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, February 5, 2020

Sleepless Night, Day of Laughter and Evening of Indecision


I couldn’t sleep. Even after taking 10 mg of Melatonin at 11:00 PM and an Ambien sleeping pill at 2:00 AM my brain just wouldn’t give up on plotting and planning my future and related life choices. At one point in the night I heard a train whistle coming from the tracks five miles away which was probably the toxic chemicals train that moves ever so slowly through our states in the dead of night and the sound of it made me think of a song Elvis Presley used to sing and Hank Williams before him:

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry

It was after 4:30 AM when I finally fell asleep according to my Fitbit and I woke up at 10:00 because the dog wanted to go outside. I’m so lonesome I could die. Yup, I admit it. If not for the dog I’d measure time in between meaningful contact with other living beings in weeks, not days. And I have no one else to blame but myself. My social life for the past nine months has been pared down to one lecture a month at the senior hall, two brunches a month with my Gathering Girls pals and one house cleaning appointment. 

It was bright and sunny the day after my sleepless night when I met with six if my gal pals and it was just what I needed to turn my dark mood around. We talked about silly things like how many of those at the table were crushing on football player Jimmy Garoppole who, they said, looks just like Tyrone Power. I had no idea who Jimmy is and I couldn’t remember how Tyrone looked but like a table full of teenagers, someone got out her phone to google their photos. I never crushed on Tyrone back in my youth but I have to admit that Jimmy’s got the most kissable-looking lips I’ve seen in a long time. Not that I made a habit of looking at men's lips...I'm just sayin'. And since the Super Bowl was on the table for conversation another crushable guy in the senior set was brought up---Sam Elliot. He was in the Doritos commercial and, of course, when I got home that commercial was the first thing I entered into my computer's search bar. I have a hard time separating him from his politics but my friends were right, the commercial was fun to watch.

Oops, make that four living beings I connect with each month. I forgot about a monthly call I get from a high school friend of my husband’s. We talk politics and have been since my husband died, and before that it was my husband who got the calls to talk about the state of the union. I used to enjoy our talks but this past year he’s been a pot that’s boiled over and if I try to temper his anger he yells so loud I have to hold the phone away from my ear. Several times I’ve told him, “We’re on the same side, guy. Please don’t yell at me.” That usually happens if I try to explain why the Right sees an issue differently than we do. Every coin has two sides, I tell him, and if we're ever going to find our way back to a world where compromise in government is not a dirty word we need to listen to what others have to say.

The idea of listening to the other side was tested a few nights ago when one of my in-laws posted a meme on FaceBook that supposedly revealed the name of the whistle blower that led to Trump's impeachment. I struggled with posting a comment something like, “How are you going to feel if this person gets murdered and it turns out he wasn’t even the whistle blower?” I didn’t do it because I know I’d get labeled “ignorant.” It happened once when I did comment on this in-law's political post and of all the words in the English language that one is capable of wounding me more than most. In the same hour she posted the whistle blower meme she posted another one from a Catholic Church site about being kind to one another. I don’t understand how someone can separate the promotion of kindness from their own mean-spirited action of sharing a conspiracy site meme bent on outing a whistle blower whose identity is supposed to be protected by law. Does goodness and evil so easily live side-by-side in all of us? Granted in the realm of good vs evil actions my in-law’s Facebook posts are minor. But maybe the more often we allow ourselves to do small acts of wrong doing the easier it becomes to commit bigger and bigger acts until they truly do cross the line over to evil? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know a mean girl's post when I see it and if I were her priest I'd make her stand in a corner until she admits that Jesus would not support a man like Donald Trump.

In the whistle blower meme it said to share the post “right away before Facebook takes it down.” The next day Facebook did just that. ©
Thank you, Facebook!

44 comments:

  1. I hope things are a lot better when you finally move. I wish it were a bit sooner for you.

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  2. Gotta admit was rooting for the 49'ers totally on Jimmy's looks. He is one handsome man.
    My sister had that same post(we are polls apart politically) and I am glad Facebook did the right thing--if late.

