Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow, senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Jean

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Binge Eating, Funerals and Continuum Care Living


It’s Sunday and my birthday and I’m hiding out from the public places so I don’t have to listen to ten verses of ‘happy birthday’. It's one of those love/hate things you get when you live on a continuum care campus.

Do you know what I like best about Sundays? It’s the only day of the week I can be 100% sure I can stay in my nightgown all day long and not be caught by the fashion police or worse, the health care police who automatically think if a older person doesn’t get dressed they are depressed or giving up. Not that I have to worry about the Health Care Police anytime soon, but I know for a fact that if I end up moving on down the road to Assisted Living or Memory Care I will have to fight the aids to stay in my jammies. They have a job to do and by god old people need to dress for breakfast! And that breakfast is served at 8:00 in the morning. I might be out of bed before the clock strikes eight but that doesn’t mean I want to be social at that hour or have someone helping me change my nickers before my head is in the game.

One of my neighbors gets up at 4:00 and loves to watch the sun come up while is wife sleeps in until 7:00. More that few of my neighbors get up at 6:00 or 7:00 and are out walking and taking the cool, morning air into their lungs. From what I can see of the health nuts those daily walks don't protect them from moving on down the line. A couple who lived on the floor above me spent their entire adult lives walking every day and watching their weight like hawks, just recently got moved---him to assisted living because he got a diagnosis of ALS and he could no longer care for his wife who was moved into the Memory Care building. They both seem to be adjusting well. He has a motorized wheelchair now and is just a court yard away from visiting his wife. And it’s two short blocks for him to come back to the independent living building which he’s been doing to play bridge and attend a couple of lectures. (Won’t work in the winter, but for now it’s making him happy.) He says their care is excellent down there and he looks like the weight of the world is off his shoulders. Herding his wife around to keep her safe was taking a toll on him that few people fully appreciated. But I've been there done and many of my readers have too.

The wife of another couple just moved into the assisted living building, too but I heard she resisted going and they had a huge fight over it, but their kids sided with him and off she went. She lost her leg a year ago and he, too, looks like a changed man now that he'd no longer responsible for her care.

The cross-over aspect of living in a continuum care facility gives you a sense of comfort knowing if and when you do go on down the line we wouldn’t be thrown in with a bunch of strangers. In the two years I’ve lived here, five people got moved to a higher level of care (aka “got moved on down the line”) and five people have died. I didn’t go to any of the funerals although I was tempted to go to one of them. When I moved in I made a rule that I didn’t want to be one of those stereotypical, old people who goes to all the funerals in town, like they are social events. If that makes me a cold-hearted bitch I guess that’s what I am. I have, however, started buying sympathy cards by the box, instead of individually.

Despite my current, no funerals rule I never looked for excuses not to go to funerals during my lifetime. For the most part I find them interesting, almost heart-warming to know how family and friends will carry their memories forward. And I always learn something about the deceased as people share stories from parts of their lives I didn’t have privy to. It reaffirms the fact that we don’t always know how we might have touched or influenced someone else as we go through our lives.

In my lifetime, however, I’ve been to a couple of funerals where I wondered if I was in the right place because the service didn’t reflect the person I knew. Last year I wrote about an old neighbor at our cottage who was the closest thing I had to a grandfather and 7-8 people walked out of his funeral in a silent protest as a preacher went on and on about how the deceased was going to burn up in hell because he didn’t accept Jesus as his Savior. This man and his wife were pillars of kindness but they hadn’t been allowed to know their own grandchildren because they wouldn’t get baptized in their daughter’s church. <rant on!> It's scary that our current political climate is made up of too many people like that daughter whose intolerance is leading us into creating a monotheocracy that would rival Gilead in The Handmaids Tale. <rant off>

Change of topic: Since my surgery I’ve been on a real eating binge and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The day after the surgery I could zip up my black jeans after weeks of dieting and the four day fasting for the colonoscopy. If nothing else, I’m good at self-sabotage and I'm currently eating my way back up the scales and out of those jeans. 

