Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Remarried Widow?

Here’s an inside scoop for all of the non-widowed people out there. At widow gatherings one of the most popular lines is: “People who haven’t lost their spouse just don’t ‘get it.’” I shake my head and say it, too. It's true.

We widows don’t really expect you to understand, though, at least, I don’t. Life is full of tragedies that I haven’t experienced and therefore, I don't 'get'. Even within widowhood I don’t have the slightest idea what it feels like, for example, to have my husband run over by an ice-cream truck.

Would I give up ice-cream? Maybe only the flavors I never cared for? Would that count? Or would I just take a hard stand against buying ice-cream from a truck? It’s difficult to say.

Throughout the widow community here’s something else non-widows may not be aware of...There are:

 Widows who have re-married and still call themselves a widow!

Now, that’s something I don’t get. If I was fortunate enough to meet a man and fall in love and re-marry would I continue this blog/website and speak to widows?  Sure, having lived through this tragedy I would still have something to contribute to widows and widowers.

BUT: I wouldn’t continue to refer to myself as a widow. First of all, I wouldn’t be one. According to “A widow is a woman who has lost her husband to death and has not remarried. There’s hardly room for an argument here.

Some continue to argue anyway. “I’m still a widow!” “I’m still a widow!” “I’m still a widow!” Kinda disrespectful to the current husband and it has to make him nervous.

                            New Husbands Respond:

TOM: “Wait, honey. I’m still alive! Remember we signed papers and you vowed to love and honor me in sickness and in health ‘till death do us part? Well, I haven’t died yet. That was the first guy."

DICK: "You took my last name! You introduce me as your husband! I know you loved your first husband and will forever, but honey next year you and I will be married longer than you were to him."

HARRY:"Just because he was first doesn’t mean he’ll always be #1. He had you through PMS, but I got you at menopause. Neither one is a picnic.”

 Without mentioning names here are a few comments from widows about remarriage.

“Just because a widow falls in love again and remarries does not change that she went through the hell and heartache of being widowed.”

"Of course not" I say. "And I’m sure that pain rears its ugly head even after remarriage, but when you’re discharged from the army you may suffer flashbacks, still you hang up your uniform. At ease…you are no longer a soldier."

"Oh, and to stay with the soldier analogy.  If a man is in the Navy and he transfers to the Marines is he still a sailor?"  No sir!

“The new love does not replace the old one.”

"Yes, that’s exactly what he/she does. And, the new love might be a better kisser."

“They are now roommates in your heart.”

"Nice phrase, but only one of those roommates is taking up the closet space."

Hey, widows, divorce is a trauma. If divorced people remarry do they still tell people they're divorced?

Widows who are wives again have said that they are still widows because "My new husband sweetly helps to keep my late husband’s memory alive by talking about him and visiting his grave with me."

That’s called maturity and sensitivity and recognizing we weren’t born the second we met. That also may be called, “If I'm understanding about the dead husband maybe I'll get laid tonight.”

Some women still see themselves as married after their husband has died. That isn’t technically true either, yet it’s totally different than a remarried widow referring to herself as a widow.

Continuing to feel married after losing a spouse is pure emotion, a natural need to stay attached.  We cling to our old life while we are in a lane we never imagined we’d travel.  It's an emotional tie that’s tough to break, although two little words could break that tie for me,
          'Widow’s Benefits'...that ends when we remarry…

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Busy Being Peggy Da Pigeon - See AOL story...

Hey, it's not all about being a widow all of the time.  Sometimes, we just have to spread our wings.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alternate Ending for "Keeping His Memory Alive"

Just to say that I'm writing this blog and the book "Poor Widow Me" at the same time.  It's a memoir, written from today looking back.  I'm rethinking yesterdays ending to the blog "Keeping His Memory Alive" and I wrote an alternate ending. 

Hoping you might take a moment to let me know which version you prefer and why -  either as a comment here or to my e-mail address:  or on Facebook

Thanks everyone!

As I write this I see that we may have dropped the ball on our vow to keep Jimmy’s memory alive. I know this is natural. Even at the very beginning I knew it. I remember a friend’s 90 year old mother called me a few weeks after Jimmy died and said,

“I’ve been a widow since I was 60 and there are still nights when I lay in bed watching David Letterman and I turn to my husband’s side and I say out loud, “That was a good one, right Larry?” she said.

First of all, I was amazed that at 90 she still remembered she was ever married. And, 30 years later she's chatting it up with a cold sheet and an empty pillow? Who does she think she is, Yoko Ono?

