Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Widow Alert: Listening to Mozart Can Make Us Fat

I'd like to think of myself as a watchdog for all widows.  In other words, people, I've got your back. 

Holiday time can be especially difficult for widows and others who have lost a loved one - no matter how long it's been.  Those sappy seasonal songs that we sing off key bring us back to a place we've tried all year to tuck away.

The old familiar ornaments we drag out and put on the tree are a sentimental reminder of holidays past, too.  We tear up at the memory of our husband slipping off the stepstool and landing on the pointsetter and then blaming us. 

I still profess he returned one of my gifts because I couldn't stop laughing.  But, hold on, this isn't about me.   

 With so many 'joyful' countdown days until Hanukah (oh, wait, that starts today) and Christmas we tend to eat extra and with greater gusto.  Aren't we entitled to 14 potato latkas?  And, it's just plain rude to say no to a homemade Santa cookie. 

Stuffing our faces is our way of saying we are doing our best to keep up the holiday spirit.  However, an article in this morning's Newsday revealed a study that may help us to look in the mirror without thinking: Pork Chop.  

Doctors ar the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center measured the energy expenditure of 20 infants born preterm while listening to Mozart in their incubator.  The findings showed Mozart lowered by at least 10% the quantity of energy they used. This means the babies may have been able to increase their weight faster.

To me, this screams out: Do not listen to Mozart!  You may be in danger of gaining weight.  So, go ahead and have that fifth glass of egg nog and wash it down with a chocolate snowman.  Just be sure that when you lift your glass to make a toast the background music is low brow, like Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. (BTW: Used to think that song was funny...until I became a Grandma)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

10 Stupid Things People Say to Widows About - Dating

1.  "Is he better in bed than your husband was?"  

2.    "I know it's sad that he died, but these days

      being a cougar is in!"

3.  "You're wearing that?  You're gonna have to get a

      whole new wardrobe!"

4.  "I hope this one doesn't drop dead."

5.  (from a divorcee) "At least you don't have to

     worry about running into him."

6.  "Too bad my husband is still alive.  You and I would

    have so much fun together on the prowl."

7.  "Aren't you afraid that your husband is watching you?"

8.  "Do you take down your husband's pictures when he comes over?"

9.  "What do you know about dating?  You married him right after

      high school."

10.  "Here's some advice I heard from comedian Cory Kahaney, "If you order

      lobster there's pressure to totally put out.  Order the chicken 

      so you just have to touch it." 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Take Naps & Other Stuff We Can Learn From Dogs

Tony Boloney Waffles Scibelli

(This was sent to me and I wanted to share it with my readers...added a bit of my own spin to it)

 If a dog was our teacher, we would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it's in our best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded our territory.


Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink a lot of water and lie under a shady tree.

When we're happy, dance around, and wag our entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.  Stop when we've had enough. (yeah, right)

Be loyal.  Never pretend to be something we're not.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle him/her gently.

When we're having a bad day, lick our balls. 

(and for the women...we know what to do...)

Monday, November 30, 2009

10 Stupid Things People Say to Widows - About Bereavement Groups

Since I posted the 10 Stupid Things People Say to Widows about Holidays the phone lines lit up with many more stupid things.  Wait. I'm not on the radio.  That was just an expression.  No phones were involved.

1.  "Any hot widows in your group?  Maybe I could pretend to be a widower."

2. "I can't imagine what you talk about.  Your problem's over."

3. " It's good for you to meet other widows because you have more in 
      common with them than us now."

4. "Any good looking guys?"

5.  "Can you tell if some of the women are secretly happy?"

6.  "Join a Pilates group instead. It's more upbeat."

7.  "What does everyone wear?"

8.  "The leader's been doing this for years?  Do you think she still listens?"

9.  "I'll bet the men only go to meet a lonely, horny woman."

10. "If you had died your husband wouldn't go for counseling. He'd go to   

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

10 Stupid Things People Say to Widows - About Holidays

Hiya folks,

   In my book Poor Widow Me I wrote a 10 Stupid Things People Say About... for each chapter topic.  This is how I end each chapter. 

   Since the holidays are creeping up this one is for Holidays.  If anyone has any to add, please let me know and I'll blog it here. 

 And, please let me know which one of these is your favorite.  Is this an assignment? Sure sounds like one. Ahhhh...I hate assignments. Don't do it!

   Love & kisses,

       10 Stupid Things People Say To Widows 
                      About Holidays

1.  "Sad, no gift from your husband.  Well, you always returned
     his present, anyway."

2.  "Why don't you throw away all the ornaments and start fresh?"

3. "The holidays will never be the same for you."

4. "What if you meet someone?  Will he sit in your husband's seat?"

5.  "I know how you feel.  My dog died the day before Thanksgiving."

6.  "He ate like a horse.  You may need a smaller turkey. Just kidding..."

7.  "Isn't Christmas music depressing to you?"

8.  "You're relieved? Why? The holidays aren't over until after New Year's."

9.  "I can tell you now.  I never cared for his Christmas sauce."

10. "You're keeping this big house for the once a year you host a
      holiday dinner?"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I've Learned...

Yes...I stole this. Arrest me.  My friend Blondie e-mailed this to me and she promised me good luck if I sent it to five people immediately.  I figured if I have good luck sending it to five people - if I blog it to all my readers my luck will go through the roof. (not literally) 

I've learned that you cannot make somebody love you.
All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just assholes.

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes.
After that, you'd better have a big willy or hug boobs.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others.
They are more screwed up than you think.

I've learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think you're finished.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first,
the passion fades and there had better be a lot of money to take it's place!

I've learned that 99% of the time when something isn't working in your house,
one of your kids did it.

I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too
soon and all the less important ones just never go away.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Celebrity Baseball

I posted this on November 6, 2006 - just seven months after Jimmy died.  These days there's a new stadium for all, new seats for us (cheaper, of course) and reminicing is easier. Today my cousin Sharon asked me to re-print this because it was one of her favorites. She said that it's impossible for her to watch a game without seeing Jimmy holding up "the duck."  Last night, my son Doug was at the game and I know he helped the Yankees win because he brought along "the duck." 

                                                      Jimmy holds the duck...and me.

Each season brings it's own memories. This year's World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers made me react as I do every year...."Who cares?"

Catching glimpses of the World Series on my way to another channel and smacking a carpenter ant with the newspaper opened by chance to the Sports page brought back the memory of game two (or was it three?) of the Subway Series in 2000.

