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

Monday, June 2, 2014

From Boring to Macabre

I went three days without speaking to a living soul other than the dog and he’s not much of a conversationalist. Levi’s favorite sentences are: “I want a treat. Right now!” “Let me in!” “The rabbits are attacking the house again!” “Let me out!” and “Oh, boy, I really get to go to Starbucks with you?” Today I finally broke down and called a friend and after a half hour conversation I was ready to go back to my exceedingly-boring-at-the-moment life. Have I mentioned that my friend’s conversations are as predictable as the dogs? Aches, pains the rising cost of everything and grandchildren.

Then I called the service department at the electric company to arrange to get a radio transmitter device put on my meter so their meter readers won’t have to walk through my dog pen anymore. I’m getting old-lady cranky and I’m sick of them leaving the gate open. Last winter when the gate was frozen in the snow one of their guy’s climbed over the fence, broke the top off one of the pickets and it was the last straw, today, when I had to go to Lowe’s to buy a special glue to fix it. The electric company couldn’t have been nicer about my request. Friday someone will be here to install the new device free of charge. And for a bonus I'll get someone new to talk to while he/she is here.

Coming up soon I'll have other opportunities for conversation: a haircut and eye doctor appointment, a trip to restock my mall booth, the June luncheon at the senior hall, and a tour of the back rooms at a funeral parlor. Sounds macabre, I know, but haven’t you ever wanted to ask a funeral director questions at a time when you’re not seriously mourning a loss? Well, I know I’m not the only one because our senior hall was able to fill up a whole bus load of curious people like me. I plan to ask some questions about cremation but I’m not sure I want to hear an honest, truthful answer. Like, “How did the unburned twigs and two dried leaves get into my husband’s box of ashes?” “If those ashes were tested would it prove they were ashes from a common, backyard fire pit or that of human origins?” Trust is such a big issue when turning a loved one over to a funeral home, isn’t it. When I first found the twigs and leaves I should have marched that box of ashes right back to the funeral home, slammed it down on the director’s desk with a force that propelled a ghostly cloud above the box and demanded an answer then and there. But how much stuff can a newly minted widow take? So here I am nearly 2 ½ years later with the courage to finally ask those questions and the universe is giving me an opportunity to do it.

The funeral home is going to feed us lunch, too. That might be a little creepy, eating in a funeral parlor. I’ll let you know. I just hope I come home with some satisfying answers and a free ink pen. I’ve finally run out of working pens from all those that my husband used to collect where ever we’d go. Guys in wheelchairs with flirty, baby blue eyes and missing vocabularies can con a lot of ink pens from office girls, nurses, doctors and waitresses. Everyone needs a hobby and that was his post-stroke hobby. May he be resting in peace where I left his ashes and that his body was not sold off for God knows what. In past centuries would-be doctors and artists would buy dead bodies so they could study the muscles and bones under the skin. What macabre uses would the black market find today if their agents of evil and vice gave a widow fire pit ashes and sold her deceased husband off for cash? Now, aren't you sorry you read this all the way to the end and learned about my burning---no pun intended---little mystery. ©


  1. Well! I can't wait to hear about the answers you get on that one! Twigs and leaves? Wouldn't they be incinerated in the crematorium? I would want to know that answer too! and I might be compelled to ask it in a pissy way.

    1. The tour is going to be at a different funeral home than the one I used but there is only one crematorium in town. I really do regret that I didn't ask at the time. I brought the sealed box home and was dividing ashes on my dining room table when I found them, so I know for a fact there was no way the the twigs and leaves got in there after the box was given to me. (Yes, the dining room table with a plastic trash bag down to protect it.)

  2. While Mama was reading your post she was figuring out what kind of things Kaci or I would say. Here are ours: Instead of rabbits ours would be "The squirrels and cats are attacking the yard and they won't leave." Let us out, let us out!"

    As far as treats I (Hershey) would say "When is the recycling crew coming with my treats?"

    Kaci's comment about the car would be "Where are we going this time?" while the car is in the driveway. Kaci loves riding in the car.

    And while we are outside we will "body slam ourselves against the door" as a way for our masters to let us in.

    Mama is not fully awake yet on the cremation question. She needs time to think on that.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

    1. Body slam the door to get your mom to let you in? That's funny. I'm glad Levi hasn't learned that trick because three of the four doors he goes in and out are all glass.

      Levi gets treats from the gas meter reader...and puppy whips from Starbucks,

  3. HI. I lost my husband to cancer this past April. I'm sort of trying to deal with it by starting a blog. Along with writing, exercise and unplanned anxiety attacks. A good place for blogging tips etc. would be very helpful this point. We're supposed to "get out there" but blogging and writing are pretty solitary

  4. Welcome to the club no one wants to be in. Widowhood is hard and, in my opinion, it's a little unrealistic for others to be telling you to "get out there." That will come on your timetable, when you are ready. Baby steps.

    I really don't have any blogging tips other than just be true to yourself. Maybe read other blogs until you have a better feel for what you want to blog about, what your "mission statement" would be if you wrote one formally. I see by your profile you are a want-a-be writer...a thing a lot of bloggers have in common, so welcome to that club, too.

  5. Jean,
    H and I want to be cremated. I can't see taking up so much space in cemeteries; all those bodies will be floating around a thousand years from now, probably sooner. The water level is rising every year. ;( I've always had niggling little questions in the back of my mind about cremation. We're so vulnerable in this situation.

    Your description of you sitting at the dining room table with the plastic bag and Don's ashes is quite a visual. And I bet they think most people will not open the sealed container. I hope you get to ask your question. I'd like to know the answer.

    1. Bella, that's the same reason I want to be cremated. Who knows what the future will bring and what they might want to 'mine' from bodies a couple hundred years from now. My husband's was my second box of ashes I've opened...my mom's were scattered too. Hers came in a plastic bag and cardboard box, don's in a plastic bag and plastic box. I think its more common than you think that people open them and I've and I will no doubt blog about the tour of the back rooms at the funeral place later this week.