Thursday, December 20, 2012

What can we give ourselves today?

It may be too soon.  The grief may still be carving its presence into our being.


if we're ready.   if God is asking this of us.   if it is taking more energy to hold back than it would to let go.   if people who care and understand want us to be here for them now.   if we give ourselves permission, life will ask us to: 
~ Let go ~

release the pain

My love to all who journey this path, kicking, screaming, limping, crawling.  Someone is here to love us.  Be he or she God, our departed one, our sister, our brother, our Mom, our Dad, our son, our daughter, our friend -  borrow their strength.   Some glorious day it will become our own. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Number One in my heart

Used to be that my late husband was Number One in my heart.   He hasn't been for quite some time.   

I started fully occupying the 'Number One' bench this summer, after dating had yielded no suitable candidate for romantic bench warmer.  Indeed, in settling myself in on this bench, I wrote here, on August 21st, that Love, not fear, was now going to be in charge of my life. I made a commitment to live in the present tense.  And I assumed my life would be a solo act.  So how strange it was that five days later I became reacquainted with Joe, a friend I knew in New York City three decades ago.   He'd looked me up on Facebook.

Maybe you've read my last post  "Moving forward with the Emergency Brake on".  I've had some time to think about it.  Here's what I'm going to do.

I'm disengaging the emergency brake.  

O.K.  First and foremost, Love exists in the present tense and this is where I want to live.  Fear lives, if you can call it that, in the future.  So I've disengaged that darn brake, and I'm on the road. 

Why did I let two scary 'what if's' unsettle me?  I, or we, can deal with them.  The first 'what if' is my challenge balancing his needs with my own.  I've had no evidence this challenge is a problem.  The second 'what if' is death - one or the other will die first - if this romance blossoms into full love.   I've been there, and don't relish the opportunity to lose one I love again.   But I'll be O.K., with God's help.  Besides, who knows who will die first?  The only way I can figure out how to avoid these two 'what if's' is to avoid loving at all.   So.   Easy choice. 

I'm going to offer part of this bench to the man above.  Will he join me?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Moving forward, with the emergency brake on

"I'm alone. Who can help me out here? "  I once cried out.

Silence.  I will never forget that relentless silence when he died.  I begged for his help beyond his grave.  Silence.  Nothing.  Occasionally I'd be blessed with a glimmer that he was beside me, but damned if this glimmer was going to help me with something I really needed.  Silence.  Nothing.

Nothing to do but pick up those pieces and "Suck it up, Marine".

Let me tell you what life is like for this widow seven long years later: it is a lovingly crafted system with fewer moving parts, each designed to not overwhelm.  Discipline and indulgence teeter on a fulcrum of faith in God and the ultimate goodness of life.  I don't ask for perfect, predictable circumstances.  That would be dull.  Instead I ask for equilibrium.  After my long fall through hell before and after my husband died, I want peacefulness at the conclusion of each day.

I've long assumed that peacefulness for me requires solitude.   I've actually become a bit of a hermit, enjoying my own projects, my own timing, my own weightless independence.   Though I have felt the longing for union, evidently it's more in the abstract.   My first relationship as a widow was fairly insubstantial and never really threatened my equilibrium.

Now a man has come into my life.  A good man.  With him I feel a caring and a peace.  Peace with someone.  This is new.  I didn't even feel this sense of soul peacefulness with my late husband.  This new peacefulness is also extremely unsettling.  Does this make any sense?  What if I fall in love,  need someone, and lose what life I've created on my own, not to mention, lose him if he dies? I will experience another very hard fall into hell.  It cost me years to recover when my late husband died.  Rationally, I say this could be a long free fall into heaven if I let go. But this isn't how I feel. 

So my hand is on the emergency brake, and my life grinds forward.  This is the best I can do for now.  I accept that God is in charge, and I will try to take my hand off that emergency brake and place it on His.  God has always found a way to flow around, through, above and below a journey to hell or to heaven. 

Does anybody have any advice on this?  I could use some help.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sincerely yours

One quality has marked my life: Sincerely Seeking.

I was born lost and clueless. I don't know about you, but I didn't particularly enjoy these feelings. Marriage and its commitment, settled my fears; it  felt orderly and natural. How can I express the enormous 'settledness' of union with a beloved?    Strong wills aside, my husband and I figured things out.  Love knit us together. 

Then he died, setting me adrift in a sea of widows and widowers, lost and clueless like myself.   I found great comfort and hope knowing how common widowhood was.   Some how this made it less scary.   Though there is no 'one size fits all' course for widows, seeing some navigate with courage and fortitude through that sea gave me hope.   We all know there is no going back; death wipes out the familiar landscape.   One must carry on.  The tools I first used, impatience and pluck, helped, but  weren't enough to bring me out of the sea of grief.  Many widows and widowers were making it to another side, establishing a happy, new life.   They were getting there.  Could I?  How could I?

I've come to believe the key to getting to shore is sincerely seeking a new life.  Sincerely letting go of the old.  Sincerity opens the way to
  • what is real, what is true
  • our wounds, so they can heal
  • our unmet needs, so we can find ways to meeting them
  • having our life mean something to somebody else 
  • kindness from others
  • kindness in ourselves to deal with callousness in others
  • lessons, and more lessons
  • our sheer grit - You Go Girl!
  • courage to experiment, fail, and succeed 
  • appreciation for our own very special qualities 
  • facing our future even though death is in it
  • facing our future, with love in it
Widowhood gave me two choices if I wanted to move on.  One: Desperation, okay in the beginning, but really tiring, like going around in circles.  Two: Sincerity, which can lead to something real: firm new ground.

It took me a while, a great while, but I resorted to the second one.  I'm going to stick with it.  I have crossed over, to a new life.   It's pretty darn good.    Seven and a half years out, my heart is bigger. My interests have grown and changed, and are satisfying.   My days are happier, on balance.  I enter this holiday season without dread.   I don't look back to the old life, wishing I could go back.   I've opened my heart to a new person.  Two new people, actually.  Me, and a new 'he'.

I hope this helps, if you're lost.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Will the sky fall in?

I'm going to try a new morning routine.  Good thing my cats will be around to share it.

New goal: check in with myself before I check in with my TV and Internet.   Ever since 9/11, I have turned the TV on first thing in the morning.  Ah, phew!  The world is intact.  Then, last week, when Hurricane Sandy severed my electrical and cable connection, I was completely in the dark.   Yes, my generator gave me heat and hot water.  This was good.   What I really missed, however, were talking heads in the morning.   Talking male heads.

News pundits must be added to my list of surrogate spouses.  Oh, no. I can see myself getting to the end of my life and having not my life, but morning TV, flash before my eyes.