I was sitting next to Jimmy in a seat he could have scalped for big bucks or given to one of his begging buddies. I felt unworthy.

“I know you don’t care about the game, but if I come home and tell you I saw celebrities you’ll kill me!” Jimmy said. What a sweet man and so self protective!

Yankee Stadium was vibrating inside and out. It was the first time two New York teams faced off since the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Even I could see this was a big deal and it would draw a Kodak crowd.

From the second we parked our car in the lot for season holders and ball players I was on high alert for a celebrity citing. Famous people start and end at this point and I was ready for the fake bump in, a little system I invented, but never had the nerve to do.

Basically, you inch towards a celebrity pretending not know it’s them and then stumble into them. This forces them to say “That’s okay” to your “I’m sorry” which I feel qualifies as a ‘conversation.’

Jimmy’s seats were the legend seats, first row behind the blue wall, with an incredible view of third base straight ahead if you want to see the players run home or even greater view of the Saturday Night Live seats to the right, if you wanted to see what Jack Nicholson smears on his hot dog. Guess which way I faced the entire game?

Jimmy’s loud heckling voice had been known to rattle the opposing team as they warm up just a few feet from us and because he was funny he got the crowd laughing and hooting along with him. At crucial games he brought out ‘the duck’ a tiny (one inch high) yellow rubber duckie. He waited until the Yanks really needed help and then he stood to face the sea of fans throughout our section and beyond. He raised his hand way up with that little duck between his big thumb and index finger and then waved his arm back and forth. 

That movement let the crowd believe that his good luck duck was about to turn the Yankees luck around.  More endearing to me was that he added “I want to show the duck the crowd.”  It was as though Jimmy believed the duck needed the energy of the fans to work his magic.  This is the man I miss.  Right here.

We never named the duck. He was always simply, ‘the duck’ and superstitious fans near ‘the seats’ would yell to Jimmy “We need the duck!” Jimmy told me once, an employee of Yankee Stadium came by and with a straight face said, “Mrs.Torre would appreciate it if you bring out the duck now.” I always thought he made that up...

This day we sat near P. Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy) who sat next to the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Jimmy yelled over,“The two best rappers in New York!” They smiled and waved and I’m sure I heard the Reverend say, “That’s The Duckman.”

Penny Marshall, a huge Yankee fan, was nearby, too. Jimmy introduced us. She posed for a photo with me as she whined about the score.  Jimmy leaned over and used Tom Hanks line from her movie “A League of Her Own”, “There’s no crying in baseball.” She laughed. Jimmy made Penny Marshall laugh. Then she said, “Yeah, I knew I should have cut that line.”

My husband was having a conversation with a celebrity and he didn’t even have to do the fake bump in. Suddenly, I was loving baseball. I had no idea the game was so much fun.

The best was yet to come, though. The game was over and the Yankees had won it 3-1. People in all variations of Yankee wear (and Mets, of course) wear were bopping out of the stadium to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”  We get to our car and we are sitting in a maze of cars, vans and limos and there's one frustrated policeman attempting to direct the traffic.

Jimmy jumped out of the car and ran over to help him. As I rolled down the window to yell “What are you doing?” I saw Paul McCartney hop out of his limo and heard him say in that adorable English accent, “I’m going to help the big guy.”

There they stood side by side, my husband and my favorite Beatle, waving their arms like they were conducting an orchastra. The cars began to move.  I stared as Adam Sandler run over to shake Sir Paul’s hand. Because Jimmy seemed to be Paul’s pal he shook his hand, too. Bill Murray appeared and did the same.

I watched Paul McCartney stroll back to his limo, slapped five with my Jimmy, give him the thumbs up, a you're my buddy punch on the shoulder and say to him almost rhythmically “I think it was the duck.”

I went home with a celebrity that day and of course he got lucky that night.

As I write this in my office, in an extra bedroom in my house, on the wall to my left is an 8X10 photo of Jimmy and me standing at the 'seats' at Yankee Stadium with the little duck - the one at the beginning of this entry.  We're both laughing because it's almost too small for the camera to capture.  The actual duck hangs
across that picture secured by a string and a push pin on the wall.

It's all about the memories, now, not just for me, but for all the people who my husband touched with his loud mouth, but mostly with his gentle heart.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life After Death?

Hey Fellow Widows: Guess what? 

There IS life after death...YOUR life. 
    So get out there and live it!

That was today's public service announcement. 

Private services will be held later, but they're private, so don't ask.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

He's Not Dead. He's Just Quiet

 "How could they tell?"
   ...Dorothy Parker when told of "silent" Calvin Coolidge's death

This rings true for me because years ago my mother's third husband, Bill, a quiet fella, was whacked in the head by some crazy person.  He was in and out of conciousness, but we barely noticed.  It was just like a normal visit.  The only difference was he was laying in a hospital bed and not on a couch.

Friday, October 09, 2009

George Bernard Shaw Says...

Hey Widows: If you feel funny about finding the funny listen to what
                   George says...

"Life doesn't cease to be funny when people die anymore than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

                                                  ...George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Dr. Seuss Says...

"Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened."
                                                                                       ...Dr. Seuss

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Our Profile/Our Status

We’re dating…exclusively. We’ve posted a photo or two of ‘us’ on our Facebook page. Our status is ‘widowed’ until we see that our bbbbboyfriend has chosen “in a relationship” on his.

“Wait a minute. If he’s in a relationship and it’s me, I must be in a relationship too." This is big. It’s huge. We scroll off “widowed” and stop on “single.” That’s accurate, but it’s screaming a v a i l a b l e.

Down we go to “married” and we feel like we do when we pass rows of greeting cards, “To my husband.” Thud. Those days are gone.

We find “in a relationship” and hesitate to click it. Probably next year we’ll be back to “widowed” or “single.” Is that more likely than “married?” Oh yes.

With one press of the mouse we’re off the market. We exhale and notice that all this time we’ve been holding our breath.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Widow Advice #30 "Bbbbboyfriend"

Dear Carol,

I've been reading your blog ever since my husband passed away three years ago.   We were a close couple and many of the feelings you express I share.  You are more fluid in your speech than I, yet, I find myself nodding as I read you that you may as well be talking with my mouth.