And now it hits me why I’ve been indulging in comfort foods again! After my mom died I wasn’t eating, I was severely depressed. One day I found myself amazed to realize I’d lost two sizes but that happiness quickly turned to deep, gut-wrenching guilt as it dawned on me that the weight loss was a by-product of my mom's death and it was nothing to celebrate. Fast forward to when my dad and my husband died and I subconsciously started binge eating---I think---so I wouldn’t have live with any guilt if I had lost weight after they left me. 

I need to get back into healthy eating mode again but I won’t seriously tackle the issue until after my brother’s service which is a little over a week away. I should rename this blog The Misadventures of a Fat Lady. ©

 Until next Wednesday. 

 

34 comments:

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I've lost 20+ lbs by using a lunch size plate for smaller dinner portions and NOT eating the kid food (so many fries, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, sloppy joes, etc). My daughter has been growing microgreens to add to salads. And buying farm fresh eggs across the street from the nursery where she works. Gosh do they taste great!

    At least once a week I stay in my jammies all day!

    Fat is a swear word!

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    1. There is a world of difference in farm fresh eggs and the others, isn't there. We have a couple of hobby chicken farmers in the family and they always bring deviled eggs or potato salad to family parties. Best ever!

      Congratulations on the weight loss. I don't eat "kid food either" but the plate size trick won't work here here our meals are served. My biggest problem is I don't exercise or more around enough.

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  2. That last picture/quote reminds me of an old cartoon. The fellow is going to finish eating that cake so it won't sit around tempting him. That sentiment is way too true. ❤️

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  3. I'm not sure all those early risers-and-walkers are necessarily health nuts. Some people (me) just enjoy being up early and getting out early. Of course, I go to bed relatively early, too: usually around 9:30 or 10. Even if weather keeps me from work or weekend roaming, I can't remember the last time I stayed in jammies longer than ten minutes after I'm up. I may wander out and start the coffee first, but step two always is dressing.

    I laughed at your comment about buying sympathy cards by the box. The oddest little things can mark the passage of time. Speaking of which: happy birthday! I understand not wanting to be forced to endure multiple birthday songs. The only thing I've experienced (and that was far worse) was being the recipient of sung birthday song in a restaurant.

    Everyone has their own way of dealing with food. I finally decided that ignoring diets, diet advice, and fads was the best way for me. Since January 28, I've lost fifteen pounds, and the reason's simple: following those guidelines we were taught as kids (protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies) and almost completely eliminating sugar, desserts, breads, and eating out. I count calories, and I'm on my way to 136. The best news is that I'm wearing tee shirts and chinos that I haven't worn in years. There's a whole "new" wardrobe waiting for me in my closet!

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    1. Congratulations! That's got to feel good going into summer. Counting calories is an old but trusted way to do it.

      We have to beg of veggies, here and fruit is not even on the radar. Too many starches are served and everyone here complains about weight gain. The management just says they don't have to serve balanced meals because we're independent living. Once we move to another building the state regulates the meals and they get a better balance down there. The food here is tasty but not necessarily good for you.

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  4. Happy Birthday! I feel your pain having just spent five days traveling nine hours north to celebrate my Mom's 92nd BD. My brother and I went up and ate ourselves silly both ways and the whole time in between. HA!

    As for funerals, I agree that attending all of them in your facility would carry a heavy emotional burden. Take care of yourself -- you're kind to send cards. It's enough in most situations.

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    1. Thank you!

      That's a long trip to make for a birthday party but it's your mom and how many more could she have? Hope you enjoyed your time with your brother.

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  5. Happy Birthday Jean! As we grow older, it's a big accomplishment to make it to the next birthday. A few weeks ago, we were watching our little grand daughters, and the 4-year-old said, "Mommy said to be real good while we're here, because you're getting old, Gaga." Gosh, it's not like I needed to be reminded.