Stop the TV.  Stop the Internet.  Stop the world - I want to get off.   I want my own input first thing in the morning.  By this time I ought to be able to face the loneliness without someone to talk to when I wake up. 

One can hope.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Down, not out... finally

Hurricane Sandy came along last week.  Funny how it reminds me of the way death approached, bearing down with relentless purpose, without consideration or gentleness for anyone it would harm.   Like the death watch, all one could do was prepare, then hunker down.  Like death, it claimed victory, destroying what it could.  Like death, it left survivors to rebuild from scratch.   Like death, it's really hard to find the humor in it.

But, you know, for most of us this hurricane wasn't death.  Sandy was strong where I live, and I hunkered down.   She blew over, only leaving me without power for six days, with a huge tree down and my precious routine disturbed.   Sandy was a mere blip on my emotional radar, especially when the power came back on.

True, a lot of people are in crisis, displaced, never to return to the life and neighborhood they knew.  How different is this from surviving widowhood?   We take stock.  Visible losses are attended to.  We rebuild a life.  New routines get established.  Everything looks normal, to others.  Feeling normal is another issue.  Healing the internal wounds takes the time it needs to take.  We couldn't do it without each other.

I hope everybody has survived Sandy intact.  More importantly, have you survived the death of your spouse intact?  Yes, and no.  Death gave me one really great gift - I take far less for granted.  And I've learned that being intact really isn't necessary for a really good life. 

How are you doing it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


One of the greatest gifts I was given early in life was the presence of a first rate complainer.  No way could I even cast a shadow in the glare of that dazzling giant.   So why add my humble voice to this perfect art form?

I'd simply like a little attention paid here.

Today's complaints

  • The leaves refuse to stay stuck to the branches.
  • The sun comes up after I get up.
  • How can weight catch up with me when I'm moving every second of every day?
  • Mice love my house.
  • He isn't getting older now, but I am.
  • If I buy more stuff my house gets more stuffed.
  • Crossing that 'to do' off my list should only take one stroke.
  • Accidents happen we I least expect them to.
  • My favorite three R's are  redoing, resting, and redoing.
  • Why, if complaining feels so good, does it sound so horrid?

What are your complaints today?

Monday, October 15, 2012

the safety net

What does Bruce Springsteen have to do with a safety net?  A lot, in my case.  I went to a Springsteen concert recently, by myself, late at night, in a big city, but I wouldn't have gone without somebody waiting for me when I got home.  I can honestly say I wouldn't have gone without that safety net.  After all, it was just entertainment.  I didn't need to go.

There are certain things I don't do by myself.  I don't go out alone at night to movies or plays or concerts or ball games.  Olden days, I had my buddy to do these things with.  Now, if a friend isn't available, I don't go.  I can travel alone, go to workshops alone, but unless an entertainment venue is right down the street, I am in my hotel or RV before dark.  In my mind, I'm thinking "Better to be safe, than sorry."  After all, no one's watching my back.

Any of you widows relate?   Certainly other single women living alone travel at night to entertainment venues.  No one checks up on them to make sure they arrived back home safely.  I could use a dose of their bravery.  I simply don't have confidence to head out for an evening's entertainment on my own.

Life is so fragile; I feel so fragile.  What am I to do?  Maybe I should do what I do when I go up on my roof to clean out the gutters.  I call someone first and ask them to expect a call from me in two hours when I am through.  If they don't hear from me, come looking for me.  I may be on the ground. 

Somehow it feels babyish for a 59 year old to ask someone to wait for my call when I return from a concert on my own.  What do you think?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The surrogate spouse?

Meet Nip.

Early in this blog I wrote a post about feeling irrelevant.  Well, a couple of cats I adopted 5 months after my husband's death helped a bit.  I adore them.  Meet Nip.  Tux you'll meet soon :-).  That these cats hugely related to my loss became clear, when every year on my husband's birthday I wanted to adopt another.  My sister talked me out of it, or else I'd have seven cats now instead of two.

Something in me wants to care for someone or something. I want a central role and sense of continuity that volunteering or friends or extended family cannot provide.  My spouse is dead.  Now what?

I've been dating three long years now.   At first my heart was limp, but it did roar back to life. That part is great.  Obviously I'm looking for a man to love, but what I have come to appreciate instead is the fact that I had some pretty decent surrogate spouses already in place.   Besides my two cats, I have my garden.  And my house.  They offer me enough return on my investment, pleasure wise.  And I have a handyman I can depend on now.  Of course they do a crappy job of addressing the loneliness.  I may never live with a man again.  Face it.   With this blog as my witness, I have to make peace.  

I figure I have a chance at happiness, if even a blind pig can find an acorn every once in a while.  Someone I love needs to inhabit this life I'm living.   What I realized this summer is that this person was here all along. Welcome home, GowitheFlo.  I love you.

Weirdly enough, when I welcomed this adorable little girl and grown woman back into my life something strange happened.  Someone 230 miles away emptied out a bag he had retrieved from the back of his closet, and a 26 year old letter from me fell out.   He'd always thought well of me.   Facebook connected us and now we're friends again.  He matters to me.

Net result of all this grief and inner effort?  An epiphany this morning: I don't need my late spouse any more.  It has taken an awfully long time to get here.  I started writing this blog to hold myself accountable for moving forward.  Am I really O.K. now?

I expect my late husband is now saying  "I love you, honey, and I'm leaving you because you'll be O.K. "
To him I say "I miss you, but not so much. I love you, but I'll be alright.  I have found a way to go on."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Something's gotta give

I'll start with a list of what's NOT going to give.

My self worth.  My spirit must be free to soar.  Crushing is not allowed.
My fun.  Why do they call it 'down' time?  It's 'up' time.
My needs.  Barbra Streisand is right. People who need people... 
My health.  Comfort food with no nutritional value is not comfort food.
My bills.  First things first.
My cats.  Fabulous company, but I did stop at two.
My friends.  People who lift my spirit, and want me to lift theirs.
My goals.  Even little ones I celebrate.
My coffee.  It's good for us. At least that's what they say this year.
My wine.  Ditto.
My family.  Constant motivation and inspiration on how to get along.
My laptop.  And, for the well dressed PC, virus, spy, trojan, malware protection.
My color.  I don't care if black, white and gray is in fashion.  It's not for me.
My garden.  My labor of love, and cheap therapy.
My faith. Couldn't breathe without it.
My hair color.  Enough said.
My New York Times.  This is not a paid endorsement.

What's gonna give.

