Having had a long life and met many widows over the years, I have come to some conclusions. Widowhood is a life-changing time for most women. They are so used to being one of a couple that they are left without an anchor when their mate dies. They react in many different ways.
I remember one woman who surprised us all. She had always been lovely and sweet and submissive, the perfect woman. We admired her. We envied her when things were rocky in our own marriages. So when her husband died, we expected her to still be the same person. But all of a sudden she started tossing things out. First the big red Buick with leather seats was tossed, to be replaced by a silver Honda Civic. Next the old Sierra motor home was tossed, her husband’s pride and joy and that he had spent many hours working on and around. Next the lovely colonial with the bright burgundy shutters was tossed. One day she came around and said goodbye to all of us and was never seen or heard from again.
Then there was a tiny birdlike woman who stayed inside after her husband died. She had never been all that sociable, but she did get out for big events like holidays and always brought her orange delight dessert for us. About a year after he died, I was selling tickets for some neighborhood doowah, and when I rang her doorbell she came to the door, her hair a fright and with her bathrobe still on, and acted like she didn’t know who I was and didn’t unlock the screened door and trembled and asked me to go away please please. That rattled my nerves. We were all concerned for her but nobody ever saw her again. We did see the Meals On Wheels truck there, but nary another sign that she was still alive and eating.
I had a good friend in one neighborhood who didn’t like her husband, or so she said. He just rubbed her the wrong way all the time. She was our moaner and groaner, although a very witty person when she was away from him. She kept us laughing. So when she was widowed, lots of us went over to her house and sat with her to help her through her crisis, but she was pretty cool and did not seem to be all that affected. One day there was an ambulance at her house. We heard that she had been taken to RWing- the psychiatric hospital – and was not receiving visitors. Huh? Here we had all thought she was glad to be rid of her husband! Maybe she needed him more than we had thought?
And of course I have to talk about Jezebel. She exuded sex. Her buxom boobies were always hanging half out, her long legs always shaved and shiny, her behind always displayed in tight jeans, many jangling bracelets adorned her arms, she was the epitome of all the rest of us wished to be. So when her husband died, we expected her to entertain lots of men and to continue to be the talk of the town. But shortly after the funeral, she was outside taking a walk and our mouths dropped open. She was in a dowdy sweatshirt and wrinkled jeans and no makeup and she looked just like the rest of us. We never saw her flamboyant self again. What the heck happened?
And then there’s me. When my husband died, I ceased to be Mrs. Efficiency. I got lazy. You could no longer eat off my floors. I no longer cooked or baked all the goodies I was known for. I tossed my house, too, and moved into a townhouse. I am still active in the community, but if I don’t feel like going out with the Lunch Bunch, I just don’t go. I stay home and tend to myself as I have no one else to tend to. But I can’t say I mind what I have become. I kinda like myself.
I wonder if I should have titled this column “The Things We Do for Our Men”??
© 2015 Just Lynne - 4/10/15