Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Man Winter Blues

It was just so cold yesterday when I went out in the morning to face the blowing snow to clean off the van so I could take the boys to school. Instead of feeling energized and uplifted after surviving the record-breaking snowfall, I felt dispirited and defeated. What did it matter? So I got through one storm. Now there was the bitter cold to face. And some more snow on the way besides.

I know the Eastern coast has been hit harder than the Midwest. Others are out there battling the elements along with me. I'm not the only one struggling, nor am I the only widowed mom. But there are fewer of us and it is harder for us - those of us alone.

An unusual small scale earthquake hit Illinois, near the Chicago area yesterday. I watched the news reports of witness accounts. The men and woman would say things like, "My husband woke me up" or "We felt the bed shake." All of them seemed to have references to a partner who was there with them, there in bed with them.

That's kind of the downer about this whole winter weather scene. Now is the time when snuggling and cuddling are the most useful and restorative. This is the time when we give extra thanks for the warm body next to us providing heat and comfort. And yes, even protection from threats such as intruders breaking in, which is what one woman thought was happening when the earthquake stuck at 3:59 a.m.

I come in out of the cold needing to feel safe and warm. And while my body temperature rises, I think a part of me deep inside continues to remain frozen. Like that little bit in the middle of a chicken breast being thawed. It stubbornly refuses to thaw and I always end up impatiently tossing it into the oven anyway. It is not enough to lie in that queen or king size bed. When you're lying there alone and you don't want to be, the wide expanse of extra space is mean and mocking. Yes, you're warm and maybe even cozy and comfortable. But that part of your heart that yearns for companionship, conversation, sex, love and nurturing remains as empty as the space formally occupied by a loving partner.

Chilled to the bone on so many levels - physically, spiritually, emotionally.

Today I am grateful:

1. For seeing the sliver of sun just above the horizon as I dropped the boys off at school.
2. For seeing the reflection of that sun in the windows of a home.
3. For seeing the sun seem to rise out of nowhere within minutes and cast its glowing warmth over the cold morning.
4. That it wasn't too difficult scraping off the van's windows this morning.
5. For protection against the harsh winter elements.


  1. i'm sorry you're feeling so down. i keep you in my thoughts.

  2. wNs- It's not so much feeling down. Just that fighting the elements results in an utter weariness of the soul. Thoughts, care and concern back to you.

  3. A a widow myself -- UNDERSTOOD! You have been doing so well, but you will have those days. Just keep going. I love your thankful list -- good medicine for the soul!

  4. Likewise, I love your thankful list.
    Spring is just around the corner (I hope, I hope).

  5. Not to get too personal, but I never had to worry about wearing much to bed to keep warm during the winter. I had Michael there, and we kept each other comforted and warm. Now it's layers of clothing, and I occasionally get out his heating pad and plug it in. At least I am receiving electric heat from his side of the bed.

    The word 'cozy' has lost some of it's meaning.

    Chilled in SF.

  6. Thanks Beth and Roads for reading and commenting. I wish spring would really hurry up this year. I'm not sure I would be in this funk if it weren't winter.

    Dan, I know what you mean about feeling chilled. But the heating pad sounds a little comforting to me. I have never used one and should check it out. We have one around somewhere.

  7. Dan, OMG I hear you!! I have to pile stuff on Joe's side of the bed (books and such) because I still can't bear for it to be empty. I am doing the heating pad trick too. Helps but it's still not the same. I've been taking as hot a bath as I can tolerate before bed just to try to warm my bones before getting into bed.

    Widow, this has been the worst winter no matter where you live. I heard about the earthquake and thought of you and the boys. How crazy was that? I thought I had planned for every contigency, but I now realize I haven't prepared for the 'what if I am scared to death?' possibility. I never entered my mind until now. I am quickly ushering it out. Can't do it right now.