A clean house.
Sales of any kind.  Well, ideally.
Expensive entertainment.
Facebook.  Once a week is enough.
Home cooked meals every night.
Magazine subscriptions.
Saving the world.
Keeping up with the Joneses.
Self sufficiency.
I know I should add more.

What's on your lists?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Widowhood. It ain't funny

Well, maybe it is, a little.  I'm amazed how many of us are collectors.  Compulsive buyers.  Compulsive collectors.

Meet my rocks.  The marble from Massachusetts.  The others from deep in my backyard.  I love rocks.   I adore rocks.  Rocks last forever. Rocks are my friends. 

Meet my other best friends. My journal, my favorite blogs, my books, my gardens, my cats, my piano, my bicycles, my road trips, my food, my clothes, my shoes, my jewelry.   

Well, if collecting doesn't solve the grief problem, what is it that makes us resilient enough to beat it?

Maybe the humor.  Maybe getting to the real issues and having a good cry.  Maybe having somebody believe in you.  Maybe the passage of time.  Maybe taking on new projects.   Maybe optimism and faith.  Maybe enough money.   Maybe good enough health.  Maybe a 'can-do' spirit.   Maybe the void itself once we welcome it.  Maybe having a dear new friend. 

Whatever those special ingredients, it somehow all adds up to a new identity, post widowhood, at some point in our lives.  It has to. 

Time's come to give up a few things I've hoarded.  I'm going to take a deep breath, and purge some things from my closet.  Maybe I can live with less?

Tell me about your collections.  Are they helping?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How can somebody have this much stuff?

Enough is enough!  Which sweaters should I hold on to?  I'm not talking about my own.  I mean his.  I gave away most of his sweaters, shoes, coats, jackets, vests, PJs, slippers, belts, hats, gloves, boots and old electronics by the third year.  Now I'm holding on to just a few special items...

Every time I try to let one more garment go, paralysis sets in.   Can't I hold on to the option of seeing his clothes if I'm lonely?   They're not in a closet I use anyway.

I have to confess I'm eyeing that space for my own use. 

Someone said you have to create empty spaces in your closets, for someone else to enter.  Nice thought, probably true.  However, to me empty space is like an ugly bleeding gash that taunts me.  I'm alone.  Alone.

I'll deal with this later.  Close the door.  If and when the times comes I will make the space for somebody else; evidently not a moment sooner.

What do you think?  Keep those last few things of his or clear them out? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I have no idea how a new relationship will turn out and I'm completely comfortable with that.

I don't know if I'm coming or going and I'm completely comfortable with this.

I'm not feeling lonely, and this is a new feeling. 

I just saw my neighbor, a very recent widower, who was married for 53 years.  His beloved wife was suffering for the last seven years and he took care of her at home until she died.  Now he's been alone  four months.  He reached out to me and I'm happy to be there.

I talked to another neighbor yesterday.  Her husband is fighting his new diagnosis of cancer. My first impulse is to help in any way I can.

There was a time I had nothing left to give.  Now I have enough to give. 

I think this is Post widowhood.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can't I keep even my HAPPY memories?

Recently, I found myself commenting on another person's blog post.  As usual, in the act of writing, I learned something about myself.  I have no idea if what I wrote is wise, or good, or necessary.  It's about letting go of even the happy memories.

When my husband died some seven years ago, I was more than happy to let go of some memories -the difficult periods we shared.  Letting go of cancer's agony was a particular joy.  I was also happy to let the memories of discord between us go.

Here's what I wrote:

"In my journey it's necessary to get unstuck even from happy memories, since I can't access that life any more.  What I can access, however, is the present moment, and enter it wholly."

For me, happy memories might keep me stuck.  My husband might become sacred, burnished in time and fabricated into a legend.   That would certainly interfere with new connections!  So, when a happy memory comes along I let it go.  Dwelling on a dead man feels, well, foolish. He's history. 

Well, duh.

I wouldn't be writing this blog if it weren't for his, and our, history.  Here I am, trying to make sense of memories.  Sense of the absent him.  Sense of me without him.  Sense of a present without him.  I am coming to love the present without him.  But clearly, I am not doing it without him.  He's here, in this blog. I'm quite confused.  Does post widowhood mean abandoning any reference to him in my life? 

What do you think?  Are memories useful or not?

Monday, September 3, 2012

feeling abandoned?

Were we abandoned by our husbands?    You bet we were.  Work through that grief, and we may find a deeper fear of abandonment still alive and kicking.  I truly hope not for you.  I hope you have made wonderful new connections that fill your heart.  But fear of abandonment is alive and well for me.  When my husband was alive, I felt strong in his commitment and love.  I carried his presence with me a long while after his death.  I didn't feel so alone.  Then his presence began fading. This is when fear of abandonment surfaced for me.

If I truly let myself need another man again I may be abandoned again - by sickness, by death, by his love petering out.  Can I reach out?  First I'm going to reach in. 

My new project, the "you're welcome, (my name)" project, said deeply into my heart, addresses this fear.   I can never really be abandoned, can I, when I welcome myself in?  I can welcome my own needy self - tenderly, carefully.   I need to be there, first for me. Then I need to be there for someone else.  I shared this with a widowed friend.  She took my hand, "I can see you're speaking from your heart." We sat there quietly, hand in hand, tears streaming down my face. Her heart reached mine without saying a word.    

No advice.  No need to talk about her own experience.  No need to fill the void.  Just be in the void with me.  Simply be there in that void with me.

I guess I'm talking about providing my own emotional support first, before offering and seeking it from someone new.  I've been pretty guarded about loving again.  It's scary letting a new man in.  But, darn it, I'll survive.

Do any of you ladies have these fears, too?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Generally I have a title for a post before I write.  Today I don't.  One will emerge. 

A man I used to be friends with has re entered my life via Facebook.  Facebook has connected me with several old friends, but this man immediately reached beyond its pages.  We've exchanged a couple e-mails and his intentions appear sincere and trustworthy.  He wants to get to know the woman behind the photos on Facebook. 

I welcome the connection.  Since he lives hundreds of miles away, it appears we'll be pen pals.  But in some ways we're two peas in a pod.  Both introverts, both presently unmarried, both thoughtful, and both writers.  Well, he's an author of seven nonfiction books, so his league is, well, different.

My hope is that I can find a true friend, one I can relate to and care about.

That's all I wanted to say.  I welcome a new chapter in my life, and love that I can contribute to it by writing.

I think God has good intentions for me.  "Where love is, there is God also."

I just looked up this quote. It is the title of a story by Leo Tolstoy.  I just read the story.  Now I know why this post doesn't have a title.  The 'love' has to be filled in by me.

