A Night Out

Sorry this is a bit of a ramble.

I had a night out last week.  It was nothing special…nothing fancy.

Life as a widow…it’s different.  I don’t know quite how to describe it.  I’m coming to terms with it but that doesn’t for a moment mean that I don’t get teary eyed or that I don’t catch myself from time to time thinking, “I’ll ask Kramer about that when he gets home” only to remember, he’s not coming home.  It’s a long process. It feels like he’s been gone for forever, but it’s really now been 4 months.

This sign came up in my Facebook feed and more than anything I’ve seen, this speaks to me.

I think this it true for so many of us…not only widows…parents who have a child with a disability….a missed promotion…an unplanned pregnancy…a cancer diagnosis….failure of a huge test that means moving on, and the list goes on and on.

I was talking to one of my kids the other day… and said that I’m not especially lonely in terms that most people think of lonely…I’m just lonely for Kramer.  The kids are here often.  I have childcare kids and parents in and out of the house all the time.  I’m not lonely.

BUT….Kramer, did something for me that no one else could do….I would say, “I want this like my Mom had it her house”…and he’d know what that was.  I would say, “Well you know what he’s like.”…and Kramer knew.  I’d say, “Oh, I wish this kid of ours would do (whatever)” and he’d know exactly why I thought that.  I’m lonely for Kramer and the things that only he knew…I guess, I miss our bonded history and deep knowledge of each other that no one else can know.

Well last week I went out with another local widow for supper.  She’s close to my age.  She lost her husband within the last couple years.  She knows what it’s like.  She’s recently experienced many of the same feelings I have.  It was nice to talk to someone unguarded who “got it”.

We talked about LOTS of stuff….
I mentioned how hard it is to go to a wedding…she understood.
I laughed and mentioned that in all my complaining about all little household things that I thought Kramer wasn’t doing, he was actually doing things.  I realized that when I had to figure out how to change the furnace filter.  She laughed and totally understood.
When I asked if she’s very good at cooking for herself she admitted she wasn’t and I understood.

We talked about how hard it is to “interrupt” a married person’s life.  If I call someone married and ask about going out for supper, I feel like I’m invading on their personal time.  In truth, I’m sure, they likely don’t feel that way, but I feel that way.

Seriously…try as they might, there are a lot of things that are hard to explain…and hard to understand unless you’re a widow.  Another widow knows how it feels to go to a wedding and feel like you’re a reminder that marriages can come to an abrupt halt….that sickness and health, sometime really does mean sickness…that the until death do you part can happen before either of you ever dreamed….

Another widow understands how hard it is to ask for help…to figure out how to fix a problem your spouse would have previously fixed (for me, I currently have a wasp problem)…to want to be very independent, but sometimes hiccups happen and you just can’t keep the independence you crave.

People have been so good to me…unbelievably good to me, but super out with another widow that I could be upfront and honest to was about the best thing for me.  We chatted and talked that we need to get out a little more and do a few more things….supper, a movie…something-anything.

It was awesome to get a validation of sorts that thoughts I had were “normal”.  That’s something I really only could get from another widow.  So when I said, it was nice…I really mean it.

I’ve told my kids that I really, really love them and want to spend time with them, but I need to get out a little with adults.  I’m SO terrible at it.  Kramer was always the social one…me, not so much.   Honestly, I used him as my security blanket in social situations.  So, getting out with adults is something I’m working on.  I’m not expecting amazing results….but little by little…one supper, or one walk with a friend, I’m doing it.  I have to push myself from time to time  but I think it’s good and to date, I’ve had good results.

I’m trying to live a little of what the sign said.  I’m trying to let go of the picture of what I thought life would be like & learning to find joy in the story I’m living.

25 thoughts on “A Night Out”

  1. I get it. My husband died on June 4th. We were married for 51 years. It is hard to begin that new life without him. We talked about you a Kramer and the difficult journey you were on. Little did we know his life was ending also. Like you, I have a very caring large family, but it is still hard to move on. I wish you peace and future joy. It will come to us.

  2. Hi Jo! I’m approaching the one year anniversary of my husband’s passing. We shared a home with my mother who turns 80 this year. We both lost our husbands last year and are now constant companions. I’m so lucky to have her.

  3. I know you will master this but it will take some time. I think you have done amazingly well in a short period of time. You have many cheering you on!

  4. Thanks for this post and the quote. I am not a widow by death … but … my husband was diagnosed with dementia six years ago. I was able to have him home for four of those years. He has been in long term care for two years. I am not lonely but at times I feel like I am all alone. It seems that friends and family disappear … everyone says “if you need anything just call” … but … no calls and says I have out the kettle on why don’t you come over. Thanks again for this post and all your posts … I have been following for years.