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    1. Men should not be allowed to be so handsome that they have the grandmas of America drooling all over him. LOL

      Can you imagine how big the job would be to monitor the world's FaceBook posts. From their point of view this one would be an easy choice to remove because it violated the law but a lot of them become a free speech issue. Like the one about Hillary running a sex ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor.

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  3. Of all the things I'm grateful for, being able to sleep quickly and well is near the top of the list. I go to bed, lie down, and just like that I'm asleep. In the morning, I wake up without an alarm, and generally get six to seven hours' worth of good sleep. I rather enjoy waking up to go to the bathroom when I do, because I sometimes dream after going back to bed. At least, I remember dreams then.

    I was glad that Kansas City won the Superbowl, because my aunt lives in the KC area and is a great fan. It made her happy. Otherwise, I was pretty much in the dark about that great event. Some friends and I got together to play board games instead of watching The Game. Junk food isn't just for football!

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    1. I think I'm part werewolf. The moon phases always effect my sleep or lack there of. You are so lucky with your sleep pattern but If I'm not mistaken you still do a lot of physical work and are getting lots of fresh sea air and that helps with sleep.

      I don't follow any sports but a few of my gal pals do. We've been talking about doing a board game afternoon. What a good idea to do that on super bowl weekend! I'll have to remember that for next year.

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  4. Does goodness and evil so easily live side-by-side in all of us? Good question. In some people, yes. In others, goodness and evil are kept separate. How that happens I could not say, but I believe it to be so. Not that it makes being unkind acceptable; it just explains it.

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    1. I totally agree. None of are all good or all evil and crossing the line (for some) is way too easy.

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  5. I'm sorry you are hurting so for companionship on a more regular basis. It is very hard to be lonely. Your gals group sounds like great fun though! Would they like to get together weekly perhaps? Regarding relatives who post ridiculous or untrue things, you can temporarily or permanently block their posts without their knowing it. Ask me how I know LOL.

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    1. I know how to unfollow people on Facebook but I won't do that with relatives who I know really well. I look at my four in-laws who post a lot of political/Trump support stuff as a study in sociology. I truly am trying to understand how their minds work and why our nation is so divided and how Trump/Obama accomplished that. All four of these people hated Obama who I love and still do.

      Of my gal pals I'm the only one who isn't either living with a family member or have one close by who looks out for them. Any one of can call another for a one-on-one and do do a movie day. I'm of the opinion that if we tried to get together on a weekly basis the group would fall apart because it would be easier to say, "I'll skip this week and catch you all week."

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  6. We really do need to bring back nice and good!!! If you can;t say something nice and supportive or uplifting then don;t POST anything at all! That needs to be a rule! HA! I did not sleep at all last night either and I have NO idea why but I feel horrible today! UGH! Maybe look into Bingo for interaction or a local support group! I am retiring in the villages in Florida as there is ALWAYS something going on there and you only need a golf cart to get there! HA!

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    1. Half of my gal pals had trouble sleeping that same night I did. It's those darn moon phases! If I see them coming on my calendar I'll take the sleep aids earlier in the evening but I didn't see this one coming.

      Our local senior hall has something going every day where I could go for human contact and used to after my husband died, but I have a goal of moving that I'm trying to reach and I don't have the time anymore. I quit their reading group and quit the Red Hat Society. I'll be fine but this year of transition gets to me sometimes.

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  7. It is really sad when differences of political opinion make you archenemies but it seems that is what has happened. As for loneliness, that is a very difficult and potentially serious thing to deal with. If there is a local naturalists club where you live I would highly recommend joining it. You will meet lots of interesting people, concerned with nature and the environment, gentle souls all, with lots of outings and field trips. Good luck in any event with whatever you decide on to try to assuage your unwelcome solitude. If you lived close by I would invite you for lunch.