Where _____ is, there is God also.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why let go?

   My list of  reasons to let go.

  • Our late husbands' love is encoded in our DNA and can never to be lost
  • Fulfillment is ours to access inside, not for someone to give us or take away
  • God's larger love story for us is being written
  • We can mature in ways we didn't have to when our late husbands offered us shelter
  • We inhabit our own psyches fully, now that he's not around to inhabit them
  • Living without his second opinion is fine because our own and God's is ample
  • The fear "But I'm alone" can't stop us from traveling, or stepping out to have a good time
  • We have more sex with the person who gets all our hot spots, every time - us!
  • We blow our own minds when we realize how powerful we've become on our own
  • We blow other wives' minds when they learn all we've been doing

The past isn't firm ground.  It has vanished.  I feel shaky.  The present is shifting under my feet constantly, yet I trust there's solid rock underneath.  This rock is God and the 'me' beneath all my shifting identities.  'Wife' is gone.  My husband's eyes don't mirror mine anymore.  'Widow' is a but a passage, and cold comfort.  

God remains.  The sky remains.  The water, the earth and all their inhabitants remain.  And their eyes mirror my intention and deepest self.  What message am I sending out?  Love?  Gratitude? Anticipation?  I need to be held accountable.

What benefits have you found in letting go of your late husband and the life you once had?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In the emptiness I meet my architect

Things I'm learning on this, my private retreat in Down East Maine.

Though fear stands at the portal of ME,
and would easily be my architect,
I am not my FEAR. 
My FEAR is not me.

I am instead NEEDINESS.  Incompletion.
Blindness. Unknowingness.
I give these attributes my consent.
My architect, is LOVE.

Blockage by fear
is a path well known and well worn.
Its crime? Blocking vibrant life, earthy love,
 and ME, most of all.

I've learned the password to move past my fear.
It's simple and profound.
 "You are welcome, ____ _______(my name)"
said with whole heart and will.

Inside what have I found? who? ME?
I stand inside, pliable, still blind,  uninitiated.
I infer my footing because
LOVE has me in sight. 

                                                                                                      'poem' by GowitheFlo

I hope I can continue to tell you who and what I find. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I choose...

Every moment of every day I can live without shame and pain from being alone.  I just had an exquisite lobster meal on a restaurant's deck, overlooking the international ferry that transports travellers to/from Canada.   Earlier today I feared a rainy mood on a rainy day.  But morning yielded to a sunny day and magnificent meal. 

That's my lesson for this day. 

If I live expectantly, willingly, and gratefully, abandoning my regret and embarrassment at my aloneness in a world of couples, families and groups, great joy and innocent delight emerges.  I share that freely, with waitresses, with other diners, and it is returned in kind. 

It's not the families and groups I miss being part of.  It's the best male friend, united in body, soul and mind that I miss.  Not my husband.  It's the unknown lover who is at this moment traveling, active yet lonely, lover and friend of the earth and sky, and ready to reach out.  In his absence I have my own dear friendship.  Today is so welcome, so loved.  I draw nourishment from the sky and the sea, in this quiet place where land changes name from United States to Canada, if one but takes a ferry with a wish for more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Happy Wedding Anniversary. True, my husband's been dead some seven years, but I celebrate his gift of love just the same. Each year, if I'm able, I return to a campsite way up Maine's coast, where we would celebrate our anniversary. Perhaps in the future I will have a reason to lay down new patterns of celebration. I hope so. I am soooo ready!

His absence is a gift I've come to appreciate. In the emptiness I've discovered my neediness. I've discovered my fear and confusion. I've discovered my compassion and tenderness toward my neediness, fear, and confusion. I'm also amazed to learn that the more I welcome this emptiness and enter into it, the more I can welcome others into my life. Grief isn't all that bad, because letting go gives me more space inside to love anew.

I've come a long way. I've a long way to go. I'd like to share a little bit about me to give it context.

I was born April Fool's Day, an unexpected gender from an unexpected conception, cross eyed and needy. Mom and Dad thought they were quite through having children, but into the family I popped. Mom, already overtaxed in her capacity to mother, let me believe I was the final straw, calling me her accident, her mistake. Of course, I figured if I was smarter, or prettier, or popular, she'd welcome me. But, try as I might, I never became enough. I then tried to 'un' be, figuring if I disappeared, I wouldn't tax her capacity too much and she'd be at least grateful.

Unfortunately, neither approach resulted in a single "good job!", "I love you", or affectionate hug. Oh, dear. I then built a wall so high inside you couldn't see me and I couldn't see you.  I wouldn't have to feel the sting of rejection should my neediness show and someone not have the capacity to fill it. 

My husband was a big part of my healing, and I'm pretty angry that he isn't around any more to be my fan.   I know my biggest fan is God, amorphous as He/She is. I trust I'll grow, that when I say an unconditional "Yes!" to life, no matter what its circumstances, a larger love will manifest. It's just so bloody lonely sometimes. Still, the love story this anniversary celebrates is but a part of the larger love story I'm still writing. I would dishonor my late husband's love for me if I didn't enter this larger story.

 Happy Anniversary.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It all starts in the heart

I realized yesterday that I'm just having a plain old garden variety existential crisis. What a relief! 

These things I know.

One, life is asking me to figure things out. 
Two, Nature is rhythmic, with regeneration and death.
Three, Life will have stumbling blocks.
Four,  my journey isn't complete until I make somebody else's heart shine.
Five,  I have the ingredients inside me to do that.

Tomorrow I head out to my favorite place on earth - Down east Maine.  I'll be camping in my little RV.  I'll be cycling and hiking, and eating lobster.  I'll also be listening, and not just to fog horns. 

God, hear my prayer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's going on here?

Positive:  I don't need to be around  for someone who is here all the time.  Freedom!

Negative: I don't need to be around  for someone who is here all the time.  Loneliness.

I'm tired of trying to frame post widowhood in an optimistic manner.   I'm aware we widows and widowers are expected to make the best of a difficult situation, 'get over it', "get on with it', 'grow out of it'.  We're congratulated when we pick up the pieces and start over.   We create the stories of triumph over adversity.   If it makes others feel better, yes, tidy endings do happen.   Love does reenter the picture.  Happily ever after is yours for the taking.  Hey, if you're lucky, your loss can be new material for a sitcom!

Now, the real picture in this blog writer's life. Seven years trying to make the best of things, not succeeding too well at the moment.   Seven years living in survival mode wedging bigger and bigger pockets of thriving in.  Focusing on making something that's my own, even if it's not the best.   Even if it's not making any sense.

