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, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 - Hell Yes, I'm Staying Home!

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house not a creature is stirring except Levi, my four-legged spouse. I have no place to go tomorrow, no dish-to-pass to make in the kitchen. No problem. I’m a big girl and I am thankful that I have a warm house and food in the refrigerator. Okay, I actual wrote those opening lines last year for my day-before-Thanksgiving post and while on a personal level not much has changed since last year when I wrote them, on a broader level everything in the world has changed. And since Thanksgiving is about giving thanks I am thankful I’m not one of the thousands of people who've had to wait in long lines to get Covid-19 tested and I am thankful I’m not like so many others who, for the first time in their lives, found themselves waiting in long lines at food banks. But I am heartbroken (and angry) that so many others are victims of the world-wide pandemic not only those who are sick or the exhausted essential workers but also those who have lost jobs and businesses and loved ones they’ve had to bury. It didn’t have to be this bad. Politicizing wearing masks, not modeling social distancing. Blah, blah, blah. Yes, I'm also thankful we're getting a new president in 54 days. Okay, Jean, time to put your snarky remarks back in the box. It’s a holiday after all, the opening bell to the season of joy and peace on earth and all that good stuff .

Since starting this blog I’ve written about Thanksgiving thirteen times and while preparing to write this Thanksgiving post I skim-read all those other posts. The first two years after my husband died I spent the day with relatives on his side of the family, feeling like the proverbial fifth wheel. The third year I came home with food poisoning which wasn’t fun but I was thankful my husband wasn't with me. Can you imagine managing a guy in a wheelchair while you're both upping your cookies and purging your bowels? I’ve written about Sarah Joseph Hale who lobbied politicians for 40 years to get Thanksgiving celebrated national on a fixed date. (Talk about being dedicated to a passion project!) I’ve written about overdosing on Hallmark holiday movies, about making turkey soup and surprisingly I’ve written very little about my childhood holiday memories. (Look at me, using two words on the no-no list---‘very’ and ‘little’---that serious writers should never use and I strung them together no less. Oh well, I have a bad habit of over populating my posts with too many no-no words. Try as I might I can't help being smitten with starting sentences off with 'and' and 'so' even though it makes me sound like a Valley Girl. But I digress.)

Several years into widowhood I turned down all the invitations I got and I wrote: “My determination to stay home alone this Thanksgiving was part of an experiment on aging, on widowhood? Does it really matter which? The point was: 1) I didn’t want to be someone’s charity case, an old person/widow only invited because others felt sorry for me being all alone on a holiday; 2) I actually wanted to see what it felt like to be alone on a holiday since I'd never experienced that in the past. And you know what, it turned out fine. I didn’t wallow in loneliness, self-pity or memories of happier times. I didn’t go hungry as an elderly relative predicted I would, forced to eat stale crackers for dinner, and I didn’t treat Thanksgiving like any other day on the calendar. I planned a big meal with a few comfort foods from holidays past. I cooked, cleaned up and froze my leftovers for Christmas dinner. I also realized that I do have a post-Don Thanksgiving tradition: Watching the annual National Dog Show with Levi. We saw it last year and this year both and that dog actually watches the TV, barking and whining at his favorite canines on the screen. He is my core family now that my husband is gone.” That was written 5-6 years ago and Levi and I have continued our Dog Show tradition but that turned out to be the last year I cooked a special meal.

Levi is not feeling well today and I’m concerned. He’s clinging to me like white on rice which is not normal for him. When I put him outside for his first morning pee he laid down on the deck which in itself wouldn’t be alarming but the temperature outside is 38 degrees and he just got a haircut. Tomorrow I will be thankful if I don’t have to spend Thanksgiving Day at the animal ER. ©

56 comments:

  1. I fid that, too, my first Thanksgiving after my husband died, turning down invitations because i thought I might as well experience a holiday alone and wondered what it would feel like. I went out to a restaurant and sat alone in what turned out to be quite an unusual experience I wrote about that year. At least you have Levi as a companion at home. I also cooked a small turkey for myself one year when I was home alone, again by choice, but haven't bothered doing that again since — or maybe I did that for Christmas one year. Sometimes one holiday can seem like another. Hope Levi sleeps off overnight whatever makes him feel not-so-goiod.