My dilemma is this - I have found a man who I very much enjoy being with in every sense of the word.  We have an understanding that we will be exclusive. I have no desire to date anyone else.  He fills my life where it not long ago was empty.  So, what's the problem, you ask?

Silly, but I have a difficult time introducing him or referring to him as my "boyfriend."  We laugh about it, but I know he is feeling hurt.  We are both in our mid-sixties.  I just wish there was another word.

Why am I resisting this?  You write about M.  Is he your boyfriend?

Charlie's girlfriend,

Dear Charlie's girlfriend, Penny,

I struggle with the same issue, Penny.  I almost didn't post your letter because I'm not sure I can help you other than to reassure you that many widows stutter the word "bbbboyfriend."  You and I are not that odd..well, in this sense, anyway.  Let's dissect this together.

Is M my bbbboyfriend?  Let's see...

Boyfriend by definiton: 1. A favored male companion.  (check)
                                   2. A male friend who a person is romantically or sexually involved. (check)
                                   3. A man who is the lover of a girl or young woman. (as my father used to say,
                                       "Hold the phone!")

The age thing stops us.  We feel silly saying "boyfriend."  It sounds juvenile.  Strange that we consider giggling together until we can't breathe and sending each other idiotic text messages throughout the day to be mature and "age appropriate."  I know.  Human beings are complicated.

Somehow, when M calls me his "girlfriend" it fits and it's fine.  Why is that?  Older single women in "our third act" (Jane Fonda coined this phrase - 30 years for each act) need another word for our man friend.  I favor "my guy" for an introduction.

"Linda, this is my guy, M."
"Meet M, my guy."
"Hi.  I don't think you and M have ever met. He's my guy."

It works.  And, when you're feeling extra loving you can throw in "special" - "He's my special guy."  Great, except it kinda makes it sound like you have a trunk full of guys and you're especially sweet on this one.

There is, if you want to delve, Penny, a deeper reason we may shy away from "boyfriend,"  Could it be that if we have a boyfriend we have officially "moved on?"

We've become so adept at straddling our worlds.  When we first became a widow we were no longer someone's wife.  I remember for the first year and a half or so when someone would nonchalantly say, "Well, it's okay for you because you're single" I would recoil.  After 33 years of marriage, it threw me to acknowledge this. 

As I began to date I was fairly comfortable to be a single woman out and about. Then, I'd come home to the house we shared.  Jimmy's photos stared at me.  They reminded me of who I really am, our life together.
I'd fall two steps backwards feeling like I was playing the role of the available woman.  It wasn't really me.

My husband's been gone for three and a half years and I've been with Mickey (I know - I spelled it out)  for 8 months.  He's probably been my boyfriend for the last 3.  He's a widower.  He understands that it involves a lot of emotional juggling to take both feet out of my other world to stand firmly with him. 

And, as he and I make memories together the stakes that hold me to his world dig deeper.  This is good.
Yet, we've got to recognize that the balance of past and present continues and will continue to be a hopscotch game.

There will never be a clean slate and why should there be?  When we get to the third act, the first and second don't disappear, right?  At the end of our lives all the players come out for a curtain call.

Right now we're in flux. We're in transition, Penny. We haven't spent enough time playing this part and maybe this is why some days it feels natural to say "boyfriend" and other days it's "bbbbboyfriend."


Monday, September 21, 2009

Poor Widow Me Included in 100 Best Blogs for Boomer Health

Dear Carol,
I know this e-mail is out of the blue, but I just posted an article on my blog entitled "100 Best Blogs for Boomer Health"

Anyway, I am happy to let you know that your site has been included on that list.  I figured I'd bring it to your attention.

Have a good week.

Adrienne Carlson

Dear Adrienne Carlson,

Went to your site and you are really giving out some helpful and important information.  Thank you for including my blog - which, readers is #82. 

I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't in the top ten...I now know how Neil Patrick Harris felt last night when he lost the Emmy to Jon Cryer. Still, he got to host and wear that cool white dinner jacket. 

Life sometimes compensates and I suppose I could have been #99 or #100. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...or worse #101. No, wait, that makes no sense. 

The "Widow" category needs to be further up the line, don't you think, Adrienne?  After all, people get tired of scrolling. I know I do. Just a suggestion.

Thanks, anyway.

I am adding you to my list of "favorite blogs I read" but if you notice - you are LAST. hahahahahahahaha...


Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Widow Advice #29 This Widow is Clonely!

Dear Carol,

I am going to ask my dead husband's twin brother to have sex with me.  Just one time.
I'm not a big fan of his wife, my sister-in-law, so on that level I don't feel disloyal. 

I think my husband would understand.  I miss him so much.  I ache to hold him again.

How awful on a scale of one to ten do you think this would be?

Love your blog, btw,

Dear Judy,

I was going to blast you, but since you ended with "love your blog" my answer is - go on ahead...boff the twin. 

NO Judy - just kidding. How awful on a scale of one to ten?  Ten. I suppose I could stop here since that absolutely answers your question but your situation is just begging me to continue.

You say because you don't care for your sister-in-law, you don't consider it a betrayal to  sleep with her husband.  Guess what?  It is.

What is wrong with you?  All widows understand that fresh ache, but you're considering fooling around with someone else's husband, you numb nuts!  Grief does not entitle you to seduce your former brother-in-law even if every single freckle is in the exact same place as your late husband.

Twins or no twins there is a huge difference between them.  Can you guess what it is?
Your husband is dead and his twin is alive.

Here's some food (not literally) for thought.  My friend Jade recently performed a cabaret act and her show stopper song was from the 1986 off-Broadway show "Olympus on my Mind."

Jade sang "Wonderful" - the lyrics are about a woman who slept with her husband's twin by mistake (although, he must have known) and she was blown away (literally?) by how far more "wonderful" this man made love.

As a great philosopher never said, but should have: All men are not created equal even if they're hatched from the same egg.

BTW- It's interesting that you assume your husband would understand.  I told myself the same thing when I served M crackers from Jimmy's funeral basket.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bad Reviews For Cougar Response

Dear Folks, (folks? who am I? Mini Pearl?)

Several of you told me that my response yesterday to Scorpia - the 52 year old cougar was incomplete. (a mark from school that brings back memories)

I left out something very important...a health warning. I had considered it, but then I thought - hey, she's 52 - she has to know she's putting herself and her various partners at risk. 

I didn't want to insult her...although I should have realized that since she has chosen to f--k her brains out she has no brains left.

