Sunday, October 3, 2010

Widow Network

It was a weird week - full of an assortment of ups and downs. Rather than relate them all at once, I'll just start with the one from the beginning of the week, Monday. We were just getting over all the hoopla of Homecoming week when my youngest woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me his brother's foot was bleeding profusely. And it was. Turns out his little toe had somehow been cut while he was asleep and wouldn't stop bleeding. By the time we got to the ER, a bath towel was entirely soaked through - the whole towel. I couldn't believe there was so much blood because there was also a pool of blood around the futon where he sleeps and bloody footprints throughout the floor.

The ER doctor advised, that foot, toe and finger injuries/cuts bleed a great deal. My reasoning for taking him to the hospital was because we had no idea how he had cut his toe and I was worried there may have been something still caught in his skin. Plus there was just so much blood. It was 2:00 in the morning (Tue.) and we were all pretty groggy and not thinking too clearly. But what do you do when your kid wakes up with a foot covered in blood that isn't stopping bleeding?

When we got home, after the bleeding stopped, the cut had been cleaned out and bandaged, I figured out what happened. I saw a slivered groove in the wood of the bookcase next to the futon that my son's foot must have rubbed against.

It was all just kind of a surreal and strange event. In the past years, with two boys playing sports, I've been to the ER more times than I want to recall. Monday night/Tuesday morning I was so drained and tired of it all - the constant having to cope with everything on my own, including mysterious medical emergencies. I need to be there propping up my sons when they need me, but no one is there for me when I'm falling down and needing some propping up myself. I have reached the absolute limit of this widowhood life. No one, should have to shoulder so much on their own for so long. No one!

I did a bit of investigation into whether the friend of my youngest son, whose mom is widowed might be interested in sharing a home in the future, but she responded that she prefers to live alone. My son said he suspects she might be bipolar and that it would not be a good fit for us but I threw caution to the wind and asked anyway, simply because I don't want this life on my own anymore. It at least starts the chain in motion and shows my intention to the Universe.

Even sharing a home with another widow would allow some division of labor, perhaps sharing meal preparation, etc. And it would be far less lonely. But anyway, that is a no go. It got me to thinking about the "olden days" of my youth when divorce was still new and taboo. I remember that when I was in high school (mid-1970s) that two couples in our subdivision got divorced. People were so shocked that they drove by the couples' houses trying to get a glimpse of the divorcees. What happened was that these two women pooled their resources and shared a home together - they had kids around the ages of my sibs and I. I wonder what happened to these women who really in their own way were leaders paving the way for women at that time.

Then I thought of the few other women who I knew from back then, two of whom got divorced, one whom was widowed. All three of these women got remarried immediately. It's funny, but my son's friend's mom has a boyfriend who has asked her repeatedly to marry him and she has refused wanting to remain living alone. And here I am, a woman who longs for remarriage and ends up still on the search for the right guy... Well, we certainly know life sure ain't fair!

I think in earlier times, even 35 years ago, that there were stronger networks in place for women, families were closer and all. I wish there were some kind of widow network in place right now, listing widows who are looking for roommates to share houses, etc. Those two newly divorced moms from 1977 were smart to join forces together. Sometimes it just isn't worth the fight to keep struggling on alone.


  1. Hi there
    You know there may just be a place that has such a listing of people on their own wanting to share a house, but you haven't found it yet.

    When you talk about the widow who has a boyfriend but doesn't want to get remarried, it made me think that she may have gotten to the place where she is content and happy with herself, which makes her all the more attractive. I am there now where although I would like to re-partner, I feel that the hard-won autonomy and good things that I have discovered about being single, may not be worth sacrificing for a partnership. Funny thing is now I am in that place, an old boyfriend has made an appearance. Much as I have tried to put him off, he is coming back for more. There might be a lessen there about finding yourself, and that making you more attractive to a prospective beau (lack of neediness?). I'm not sure, still thinking it through myself, but maybe that goes some way to explain it? A boyfriend, though would be acceptable: take me out somewhere nice, but I don't have to wash his underwear ;-)).

  2. Ahh yes, I remember when divorce was a big deal. A couple of years after your experience, around 1979, I had a very close friend whose mother was either divorced or had never been married, and they lived with the mother's boyfriend. At the time I was confused as to why my own mother thought this was scandalous - although to her credit, she did let me play over there and even spend the night.

    I don't think I could have a roommate because my need for privacy is so high (even in my very happy marriage, we sometimes clashed over that), but I've known single moms who have done it and really benefited. It doesn't have to be two moms with kids, either - I know someone who has a teenage daughter and shares a house with a single childless friend, and it works well for them. Definitely something to consider for the future!

    P.S. I'm glad your son's foot is OK - how scary! I would have gone to the ER too, if it were my daughter.

  3. I think there would be other problems living with another person. Remember the two guys in the TV show--the slob and the neat freak? Or how do you manage expenses? What if the other person shares cooking and only cooks stuff you detest? What if noise from the other family bothers you?

    I bet there are places to advertise for house-sharing.

    I've thought it would be nice to move to a condo where I wouldn't have responsibility for upkeep of a yard, etc.

  4. Whew. What a wretched and scary event with your son's cut. No, no one should have to shoulder all the responsibility each and every time, so kudos to you. Flipside, you get all the credit, so double kudos! Things could be worse - you could get off on being a martyr, and to me you don't sound like one;-)

    Let's hope some lovely guy sees the lovely gem behind your exhausted exterior. Shine on, WitM!