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    1. One of the things I'm looking forward to after I move is that our internationally famous sculpture park and gardens will be less than a mile away. It has tons of classes I've wanted to take and acres of outdoor gardens to explore. They have book club there with a twist, too...all books about nature and famous gardens.

      Up until I decided to move I had an active social life at our senior hall---lectures, lunches, day trips, travelogues. They also have crafts and daily exercise classes. I gave them all up to pursue getting ready to move to a continuing care campus where I will have neighbors and a lake and woods to walk in plus activities and peace of mind that I won't die and not be found until after the dog has chewed off my arm to survive.

      My next blog will explain more about what I'm up to to get ready to move. Downsizing, for me, is very time consuming. In other words I'm lonely by choice right now but know it's only temporary. Solitude is necessary right now to get to my goal.

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  8. I am so lucky to live with four diverse people (and a great old dog). Predictably, the kidults are more liberal than me. "He who is not a républicain at twenty compels one to doubt the generosity of his heart; but he who, after thirty, persists, compels one to doubt the soundness of his mind.” (Usually attributed to Winston Churchill, but really from 1875 Frenchman Jules Claretie.

    I began my politics very liberal and I volunteered for the D party for several years. Slowly I began leaning the other direction. I'd say I'm moderately conservative but vote for who I think can actually accomplish things that are in my best interest.

    It isn't easy to talk politics or religion ... except when my little men ask me questions!

    Being social is a bit of work for this introvert. I'm enjoying some small group activities with WLLO. And a couple of neighbors!

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    1. You probably won't agree but I think all that quote really means is that when we're young we've got a fire in the belly to change the status quo and make the world a fairer place to live but as we age we lose that fire because we think it's futile to keep trying and/or we're tired of the fight and just accept that old, rich white men rule the world. LOL

      It does take a bit or work to find a social life and you've followed my blog since the being so I know you know I've put a lot of effort into that. But I've come to accept that a social life is STILL not a substitute for living with your best friend like you and I were both fortunate enough to do for so many years.

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  9. Hope you get more sleep soon, Jean. I'll never understand peoples' obliviousness towards their own hypocrisy. I've stopped trying to deal in a logical manner with illogical people too. I think by doing so I've added years to my life...HAH!

    Deb

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    1. I have no doubt you have. I loved that wool you got on your latest outing.

      I am not a good sleeper. It's a chronic issue with me.

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  10. If it makes you feel less alone, I have less human contact than you. I don't put up with Trump supporters. I cannot and will not support evil and i am incapable of keeping my mouth shut about this. I could not believe Rush Limbaugh being "honored". I feel ashamed. Where will this country be this time next year? It is just too scary to think about.
    I do think the moon and planets affect us more than most people realize.

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    1. Ohmygosh that Rush-Made-for-TV-moment was something else. The man who pioneered divisive, nasty politics gets a Metal of Freedom? I think I'm going to hide under the bed for the next 5 years because I really think Trump is going to get re-elected.

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    2. I think the Moral Compass of the Nation, at least over 40% of it is way off... and the divisive nature since that crazy election has shown me that a great many Americans can and will support vile criminal behavior at the highest levels and try to justify it and believe almost anything a consummate Conman runs his Game on them, playing them for easily manipulated Fools for his own gain.

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  11. I think it is only wishful thinking to believe there will be real elections for national office. Those days are long gone. I hate to say it, but I know it is true. I would give anything to be able to believe differently. I have been screaming into the void since 911. And I have received a lot of ridicule, but here we are. The American people are divided. And we are screwed, to put it nicely.

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    1. After the Iowa primary caucus you have to wonder if there wasn't something fishy going on with that apt. I worry more about foreign countries hacking us more than I worry about our divided nation. We've been deeply divided before...The Civil War and the Vietnam final years and we came back together again.