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    1. Do you have a blog? I can't tell if we already "know" each other or you're a new anonymous commenter? Either way, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who wanted to experience what it was like to be alone. I've never gone to a restaurant alone on a holiday but my husband I had done that and found an interesting group of people there.

      Levi is much better now, thanks.

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    2. I don't know why that appeared as anonymous cause It’s Joared from Along the Way and been here before. As for our similar experiences, may be its a widow thing others may have done, too.

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    3. Glad you came back. I had a feeling I knew the anonymous commenter just by the style of the writing. Good to know I was right.

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  2. While I'm divorced, not widowed, I can relate to your thoughts on the holidays, and I feel pretty much the same. Since my divorce I've shared the holidays with various friends and family members and have enjoyed it. I've also spent many holidays alone, and like you I have no complaints. I eat whatever I'm in the mood for at the time (I'm considering ordering lasagna from Olive Garden today for Thanksgiving tomorrow). I delve into a good book or movie, and count my blessings.

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    1. Lasagna from Olive Garden sounds like a great alternate to turkey to me. Have a good day tomorrow.

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  3. I'm sorry about Levi. I'd be concerned, too. Here's hoping it's just a run-of-the-mill stomach ache or something. Fingers crossed.

    Rick and I will be eating Thanksgiving turkey and sides at home alone. We'll miss our kids and new grandkids, but it's not forever. It's the right and safe thing to do. I only wish more Americans were acting like responsible adults. Then maybe we'd have Christmas with our family.

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    1. Levi seems to be back to his normal self today. Now I'm wondering if something happened at the groomers which would explain the white on rice activity but not the laying outside in the cold.

      I, too, wish everyone would be more responsible and stay home. I just heard my niece's sister-in-law is in the hospital on oxygen and she only lives a few miles from my entire family in small town and rural America.

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  4. Poor Levi. Perhaps he should see the vet today to avoid doggie ER. I say that because I am sitting here with my elderly dog who has so far thrown up and is shaking. I think I will be calling the vet as soon as they open today.

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    1. Gosh, I hope your dog is doing better now. The next morning after Levi's out-of-character actions he seems to be back to his normal self. Dogs can get the flu, too, but Levi got his flu shot since he goes to a groomer and is around other dogs.

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    2. Thanks, she is better after a dose of Benedryl and an extra dose of her usual med. She had one of the annual vaccines yesterday and it seems to be a reaction to that. It was her wheezing and not drinking that worried me. Glad Levi is back to normal!!!

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    3. Levi reacts to vaccines, too. The vet even has me give him a Benedryl an hour before I bring him in now after a bad reaction before we even left the place. Next time you might ask/remind your vet of your dog's reaction this time. It's so scary, isn't it!

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving! I've tried hosting turkey day, attending turkey dinner, restaurant and avoiding Jesse's family. My favorite it just being here. I've made all of my favorite things and now I just enjoy a Stouffer's Microwave Turkey Dinner. With a big salad. Delish.

    Glad to hear Mr. Levi is feeling better! We worry about our babies. Bosko now wears diapers at night time. Otherwise, for 16 he is doing well. But we know the time is coming. He can't hear very well or see very well and moves more slowly. He and I are partners in aging gracefully!!

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    1. Has Bosko's parents heard of or tried belly bands for boy dogs instead of diaper? They cover the necessary area and you insert pads inside, supposedly more comfortable than doggie diapers and cheaper. Levi doesn't need them but my house cleaner dog does and she claims they work well. Sixteen is getting up there!

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  6. So glad Levi is feeling better. I was hoping it was just something that he needed to eat a little grass to fix but you are probably right about the groomer.
    I am quite content to be alone on holidays--just wish everyone didn't seem to think it was a fate worse than death.
    One of the best Thanksgivings I had was one when I skipped the 200 mile trip home and volunteered to feed the homeless for the church.
    That was such a special day and oddly most of the helpers were widows or widowers and a few divorcees like me. It was a fun, compatible group.

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    1. This year more than most I'm content to stay at home but I will (in a the post covid era) be happy to go a select few relatives houses, but my days of accepting any and all invitations are over.

      Everyone I know who've ever volunteered to feed the homeless comes away with stories of how good it felt.

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  7. With no audio on your blog, you can't really "sound" like a Valley Girl. It's the sound that drives me crazy. "And" unfortunately most of them don't leave the Valley with girlhood and they turn into Valley Women.

