Nora Webster

I read Colm Toibin’s Nora Webster a while ago. Actually, I listened to the audio version of the book. I loved it. I felt like it described life as a widow perfectly. I so identified with Nora even though she was younger than I and lived in a different country and time.

There were a few things I really enjoyed. I liked how angry Nora became with people who she knew were just trying to help or be kind. I really understood that. Also, her reluctance to emerge back into the world and how she eventually manages to do so felt very real to me.

Colm Toibin manages to describe exactly what it’s like to have a husband die. I’m not sure how he managed that but wow, he sure did. I highly recommend this book.

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (enhanced Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (enhanced Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


There’s this secret club that you hope never to become a member of and that’s being a widow. I’ve run into a couple of women who have been widowed recently or within the past year, which is still recent.  I’ve pointed them to the services at The Grief Center and the widow’s support group there.  It really does help to hear that you’re not the only person going through these things.

It doesn’t seem to matter who we are; there’s a common bond to this.

I’m doing well and am keeping busy. I’m running and working out and eating well and I feel good. That’s great but I still find myself missing Dave. There are days when I feel so very alone or that I just want to tell him something. I’ll say that those days are further apart these days.

I finally emptied that laundry basket of Dave’s clothes that’s been sitting in my bedroom for over three years.  I still have some of his clothes to donate; that man was a clothes horse. I just discussed this with a woman at the library. She’s working hard to donate her husband’s clothes. She said he was a clothes hoarder. I said I knew the feeling.

I found it easier to get rid of my own clothing. Slowly, most of these clothes will go. This might have been a good task for someone to have done for me shortly after Dave’s death.  Oh well, I’ll make it through them eventually.


Stuck in the Corner

I found this blog post recently: Time to cast the line: Dating as a Widow and thought it was good, though it doesn’t quite address the big problem which is how to FIND someone to date.

It’s been over three years since Dave died and I think it’s time to start dating again. I find that to be easier said than done. I tried the online dating sites for a little while and went on a couple of dates with a man. That was pleasant but not earth shattering and at some point I realized I wasn’t hearing from him again and decided that it was no big deal.

I talked to a one man on the phone who I decided was not a good fit–if you’re going to complain about the women you’ve met on a dating site, the odds are good that you’ll complain about me too. I too probably have rolls of fat and look like a mother. I am indeed a mother. And really, this is what you discuss with a potential date?

A lot of the men on the online dating sites look like they’ve spent the last 30 years in a recliner and now, for some reason, they’ve been forced out of that chair, and are trying desperately to find someone to let them get back to reclining. Those are not for me.

Then there are some who are obviously very active and fit and are looking for younger, very active and fit women. They frighten me and I eliminate them from the list too.

And then there are the sad cases where of course my first instinct is to try to fix things for them and then realize down that path lies a lot of pointless work. What I also realized is that there are women who will go down that path happily so I should leave them to it.

People told me to join groups where I could meet men so I joined a hiking group and sure enough I met a man who I then went out with a couple of times. He very quickly veered into crazy land by criticizing my “lack of hormones” because apparently I wasn’t passionate enough while at the same time talking about the “L word.” I was sorry that one didn’t work out any better because I really thought that having met the person first was a better way to go.

I love my friends but I find that widowhood sort of consigns you to the women’s corner. Actually I love the women’s corner but wouldn’t it be nice to explore other parts of the room too?

I’m sharing one of my hiking photos because it’s a LEDGE, which seems appropriate, though, of course, I used a room metaphor so this isn’t quite the right theme. Still, enjoy the picture.


CVNP Kendall Ledges

CVNP Kendall Ledges



Women Griping in Panera

Pet peeve: I hate listening to women complain about their husbands. I was in Panera ages ago and listened to four women who appeared to be in their 30s and 40s complain about their husbands. They were stupid, neglectful, absent-minded, and buffoons. Perhaps the women didn’t use those words but there was lots of sighing and eye rolling and laughter.

I really wanted to pop over and say “well, at least they’re alive.”

If you don’t like your husband, don’t be married to him. If you do like your husband, don’t bad mouth him in public. Probably not in private either.

I know we often vent about things to our friends to help us feel better but let’s not make husband bashing into a recreational activity.


Coffee. Copyright by Moyan Brenn

Coffee. Picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr.

Competing at Grief

I was talking with a friend recently about the death of his mother who died in her 60’s. He is grieving for her but said he realizes that other people have it worse. I said “well, pain is pain and grief is not a competition. You’re allowed to grieve without having to compare yourself to others.”

There is always that feeling of “wow, that’s worse than my loss.” I don’t often think “well, my grief is worse” but I do tend to marvel at losses that seem worse. I think the important thing to remember is that people mourn for family members, for their livelihoods, for the destruction of their homes.

I guess there are some degrees of things being worse. I met a widow who was told by her co-worker that she now understood the widow’s grief because her dog died the previous evening. The widow didn’t feel that they were quite the same thing. The man who treats my house for bugs has said more than once that having to put his dog down after 15 years was like losing a child. So, a 15 year old dog has led a long life. The bug guy obviously has no idea what losing a child would be like. It would be better to say, “boy I miss my dog.”

If we go down the path of ranking losses, we’d have to assign points. So many for a parent, maybe more for a spouse, and double that for a child. Oh, and don’t forget our siblings and in-laws, and friends.

I think it’s better just to say, “grief is not a competition.”chess-256510_640