You guys, my readers, certainly are creative when voicing a complaint. BP said,

"How could you not remind her to 'put a sock on?'

Another reader used the term "getting dressed."

I was reminded that "Senior Citizens are the new face of aids" and was directed to a Aug. 2006 article from CBSNEWS which claims nearly 27% of people living with Aids in America were 50 or older. 

This is horrifying! Is 50 really considered a senior citizen???  Oh, and the Aids thing is scary, too.

My buddy, Michele LaFong a ventriloquest/comic said it best.  

"I think it's a little dangerous that you didn't address the

Out of the unmoving mouths of ventriloquests!

P.S. SPEAKING OF TAKING BACK OR CORRECTING OURSELVES- Last night on Jay Leno I watched Kayne West who acted like an asshole on Sunday's MTV awards and ruined Taylor Swift's moment - He genuinely seemed remorceful to me - You know the old saying, "It's not what you do, it's what you do NEXT."

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Widow Advice #28 I've Turned Into A Cougar

Dear Poor Widow Me,

I would like to know if I'm crazy. I lost my husband only six months ago.  I understand this is not a very long time period compared to other bloggers who have written to you.

The truth is I could have written to you three months ago, had I had the guts to do so. 

I am 52 years old.  I am not in bad shape.  I consider myself still a sexy gal.  I have been on a fantasy campaign. I have been screwing guys on first dates, in strange places, under crazy circumstances - and I can't stop.  The funkier the situation the better!

My sex life for 28 years was nondescript at best.  I thought I was happy and "satisfied."  I am now in cougar mode and I can seem to slow it down.  One of my dates asked me if he could bring a friend over tonight.   I never hesitated and said sure, man or woman?  It's a man (thank God - I think)

I never batted an eye when he asked me.  You don't know me, but this is a 180 degree turn around for me.  I never cheated or even thought about it more than the average married woman does.

I don't even know if I WANT to stop.  I would be happy just to understand what is going on.  Any light you could shine would help.


Dear Scorpia,

Is that your name or your horoscope sign?  Oh, that would be Scorpio.  Sorry - I'm just betting it's not your real name. 

You're not crazy, sweetie. You're horney. And, I don't believe for a second that you were happy and "satisfied" for 28 years.  You know I'm right.  No doubt you feel foolish for staying so long in a medicore marriage. 

If your funky escapades began 3 months after your husband's death I bang my gavel down (not literally) on you as "Guilty for wanting to feel alive."

Do you know what married couples do when they come home from a funeral?  They make love - it washes off death.  Physical contact fills them up with life.  (And, the orgasm ain't tough to take, either)

Scorpia, you say that while you were married you didn't think about being with another man more than average wife does, but who knows how often that is?  Perhaps I should take a survey among my readers and married friends. 

 I think fantasizing is directly proportional to how long the marriage is.  Venturing a guess here, I think we mentally wander after 15 years for about 15 years and then at 30 years we settle in to appreciating the sex life we have with our old man. 

Of course, by this point we are in our fifties and no matter how good we look (for our age) unless we date blind men (not the kind who install shades) undressing in front of a new man can be as traumatic as trying on bathing suits in a well lite dressing room. 

You waited for your husband to die to live.  That's hard to admit especially to yourself, but you're not crazy.  You were 24 when you married and now you're 52...(finally playing with a full deck)

You're overindulging because now you can. You saw how quickly life can slip away. Pat yourself on the back that you didn't cheat.  Sounds like you had a fire going that no one man could match.

We all overindulge given the opportunity.  Widows have the opportunity.  Some of us shop, others drink, gamble and redecorate.  Wait...I do all four.  I'm not crazy. Or am I?

Be kind to yourself and make sure the characters you saddle up with are kind to you.  (unless you like it otherwise)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Widow Advice #27 Am I A Widow If My Husband Is Still Alive?

Dear Carol,

I feel crazy writing this. Okay, are you ready? I think my husband is still alive. We buried him last August. It was just a year, the 22nd.

The thing is he loved to ski. I went to Vermont last February and there he was on
the lift with his feet dangling just the way he did that. His jacket was different, but I figured he’d have to buy all new clothes.

I looked for him the rest of the day and couldn't’ find him.

The next time I saw him was in June and he was leaving a movie theatre near our old apartment. It was raining hard and he pulled up the hood of his jacket and then opened an umbrella so he couldn’t hear me yelling to him.

And, just yesterday I was at our daughter’s day camp giving the tips to the counselors when I looked over by the fence and saw him leaning on it. The weird thing is he was smoking and he gave that up years ago.

I’m thinking we buried someone else and my Jack is out and about with amnesia not knowing he has a wife and child. Or, my mind is whirling wondering whether I am seeing a spirit?

Please tell me what to do. I am thinking of going to the police with his photo so they can be on the lookout for him.

Your friend,
Not Sure If I’m a Widow,

Dear Not Sure If I’m a Widow Angela,

“The weird thing is that he was smoking and he gave that up years ago.” THAT is the weird part to you?

Angela, Angela, Angela – Get a grip. Your husband does not have amnesia. Your life has drastically changed but it hasn't become an episode of One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives or General Hospital.

Are you seeing his spirit? I’m going to go with a booming 97% no, leaving 3% on the table like a bad tip. Plenty of people are convinced that our soul lives on and I am somewhat in that camp. “Ghosts” with Demi, Whoopie and Patrick Swayzie swayed me to believe in the power of love beyond time and space.

Unfinished business on this earth may rattle the line between their world and ours, but as I’ve said in other blog entries and at many a happy hour my husband and yours have finer fish to fry (not literally) as they travel the universe unburdened by their physical body.

And, unburdened by that theory, I take solace when I assume that he isn’t peeking in at me and my guy M behind closed doors or scratching at it as my dog Tony does. If Alison Dubois of “Medium” has taught us anything it’s that spirits never have to worry about losing their keys.

Angela, it’s natural that you see your husband in others because you miss him so much. You witness a heavy set man being tossed like a salad from an all you can eat buffet that’s HIM. You catch a guy on the train scratching his balls with one hand and signing with his other to strangers on the platform –that’s HIM.

Get some professional help and stop looking over your shoulder for your husband. He’s where he’s supposed to be…in your heart and if you didn't f--k around - in your daughters eyes.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Widow Advice #26 Three Time Loser?