News alert: I  have not made sense of the tragedy I encountered, yet it's the most common tragedy of all.  After all, everybody dies.  I feel stupid and clueless. 

Winston Churchill said something I identify with.

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

God love him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This poem shares my heart today, and what I'm missing and need.
Mostly this poem is about loving tenderly, both myself and other wonderful people I've yet to meet. 

I want to see the world through your eyes.
You see it so differently than I.
I need to see what I'm missing
with these, my one pair of eyes.

I want to hear the world through your ears.
To know why you laugh and cry.
To know how you resonate so deeply
when your spirit touches the sky. 

I know life's secrets leave you hungering.
and life's snubs leave you aching some more.
My hands need yours to teach me
how to touch you where you're sore. 

I want to know you thoroughly,
and treasure who you are.
I want to love you candidly,
your tears, your laugh, your charm.

I'll make your fear grow pale, you'll see,
in light of love so pure and grand,
that life inside becomes vivid and real,
bringing you all it can.

I miss you when you hide from me,
afraid I've promised too much, too long.
But come at your pace to trust, my love,
for inside you is life's best song.

                                Poem by GowitheFlo

Monday, July 30, 2012

In over my head, again

I know that feeling.  Fear.  Perplexity.  Being leagues beyond my comfort zone.  Aware that abyss of  abandonment is only too happy to welcome me back.

Soon I head out in my small RV for a trial run of a couple hundred miles.  I'm starting to load it and test its systems.  Once upon a time my late husband and I headed out in it, to cherished places only campers go.  This year marks the eighth annual trip I've made on my own since he died.  However, before I head out, a few things need fixing.  Easy fixes.  Yeah, for a welder or a plumber.

Uh, oh.  I see my little pity party coming.  Get out of here!  OVER MY DEAD BODY will I give up RV'ing to avoid a difficulty or three.

Fear.  Perplexity. I know you well. Sometimes I try shake you off, with liquor, or shopping or procrastination.  Pretty stupid.  Prayer can work OK on fear, but I've yet to master miracles that fix problems.  Better to try to master the task.  And lighten up!  

Last year, hopeful that learning to swim would help me with fears beyond the water's edge, I began a DVD course called "Total Immersion".  I'm up to lesson 7 out of 10, and yes, learning to swim is actually teaching me life lessons.  For instance, a body will float if it just relaxes.   Water is friendly.  Keep any muscle not needed for forward propulsion relaxed.   (Actually very few muscles are needed for forward propulsion.)  Conserve energy, breath efficiently, and maintain focus for the long haul.  Trust the process of learning one drill at a time.  The joy of swimming will result.

So I'm trying to hang in there, learning what I need to live a joyous life.   Yes, I'm in over my head.   But, every once in a while, when I 'get' how to do something and actually get it done, my head breaks free above the surface and my heart breaks free with a joy I can't contain.   Initiating that flip from fear to 'I get it!' takes a surprisingly small amount of energy.  Now the flip itself takes a bit of time...

"It's OK.  Just start where you are. Just try....,  OK, try again.... OK....try AGAIN... You go, girl!!!"

How do you deal with being in over your head?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can changing a setting really change my attitude?

Gentle, but not fragile.
Quiet, but not brooding.
Strong, but not alpha.

The former background for this blog

Someone inspired me to change the background of this blog today.  I'm not feeling as fractured these days and this blog should reflect this. 

As alone as I feel, I'm not longing to be curled up in his arms.  I feel less like a fifth wheel in the world of couples and and more like an alternate universe.   I'm growing fond of a label called 'misfit' because I personally find misfits rather interesting.  Does this mean I've reached some acceptance of my loss and my aloneness?   For today. 

Symbols are important to me; they set the tone and the context of my experience.  The sunflowers in this background are as sunny and intimate and infinite as God's love.  I actually took this photograph while sitting in the midst of them.  There's no confusion about the direction they face.  So I'll turn my face toward the sun, too.

Have you reached some acceptance of your loss and aloneness?  I'd love to hear how you have done so.  I invite your comments. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

When we open our mouths, what comes out?

I have two older sisters.   One sister is an explainer.   The other is an informer.   When they speak I can pretty much count on learning something.  I've recently spent 10 days, separately, with each of them.   That's the longest period I've spent with them since childhood.  It was the first time I really noticed how they relate to others when they speak.

That's them.  What about you?  I know I'm not an explainer, or an informer, or a complainer, or an entertainer, or a debater, or a teaser.   Least I don't think so.  I have been called a cheerleader, but this man didn't spend 10 days in a row with me.  

Anyway, both of my sisters are amazing examples of women who have reshaped themselves and their circumstances in their sixth decade.  I'd like to follow in their footsteps in my own way.  True, neither of them are widows, but each has gone against the grain, upset the applecart, so to speak.  

I learn so much through others.  I depended on my late husband's feedback.  Now I very much want feedback in this new chapter of my life, but I'm not getting very much.  I have to trust that living life as consciously and deliberately as I can is its own reward.

I'm teachable.  I'm eager.  I'm in my own shoes, and stumbling along.  I'm willing, God, to learn more...

Have you found yourself using a new and different voice, now that your husband isn't listening?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Growing into my own skin

I've been away this past month, traveling in Ireland and France.   Sounds wonderful, was wonderful, but I was way out of my comfort zone.  I'd have it no other way.  I travel to learn, not only about the culture and terrain of another country, but about myself.

I went to Ireland by myself, knowing no one, for a bicycle tour on its west coast.  I added a pre-trip extension to the cycling portion, to explore Ireland a little first, and get over jet lag.  Six other people had decided to do this as well, in the form of three married couples.  Two of the couples had come together.  I felt my single status acutely; once I was part of a happy couple like them.  How was I going to fit in?

Until this trip, I have played my 'widow' card in new circumstances with couples.   I have found my identity as widow comforting.  It presents a status that is neither single nor married, but in a way both.   The shadow of the missing husband always exists. Since I'm really trying to move on now, I didn't explain myself as a widow to these couples.   As a result I felt intensely disoriented.   Remember your first days of college, when you didn't know anybody and they didn't know you?  Did you wonder if you'd fit in?   I felt like that with these couples.  I was me as simply me.  Would they like 'simply me'?  Who is 'simply me'?

I met her, well, me, in their feedback.  I met a lively yet self contained woman, sometimes animated, sometimes quiet, with a gutsy and peaceful spirit.   Much to my surprise and delight, I as 'simply me' was welcomed and appreciated.   I was scared I wouldn't be enough.   I needn't have worried.  

