January 22, 2023

It’s a cold, dreary Sunday, and NFL Playoff Weekend. I have just returned from a quick visit to daughter number 2. She is certainly not number 2 in my affections, just in birth order though she’s undeniably more like me than her sister, having inherited my snark, sarcasm, and robust sense of humor. But I digress. I find myself in a veritable caldron of emotions. They cover the spectrum. I am happy, sad, introspective, depressed, grateful, questioning, angry, regretful, motivated, questioning, and filled with an all-encompassing angst. I am a mess, and I don’t know why. Maybe that’s why I am calling in the big guns, the professionals – I’m seeing a shrink. All the cool kids are. And I make no apologies. So, instead of parking my ass in front of the television to watch the first of two football games, I parked my ass in front of my laptop to write my blog. My goal is to finish in time to put on my pajamas in order to properly watch game number two like any self-respecting football fan – ass firmly planted in recliner and salty expletives emitting from my mouth. The widow is alive and well, ladies and gentlemen, well, not sure about the “well” part, and because I do love my football, the TV is on and loud enough to hear….

Here’s what I know. This Widow’s Pique blog won’t be uproariously hilarious, this time out, so for those of you hoping to be entertained….sorry, I’m fresh out of funny. But I did just make a nice big Bloody Mary, so anything can happen. Stay tuned. This is more for me, a personal delving into my gut and head. My gut is doing somersaults and my head is spinning and unless I am lurching into dementia, which would be a first for my gene pool (we are a proud family of being long in the tooth with annoyingly long lives chronologically with sharp minds and deteriorating bodies – I will take it. Put me in a wheelchair but leave my gray matter alone God damn it!!) The last several months have taken their toll and I am sure some folks have noticed. The realization that people I have known for years and years are no longer a big part of my life (their choice) makes me sad but it also reinforces for me that life is short and I need to take advantage of what I CAN control and embrace what is in front of me. Most notably in this regard is the amazing group of people who have become my dear friends and partners in crime since I moved south close to four years ago. The title of this blog refers to my widowed group WW, Widows and Widowers (Yay, my team scored! Sorry, let’s continue, shall we?) RD represents the two cities that our group encompasses, which in the interest of their and my privacy I shall leave to your imagination, though many of you already know. Out of this motley group of diverse personalities, stories, grief management coping solutions, and often difficult triggering moments emerges the most understanding, accommodating, kindhearted group of individuals. It is amazing how close I have become to some of these people. They genuinely care about one another. Perhaps it’s because we have all experienced the same loss. Of course, it’s not perfect. Some folks can be a little, shall we say, “challenging,” but when you have lost your spouse, you tend to be all the more forgiving. Some things just don’t matter that much anymore. (Oops, TD just overturned. Pity. Not my team.) Anyway, I love these people. A few have become very close friends, a fact inconceivable to me four years ago when I first arrived and sat in my new home, so depressed wondering what my next move would be, because, seriously other than my daughters, I KNEW NO ONE. NO ONE. For someone who loves people, that is depressing as hell.

I have had some health issues that have dogged me the last year. I am not dying. Well, OK, we are all dying if one is being annoyingly authentic. (Please stop, you patronizing asshole, who is not at all that impressive) It is a reminder that I am no longer “of childbearing age” And if one more medical office person asks me if I have fallen in the last 30 days, I swear to God I am going to lose my mind and get violent. If I fall, a winch and a pulley will be required to get me vertical, so I will be sure to tell you, OK? Please shut up about it and don’t remind me. Thank you.

Other things that have been preying on my mind and contributing to my angst, agony, and apprehension are related to my childhood, my adulthood, and stupid choices I have made; hence the decision to seek therapy. I am tired of feeling troubled. I feel things very deeply and I can’t figure out how to stop feeling or to let it go or to simply just get over it as some have encouraged me. It’s not  that simple my friends. My feelings are my feelings and I feel them deeply. Am I a lightweight or someone who simply needs a little support. Aren’t we all just unique human beings who cope differently?  It would never occur to me to denigrate someone who copes with things in his or her own manner. Whatever works folks. I am feeling confident that I will find my path. (Crap! Other team scored; currently up by 14 points late in the third quarter. UGH!)  

Anyway, back to ME. I often, well not that often, because I have been fairly prudent throughout my life with my decision-making skills, but when I veer off the path of sensible choices, I am the queen of doozies. Just call me Queen Doozy. When I screw up, I do it big time. I have hurt people for no reason and then regretted it with every ounce of my being. Fortunately, and I hope this speaks to my mother’s influence, these digressions have been few. And I feel such remorse and continue to be haunted by them and the people I have hurt know how horrible I feel.

As one passes through the “70” portal, I truly believe one begins to accept the realization that less is more and that becoming content with the simple things such as close friends and simple pleasures are really all we need. I could not care less about labels, designer clothing, shoes, or handbags. What does it get me except more debt? People who are impressed by that bullshit are not people I care to spend my limited time with. I would much rather spend that time “chauffeuring” my almost 86-year-old sister widow to our weekly lunch group, because, as I told her she “can’t drive for shit,” making an extra meal for a neighbor who has been driving all day coming home after two weeks with her seriously ill family member, feeling honored to be asked by one of my widowed friends to “be there” when she has to make the heart wrenching decision to let her furry four-legged child cross the rainbow bridge. To me, these gestures and acts of love keep me going and help me get through my own dark days. Thank you to my new friends of just four years for keeping me sane. You have no idea how special you are to me. You “get” me.

Finally, my anxiety. I think it has gotten a bit more acute as I have gotten older. When I was a child, I made a concerted effort to internalize everything for the very sake of keeping the peace. It was gut wrenching and at once torture. I don’t recommend it. It’s much healthier to verbalize your feelings – take it from me. I worry about EVERYTHING. I may appear to be the entertainment at any given juncture, but I promise you ladies and gentlemen, I am a quivering mass of emotions and often may be cracking a joke when in reality I am miserable. And now, as a grandmother, I constantly worry about my loves, the most wonderful grandkids I have been blessed with. Clearly it is an ugly and dangerous world we live in and I worry so much about what might befall them. I know I need to have faith and lighten up, but sometimes, my anxiety overtakes my common sense. It’s a constant battle.

There you have it. I am what I am. Criticize if you must. I remember years ago when I was probably in my early thirties and my mom said something to the effect of “I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks.” At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant. Now I do. If you find fault with what I have written here…tough. This is the bare bones, honest to God widow. Take it or leave it. Don’t care what you think. The only question I need answered after this long, meandering blog of self-discovery is quite simple: What Would Roger Do? If I ONLY knew the answer to that question………..

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