Dear Poor Widow Me,

I have followed your blog since my good friend Natalie told me about it. That was a year ago. I must tell you that I have enjoyed and found useful just about all of your are a real pro.

Although, I hope I don't have to go through the process of bereavement again, I buried my third husband last October (2008) Yes, Carol, number 3 and I am 62 years young.

I just met a very nice gentleman at my club. He is new to the club and it seems he has taken a fancy to me. Some of the other ladies have taken to calling me the black widow and that really hurts.

Herein lies my problem...At what point do I tell this gent that I have buried 3 husbands already?
I'd like to do it before the "ladies" get his ear.

Should I just not say anything and have him bring it up? Help me 2 step through this, Carol!

BTW: I have two grown children by my second (and longest) marriage.

Please hurry with your response!

Three Time Loser,

Dear Three Time Loser Wanda,

There goes the saying, "3's a charm." Hopefully, for you, #4 is your lucky number, although, for every one's sake it may be best (especially for the guy) if you stay single.

You don't mention how your husbands died. I suppose unless it was by poison or gunshot or he was checking your headlights and you accidentally stepped on the gas it doesn't matter.

Potential suitors are generally not wowed by a dramatic story. They are typically reassured by the boring:

"How does someone fall off a step stool?"
"I told him the gas was on."
"I should have known his heart would give out. It was like a pea."

Should you tell this new fella? Well, it's gonna come out. The mean ladies at the club are salivating for just the right moment to refer to you as "black widow" as they stand next to him at the buffet innocently scooping out a bagel and filling it with low fat vegetable tuna.

If you were putting together a profile on one of the dating sites I certainly wouldn't mention it. "Widow" is sufficient - let a stranger also assume you're 40 years old and 25 pounds lighter - until he meets you. Every body's doing it.

Oh, you'd better let him know before one of your kids blab that their father was number two and you carelessly "lost" number three. Children are such a blessing, aren't they?

In conclusion, Wanda the Widow, even though it's an understandable to conveniently forget to mention three dead husbands if you're not upfront it will no doubt lead to other doubts.

On the positive side, if you don't like to cook telling him could cause him to insist that you and he eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure he always pays...use the reasoning few of us have, "All these funerals have cost me a bundle!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Widow Advice #25 Stress this!

Dear Carol,

My husband Paul passed on June 23rd - a car hit him. I've been dealing with not only his loss (we were married 17 wonderful years and two girls, 11 and 14) but the anger and frustration of losing him in this senseless way.

The police have closed the case and not charged the driver because it seems that Paul had a heart attack and fell into the way of traffic while walking. I'm not convinced of this because there was no sign or family history. He was just 49.

My friends tell me to contact a medium and maybe he or she will be able to tell me if he is all right and if he indeed had a heart attack. And, I want to know that he is

I am also distressed because we had just had an awful fight and he left the house angry "to blow off steam" and obviously never came home. Maybe, a psychic will tell me if his state of mind contributed to his death? If this is true I will never be able to forgive myself.

I'm writing to you because you seem smart and clear headed. I feel silly going to a
psychic, but what else can I do?

Thank you.

Confused in California,

Dear Confused in California Stacy,

What else can you do? You can mourn your husband's death and grieve as all widows do. Make up your mind here and now that your story, while compelling and a bit unusual is not the moment in time for you to hold unto.

Paul died. If he stopped breathing on your couch while watching re-runs of Seinfeld would you wonder if the story line from that episode made him anxious?

Let's take your concerns one by one. You're worried that because you had an argument (was it your first fight in 17 years?) you contributed to his death?

The following is good example of an emotionally healthy reaction to a similar situation....

My friend who is now in her forties told me that when she was 19 she had a fight with her brother and her last words to him were, "Drop dead!" He proceeded to
go out and get hit by a car. Very similar except he was in a coma for three months, came out of it and today is a husband and father. Happy ending.

I was horrified and said, "Oh, my must have felt kind of responsible." She answered, "Not at all. My brother knew I loved him."

Stacy, Paul knew you loved him. And, if stress did contribute to his heart attack or even his lack of awareness of the traffic YOU are not responsible for how he handled or mishandled his stress - Any more than his late night Rocky Road binges, driving like he's Mario Andretti or complaining that you don't give him enough blow jobs. (to a man it's never enough, so again, you're off the hook.)

Your "I'll never be able to forgive myself" is a stupid declaration. It belongs in the
garbage with:

"That was the last time I'll order a third martini."
"I'll never let that junk drawer get so messy again."
"Why did you make me cut bangs? I hate you."

Let's discuss your worry that Paul isn't "happy." Not for nothing, why wouldn't Paul be happy now? He's free from the burden of bringing home the bacon (not literally) and he no longer will get roped into a pointless debate with friends over Obama's health care policy.

While, granted, poor Paul will not see your daughters grow up, he checked out just in time to miss the wonder years of PMS and seeing their heads spin around when you declare the guy your baby faced daughter thinks she loves is a dirt bag.

Oh, and by the way, you and only you will have to point out to her, "Honey, your skirt is too short because I can see your Tampex string...Good times, eh?

Paul is flying light and bright and most likely he's on to another universe where music is soulful, all spirits are kind and he doesn't really give a shit that this minuscule blink of an eye life is over.

By example your daughter's will absorb that after the darkness of a tragedy the light of life peeks through and we must look toward it for a new beginning. Throw away the psychics number and give your girls that example.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Widow Advice #24 Hey, Widows, You're Not That Special!

Dear Carol,

I've been reading your blog since a friend sent to me last year a month after my Pete passed. It's been a big big relief to hear that you and so many widows experience many of the same
reactions and feelings.

In my small town there are no bereavement groups. Your blog is my group!

I thought I was going crazy! I'm just writing to say "thank you."

God bless you!


Dear Sharon,

Your e-mail warms my cockles (what are cockles?) I'm grateful to know that the Internet connected you to me and poor widow me has helped you and that the input from other widows has given you a sort of group consensus. And, I do appreciate that you took the time and effort
just to say "thank you."

THAT SAID, I'm taking this opportunity to wonder aloud something that bothers me or as my friend Connie says, "It rides my nerves." Connie, from Queens has obviously lived in New Jersey way too long.

My pet peeve is: Why do we adults need others to validate our feelings?
Sharon, did you not know that everything you feel after loosing your husband is normal?

We're not a 13 year old boy from Utah growing up in the '60's alarmed that his dick grows while
watching re-runs of Spartacus. He fears he's abnormal and decides the only way to make his mama proud is to become a priest.