    I've been thinking the same thing about people whom I know made mostly healthy choices with their lifestyles. Many of them suddenly have major health concerns. Maybe it's always been the case, and I'm just starting to pay attention.

    Part of my problem, where food is concerned, is I truly enjoy eating. And I'm surrounded by folks who think we should eat to celebrate, mourn, and everything in-between. Far be it from me to try to change them, lol!

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    1. I've heard it said that the 'health nuts' may not live any longer BUT their final 2-3 years are not as debilitating as those of us who don't take care of ourselves, that they can stay out of nursing homes closer to the end. That may be true but we don't get do-overs so we tell ourselves little white lies to make us feel better about abusing our bodies.

      Food really is used for all occasions, isn't it.

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  6. First of all, belated birthday greetings. No song. I'm not fond of that song, either. Although it is good to brush your teeth by so you don't slack off. (Must do it twice though, which is a tad excessive. Hail to the Victors Valiant is as effective and only once through.) I try to go to the visitation and skip the funeral. Boy, I know what you mean about funerals that don't seem to "get" the person. They're better now, for the most part, now that families are taking a more active role. But those I remember from my younger days when the minister did the eulogy -- most were boring. Not that it has to be a laugh but a good funeral makes you wish you knew the dead person even better. We all go on binges. The issue is knowing when to get off!

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    1. Boy, you take teeth brushing seriously. I don't sing but I do count the number of times each of the four sections of my mouth gets the tooth brush and water pick.

      I went to a funeral once where the minister kept pronouncing the deceased name wrong. Drove me crazy. Had I been a close family member I would have shouted out the correct name. It was embarrassing.

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  7. Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you have a year of good health and fun adventures.
    I have told my family that I don't want a funeral. Just cremate me and scatter me wherever they want and just remember me fondly (I hope!).
    I like to get out for walks when the weather is nice so I can look at nature especially now with Spring popping out.
    I'm surprised you don't have more healthy choices at your restaurant there.
    What's your favorite meal they serve?

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    1. My favorite meal is their steak but I only get it once a month because it's the most expensive thing. They've got it perfected next is their salmon. They cook that perfect too. Sides are ordered separately and each charge separately and you can quickly burn up your food budget if you aren't careful. Most of us try to get the specials when they have them because they cost between $12.99 and come with something like meatloaf, tacos, roast beef, etc plus a starch and a pretend serving of veggies. They do serve great salads but they are huge and I can get two meals out of them. But they get boring after so many. They serve way too many deep fried stuff. But great soups at lunch. You could eat healthier here than I do but it's not easy.

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  8. Happy Belated and Many Happy Returns!

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  9. Happy birthday, Jean! I almost always find out something I didn't know about the person at their funeral too and walk away wishing I had known them better. A friend of mine back east went to a school mate's father's funeral yesterday and said she had the best catch-up with her friend and another classmate there. There was a reconnection made, and they vow to keep in touch going forward. So it was a really good day for her and she was glad she went. Nice to hear when we are the "only get together at funerals" stage of life...LOL.

    Deb

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    1. Isn't that true. We can categorize the eras of life by the events we get invited too...graduations, showers, weddings, baby showers then nothing until the funeral era.

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  10. Happy Birthday, Jean. May the rest be happy and independent ones, too.

    I agree with another commenter that early risers/walkers might not be health nuts. Sometimes, people like to have a quieter time to walk or commune with Nature. Lately, I'm finding it hard to sleep past 6:30, and believe me, I want to! I don't know if the time change did a number on me or what, but I make the most of it by easing into my day and enjoying the quietude of the morning before everyone else is out and about (except a few dog walkers).

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    1. Commune with nature is a great stress reducer. When I lived in my other house, I'd sit out on my deck after dark and listen to the owls and watch the night sky for bats and stars.

