Friday, January 22, 2010

Comfort Within Winter's Wrath

The freezing rain that was predicted hasn't arrived and I am almost giddy with relief! Part of the strain of widowhood is having to face less than desirable weather conditions on one's own. A big part of it for me is not knowing there is someone there for me to bail me out of some sort of weather-related jam, such as getting stuck in a snowdrift or having a flat tire on some deserted road in a snowstorm. As a result, I am always operating one step ahead so to speak. When driving somewhere, I plan the route ahead of time based on my concerns. Sometimes it has involved waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to start shoveling out the driveway. I always have to have a backup plan in my pocket. But of course the backup plan doesn't just magically appear there - it has to be thought out involving extra time and energy. I have come to find that my widowhood involves living in an anticipatory state much like the fight or flight response to danger. I have to always be on alert and aware of whatever possible dangers out there exist. And with the threat of icy rain, there are numerous ones. So now that this danger has hopefully subsided I can let down my guard a bit, breathe a sigh of relief and relax a little.

It has been the everyday aspects of living that have worn me down and caused me the most distress. Looking back, the grieving part of my husband's death was far easier to handle. I think that is what a lot of people miss or don't consider. We all focus on the taxing work of grief and make it our priority. But the constant drain of living on one's own and just making it though week after week exerts a tremendous toll on one's overall physical health and spiritual well- being. I know that winter is a particularly grueling time for me and my spirit becomes reborn with the first signs of spring!

Yesterday I needed to come up with a quick and cheap dinner. I had two cans of tuna in the pantry and needing some retro comfort food to the max decided to fix my mom's 1960s tuna casserole, which she used to make us for lunch. The recipe had to be the original - no fancy additions of sugar snap peas, marinated red pepper or even noodles or cheese.

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tuna
1/3 cup milk
1 cup cooked peas
2 chopped hard boiled eggs
1 cup crushed potato chips for topping

Mix all ingredients except chips and put into lightly greased pan, baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then add chip topping and bake another 10 minutes.

I doubled the recipe and served with extra chips and peas on the side along with biscuits. My sons, not thrilled with the prospect of tuna casserole for dinner polished off all of it. We ate while celebrating the fact that my oldest has been nominated to participate in a contest for the males at this school based on the Miss America concept. There is a fashion show and talent portion involved. My youngest said his track coach thinks he can beat the current school record for one of his events this year.

Today I am grateful:

1. For retro tuna casserole.
2. That my sons are being recognized for their talents and abilities.
3. That my sons are being challenged to achieve at higher levels.
4. That the freezing rain didn't show up!
5. That I have made it through more days of January than are now left in the month!


  1. I get all anxious in the summer when a thunderstorm is coming. Worry about high winds or tornado, worry about the lightening, worry about the thunder. Usually it is never as bad as I worried it would be, but I never learn and the next time--start the fretting and pacing, looking out windows, worry all over. I am glad the freezing rain did not come to you! BTW--I love that tuna casserole recipe from way back.

  2. So glad the freezing rain didn't make an appearance. I need to take a leaf out of your book and prepare for situations more frequently ... for this alleviates some of the panic ;-) Casserole sounded good and you sound a little stronger?

  3. Jude - You have a point that usually are worries are far greater than whatever natural event occurs. I'll try to keep that in mind for the next time too.

    Boo - It is good to be prepared but there is a balance between freaking out and trying to plan. Sometimes I get myself too worked up in the preparation phase so it cancels out some of the benefits. I'm not sure I'm exactly stronger - just trying to create some comfort to combat the storms, which is helping.

  4. I hear you on the weather. For me it's hurricane season. While I have everything I need, including a generator, the thought of sitting alone in this house during a storm is not very comforting. I am sure someone would offer for me to come to their place BUT, I would worry about my stuff and my house and if we lose power and there is debris I might not be able to make it back home. Being stuck elsewhere would not be a comfortable thing for me. So, I know when it happens I will hunker down here alone.

    I LOVE that recipe. That's the one I have always used. Might be time to pull it out again.

  5. Kelly - I guess it doesn't matter where we live, there are weather-related obstacles that are hard to face on one's own.