A few days later a man with similar qualities joined the cycling portion of the tour.   A lovely self assurance emanated from him.   He was quiet yet warm.  I've feared that quiet is read as aloof.  Not so.  I will think of him when I'm judging myself as too quiet among people, and remember that even quiet people like me and him can have a powerful and positive effect on others.

Thank you, God, for giving me this opportunity to learn.  Now I will unpack my clothes and souvenirs.  Unpacking my experiences and memories will be even more fun.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What man would touch me with a ten foot pole?

When I look at myself, overworked and overwhelmed at times, what have I left to give a beloved?

I'm used up.   With projects I adore and with projects I have to get done.  I've thrown myself into surviving, first from necessity, now with a healthy dose of defiance.  I am going to thrive.   Widowhood isn't going to leave me half alive.  I'm doing two people's work to manage the same household.   Where's the free time for a special man?
"Step into my world",  I have said into my romantic void.   "Help me.  Hold me.  I'm pretty.  I'm healthy.  I'm faithful.  I'm loving.  I have a wonderful relationship resume!  No heavy baggage.  No bitterness.  Just peace.  Gratitude.  I have a magnificent home by a pond.  Come play.  Come stay.  Come be my love."

 Me.  Me.  Me.  It's all about me.   With a Pygmalion fantasy.

Until I come up with free time and a free heart for a man on his turf, on his terms, sometimes, I'm not serious about connecting with a real human being. 

Are you having trouble moving on, too?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's a beautiful day

I just can't see it.

I saw a dead deer by the side of the road, and an official town truck stopped alongside.  Two men in their fluorescent orange vests had wrapped a towel around her and were about to heave her into the bed of the truck.  "That could be me!" I wailed.

Life gets bleak when I look ahead, if it's love I'm looking for. 

I finished the bike ride for our local cancer center.  53 miles in under 4 hours.  3649 feet ascending and 3649 feet descending.  Slower than the racers half my age, but faster than I rode it two years ago.  Fast down some hills - 35 mph - and la dee da slow up some hills - 5 mph.  I was easily the oldest woman cycling the route.  I did feel tired afterward, but I didn't feel sore, not even the tiniest little bit.

Five years ago I couldn't have done this.   I was out of shape and grieving.   I weighed 149 and wore size 12.   Then I saw someone cycling in the mountains of Tuscany. What freedom!   What gorgeous landscape!   What vitality!   I want that!  So with that in mind, I put myself on a weight training regimen.    When I wanted to quit I held out my carrot - that cyclist in Tuscany was me.  I bought a bicycle and bribed myself to go 4 1/2 miles.  Then more. Then more.   I found an auction site offering a discount bike trip for two to Tuscany, and I bid my birth year.   Wouldn't you know, I won?   Guess I was meant to go.
That was five years ago.  I need to believe I can see a beautiful day, today.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What's the big deal about fitting in, anyway?

Fitting in smacks of rooting oneself, and I prefer wings to roots.  I don't want to fit in and be stuck.  I want to leave my own trail.  And connect with others who leave their own trail.  

I'm especially uncomfortable fitting in to widowhood.  Maybe it's the age I was when he died.  52.  Maybe it's the brevity of time we had together. 23 years.   Why not make this my opportunity for reinvention?   Take those paths not taken while married?  Create and enjoy my own bucket list before my own end?   I'm here, outside coupledom, outside family life, looking in, yes, and also looking on.  Outside the most substantive and fulfilling relationship I've ever known.   Not living a life I thought I'd have.  No male cheer leader, no live in helpmate, no seat mate.   But... I have lust, for life.

That lust came back.  Still, I have felt rather insubstantial without him, like a 'better half' marking time.  Insubstantial unless I fit in to coupledom.  Then yesterday, like a bolt of lightning, I sensed the words: I am substantive.  I am substantial without him.  And without another him.

Tomorrow morning I ride my bicycle 53 miles to raise funds for the local cancer center.  This nearby facility provided my late husband the nuts and bolts care his distant treatment centers couldn't.   I'll likely see familiar faces.  I'll see a lot of determined people.  I made my first ride on its behalf two years ago.  It's long and it's grueling.  That first time, I rode it in memory of him.  This time I'm cycling for all of us.  I'm riding for all of us who feel crippled and scared.   I'm riding for all of us who want our strength and our lust for life.  We are substantial. 

Make our own trail!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Roots or Wings?

I draw my nourishment from the sky.  Give me wings!!!
This quote from Laurie Helgoe, PhD., author of Introvert Power means a great deal to me:

"One day, when I was carrying my daily load of clutter, I heard a voice from beyond.  Now, with piles so high, I'd never heard from the beyond.  But Beyond called, "I am sky.  I am wide."  I said,  "Shh, you can't say wide.  You'll get arrested."  Sky replied,  "I can't be held."  I said, "Can you hold me?"  Sky replied,  "I have plenty of room,"  and her gusting winds took me up and away."

God, I love the sky.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nursing Myself Back to Health

  • Physical   
  • Mental   
  • Emotional  
  • Sexual  
  • Creative
  • Financial  
  • Social 
  • Spiritual 
  • Cats 

....In my next life

For now

House.  My world won't fall apart with a little clutter and a broken toilet.
Fashion.  I hate shopping anyway.
Culinary arts.  Too big a word.  That's somewhere over my rainbow.
Gardening.  Cut me some slack.

A whole day went by today without my working out.  Oh, NO!  
It's amazing how much my physical fitness ties into my mental, emotional, sexual, creative, and social health.  

Keep the focus.  I've got to live a long time.  Might as well be healthy.   Start the music

Monday, May 7, 2012

Suffering still?

Suffering.  Got this one down pat?  The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale rates the death of a spouse as 100 out of 100, then divorce at 73, marital separation at 65, death of a close family member at 63,  jail at 63.  For me and a lot of us widows and widowers, the actual death and loss of our spouse's company is a mere 100.  It's what comes before or after death, soldiering on in the midst of crisis, that lives somewhere north of 100 on this scale.

I haven't wanted to write about my philosophy of suffering.   I am reluctantly willing to enter it if I have to.  There, I guess that's my philosophy.

I can tell you suffering ends, like all of life's cycles.  I can tell you my life has a shot at shining again precisely because I'm trying to stare that sucker down.  Here are a few things I've tried.  I've had limited success but it's gotten me this far, able to write this blog. 

Out running it gets my endorphins going.  Out sourcing it takes some of it off my plate, if I can afford the hired help.  Out drinking it puts a damper on it temporarily, but I don't recommend it as a rule.  Out shopping it is for me about as dangerous as drinking.   Out eating or out cooking it doesn't appeal, which is a blessing, maybe?  Out humoring it hasn't worked, though it seems to work for a lot of people.  Out socializing drains me, but that's because I'm an introvert.  Out suffering it makes me a matyr nobody likes to be around.  And transcending it makes me a pompous idiot even I don't listen to. 

