Saturday, July 13, 2019

friend date

I went on a friend date. That's an outing with someone that you've met at an event and you're kind of auditioning each other to see if you could become friends. It's very much like a date except without the possibility of sex.

We met at the luau back in May and then we sat across from each other at lunch on that train trip last month and made plans to see a play at a local town. She originally wanted to get to town fairly early in the morning to check out the farmers market but I wasn't up for it so we met for lunch instead.

It can be fairly uncomfortable to try to pick a restaurant with someone that you really don't know and she decided that the decision should be mine. Talk about pressure when you have no idea what the other person likes to eat and they just say "you decide" whenever you throw out a suggestion.

I finally settled on a place I'd never been to before but had always wondered about. When we walked in it looked so different from how I'd imagined it. It was basically a bar with some booths but I loved the ambiance with the tin ceiling, exposed pipes and brick walls. The menu was varied enough for just about any taste and I enjoyed the food we ordered.

My companion suggested we share a couple of entrees and that's what we did even though I'm not really a big fan of sharing.

As an introvert, I figured out a long time ago the secret to making small talk seem less awkward - you just subtly ask questions until you find a subject that makes their eyes light up and then sit back and let them talk. Most people LOVE talking about themselves so all you have to do is nod and smile. They never even notice that an hour can pass and they've not asked you a single question about yourself. Maybe that's why I keep thinking about the train guy, he actually seemed interested in getting to know me. 

Speaking of men, my lunch/theater companion showed me some text messages she'd gotten from another guy in our social group...a guy who has a girlfriend but is sending her super suggestive, kinda creepy messages. And then she shared stories of another dating disaster she's had in the last year. Makes me very disappointed in what's out there and I'm now pretty sure I'd better find a way to live with the loneliness. 

After lunch we made our way to the theater and found our seats. It's an old restored theater from 1935, quite intimate and cozy. It was the first movie theater in Central Florida. You know I love buildings with history so I was excited to see anything there. I also love live theater so even though I wasn't in love with the vocal talents of some of the cast and the story was dated, I loved the '80s music and really did enjoy the experience. I would love to go back for some of the other plays during the season. Before this, Taz and I had only been in this theater for a couple of classic Alfred Hitchcock/Grace Kelly movies.

We said goodbye just as soon as the play ended and made vague promises to do this again sometime.

See, exactly like a date.

Now I'm back at home with someone who is always interested in me. Who needs more friends than that?


“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.”

That's a quote from LM Montgomery's Anne of Avonlea (part of the Anne of Green Gables series) and I must admit I never quite understood it. I've always been a pretty stable person, neither given to flying nor thudding. Of course I got excited about things but I rarely thudded.

While my situation is different than Anne's, I'm starting to feel the thud in my life. When I've just spent a wonderful day, usually with my kids, of being social and having fun it's like I'm flying on the wings of anticipation and I forget life's realities.

Then the day ends and everyone else goes home to their families and I end up all alone again with nothing to look forward to the next day and I wake up with a giant thud.

That's where I find myself this morning. I had a great day yesterday (although I'm awfully tired from working all week) and this morning I just feel extra thuddy. I feel like everybody else in the world is coupled up and/or part of a family unit and I'm just over here in a corner by myself. Like an abandoned toy that's just waiting for someone to notice it and play with it again.

I just don't know what to do about all of this. I have never been one to feel sorry for myself or compare my life to anyone else's so this is an unnatural state for me and I don't like it. But I can't stop myself from feeling this way.  It's very annoying.

I think this thud is impacting me more because I just came off a very busy, social week and a half with the beach trip, family visit, first full-time work week and then such a fun day yesterday. I haven't really had much time on my own for almost 10 days. The weekday evenings don't count because I was so exhausted from full days at work that I basically came home, ate something and fell asleep on the couch so I didn't feel the full effect of being alone. Plus I went out at least a couple of those nights.

And now it's Saturday and everyone has moved on to their own plans and I have thudded, big time.

When I was a teenager I had boyfriends on and off but I was never invested in the relationships so I didn't care if I had a boyfriend or not. I could never understand the girls that always had to have a guy. Guys seemed to be more trouble than they were worth as far as I was concerned. 