We're not that kid. We are grown-ups and as the saying goes, "We may be shiny but we're not new...or we may have been born at night, but not LAST night. I am continually shocked that other widows are surprised that other widows can't focus enough to read a book the first year or are unable to eat lamb chops, his favorite.

We're human beings. Our reaction and feelings run the gamut but at the same time are universal. Our loved one dies, we hurt. We sit on the edge of the bed smelling his tee-shirt and his hairbrush. It's a scene unimaginative directors use because it is universal.

We cry at old songs and we get scared that we'll run into someone who may not know he died. We blurt out, "Oh, you must have mistaken me for someone else" and we run away. (okay, I almost did that)

We have trouble sleeping or we sleep all the time. We redecorate or we change nothing. His cuff links remain on his night table and we make coffee for him every morning. (all right, the coffee part may be nuts)

We get a dog for companionship and/or a boyfriend for spite. We use "He would have wanted me to buy a new car" to get what we want. In this case, a new car.

His annoying habits are elevated to "If I could have him back I wouldn't mind." Then, the truth kicks us in the ass and we realize after and hour and a half he'd be annoying again.

We make no sense, Sharon, but because we are grieving we make perfect sense.
Grow up grievers and stop acting surprised that you're not that special!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Widow Advice #23 Back in the Bedroom

Dear Carol,

Here is my dilemma. My Paul passed away 2 yrs. ago from a sudden heart attack at age 58. We were married 39 years, no kids, just us.

He had gone up to bed & when I went to join him I found him on MY side of the bed. He always took my heating pad out from under the bed & plugged it in for me...Anyway...since then, I have not been able to sleep in our bed, or bedroom. I have slept downstairs for two years on a couch in the den.

I know that I cannot sleep down here forever....I was wondering...what if I got a new bedroom set, changed the room around, put up wall paper & new carpeting...

Would this help me to get back into that room? Has anyone else you know had this problem? I would be so interested in your advice.

Thanks so very much.


Dear Karolee,

I normally don't encourage widows to feel sorry for themselves, but look, really look at your loss.

For nearly 40 years (even Hallmark agrees it's the Big 40 and that's just years lived.)
you shared a house, a home, with Paul. You find him dead in your bed on YOUR side (your emphasis, not mine) reaching for a heating pad for YOU. Geez. Some women would torch the freakin' room.

We widows all have emotionally charged areas in our homes. We either avoid them totally as you've done or as you suggest - redecorate. See how smart you are?

You're right. A quick shot of Botox will not do. Your bedroom needs a facelift - new bedroom furniture, carpeting and a different configuration. A new mattress and a set of sheets is a band aide.

When you go to choose the furniture, etc. be mindful that you may hear a little voice that sounds eerily like Paul. He may be scolding you that you're spending too much money. (I've heard that one - in death and in life)

Or, he may be telling you that as you replace you erase and you know, that is partically true. We need to clear away some of the shared "things" so we can breathe fresh air. New things represent our future.

Since Jimmy died I've done lots of redoing to many rooms - some in an effort to not continually face the old memories and some to make areas more useful for Skylar, my granddaughter. And, some because he didn't want to and I did and now I can. Period. Nothing sentimental about that one.

Although, there is the bedroom, the master bedroom, our bedroom, my bedroom. I sleep there with my dog Tony but never with M. Why? I don't know. Maybe one of my readers can tell me...or maybe you can, Karolee?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

150 Poor Widow Meeees

I've been home from San Diego since Sunday but I needed to digest the Widow Conference before I wrote about it. Okay, also, I'm lazy. I had to unpack, do a little laundry, visit Skylar, my cutie pie granddaughter, pick up my perfect dog, Tony and spend time with Mickey, the man I'm seeing who I tell everyone "you can't not like him."

(Is that a double negative, Vera?) Vera is my great friend from Junior HS who is now a retired English teacher. If she could mark up my monitor screen with red ink she would.

Last night Mickey and I went to CitiField to the Paul McCartney conference. I mean, concert. See? I am thinking about the conference.

By the way, Paul was fantastic. He's still my favorite Beatle, although, of course, now we only have 50% of the Beatles left. This is similar to the 0% of the husbands at the conference. You didn't think I could tie it in, did ya? HA!

I had a bit of a bounce in my step arriving at the Marriott in San Diego because I had come from two days at the Bellagio in Vegas and I WON. Yes, this was the second time in my life I walked with a "winners strut." Jimmy would have been flabbergasted. He always called me his "anchor" and he didn't mean it in a good way.

Traveling alone feels fairly comfortable these days. It quickly turns uncomfortable again, though, as I get caught up grieving about not grieving. As my friend Jade says, "Everything comes with an "oy." My new widow friends can attest to that, for sure.

I woke up early on Friday eager to begin the seminars that the founder of Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, Michele Heff Hernandez promised would be amazing. Unfortunately, each unmarked door I opened revealed a lonely pedestal and rows of empty chairs. Where was everyone? I did find the "Speaker's luncheon", but that turned out to be for the speakers. Who knew?

At last, someone pointed out to me that Saturday was the main day for the sessions. In an environment of only widows I couldn't play the widow card to mask my stupidity. There I was Queen for a Day and everyone was wearing a crown. Damn.

Not to bog this blog (say that 3X fast) Bog this blog - Bog this blog - Bog this blog - with too many details I must spout out the highlights and headlines. A surprise was that there were 8 widows from Singapore. (Doesn't that sound like a title?) "Eight Widows From Singapore" available in bookstores everywhere.

Anyway, they came just for this conference and they didn't even stop in Vegas. (I know. I asked.) Please check out their blog I also met a widow from Kenya named Hilda Orimba Agola who founded Widows and Orphans Welfare Society of Kenya. After this introduction I felt myself literally shrink.

Dr. Rajaa Al Kuzai, a trained Ob-Gyn traveled from Baghdad and as we shook hands I became indistinguishable from the speck of dust that clung to my Capri pants. Her website is You'd think with this accomplished bunch I'd have no one to play with, but I sought my own level.

Enter Sandi from Anaheim, CA, my buddy. A smart, fun lady who lost her husband George about three years ago. Ellen, Linda, Debbie, Carol, Eileen, Cathy, Cary and Sharon were only some of the women I talked with and laughed with and bonded with.

