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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dreams and Mystery Trips


It’s been awhile since I’ve dreamed about Don but last night I woke up many times with vivid details of dreams still hanging on. One dream fragment was about visiting him once a week and I’d be in our old Blazer driving to another town where he was staying and when I got there, I could only watch him from a distance. Another time I was with others who were in the town watching their loved ones and we were all sitting in a circle passing around a worm-like thing with fish hooks attached and chanting as we held it. As the 'thing' went around the circle it grew bigger and more teddy-bear-like with each person that held it. At one point in my night of dreams I remember thinking I was seeing the bright light that many people who’ve come back from a near-death experience describe and I woke up in a panic and thinking, Ohmygod, it’s real! Closely followed by: Maybe the light was the alarm clock face. God, no, that’s red! The dream that finally woke me up fully so I couldn’t fall back to sleep was of me trying to find my Blazer after a visit to watch Don and as I looked for it the tiny town kept growing, adding more streets to search as it the light faded from the sky. What a night! I hate not getting the sleep I need, especially when the dreams involve searching. I have a lot of searching dreams.

Of course, it’s easy to see that searching in dreams means you have something important lacking in your life or that you need an answer to a dilemma or problem. The bright light can mean a need to pay closer attention to something going on in your life but in my case I think it symbolizes a straight forward fear of death. I do a lot of day-time worrying about dying without finding a meaning to my life and not finding something truly satisfying to do with the rest of my time on earth. All this business about it being about the journey, not the destination is getting increasingly harder for this goal-orientated person to buy into. Well, that's what I say today. Stay tuned, tomorrow I might be singing a different song.

The circle was the most interesting dream fragment This was something I haven’t dreamed about in the past and this is what dreamforth.com has to say about circles: “A dream of a circle represents your life quest for excellence, unity, and fulfillment. On the other hand, it may also signify that you are having difficulties resolving a certain issue. You cannot seem to come to a satisfactory answer. You may feel as if you are at a stagnant period in your life; you aren't moving forward as planned.”  Boy, they nailed it for me! And my guess is the others in the circle are like-wise widows and the thing we passed around while chanting represents the grief stories that we swap online, which grow less and less painful as time and the telling goes around our widowhood community.

It was a busy night of dreaming and sometimes I wish I didn't remember my dreams because they can haunt me until I figure out their meaning...or what I think they mean. Science says they don't mean much at all and they are just a by-product of the events of our day being transferred to a different part of our brains to be recalled later as memories. Still, if you don’t remember the details of your dreams and you want to, there are things you can do to help you transfer your night dreams from your sub-conscious mind to your conscious mind. You’ll need to keep a notebook and a light-up ink pen by your bedside so you can jot notes---even just a single word to act as a queue later on---without turning your light on. The more you do it, the more you’ll recall with time and practice.

Changing topics: This week I have a by-annual appointment with my internist---always lots of fun <picture a rolling eyes icon here> and a lecture at the museum where I will take myself off the snowbird list and sign up for some docent volunteer days. I’m also going to the culinary college for lunch with a bus load of people from the senior hall and on a mystery trip, also a day trip sponsored by the senior hall. We can’t be going very far since we’re due back in town by three o’clock. I’m being pickier about the trips I sign up for this summer. I skipped the Chicago gangster tour, for example, and the “Les Miserables” tour at Drury Lane outside of Chicago, and the Detroit Tigers/Chicago White Sox game because those 12 and 14 hour day trips are hard on my body and the dog. I mention them, though, to inspire other widows to look into their local senior hall activities. It might surprise you that the old stereotypes of sitting around playing bingo for soup cans no longer apply. One of the schools near-by also sponsor community enrichment trips. They are going to Amish Country this summer which is really tempting for me. I’m more the pastoral views than cityscapes kind of traveler. But right now I'm going to travel out to the dog pen and pick up a winter's worth of poop that the melting snow is revealing. ©


  1. I have a pretty strong spiritual state of mind so I have no fear of death dreams--sometimes I long for that day--I am ready. I DO however have the fear of DYING scenarios, but those are usually during the day when I sit and ponder on life. Fear of dying alone and no one finding me for days. Fear of dying in Hospice and my family having to watch. Fear of dying and not having everything all organized for the kids to take care of. I suppose this all comes as we get older, doesn't it--or am I just weird?

  2. If your fears make you weird, then so am I. I fear all the scenarios that you do plus a few others including I fear dying in a fire, a car crash and underwater.

  3. I see dreams as our effort to make sense of new waypoints in our route through life. The circle of women handing around something that becomes more teddy bearish - IMHO - indicates this blog community is reliable and comforting. You're one of the few bloggers who provides feedback, that wonderful conversational loop that draws us together.

    Like you, I need a destination to give my journey more meaning. I was thinking, this morning, as I had breakfast in a lovely repurposed warehouse in South Boston, that repurposing these older buildings really restored their usefulness and vitality, all the while keeping their historical character and charm. I'm going to reframe my goal as one of repurposing myself in fun useful ways, and be about its journey.

    1. I have come to value the conversational loop of bloggers who all read and comment on each others posts. It does help in a way that is hard to explain. Strange---or not---I feel closer and more open with many people I've never met than with some people I've known all my life.

      I love historical buildings that have been re-purposed. We have a couple of great restaurant/bars downtown like that. It breaks my heart to see some of the historical buildings get torn down. I look forward to reading your posts about re-purposing yourself!

  4. I too feel a lot closer to people I have never met, but comment on my blog, then I do the ones I have had for years and years. I guess because I am not as open with my "old" friends? I likes Flo's idea to repurpose our historic bodies and minds, LOL.

  5. I kind of wonder if the feelings of closeness comes from the fact that we are often more open with our feelings online than with people in our off line lives. At least this is true for me. And I write posts that are more in-depth and on topics that I would never discuss with people I have to see all the time.

  6. Today, I posted about a dream, too. :) I've always been intrigued by my dreams. I do think we're trying to work through things in them.

    I like the way GowitheFlow looks at this. I actually dream about old houses fairly often. I looked it up once, and a house symbolizes different aspects of the psyche.

    I agree that the circle of women are other widows who share the same loss. And being able to see Don but not communicate with him? I think it symbolizes how you see him through your memories (and dreams), but you cannot see or talk to him in life.

    I too feel close to those who read my blog and I agree that it's because we are more open about our feelings. I don't believe my friends and family who don't know that I blog would 'get' it, but I've found it to be comforting and supportive, and I learn so much from others sharing their experiences.

    1. I have given the link to my blog to friends and family and very few have ever checked it out---at least that I know of---and those few who did, didn't comment so I'm guessing they didn't "get it." One person told me it seemed too "personal" to read. LOL

      Dreams are fascinating and no matter how many experts say they don't have any meaning, I don't tend to believe them.