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  12. I TRY not to go there on social media with politics. Try. But sometimes I can't help it. It's the hypocrisy of it all that gets me. I have to say, I've never been a super-Mitt fan but his speech and decision was remarkable and brave. It was right -- but that alone doesn't make it brave. It changed nothing for the outcome but it changed plenty for him.

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    1. Me too about Mitt. He'll go down in history for that speech and while it didn't change outcome of that hearing, it might effect a few votes come the next election. It changed his legacy, like you said. I went to his FaceBook page yesterday because his senate mailbox was full, and I couldn't believe the hate-filled comments! And Trump is talking about having him expelled from the party? What a crazy political world we're living in.

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  13. I deactivated my FB. Tired of all the lies, BS and politics in general. So I had to walk away. I may or may not go back. Not a fan of Zuckerburg and his secret meetings with the orange one but everyone else as usualy is ignoring that and going on with their lives in an apathetic way. That is our a big issue to me in America - apathy.

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    1. I have a Gathering Girls pal who feels the exact, same way as you do about Zuckerburg.

      For me, if I didn't go there once a day I'd miss a lot of photos of all my great-great nieces and nephews. And I'd miss obituaries, weddings and party invitations. My family is not posting controversial or political stuff like my husband's side. We all have to do what works for us.

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  14. The stress of our upcoming move and downsizing are definitely disrupting my sleep patterns. I'm normally a great sleeper, but lately 4AM is the new 7AM. Today I slept until almost 6 and was thrilled. The project list in my head is long, and I've been doing touch up paint and plaster, so the mess is disturbing my psyche as well. ACK.

    I will say Jan & Feb around here get to me every year. Normally we would have a warm weather escape planned that I could look forward to, but this year is just too busy and too expensive. At least today's snow brightens things up a bit, but I have to force myself to get out and about in the dark days of winter.

    And just to tag on to the political chat, like you I'm afraid that orange monster is going to get another four years. Now that he's crowing about his acquittal, what is to stop him from doing anything he wants? He's just the worst. Mitt Romney was an unexpected bit of hope for me. At least there is one person in the GOP who has some integrity left (even though they'll probably try to evict him). It's a sad state of affairs.

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    1. This morning's snow was my kind of snow fall. Pretty but not enough to make traveling hard and so far no shoveling to do.

      It's those mental lists that keeps my brain from turning off too. I'll think I'm ready to sleep, turn off the light and they pop in like the dark was their queue.

      Your house will be done soon, if I'm remembering right. Then the fun side of moving begins.

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  15. Another idea you might consider for next year's Super Bowl week-end is a SOUPER BOWL PARTY. Several years ago one gal hosted and the rest of us brought a slow cooker filled with our favorite soup or chili (we each let her know in advance what we would be bringing to avoid duplications). In addition to furnishing toppings (crackers, cornbread muffins etc.), and dessert she supplied plastic to-go containers so we all got to take home an assortment of delicious leftovers. The game was on in case anyone wanted to watch but we mostly ignored it except for the half time show and commercials. A fun evening was had by one and all.

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    1. What a cleaver and creative idea! I especially love that idea of sending leftover home. Soup freezes great. I'm not a sports fan but who doesn't like watching the half time show. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. He does look like Tyrone Power? As for me, I'm enjoying the resurgence of Brad Pitt and seeing him on all the award shows. He's only grown more handsome with age. I'm old enough to be his....big sister. (Or far, far too young mother I suppose. I did have a friend who tragically gave birth at 14, so it's possible...but sad.) As for politics. Today the White House occupant is in full rant mode and if it wasn't so dangerous and offensive it would be almost funny. Well, SNL will make it so.

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    1. I can see the comparison in his eyes, eyebrows and chin but I've also been enjoying seeing so much of Brad Pitt. He's been featured every day for a week on a show I watch. My favorite role of his is still 'A River Runs Through it' one of his first break out roles. I've loved him every since.

      Oh, yes, we need to rename the White House Rant House. He will never forget Mitt for stealing part of the news cycle today. Steven Colbert did a good job last night and can't wait to see what SNL does with the state of the nation.