So my next strategy is outsmarting it.  How?  By listening that little girl inside me.  Maybe I can learn to out love suffering by loving her best I'm able.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still heading...somewhere

In an earlier post I mourned my lack of relevance to anyone on a daily basis.   Who cares what I'm eating, thinking, feeling, doing?  It doesn't impact their lives.  No one else lives under this roof with me.  No devoted man's got my back. I'm unhitched.  God, I'm lonely.

I'M BEGINNING TO FLOURISH IN THIS ENVIRONMENT.  Is something wrong with me?   Is this self care?  Enjoying my own company again?  I'll be up a creek without a paddle if I get physically injured.  But I like living alone.  Eating whenever I'm hungry.  Watching whatever I want to on TV.   I'm beginning to feel like I did in my twenties, no, even better.  I've no pressure to please anyone or take care of anyone.  I can't bite off as much.  I need more sleep.   So I bite off less.

Now I ditch the meaningless activities, and savor the meaningful ones.   I'm happy with 'good enough'.  I'm tired of being the strong, amazing, superwoman who is doing so well.    Seven years in and I'm still struggling.  It is what it is.  I keep the property in decent enough shape.  Feed the cats.   Hug the cats.  Write this blog, because it's helping me get a handle on life post widowhood.

Less and less am I looking for somebody to take over the tasks I don't want to do.  I've forgotten what it's like for me to cook dinner and for him wash the dishes.  I've forgotten what it's like for me to do the laundry and for him take care of the oil changes and trash.  I've forgotten what it's like to have a live-in handyman.  I've forgotten what it's like to share the bed night after night.  I do really miss the last one.

Still, I'm afraid that if I put me first I'll push away anybody that could love me.  I don't know the answer.  Is it OK to put me first?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Death. Where is thy sting?

I am fortunate.  My husband died in the season new life takes root.  He loved Easter, rather he loved the promise that while darkness held Jesus in its grip those three days, the light of resurrection stripped death and darkness of its power.  Real life, and real light, took up permanent residence.

By some strange coincidence, his passage into death mirrored his beloved story.  I was there.  I felt his spirit enter mine after he died.  I don't feel very sorry and sad, either for him or for myself, on this seventh anniversary. 

I haven't wanted to celebrate Easter since he passed.  I haven't followed the Christian calendar. A little sting still there?  I have 'followed' God, though, so I'm quite sure God isn't bothered by my little failure of Christian etiquette.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Post Mortem

I just finished my 'transitional' relationship.  My first involvement of body, heart and soul since my husband's death.  I'm so glad I took the chance with this man, because it was wonderful to have a man's arms around me again.  I came to love him, too, and that's never a loss.

It began on JD's 64th birthday, April 4, 2011, and ended on his 65th birthday, 2012.  On his birthday.  In a garden, after treating him to lunch.

Let's back up to one year ago. My first deep infatuation had just ended without consummation. The floodgates of female passion had opened wide and had no where to go.    Well, one way to get over someone is to meet someone new, right?   Enter JD.   He was friendly, handsome, and harmless. Totally trustworthy. But with four underage kids still at home he was Mr. Mom. With full and fair disclosure, he said the kids came first, he came second, and any woman came third.

I was lonely.  Maybe if I approached him as 'summer fling' material, I could swing this.  Maybe we could be more, my heart and body said during the fall.  We'd come to love each other in a way.  Twice we came back together to try to work something out.  Still, I was stunned when I heard the "I'm just not that into you" speech last Tuesday. Could have fooled me. He had invited me to Easter dinner with his family.

Did I want to go through the door he had just shown me?  Next day, on his birthday, I made sure I understood him correctly.  Yes. This time the good byes were for real.  I cried, and surprisingly, he did, too. 

                                                      JD, I so enjoyed knowing you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pleasure, anyone?

I'm talking pleasure, that wonderful sensory experience in the here and now.  My very own measure of pleasure.  The pleasure of one's hand on life's throttle.  What am we waiting for?  You and I have the power of ONE.   Every uphill in life has to have a downhill, so let's go for it!

First.  Love the fingers, the toes, and everything in between.  Throw out something that's holding us back.  Tear off the last sheet of the to-do list.  Let somebody else save the world today.

Now.  Make a certain somebody laugh.  Make that certain somebody very welcome in your home.  Hug that certain somebody very firmly.  Squeeze hard, because I'll wager that that glum face has a smile tucked inside.  I'm talking about you and me.

Sure, we suffered, and had setback after setback.   All the more reason for Project Pleasure to come to our house.

Are you still reading this?  Get out of here and do the Pleasure project!

Site closed temporarily.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Hope springs eternal?  If it did, there would be no suicides. Hope is rare, and precious, and pops up when we least expect it. 

Like this morning.  Out of nowhere, my thought:  I would be happy if I had a vibrant online presence.  Probably came from writing my hundredth online dating profile. Well, maybe my thirtieth.   I absolutely love writing them, fashioning a presence out of thin air.  They are all 'me' but 'me' is a moving target as I grow.  I am having fun popping up on screens and getting feedback.  Some of it is weird, but when it is, it ends up in the trash bin.

After playing such a consequential role aiding my late husband, I like being loved, or appreciated, for simply who I am, not what I will do for someone.  I know each one of us has something unique to contribute, and I think mine may be the 'get away from it all' variety, though I'm still trying to figure that out.  I've always wanted to provide a sanctuary for people, where they can return to themselves refreshed and re energized.  I do it with little interference, much color, and hopefully grace.  HOPEfully, I will invite more people into my life.

I'm a single person now, reinventing my life.  It's tiring, it feels terrifyingly hopeless, it's draining.  But it isn't impossible.  And if it isn't impossible, it's worth doing.   Even if this is the last chapter of our lives, it can be our finest.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sometimes all that effort pays off.  My leaking roof has been replaced and my Insurance Company is paying for it.  Which they SHOULD, since its degradation was weather related.  Well, this 'should' turned into 'could' turned into 'would' from the Insurance Co., after a lot of effort.   To celebrate my handsome new roof,  I just climbed up  and drank a beer up there in its honor.  Lovely view.

I sometimes get tired maintaining my own home, until I realize how many people would give their eye teeth for my situation.  So no complaints here.  Even the memory of having a man pitch in, doing the 'guy stuff', has faded.  This woman does the 'guy stuff' pretty well.  However, you can be sure that the man who offers to pitch in will win my heart.