Then, as an adult, I must admit that I looked down my nose at the women who were so desperate for a relationship that they put up with way too much shit just to have a man and not be alone. I would never do that, I said to myself. 

Snotty little ass I was, since I was comfortably ensconced in a marriage and didn't have to deal with those issues.

Now I have more empathy. I understand the desperation. There's a saying that it's better to be alone than with the wrong one and I still fully believe that's true but it's hard to tell your lonely heart that and I'm sure most women go in to each new relationship firmly believing this isn't the wrong one. The anticipation that this could be THE ONE is better than dealing with the thud. I get it now, desperate women of the world, and I apologize for feeling superior to you all those years. I am so not superior, I'm afraid I'm one of you.

Except I'm not. I'm not going to allow myself to ruin my life just because I'm trying to avoid the thud. I'm going to sit here today in all my thuddiness and loneliness and just wait it out until those emotions go away.

That's what TV and ice cream are for.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


Once again I've been reading what other widows on Instagram write. Lately many of them have been observing the birthdays of their deceased husbands - one has seen 3 birthdays, another one 8 birthdays - and they all have similar feelings as me "celebrating" Taz's first birthday. All are weighed down by grief, feeling unsettled and sad.

Some of these are women who have remarried or are in long-term relationships. They have "moved on" (if such a thing is possible) into the 2nd half of their forevers and yet the birthday of their first husbands causes them to snap back into the pits of despair.

This is disheartening to me. Not that I expect to ever rid myself of these feelings nor would I ever want to, but I guess I'd kind of fooled myself into thinking it would get a little easier each year. I'm kind of scared of the future now. Will I always find May to be difficult? Will all my progress be one step forward, two steps back?

So far I've been determined to work my way through this with no drugs and basically by myself. Am I just fooling myself?

Scary stuff that I never wanted to have to deal with but the universe didn't ask my permission and just flung it at me anyway.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

not alone

So now I've been through my birthday, his birthday and our anniversary without him - the trifecta. I've also been through several major holidays. What have I learned?

Well, for one, I've learned that I don't want to be alone during these times. When I was at the beach last week, my friend said that he had wondered if I would want to be alone to contemplate on the anniversary or whether I'd want company. Clearly I was all about having company. I think I've contemplated enough for a lifetime. I am alone, contemplating, pretty much every day of the year so on these milestone days, being alone sucks.

Frankly, being alone sucks all the time. What's ironic is that I used to love being alone, I lived for those moments when I had the house to myself and now I kind of can't stand the silence.

Not that I just want another being to share my space. My failed attempt at having a renter proved that. I want people that I have a connection with, someone to talk to, someone that cares about me. That's why I enjoy having my family visit or have pool parties with my friends, I love to fill the house with laughter.

One thing this journey teaches you is who cares about you and who is just full of shit. There are plenty of people who, I feel, are interested in hearing about how I'm doing almost following my journey with morbid curiosity but have no interest in being there for me or being helpful. Sad to say, most of my family falls in this category and that hurts but there's nothing I can do about it. There is a wonderful handful of family and friends who I can count on and I treasure them because I know how rare that really is. The rest of them have taught me all sorts of lessons that I will never forget about how useless words can be.

It's also taught me not to waste my time or affections on people that don't deserve it. All of this has taught me not to waste time, life is way too short and unpredictable and I intend to spend every moment of it building memories with the ones that really matter to me.

My father in law went through a very difficult time when Taz was just a small child and he always told Taz that fake friends will fall away fast during difficulties but if you have one friend that stands with you, you are blessed.

I am more than blessed and all my energies will be directed towards those that have stood with me.

Sunday, July 7, 2019


The beginning of July is so very difficult for me. You see, July is when we celebrated our anniversary. It's not our legal anniversary, that came later, but when we moved in together we told everyone that we'd gotten married out of respect for my parents who were very religious and conservative.

We actually went to a local historic estate in our town on July 3, just the 2 of us, and exchanged our own private and personal vows so we always celebrated our "wedding" anniversary on that date. We picked that date because it was right before a holiday so we always took a little vacation on that date - a trip or a visit back to Florida. So this year, for the first time in 33 years, I didn't have anybody to celebrate with and I knew it was going to hard.