We connected instantly by way of loss and like prisoners in jail who ask, "How long are you in for?" we began our greetings with "How long has it been?"

For most of us it was two, three, four years. We didn't dwell on how it happened as much as what has happened to us in the aftermath. We all shook our heads acknowleding that unfocused and foggy first year. Friends and family - gratitude and disappointment, mostly gratitude. Children and grandchildren, all that he is missing. Balancing our checkbook, reading a whole book? No way.

For Cathy it was 13 months. She was visibly more fragile than the rest of us. For Cary it was 10 months. She was still in the phase that she made plans only to fold into herself and wonder what she must have been thinking. On Saturday morning she told me she was staying until Monday before traveling back to New Jersey.

"I think I'll rent a car and drive up the coast" she said enthusiastically. "I'll stop wherever I stop, maybe in a bed and breakfast place. I've never done that." To an outsider she seemed reved up by her new adventure.

A handful of hours later I told the gang, "Guess what Cary's going to do..."
"Oh, I'm not doing that" she said emphatically like it had never been a thought.

Non-widows may have prodded her with a "Come on. It will make you feel good." But, not us. We knew that at that stage, that first year, year and a half we can not make plans. We might accept an invitation for dinner an hour before if we felt up to it...but on Monday to plan for Wednesday? Impossible.

Just some other people you may want to know: Marian Fontana ( )
who wrote "A Widow's Walk" about her firefighter husband, killed September 11th - believe me, she is one of the funniest widows you ever want to know. Now, she's writing a book about dating. That got my attention.

Mie Elmhirst, MBA - told how she divided up her husband's ashes to split evenly between her mother-in-law and brother-in-law. It was a "don't try this at home" message literally in a bottle.

Anne Marie Ginella, founder of raised my global awareness of the widow's plight although I still have more enthusiasm for my new favorite show "Nurse Jackie" on Showtime with Edie Falco. This may be why I'm "Poor Widow Me" and not "Poor Widow Everyone" - we are the world...

A soft spoken yet dynamic speaker, Dr. Leslie Beth Wish, Ed.D, MSS (wanted us to call her LB) is at She "confessed" to not being a widow, but she qualified herself because her mother died when she was fairly young and her good looking doctor father was pounced on immediately with casseroles and cleavage. It worked. He remarried, she died, remarried, she died and remarried and she died. LB saw widowhood many many many many times.

It may be a cop out to say, "You had to be there" because isn't it my job to give you the flavor of the weekend? Did I? I hope I did. The bottom line is we all fit into each others shoes. That was the magic.

The heartiest laugh? Those of us dating imagine our husbands are saying, "Sex? NOW, you're interested?"

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Widow Conference

Hi all,

Just to say that I''ll be away this week without a laptop and won't be writing until next week. I'll be in San Diego at a widow conference...Not a big one...just a widow one.

What do widows do at a conference? When we first arrive we take our lipstick and paint an upper case W on our forehead. This is why you rarely see a widow with bangs.

Anyway, I hope this tribal marking comes off easily. I'd hate to be stopped at the airport.

Enjoy your week. Make it a great one...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Carol Leifer is a Liar, but Timely for my Blog

Hi All,

I had to break from the letters because this interview is so in tune to what I blogged about last entry...July 8th.

On AOL today:

Comedian Carol Leifer on Her Mid-Life Change

At 40, comedian and author Carol Leifer decided to spice up her life by having a fling with a woman. But the 10-year divorcee never thought that her first lesbian venture would evolve into a 13-year partnership. (THAT I BELIEVE)

Now, she shares a home and has a child with her partner, Lori. In her new book, "When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win," Leifer talks about life after 40, the moment she discovered she might be gay and how her life has changed for the better.

AOL Health: When you were younger, were there any indications that you might be gay?

Carol Leifer: I entitled the chapter "Surprise" because it was like my life threw me a surprise party. I really didn’t have any clue, and in fact, had very good physical relationships with men. (LIAR!)

It was around when I turned 40 that I had this really intense desire to have an affair with a woman. It just kind of overtook me, kind of like when you feel like you're on a mission. (OH, PLEEZ!) When [Lori and I] first got together, I really thought this would be a nice fling. It was a surprise to me that I was falling in love, (PANTS ON FIRE!) but who would know this many years later that the first woman I would have a relationship with would wind up being my long-term partner who I'm about to celebrate a 13-year anniversary with.

AOL Health: You write about being immediately enamored with Lori the first time you met her. Was confronting those feelings alarming or difficult?

Leifer: This [was] supposed to be my fun fling, not the thing that redefined my sexuality and redefined almost everything about me. (WHEN YOU'RE STRAIGHT A FUN FLING IS HOT SEX WITH SOMEONE 20 YEARS YOUNGER - AND, OH, THE OPPOSITE SEX)

AOL Health: After you figured out what it was you wanted, how long did it take for you to start coming out to your friends and family?

Leifer: The hardest part was coming out to my parents -- to my middle-class, New York, Jewish parents. My parents were definitely disappointed that my marriage didn't work, but I think they always pictured me with a husband ultimately and having a child. (DUH)

When I told my parents I thought they were disappointed, but they were so happy that my partner Lori was Jewish, and my ex-husband wasn't. They were like, "Let's have some Manichewitz and toast."


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My Widow Advice #22 A Lesbian Lesson

Dear PWM,

I've got one for you, Carol. I think I'm a lesbian. 27 years married and I am thinking about approaching this beautiful, sexy woman (who I am almost positive is gay) at my gym. This never crossed my mind in the past, but when I see this gorgeous creature work out and get sweaty, I get a tingle that I haven't had since my honeymoon.

My husband, John is dead 7 years now. Good marriage and the sex was fine. I have been out with a few men, but nothing sexual has transpired. I guess I didn't give off that "Come screw me
aura" that men look for, or at least I think they look for. Maybe, I just wasn't interested. I don't know.

But, this woman at the gym keeps smiling like she knows something and I'm about to find out. I guess my question is what the hell is going on in my 49 year old body AND mind? Have I switched gears without any thought process involved? I am confused, but I am also telling
myself, why not?

John Would Die All Over Again,

Dear John Would Die All Over Again, Stephanie,

First of all, I don't believe that sexual thoughts about women have never crossed your mind. Come on, Stephanie. If you're going to write to me, be straight with me (as in open and honest, of course)

You watch a "gorgeous creature get sweaty and you get a tingle?" Oh, pleeze. You're 49 years old. Surely (or Shirley) you've been turned on by women before. Our sexual preference isn't something we suddenly switch. It's not like the restaurant is out of minestrone soup so we order the lobster bisque.