  5. Jo, call an exterminator for your wasp problem. Please. Also, I just came home from my quilt guild meeting. I’m sure you have a guild in the area. Instant friends. I bet you know quite a few members already. Sorry, I’m the type who tries to fix problems. I’d make a terrible therapist. I can’t just listen.

  6. I’m so glad you spent sometime with someone who’s walked the same journey and understands your feelings. I am blessed to have a friend who lost her husband just a few months before I lost mine. As supportive as our mutual friends have been, she is the one who truly knows what it’s like. We often say that we are members of a club that we never wanted to be in but we’re so glad to have each other. Grief is a process, be kind to yourself as you navigate through.

  7. Lynne Nicholson UK

    Sending you love and hugs Jo.

    Unlike you I’ve been flying solo for nearly 34 years. My ex confused myself and our babies with punch bags so I got used to solo parenting and being pretty independent. I was the person who would go help others where I could and I tried not to be a burden to others. I was looking forward to my children becoming adults and being able to live my life to it’ fullest continuing to help others and staying independent.

    3 years ago I lost most of my sight. I’m now legally blind. I am staying mostly independent but I find I need to ask for help more often and that is a foreign road to take.

    I hesitate also to intrude on my daughter and son-in-law at a weekend to have time with my grandson now he’s at school… as of course they need their family time.

  8. Jo, I think you are doing great! So glad you got some adult time. We all need that! Take care of you and things are bound to get easier as time goes on. Hugs!!!

  9. Well said Jo!
    I am not a widow, but did lose my husband when he left me to be with his girlfriend. I went through the grieving process for my lost marriage and can identify with the things you and your friend shared.
    Life goes on, so do we and if we keep the faith we do see the sunshine, smile and find the things in life that can bring us joy. You never stop missing those shared thoughts but do learn to do things.
    PS I learned the best treatment for those pesky wasps needs to be done after sunset. Spray the nests with brake cleaner. If you do it after they have returned to the nest you have a better chance of getting rid of them. Best lesson I learned since being on my own!

  10. I’m married and love my husband dearly, but we both need time to ourselves. If you called me, I’d be delighted to have an evening out that would benefit him, too. But I know what you mean, I never know when to call my friends who have kids for those same reasons.

    I’ve been independent since I was very young, much to Mom’s frustration. One thing I’ve learned at church is that we’re made to live in community together and that means accepting help as well as giving it to others. If no one accepted help from others how would we learn to live lives of service as we are meant to? It’s a process and some days are better than others. I think that’s part of being human, but you have a new perspective on it now. I hope you find some new friends to share your life and experiences with.

  11. I read once that the hardest thing about losing a spouse is the loss of your “secret language” and shared history and no one else can fill that void. Good luck with finding your way in this scary new world of yours. God bless!

  12. Judith Fairchild

    Oh Jo, that post brings back memories both good and bad. Being a new widow and your married friends act almost afraid to talk to you. Only another widow truly understands. I had a friend who was widowed suddenly years ago. She found someone to love and he lived her so she remarried. It wasn’t until we became friends that she was able to talk to someone who had been there and done that widow stuff. It was like she had buried all those feelings because she was young and was supposed to “get over it” like you just discard your whole life.i’m so glad you have friends that are there for you. Being a widow is a hard row to hoe, even with a large loving family. Yes you and your love had so much to give each other. It flat out hurts when you need him and he’s not there. Praying for you

  13. I have several friends of various ages who have become widows in the last few years. They all express similar situations like yours, so yes you are “normal”. I feel for you.

    Sending love and prayers

  14. My mother in law has said similar things. I admire you and think of you often.
    I really love the saying at the top of the page. Life is changing for me drastically. I think I will make it my motto.
    Love and prayers

  15. I’ve been a widow for 13 years and always try and be strong. Sometimes it’s so tiring. We try and do everything that they did and sometimes we don’t do it well. It is hard going to social events being the odd man out, but we carry on. One step at a time Jo, one step at a time. May God bless you.

  16. Amen! I lost my husband ten years ago this month though sometimes it seems like yesterday. I will never stop missing him or our relationship, but little by little one must rebuild their life. God bless you.

  17. Mary in Illinois

    I was fortunate to have a fellow church member who had been widowed a few months earlier “mentor” me through my early days as a widow. It was invaluable to have someone who’d “been there – done that.” We later formed a widows’ group at our church that meets over dinner several times a year. It’s fellowship group – not a “support group” – and includes widows of 30 years to brand new ones. It’s encouraging for new widows to know others who are surviving (and thriving) in their new season of life.

  18. Thank you Jo for sharing your struggles with us all, its a view that I have not considered. I have a good friend that has been widowed about 8 months and I think I will call her and ask if she wants to spend a girl day in Bell Buckle. My husband has helped her handle a few things and we will help with leaves and such but I think a fun day is in order also.

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