    If I can't spend Thanksgiving with my grown children, I prefer to spend it alone. Great company. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. You mean that all Valley Girls don't grow up to be bloggers and media stars? LOL

      Happy Thanksgiving right back at you.

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  8. Glad to hear Levi has rebounded. It's always scary to have a sick dog and they can't tell you what's up.

    We're having a two person Thanksgiving and, while I'm missing the big family gathering, it's a better choice than becoming the next vector. Normally I make pies, but this year it's the whole sheebang. Which is fine with me...it will be a quiet day with a few FaceTime calls and lots of sitting around like slugs. With our latest weather, I'm fine with that. Dark rainy cold is a good time to stay home anyway.

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    1. And you've got that new kitchen to try all your holiday cooking in. Where you and both live our covid-19 cases are rising fast. Best to stay home where it is safe. Have a good holiday!

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  9. I'm so glad Levi is better. Have a hygge (cozy) day!

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  10. this reply isn't related to Thanksgiving but is related to celebratory meals at other times, i.e. the next one on the calendar - as the years have gone on and I've become single and older - I have disappeared from those kinds of meals, because people always say "you've got to have a shared meal with us..." but yep, always feel like the 5th wheel or in case of my family, somehow "poor and needing charity" - what I would do with the wrapping paper from hell - like in "take it home" I do not know! Last year I was picked up from home which was nice but dropped back in dead of night at the wrong driveway... I'll probably do a "runner this year" !

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    1. Wow, that would not be fun to be dropped at home after dark to the wrong house.

      The main thing I miss not going to a big family party is going home with a bunch of left overs. I've only gone to one place that didn't divide them all up for those who wanted them. The place that didn't proceeded to dump all the leftovers in the garage and it made me sick to see all that waste.

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  11. Oh, I sincerely hope that Levi’s indisposition is temporary. You really don’t want your best mate to go ill during the festive season.

    I am going to be alone for Christmas this year. I am not at all disturbed by it. Recently I’ve been invited to friends but they may not do it this year because of restrictions. As it is, I would’t go anyway, because they are not as careful as I am about Covid.

    Like you have done, I will spoil myself with fancy food and drink, read, watch schmaltzy TV and generally relax. I am a big girl, I can do that.

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    1. Let's hear it for the big girls among us! And for Levi who seems to be back to normal today.

      I don't want to be around people who aren't careful either. I haven't been invited any where for Christmas but I don't expect to be this year either. Wouldn't go if I was invited.

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  12. I’m glad to read in the comments that Levi is feeling better. My Lucy would sometimes come from from the groomer’s with what they would call ”hot spots” and what I would call getting too close with the damn clippers! Maybe that’s why he was feeling off and laying on the cold deck? I have been alone at Christmas for several years now, and it doesn’t bother me at all. I find it quite peaceful. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    Deb

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    1. That "hot spot" theory is something I should have thought about. I don't see anything but he's got that traditional schnauzer haircut and even though I don't see anything that doesn't mean it didn't bother him in his belly and inner thighs. where the hair is shaved really close.

      I'll bet you won't be alone this year, living so close to your daughter unless you guys up there in Canada are in suggested lock-down too.

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  13. I hope yout thanksgiving is everything you wanted it to be

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  14. We always volunteered to serve meals for the Mission on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In recent years there were so many volunteers we had to choose one of those- we chose Christmas. It was fun as we could get dressed up festively and enjoyed serving. Now , of course, we cannot do it , I think we have volunteered for the last time, age and Parkinson's have struck but we had about 15 years of really enjoying it.

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    1. Bless people like you who hang in there for 15 years to volunteer. We've always given money to the local mission and Salvation Army for meals but because we had snow plow contracts and never knew if we'd be available to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas it never occurred to us to volunteer.

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  15. I have spent many Thanksgivings alone in my adult life, so for me, too, this year is not markedly different. Oddly, the pandemic may mean I have more connection with family this year; my sister reached out a couple of days ago to organize a family Zoom call for Thanksgiving.

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    1. I actually expect a few more calls tomorrow than usual too, due to the pandemic. People seem to take the suggestion seriously about checking on older people. LOL Have a good day. I remember in past years you cooked a whole turkey for yourself. I was so impressed because I've never cooked a turkey in my life.