I said, “Mimi, is this supposed to make me feel better?” She laughed. I thanked her for calling and after I hung up just for my own amusement I added, “Say hello to Larry for me.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Keeping His Memory Alive

Tomorrow is October 13th - four and a half years since Jimmy died.  The 13th is supposed to be unlucky for everybody, but I was born on the 7th day of the 7th month.  I always knew that the 13th would be extra unlucky for me. Oh, right, and I guess extra-extra unlucky for Jimmy

Watching time click into the second half of the 4th year makes me take notice of how my life and the lives of everyone around me who loved my husband has
moved away from him little by little.

The unofficial rulebook after losing a family member states: You must keep his/her memory alive. For the first few months my kids and I would continually point out to two year old Skylar that her “Grandpa” liked this or that. Usually, the‘this and the that’was a dish of spaghetti or the waffle cones at a Baskin and Robbins.

We almost held a celebration of life memorial service where close family and friends could contribute “Big Jim” stories. The plan was to schedule it a few months after the funeral. We were sure by then the sting of losing him would be dissipated enough that we could display a montage of photos on a huge screen and a sound system that pounded out a song like “Through the Years.” We quickly vetoed that song because it was too ‘bar mitzvah-ish.’

Within a month we decided to pass on the memorial, too. The pain was fresher than we had anticipated and all the good friends had used their best material at Jimmy’s funeral. At the wake a TV looped the “This is your Life” video that I had made for Jimmy’s 45th birthday party and on three easels around the room we placed a framed assortment of dozens of his photos.

Pushing the envelope to eek out more adoration for a man and his life felt weirdly similar to paying a DJ or a band overtime to stay an extra hour. Party planners warn against it. “Leave them wanting more” they say.

For quite some time we’d smell flowers with Skylar and remind her that grandpa would carry her from flower to flower like a bumble bee pollinating. She was the only two year old on Long Island who could pronounce “pollinate” making her grieving Mommy, Daddy, Uncle and Grandma laugh out loud.

Jackie made sure that on a special occasion Skylar sent up balloons to Grandpa in heaven. Now at six and a half it’s part of Skylar’s holiday routine. There are never tears when a balloon escapes by mistake because we cover with “Grandpa must have really wanted that one.” We figure by the time she stops falling for it, it will be about the time she stops caring about balloons, anyway.

Let’s face it, to anyone older than ten years old balloons are just plain annoying. They’re fun and festive for the first twenty minutes. Three days later we’re stuck with a bouquet of dull and withering blue and yellow and green sacks of air that refuse to deflate completely.

They float and hover at our eye level until we’re forced to tighten their rubbery necks and stick a scissor through them the way Dexter, the TV serial killer stabs his victims. Only then can we throw them in the trash. Skylar is a year away from saying, “Are these stupid balloons still around?”

As I write this I see that we may have dropped the ball on our vow to keep Jimmy’s memory alive. Here and now I’m going to pledge to myself to mention Jimmy’s name more often to family and friends. He’s still continually on my mind.

I worry, though, that I’ll sound pathetic and make others feel sad. I worry that I’ll be forever perceived as “Poor Widow Me.”

Wait a minute...Worry? About being perceived as "Poor Widow Me?" Who am I kidding?  If that were the case I should put a halt on this blog, my seminars, the upcoming website, and the book. 

Well, if nothing else...I'm an honest widow.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Searching the Internet for 'Loss'

I was looking for articles about LOSS and this is what I found.  It isn't exactly
about losing a husband, but since mine was heavier than the average husband - is mine a greater loss?

1 pound = a Guinea Pig

1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts

2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs

3 pounds = an average human brain

4 pounds = an ostrich egg

5 pounds = a Chihuahua

6 pounds = a human’s skin

7.5 pounds = an average newborn

8 pounds = a human head

10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year

11 pounds = an average housecat

12 pounds = a Bald Eagle

15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs

16 pounds = a sperm whale’s brain

20 pounds = an automobile tire

23 pounds = amount of ****a an average American eats in a year

24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream

25 pounds = an average 2 year old

30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year

33 pounds = a cinder block

36 pounds = a mid-size microwave

40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg

44 pounds = an elephant’s heart

50 pounds = a small bale of hay

55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner

60 pounds = an elephant’s penis (yep, weights more than his heart!)

66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year

70 pounds = an Irish Setter

77 pounds = a gold brick

80 pounds = the World’s Largest Ball of Tape

90 pounds = a newborn calf

100 pounds = a 2 month old horse

111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year

117 pounds = an average fashion model (and she’s 5’11”)

118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica

120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month

130 pounds = a newborn giraffe

138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year

140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year

144 pounds = an average adult woman (and she’s 5’4”)

150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary

187 pounds = an average adult man

200 pounds = 2 Bloodhounds

235 pounds = Arnold Schwarzenegger

300 pounds = an average football lineman

400 pounds = a Welsh pony