  5. Shortly after my divorce, I had a young woman (single, no kids) move in with me. Her monetary sharing sure helped out. She stayed pretty much to herself however and rarely left the upstairs--where she had a couple of rooms. But sometimes, late at night, we'd have talks and I think that year she stayed with my daughter and I helped both of us. It's an idea for you anyway.

  6. Sharing a place might work out well. One of my neighbours (a divorced woman) shared a house for a couple of years when a co-worker divorced from her husband. They seemed to get along very well - granted, they were working different shifts, so barely saw each other during the work week. It might be worth looking into something - maybe on Craig's List.

  7. I never thought I would want a 'stranger' living in my house. But I took the plunge and agreed to rent my upstairs to the friend of a friend.

    It got off to a bumpy start (first night she appeared at 11 p.m. with her boyfriend, daughter (18) and boyfriend's two little guys, 6 and 11 in tow!!!!) Once we established ground rules, there have been no repeats of that surprise.

    But she originally had offered to help me with housework, which has never materialized. So that is a disappointment.

    It is just a business arrangement however, I don't thing either of us ever planned or wanted to become bosom friends. I think being friends makes it more challenging. Financially it has been helpful.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  8. Since my husband passed away 10 1/2 months ago, I have had to rebuild my life for my two children and myself. My marriage was not a happy one, but I still miss him very much. It is like I only remember the good things/times, and forget all the bad so far. I am coming to terms with living this way, and in many ways, it has been a peaceful/less chaotic than my married life was. I say this with a ton of guilt and regret.
    I have a friend who wants to leave her husband, and she has hinted about coming to live with me and my children. I am not ready to share my life with someone even if it would probably help us all financially.
    I too get tired of shouldering everything, and hate doing everything alone, but for now, I think I am healing slowly. Do I want to remarry again? No, it is too soon to consider that. I think you should do what is right for you, and I want to thank you for your posts, and your honesty. Please hang in there, because
    if you do, then I feel I must do the same. May God bless you always.

  9. Haven't heard from you in awhile. Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you. Hoping you are doing ok.

  10. Julie - As usual, you give me so much to think about and by that I mean really think about hard stuff that can be uncomfortable for me to face. I find myself reflecting on your words for days. Rather than go into specifics here, I'll bring them up in a future post because I really struggle with a lot of what you brought up. I'm not sure I agree with the belief that we have to be happy with ourselves first to find love again but I know it seems to happen so much out there - love popping up when we're not looking and all and keeping busy in our own lives. The whole neediness concept is one I want to consider more too because to an extent I believe we're all needy (in needing and wanting love). Anyway, thanks as always for stretching my mind, thinking and point of view. You bring me to a point where I wasn't before.

    Vanessa - I'm glad your mom was open minded enough to let you play with this friend. My mom discriminated against the kids from the other side of town and I ended up resenting her as an adult for that. Especially, since I've now become one of those families living on the wrong side of the tracks!

  11. Thelma - You raise some good points about sharing a home. So far, it appears that there aren't many women who want to do this. I don't see this as a reality for the present, I wish it was and that I had more options available to me. But it is food for thought in the future. And maybe more opportunities will present themselves. I wish I had thought of this years ago.

    Flo - Thank you for your kind words. I have decided if I ever remarry that my ring will be a pearl instead of a diamond to represent the fragile beauty within the ugly, hard shell on the outside! Maybe when life gets better, I'll be able to treat myself to an inexpensive pearl ring to represent all I've gone through (that hidden gem I hope others can see more of).

  12. Judy, Bev and Marie - Thanks for sharing your experiences. I thought of Craig's List.

    Anonymous - Thank you for sharing your courage and very heartfelt words. You are still so early in your widowhood (not yet a year). I would not have been able to consider living with someone at that point either! And I wasn't able to start dating until two and a half years after my husband's death. You need to have the peace and solitude you are cultivating for yourself right now for you and your children. Rebuilding our lives is a challenge wherever we are on this road and we all deserve blessings. Thank you for sending me yours.

    Beth - You are a sweetie for checking in!

  13. You are so right about everyone having needs that have to be met, but there is a difference between that and 'neediness'. I guess when we are motivated towards 'needing' a man it may motivate us to make decisions that may not be great in the long term. Because of our drive to repartner, we may see the man or the relationship with rose coloured glasses and come to regret the fact we didn't make a more rational analysis of the pros and cons of the situation.
    You don't have to be happy in order to attract someone, but maybe being happy and content you can be in a better frame of mind to make decisions? Also, in striving to find happiness, I am thinking about other things/activities/pursuits which will fulfil me apart from marriage/family. That in itself is a worthwhile thing to do. Since putting that out there, things (such as taking up tennis, ugg haven't done it in years), seeing old school friends etc. have been available to me. These things can create a support system, friendship network etc. that can fill some of the gap that opens up when you are widowed. I guess what I'm trying to say is, focus on things that you can influence/change/do/be and you will find some level of happiness without the focus on what you do not have.
    Love as always

  14. Julie - As usual you're giving me more to think about! I read in the great Dave Ricco book "The Five Things We Cannot Change" that it is best to look for a new partner after some time has passed because we tend to attract people to the level we are at. Going through transitions makes us into different people and it is better to let the dust settle so when we are with someone new, they can meet us where we have grown to if that makes sense. So I totally understand what you are saying about the rose colored glasses and being able to see more clearly.

    I really like your words - focus on things you can influence/change/do/be... They have a great ring to them!

  15. Wow, that is a fantastic point of view about attracting people who are at the same level as ourselves. I will certainly mull that one over.
    The very best of luck on finding a new job better suited to your abilities!