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  16. Happy Thanksgiving Jean! I'll be alone too tomorrow as our family decided to be safe rather than sorry. I hope Levi is OK and you don't have to take him to the Vet. Take care and enjoy those movies on TV like I plan to do.

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    1. I was wondering what you decided to do this year. I think you made the right, but hard choice. I miss you and our other gal pals!

      Levi is back to his old self again.

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    2. I miss you too. I'm glad Levi is doing better. Hopefully things will get back to normal (our old normal) soon. Take care Jean.

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  17. I hope Levi will be okay and enjoy his annual Dog Show binge with you? We never felt like Thanksgiving had to be a big bash or big deal so on years we didn't do much for it, we were fine with that. Gathering is nice but it becomes a lot of work for whoever is Hosting it, which usually was us. *LOL* The Son called from Rehab to ask what WE were doing... I had to tell him NOT to anticipate coming, even tho' many of his Roommates were going Home for Thanksgiving. He's around people we do not know there so it's too risky and honestly we're not even doing a proper Thanksgiving Dinner anyway, so there was no point. He seems more bummed than we are about a Non-Thanksgiving due to COVID and present circumstances. I think it is becoz this is his first Year alone... and that can be a transition when you've always had a Family. I think his breakup from the DIL is weighing heavily now he's clean and sober. I'm glad you handled Widowhood Holidays well... Happy Thanksgiving my Friend.

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    1. I will at least have turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings...from take-out. I'm sad for your son being alone this holiday but it really is the best choice, for long term. He's got a lot on his plate and he's in a good place to deal with it, I think.

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    2. I agree about where The Son is and it does give him the Time to reflect on what Addiction has cost him, which is painful, but something he does have to come to terms with on his path to Sobriety that will stick.

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  18. Molly will be alone this year and for the first time we will not be having turkey cause they were all too big at the grocery store. It will be turkey meatloaf and pumpkin pie instead. I'm so happy to read that Levi is feeling better! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Molly is our favorite Airedale, no matter how cute some of those other Airedales are at the dog show. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  19. Happy Thanksgiving and continued feeling better forLevi.šŸ˜Š

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    1. Thank you! Hope your holiday is as good as can be given our Covid-19 existence right now.

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  20. Jean:

    Happy thanksgiving. I am so happy Levi feeling good already & back to his normal self today. This year first time I made traditional thankgiving dinner, kido, hubby all helped & we spent with my sisters family & mom. It was fun, new traditon started. kido came home for thanksgiving so it was fun.

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    1. Asha, You picked quite the year to start celebrating with a traditional thanksgiving meal. Must have been fun if you're thinking of doing it again. I'm glad you got to see your son over the holiday.

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  21. I'm glad to read that Levi seems to be perking up a bit. I hope it continues. I took a different tack this year and roasted a fresh turkey breast. It was the best turkey I've ever had: moist, and flavorful. I guess it is true that freezing really changes them. Not only does it taste good, it sliced beautifully, and now I'll have multiple packages of turkey for sandwiches in the freezer. Not all of it, though. Some's going to get chunked up and put in turkey tetrazzini -- one of my favorites. It's too calorie and fat laden for regular consumption, but once a year won't hurt!

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    1. I'd like to try an organic, free-range turkey. I buy free-range organic chicken and I swear it tasted much better. Since the pandemic, though, it's been harder to buy. I like turkey tetrazzini, too.

      Levi continues to behave more and more like his old self. So I'm thinking something must have happened at the groomers.

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  22. Hello, I' m popping over from Satisfying Retirement. Reading through the comments I see that your sweet Levi is feeling better day. I'm so glad.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and welcome! I checked out your blog and oh, my, gosh, your dogs are so cute!

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  23. Oh Jean, I hope Levi is doing better today. We always worry when they are off form, don't we? If only they could say, "I'm just having a bad day, don't worry," we might not. As much. We don't want Levi to have 2020 Syndrome.

    We got it here -- I got an A-Fib diagnosis on Wednesday and on Thursday, day of thanks, don't you know, I put my back out. Today I am grateful for muscle relaxers and pain pills.

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    1. Levi is back to normal now, thankfully!

      Ouch on the back! I hope the pain pills and muscle relaxers do their job soon and you're back to normal again soon.

      My husband had an a-fib for 30 some years and all the males in his family had one too. They have some great treatments now. Make sure to do your homework on a-fibs. The son-I-wish-I-had just had surgery to correct his and it worked great.

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