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  11. Happy birthday šŸŽ‰.
    My husband always laughs because as soon as I'm in for the evening I put my 'loungers' on. He calls them Pjs but they're not because I change into those before bed - I love being comfy šŸ˜

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    1. Me too! I can't see putting extra wear and tear on my good clothes and I want to be comfortable.

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  12. I hope your birthday was all you wanted it to be, here happy birthday sung once is fine10 times is annoying.
    Binge eating isn't something I have ever done
    I don't mind going to funerals but don't go to many

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  13. I think one of the reasons my husband and I are getting along in retirement is that he gets up at 4am and I get up when I feel like it. Lately I have been in my pjs until after 11 am most days and I am hoping to move that up a little. I'm the night owl and I love sitting in the dark watching tv shows and streaming all by myself.
    I have lost enough friends this past winter that my neighbor Diane is my funeral buddy. And that is a sad thing to be for each other. I am hoping the events slow down soon.
    I hate celebrating my birthday with others. I usually take my facebook page down that day so people aren't wishing me a happy birthday. I don't have it "public" but someone who keeps track will post "Happy Birthday" and then it starts. I do enjoy celebrating my birthday by myself with special treats which are always food I should not be eating. Signed, fellow fat lady blogger

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  14. I don't have my birthday public on Facebook either.

    I wish I had a funeral buddy. Going to them alone, since my husband died is awkward.

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  15. We sometimes take Comfort in Food and I think it's Primal that when our Body or Minds are under Stress, we do things subconsciously that don't make sense from a logical standpoint, but probably do from a Survival one? I only seem to get cravings when I'm stressed, even if it's good stress, and often the cravings are very odd things I suddenly want, but normally wouldn't even eat often, if at all... it's interesting. As for Funerals, I don't like them at all and its nothing about Death that is off putting to me... it's more about the Living who show up for them and how some might behave while there. Grieving is deeply personal and for anyone to treat a Funeral like a Social Event seems very crass to me and doesn't Honor the decedent nor their Grieving Loved Ones. Plus, I don't like to show Emotion and often don't, but depending on who Died, the Energy at a Funeral can really overwhelm me as I pick up on whatever Energy is present and it feels very Weird if it's not my own Energy I'm having to Feel. Some people don't Believe in Empaths but I know that whatever others are Feeling becomes tangible to me and if it's yucky, well, I really don't like to expose myself to too much of it. Intense Sorrow is one of those things that is very heavy Energy to be around... if it's not my own Sorrow I'd just as soon not carry that load. If that makes me a Cold Bitch, so be it. *winks*

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    1. Having people around when we grief is probably a good thing because it helps us hold ourselves together longer because most of us don't like to grieve in public. But doing it postpones the flow of emotions until we're past the shock a little bit and we can better handle it. At least that's the way it works for me. It also makes me feel good to see how many others cared enough to attend, had a connection to someone I loved or cared about. We each have our own ways of coping and there is nothing wrong with that. I just wish my way didn't make me gain weight!

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  16. Footnote: Happy Birthday, we'll keep it on the Downlow here in the Land of Blog. *smiles* I don't like too much fanfare on mine either. But, I do like the privilege of growing Older, it beats the alternatives.

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  17. I have two friends who are caring for husbands a decade older than themselves and who have multiple and serious health issues. It is taking such a toll on my friends. Caregiving (as you know) is hard! As for funerals, most of the services I have attended are actually "Memorial Services" and they seem far less somber and sad.

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    1. Ya, I tend to use 'funeral' and 'memorial services' interchangeable but I agree with you that the latter is less somber. The funerals usually happen sooner after someone dies, too, when emotions are higher.

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  18. I wish I was an early riser. The early risers I have known have always been happy as soon as their feet hit the floor. Me, I'm a don't talk to me until I've had my second cup of coffee, riser.

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    1. I'm the same way. I've never been a morning person but to envy those who are.

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