Changing teams sometimes happens when you fall in love with your best friend - that I concede.
Sexuality for women is tied up with emotional fulfillment and if she's more "there for you" than your hubby that can lead to a physical involvement. But, this is not what you are professing.

You're not sending out the "come screw me aura" to men because you're too busy fantasizing about the ladies. You're not interested just like you weren't genuinely interested in your husband. Most likely you fell into a comfortable sex life with a man that left you lukewarm.

Go and have a hot time - be a lesbian - be who you were all along and hopefully John is up there
looking the other way.


Monday, June 08, 2009

My Widow Advice #21 Charles in Charge

Not Charles - Didn't Have a Photo of a Great Dane
Dear Carol,

I read with interest your answer to Ann, the one whose kids gave her a puppy for Christmas. I had the same situation last year. I was missing my husband.

My son gave me a Great Dane puppy. Charles has grown into a huge boy of 187 pounds. He is as gentle as he is big. He is kind and loving. And, like you and your Tony we sleep together.

I used to be on Not anymore. Charles is a lap dog in the true sense.

Satisfied Widow,


Dear Satisfied Widow Angela,
I have always been suspicious of women with really big male dogs. UGH! Am I judging?

The sub-title of this blog and my book is "Finding the New Normal." It seems you have found the new ABnormal.

I guess from now on I'd better clarify when I say I'm a dog lover.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

My Widow Man - Tony

My Widow Advice #20 Puppy Love

Dear Carol,

My grown kids surprised me with a puppy last night on Christmas Eve. He’s a cute little thing, (a beagle mix) but I was up all night with him and here it is Christmas Day and I’m exhausted.

They told me they didn’t want me to wake up alone this morning, my first holiday without my husband. I am not happy about this because I have told them repeatedly not to get me a dog.

They used to complain that their father didn’t want a dog in the house, but the truth is I was content to blame him when the kids were young and begged us for one. I’d theatrically throw up my hands in a ‘You know your Dad’ phony gesture.

My husband has been gone for 8 months and of course I am lonely, but I am planning some trips this winter and now I will be busy paper training and worrying about what to do with Buster (I named him Buster because of the shoe store Buster Brown and he is mostly brown) when I am away.

The kids knew I wasn’t happy, but they just laughed and said soon I would fall in love with him and thank them.

What should I do?

Suddenly a Dog Owner,

Dear Suddenly a Dog Owner, Ann,

First of all, congratulations on getting away with putting the blame on your husband all those years. It seemed to have worked, although maybe the kids were on to you and Buster is payback time.

Or, could it be that your husband had a deathbed request, “Promise me, kids, you’ll get your mother a puppy next Christmas.” Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head? (not literally) What a clever way for your husband to get even with you for letting him take the rap!

I am familiar with this particular pathology because my husband and I used to let other parents be the bad guys. We’d say yes to everything (trip with friends to Puerto Rico when our daughter was fifteen, sky diving and I believe I remember a no curfew policy at thirteen.)

Ann, you’re talking to the wrong person here. I love dogs. I didn’t have one when the kids were young because my husband was allergic. In those days there weren’t that many non-allergic breeds.

After my husband was gone a little over a year my gardener GAVE me Tony, a year old Morky (Yorkie & Maltese combo) I resisted, too at first because I wanted to come and go as I pleased. A dog would tie me down.

My friend Sheri nudged me to take him. She said she’d either be a hero or I’d hate her.

I didn’t fall in love immediately. It took 12 hours. Tony slept with me and that was it. (Am I a slut?) Now, I can’t imagine how I came home to an empty house that first year. Without a doubt, he is the best thing I have done.

My kids love him and my little granddaughter adores him and I have tons of friends who are happy to watch him when I go away. Sheri is a hero.

Give Buster a chance. He will bring life back into your house when you’re alone and your family will re-focus their love and begin to make new memories and traditions with Buster. He was a perfect holiday surprise. Let your kids be heros.


Friday, June 05, 2009

My Widow Advice #19 Poor Widow Her

Dear Carol,

My mother-in-law is mad at me – AGAIN. Her husband has been dead for 9 years. Last week was the day. I didn’t call her. I thought of it early in the day and then I got busy. So, shoot me!

My husband, (obviously, her son) stopped by her house (she lives 3 blocks
away) that morning to have coffee with her. She told him that doesn’t count
because they meet up every Tuesday.

Also, he doesn’t represent me, she said. How long are we supposed to acknowledge a death day?

Frustrated in Pennsylvania,

Dear Frustrated in Pennsylvania Joyce,

Are you kidding me? You haven’t figured out yet that you’re expected to
acknowledge your father-in-law’s death day until your mother-in-law dies? You
don’t mention how old she is, but if she lives another 20 years you’ll be
acknowledging his death day 29.

Sounds ridiculous? Well, that’s because it is. Still, from what you tell me she
can never be satisfied. It’s obvious that this is not your only issue with her.

Come on, though. It’s one day. It’s not like she’s expecting you to remember
the day he was diagnosed, then the first round of chemo or when they brought

the wheelchair home – you get my drift?

Personally, I was acutely aware that my widow perks would taper off at the end
of the first year. Sure enough, as the anniversary issue hit the stands, I was
expected to help out in the kitchen again and clear my own plate.

No more, “Oh, you sit. We’ll take care of it.”

This snap out of it attitude by friends and family helped me to heal, though.
I noticed that the amount of concern and outreach from friends were fairly in

line with my “recovery” (for lack of a better word I’ve made myself sound like a drug

When people surround us with long soulful hugs and teary eyes it’s nearly
impossible to resist snuggling up to them and purring like a kitten. Our
emotional growth is stilted when we’re surrounded by so much sympathy.

Some widows regress to sucking their thumbs while others continuously sigh.

We, the recent husbandless, are forever apologizing for waking up with our head
resting in our co-worker’s lap.

As much as I like a good foot massage and a pass from buttering my own toast

it’s a relief to me to finally hear, “Get your ass off the couch and help out!”

Your mother-in-law is not of that ilk. She doesn’t want to lose her “widow
status.” It doesn’t matter why. It’s sad. She needs the attention. Give it to her.