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  17. I occasionally have those nights when my brain is just firing too fast on all cylinders for me to get to sleep. Oddly, sometimes putting on the overnight BBC radio news at a low volume for about 20 minutes is does the trick of distracting me of whatever is going round and round in my head.

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    1. White noise does help and that's what your using the BBC for.

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  18. Yes he is a Stud Muffin isn't he?! *Swoon* And Sam Elliott always has been a Sexy Senior Fav and that Commercial was hilarious! I too don't have as much Human Contact as I'd like to have, even tho' I don't live Alone... my Social Life has suffered since the Caregiving Years and of coarse raising Grandkids puts you with a different demographic than your average garden variety Senior set getting together since few want Children in tow.

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    1. A person can be lonely living with others and living alone isn't necessarily lonely. It's the lack of in depth interact with someone who knows me well and who I know well and trust that I miss. Being a caregiver to a spouse who was a true partner and has changed due to illness can bring its own like of loneliness, can't it.

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  19. BTW: I do Believe that the line between Good and Evil has been blurred to where what is acceptable and tolerated isn't anything to be Proud of and too many are straddling the line of Love/Hatred and oblivious of the hypocrisy they are exhibiting.

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    1. Oh, yes! I'm really shocked at that by that blurring of the line. I know a couple of people who have held a grudge against Bill Clinton since his impeachment but they totally love Trump and his treatment of women doesn't bother them at all. But it's the lying and cheating on a higher level that effects the direction our nation is heading that is truly scary---how many are willing to accept that. In answer to those moral questions they usually just say, "They all do it." Really?

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  20. Moon phases must be at least partially to blame for why I didn't sleep at al the other night after staying up later than I should, too. I didn't nap the next day so when I went to bed the next night I slept straight through 'til morning. Was wonderful to not wake up having to visit the loo. Wonder why all the other nights I'm awakened at least once to respond to urge and if I try to ignore it I can't get back to sleep? My system must really be screwed up for such erraticness. (can't that be a good word?)

    Yeah, it can be hard to not have a partner in the house with whom to converse and love. I don't feel such a need for contact with others as much as you apparently do. Sometimes I've found myself in a negative funk, and notice when I do have social contact it serves to bring my spirits up. Even interacting with other bloggers serves as a boost to maintaining my sanity in these crazy times along with Colbert and SNL. I find many of those with views supporting our current leader seem most unable to civilly discuss issues without becoming extremely emotional nullifying any rational further discussion.

    Good that you're so disciplined to continue downsizing in preparation for your move -- keeping your eye on the long term goal. I've gotten way behind on preparation for my long term goal which could easily become an unexpected immediate goal -- quite unlike how I've lived my life. Maybe I'll get my act together one of these days.

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    1. I asked my doctor on a recent visit why it is that I have to get up in the night 3 times to answer nature's call, but when I take a sleeping pill I can usually sleep straight though without getting up and I don't wet the bed. He laughed but didn't have an answer. But I can't ignore those urges either and still fall back to sleep.

      It's really not a need for others around me so much as a need to have someone for in depth conversations. Sometimes the other kinds just make me feel lonely. And that's where blogging serves an important function for me.

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  21. I am a hermit, compared to you.
    It has come from the financial crisis I've had for the last three years. There is no extra money to go out to lunch or use the gas in the care for those jaunts. Even the Senior Center charges a membership fee. What I would really love is one of those deep conversations I used to have with my BFF, but she died, so that took that connection away. My sister and I can have good conversations, but once again, miles keep us from seeing each other more than once every couple of months. Sometimes I go days without speaking to anyone except the cats and they aren't really all that good at conversation.

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    1. I think some people misunderstood what I wrote about being lonely. But you get it, it's about missing those deep conversations that only come when you've known someone a long time and the trust runs deep and both ways. I could find all kinds of superficial conversations but I don't have the time right now.

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