it's 70 degrees while they're filming and the snow is fake. When I lived there briefly in 1969-70, I couldn't get over the fact that you couldn't by a plan green, fresh Christmas tree; they all came sprayed with fake snow -- usually in psychedelic colors. (My ex-husband suggested the reason was that these trees were so old that the fake snow was the only thing keeping the needles on the branches.) Wishing you a happy -- or contented -- 2014 :-) -Jean

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only one, Stepintofuture, who admits to watching those movies.

    I can't even picture trees in psychedelic colored Christmas trees! I was doing a lot of professional decorating for rich people and private clubs back in that same era and I never once put up a psychedelic tree.

    Happy New Year to you...I know you're going to be contented and happy with your retirement coming.

  10. I have a pragmatic, no nonsense friend who lived across the street from me years ago. One day she came over and told me that a necklace her grandmother gave her had disappeared months ago. When she was fooling around with her curtains, she found the necklace on top of the cornice box. She was convinced it was placed there by her grandmother. It occurred to me that my friend had placed it there and forgotten it, but we were young and sharp back then. A cornice is a unique place to hide something. It would be hard to forget getting the ladder out and placing it there. I don't know. Weird at the very least.

    We watched The Holiday during the holidays and I'll never forget Cameron Diaz walking down that snowy lane in her designer shoes.

    You've made it through another holiday season. I hope you get lots of invitations next year and the weather cooperates.

  11. Boy, a cornice would make a great hiding place, but I agree it would be hard to forget putting something there if you did it yourself.

    I like 'The Holiday'---I've have seen it many times and I know the exact scene you're talking about. LOL crazy costume directors!