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After finding herself suddenly widowed at the age of 47, JoAnn revisits the familiar aspects of her grief--she has definitely looked through these clouds before.
While narrating her journey with a widow's painful perspective and advice, JoAnn also relays the humorous dilemmas that a single mother and middle-aged woman must confront.
Widowhood is not for sissies.
I used to see God in the clouds. Those were the days of innocence, and pain. It seemed as if the pain made me humble, and with the humility I became innocent, almost childlike.
I started seeing God in the clouds after I died and was reincarnated, or at least that’s what it felt like. God had, metaphorically, grabbed me from earth, blindfolded me, spun me around like a top, and then violently cast me back to the dirt of the ground. Like a newly born calf I struggled to stand and tried to brush the darkness from myself.
During my journey of being reborn, I put one foot in front of the other, fumbling with uncertainty. Then a commanding hand unbound my blindfold of denial which had previously blocked my sight, and I cautiously took in the unfamiliar surroundings. A new world, a new person. Unlike someone with amnesia, I knew my name and my past; but like one, my identity had been lost...
Rich Widow vs Just Widow
There’s really nothing funny about a husband dying, well at least not for most widows. Although I suspect the infamous Roxy Hart, the Black Widow serial killers, and other lesser-publicized widows have been pleased by, or planned, their husband’s demise. Not so for me. And in my defense and to my relief, the doctor assured me that I did not cause my husband’s leukemia by spraying the house for cat fleas a few weeks before his diagnoses.
Even so, I never divulged this information to the life insurance company. It already appeared incriminating enough that I bought the policy for Dick only nine months before his sudden death. But that was the only lucky thing that has ever happened to me, if one would consider the whole circumstance as luck.
Ultimately, the measly insurance money merely covered my time off from work after the funeral. Had I planned to oust my husband, I would have been a little more forward thinking and done the math...
Where’s that Brawny Guy with His Allan Wrenches?
It was soon after the funeral when my oldest sister called to my attention that I was a “widow”. Sisters, you’ve got to love them. When that word was uttered from her mouth, I couldn’t keep a visual from entering my mind and suddenly felt an urge to run to the nearest mirror to see if I had grown a wart, gray hair, or humped back.
But a few months later, after acclimating myself to the title, I used it freely. The term and its consequences have formed me, but as they say, they don’t define me. And, as I will explain later, there is a difference between a “rich widow” and just a “widow”. So, when appropriate, I would use that “widow card” to my advantage. In my defense, there’re very few positive things about losing one’s husband and one must be inventive.
The first thing to break was the toilet...
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From….
I thought I was doing a decent job at the single-parenting thing until a few months after Dick’s death. After years of ignoring that dark, dusty place under Danny’s bed, one day an unusual urge motivated me to venture there. While doing so, I discovered a periodical which I didn’t approve of.
The first thing I did was pray, some of it directed at God and some at Dick. So, in other words, it was one of my “why God and Dick” moments. Why, God, did I not clean under the bed three months ago when Dick was around. And Why, Dick, aren’t you here when I need you? I guess they were not life altering questions like, “Why are we here God?” or “What’s the meaning of life, God?” but very important questions for me at that moment.
I didn’t like confrontation any more than my son did, so I entertained the thought of merely taping a photo of my face over the centerfold’s and then return the “reading” material to the exact location where I found it. That would get my point across without any uncomfortable discussions. After imagining the scenario, I ultimately dismissed that plan. There was no need to create a post-traumatic response regarding that area of his life, and I wanted grandkids someday...
We’re not a match
It wasn’t only my aging appearance that motivated me to date, there was also outside pressure from a certain family member. I thought my experience with the produce guy would stifle my brother’s badgering, but he was relentless. Any discussion about broken toilets or college expenses brought up the subject of me finding a man.
Despite my brother’s lack of filters when speaking, he is a kind person.
Nevertheless, I don’t think his motive had to do with his concern for my happiness but more about his apprehension that he’d have to support me in my old age if I didn’t find a wealthy suitor. To stop his persistent nagging and to broaden my selection outside the radius of Mound, MN, I designed my profile on Match.com.
After much time and thought, I created a synopsis of myself for the website. My profile went something like this…