Last year was my favorite anniversary celebration

I had made plans to go back to that little motel I visited on Taz's birthday, just me and Charlie, but then I needed to get the car repaired and that took all my "anniversary" money so I canceled it and decided to just hide away by myself on that day or just ignore the day and go into work.

Then a friend found out, decided I shouldn't be alone and changed all my plans. I got a text at work on Monday that she had booked a room for her family at her favorite beach for 2 nights and there was room for me and Charlie if we wanted to come. Let's see, wallow alone in loneliness or hang out with my 5 favorite people? I texted YES back so fast.

I hadn't been to this beach before and I thought I already had a favorite beach in Florida but I have since changed my mind. We hung out at the beach Wednesday morning and it's now my new favorite. The water was the perfect temperature, the waves were pretty quiet so you could actually swim and not worry about getting knocked off your feet. Not great for surfing (on my bucket list) but perfect for hanging out with your favorite kids.

I brought our waterproof camera to the beach and, as you can see, I'm not at all familiar with using it so you see my finger making an appearance in each picture. LOL Gotta work on that but at least I got a few precious memories.

The kids and I spent all of our time together over the 2 days. They rode in the car with me, hung out in the room with me, went to the breakfast buffet with me (where I let them make all their own food choices, parents be damned) and went with me on all Charlie's walks. It was an amazing time and I hated for it to end but I had family coming to visit for the holiday weekend and I hadn't done anything to get ready for them so I had to leave. I will always be grateful to my friend for arranging it, it was the perfect way to avoid my anniversary. I really hadn't been looking forward to being alone, not at all.

I didn't have any time to feel sorry for myself after I got home because my sister and her husband arrived, we had a pool party/bbq so that they could meet all my friends, went to the movies, ate out a lot and just spent time enjoying each other. They live 7 hours away so we don't get to see each other all that much and I cherish the time we do have.

And now the holiday week is over, my anniversary is over, the family visit is over and I have to get ready for another work week, this time with full-time hours so my old life is over and it's on to the next adventure.

Thursday, July 4, 2019


When I was growing up, everybody had to have a best friend - the one you did EVERYTHING with. A few years ago they starting calling it your BFF - best friend forever. They probably don't do that anymore but I'm old so I can't keep up with what the kids are calling it these days.

I haven't had a BFF in a long time. Of course Taz was my best friend and that's probably why the whole female friendship thing died off.

But lately, I've come to realize I have a new BFF...and she's not quite 11. The oldest daughter of my friend has become my new BFF, the one I enjoy hanging out with more than anyone. She did not like me much when she was a baby, she would cry whenever I held her. I'm glad we got over that stage.

Yesterday we all went to the beach and it was the most fun I've had in months and months. I'll talk more about the trip later but I just had to share the silly moments between me and my bff.

Thanks Kiki (although you'll never see this) for making me giggle and enjoy life whenever we're together. I hope we have so many more adventures!

Monday, July 1, 2019

bad decisions

"When the love of your life dies, grief can make you act in very uncharacteristic ways. He was my anchor, my brain trust, my sweet, caring husband, and so much more. I think there is a defeatist tendency amongst many widows to take whatever life puts in front of you because it might just be as good as it gets in the new normal."

These are the words written this morning by one of the widows I follow on Instagram. She was talking about a relationship with a man that had a lot of red flags but she still entered into it because she was lonely.

Seeing it there in black and white - defeatist tendency, take whatever life puts in front of you, might be as good as it gets - caused a light to go off in my head.

YES! That's exactly how I've been feeling. I've been so close to making bad decisions (and still want to) just because I hate the way things are now and I'm hurting and I'm lonely and I just want something to take away that pain even for a little while. In my head I've been thinking that I'm probably going to make some bad decisions and I don't even know if I can stop myself.

Frankly, I've been thinking I'm going a little crazy and that there's something wrong with me so it feels like validation to hear another widow admit to feeling the same way and that it might be something that's common in recent widows.

When your whole world has been destroyed, and keeps getting destroyed again and again with each new change that comes along, you have the feeling that nothing is ever going to really be GOOD again so you grab at anything that even comes close to feeling good for the moment.

I can't promise I won't make bad decisions because damn it hurts so much, but at least I'll do it with my eyes wide open.