Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Night Live

It’s Saturday night. A handful of years ago we'd be out to dinner with another couple. I’d order that third glass of Cabernet and avoid Jimmy’s disapproving eyes. These days I’m driving myself home so I rarely have more than one. Ironic, now that I need it.

On a hot summer night like tonight we’d drive a town away to Freeport for ice-cream or go over to the Jones Beach boardwalk and play miniature golf. I always hated miniature golf. It’s fun once every ten years. He assumed I loved it too, so the tradition happened. Then I just went along.

That’s how I got stuck eating creamed corn each time I visited Aunt Sylvia. I miss Aunt Sylvia, but I just couldn’t deal with that creamed corn anymore.

In Freeport the crowds are in their 20’s and loud. Dozens of kids scream above the outside bands that compete for the foot traffic. The ice-cream was good and we always held hands. That was nice, but the noise went right through me.  I’d tell Jimmy I thought I was having a stroke.

He’d say,

“I’d love you more if you couldn’t talk.”

Jimmy had a theory that God only gives us so many words. Once we use them up that’s it.

I’d tell him I’ll take my chances.  He’d roll his eyes.

Saturday nights will never be the same.  Well, at least, I don’t have to play miniature golf anymore.

Friday, July 09, 2010

How to be a Gracious Widow

Almost daily I post a question for widows and widowers on Facebook.  Many people respond.  Using social media seems like a  great way to get us to delve into our own feelings and share them.  It helps all of us.

This morning I posted: How can we be a 'good' widow, a gracious widow?" Any thoughts?

Several people responded that it wasn't their place to be anything but who they were and they seemed
annoyed and upset that I would even suggest that they monitor their attitude towards others.  Maybe, I didn't explain myself so here are my feelings:

                                  The 7 Ways to be a Gracious Widow

1. At gatherings with family and friends it’s OUR place to raise a glass and mention our late husband’s 
   name. Other people are afraid it will upset us.

   It’s up to us to let them know we’re comfortable hearing his name and reminiscing about him.

2. Assume that most people mean well. Just because they haven’t been in touch doesn’t mean they’re not
    thinking of us. Haven’t you ever thought about reaching out to someone and you just never did?  It
    didn’t mean you didn’t care. 

3. People who rattle off thoughtless comments usually have no clue how insensitive and moroic they 
   sound. Just shake it off. Don’t call them on it...and maybe don't call them again...just file it away.

4. On our husband’s birthday or the anniversary of his death instead of allowing others to take us out  
   WE should invite those who have been closest and kindest to us throughout the year. We could make 
   dinner at our home or take them out to dinner. When we arrive at the restaurant to insure that no one 
   else picks up the check give your credit card to the maitre de or waiter.

5. Be aware that others miss him too. Simply say, “I know you miss him, too.”

6. Take back a holiday or occasion that you routinely hosted in the past as soon as
    you are able to.

7. Admit that we widows are hard to read. We continually flip flop. If “they” don’t call us
    on our anniversary or Valentine’s Day, we feel slighted. Often when they do, we respond flippantly
   to ensure that we don’t upset them or us.

Now, several years and may talks with other widows I wouldn’t run away from
kind words even though they make me feel uncomfortable.

I’d respond, “Thank you for thinking of me and remembering.”
This is how I've tried to live these past four years since Jimmy died.
It makes me feel better about myself and it feels respectful to my husband and it
puts others at ease.    Win/Win/Win