Finally, after nearly seven years of widowhood, I'm beginning to sort twentyfive years of flotsam in my garage.  I'm figuring out the destination of a few parts.  The garden cart waiting for new wheels has them now.  Just took a few hours.  This garage may even be useful soon, instead of something I bolt through on my way into the house.  If I'm really ambitious I'll put hooks in to hang shovels and rakes and pruning tools.  No promises.

The anniversary of his death is next month.  Maybe it's spring fever, or maybe it's the new roof, but I feel the tidal pull of regeneration.  I'm very happy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Never, ever forget

Are you the most important person in some one's life?   I read this question recently and immediately rewrote it to say  "Are you the most important person in a Beloved's life?   Once we all could answer "Yes!" and reach out to him.  Now he's gone.  Have we moved on?   Come on,  girls, what are we waiting for?  Let the future begin!

You know we don't stop being lovable as women, when we stop being loved by our man. 

He died.  We didn't.  New love isn't here for me at the moment.  I hope it is for you.  In the meantime, I want to feel my feelings, and I mean ALL my feelings.   Especially my longing for comfort, for touch, for being the most important person to a 'him'.   Why wait and pine?  I play certain music when I want to feel my sensuality.   I sometimes force myself to play it, because before feeling all the wonder of my womanhood, I first feel the pain of my loss. Yet for me, this pain is fleeting.  What follows is the most tender embrace! 

Never, ever forget how are precious you are.   Even if 'he' isn't around to remind you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Everybody receives the 'givens' of life, the air, sunlight, gravity, hunger, sleepiness, wakefulness to name a few.  I believe we also receive a blueprint from God that is uniquely ours.   Circumstances hopefully draw its  purpose and beauty into existence.

Well, I haven't had the best circumstances.  Much of my life I've said to my Designer "I'd rather have somebody else's blueprint".    It seems God forgot to include a porch and front door on my blueprint, and I see great porches and front doors on other peoples'.  I do know He included a few sub cellars and a widow's walk in my blueprint.

But where's the porch?  And the front door?  I've discovered a back door.  That's how people gain access to me, kind of hanging around long enough that I grow comfortable and invite them into my 'work in progress' home.  I rarely invite an interesting new person in directly.  I see others do it. Could be I have boarded up my front door and forgotten how to use it?

I'm reminded of the results of a personality test I first took twenty four years ago, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This test reveals four dimensions of one's personality, the first dimension being how we interact with the world and where we direct our energy.  We either have a natural preference for the outer world as extroverts, or for the inner world as introverts.   Extroverts are approachable and meet new people with ease.   Extroverts have wonderful front doors.  Introverts avoid being the center of attention and find chit chat draining, if not pointless.   Not surprising that we can't locate our front door.

When I first took the test at age 34, I assumed my extreme introversion was a result of a difficult childhood.  I've since learned that only my insecurity and shyness were.  92% introversion remains.  Must be in the blueprint for me.   Time I started examining it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In His hands

Yesterday I took my longing to be part of a couple and put it in God's hands.  I literally visualized this transfer, tucking God's fingers around my desire.  I know He will tenderly keep it.  I no longer have to concern myself with it.

It's been weighing me down.  Yes, I am single, and would love a man to delight in me and have my back.  Yes, I would love to delight in him and have his back.  But God can use me to love whether there's a man in the picture or not.  NO MAN DOES NOT MEAN NO EMBRACE.   Nothing and no one can keep me from embracing LIFE.   That, at least, is under my control.

In the last two and a half years I've tried my best to connect with new love.  Boy, getting back into the singles market has been quite an education!  I have no regrets.

I turned myself from a widow, defined by my past, into a single woman alive to my future.  I became more fit, attractive, and adaptable to new and entirely different men.  No one's going to be like my dear husband, and I'm not going to ask them to.  Since I don't meet men around every corner, and I want a man to judge me by content as well as cover, I went online.  Ah, the importance of the Profile.  Good thing I love to write.  I learned a lot.  Different bait, different catch. But much more importantly, I learned to describe myself in a positive light.   I began to see myself in a positive light.

Now I've become pretty comfortable with the meet and greet part of courtship.  I've become pretty comfortable with the attention that comes after.  Most gratefully, I've learned of my value through a couple of very special mens' eyes.  I've learned to make decisions based on my best interests, which are to remain loving and open.

The lesson I most want to learn in life is how to be more loving.   I can do no better than by putting myself in God's hands.  My profile's still on one site, and I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You Reap what you Sow

I found out yesterday that my stepdaughter has a new baby girl, whom she adopted a week ago when she was born.  Congratulations!  Mom and baby daughter are together at her Mom's.  I'm happy for them and sad for myself.  My stepdaughter and her real Mom are close since her father (my husband) died.  I backed out of her life gradually after he died and she got married.   

I hadn't realized how far.  I found out about her new baby through her Facebook entry.  I've known her and her brother since they were teenagers, twenty five years ago.  They lived with their father and me briefly.  They've grown up to be wonderful adults with families of their own.  I love and admire them from a distance. 

I can only hope they admire and love me from a distance.

I contacted my stepdaughter via Facebook, congratulating her.   I've sent baby Julia a wonderful gift and will call her Mom when she's settled in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

This isn't a pep talk for all us lonely widows. 

It's not a philosophical talk about the bearable lightness of single life.

It's not a wistful surrender to the past.

This is simply to say that love comes in many forms, and to say no to whatever form it is appearing in today is to slap love in its face.

And that is utterly stupid.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends and family.  I am blessed to know you.  I love you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is it happening again?

Shoot.  I don't want to do care giving again.  I got a call last night from my oldest sister.  She and her husband took my 98 year old father to the ER.  He requires some degree of medical intervention and some degree of care in his home afterward.  How much?  When?  Now?  My brother's lined up to be Dad's caregiver.  Will he be there when Dad gets out of the hospital?  Do I have to live with Dad?

Flashback to 2002 through 2005.  Three years of 24/7 care for my dying husband.  On my own with the exception of six weeks' help from his daughter and six days' help from my sister.  God bless them both!  Three years of pills, injections, chemo infusions, stem cell apheresis, plasma transfusions, operations, therapy, clinical trials, weight loss, temporary blindness, chemo brain, steroid personality, no immune system, sterile house, cooked food only, pneumonia, ER, thousands of miles on the car. 

Doctors warned me. If I got sick, he could die.  With no immune system, my husband couldn't even fight off the smallest cold!   Well, I didn't get sick but once, and my husband survived.

I phoned my sisters.  They helped calm me down. My father's situation is entirely different.

It's not happening again.