Yesterday I called a friend whose husband died two months ago after years of numerous and serious medical problems. When I asked how she was doing, she said, “I’m going to be candid with you. I’m relieved.” I understood, all too well, what she meant. I also wondered if there are those who might judge her and find her truthful admission to be shocking and inappropriate? If so perhaps it’s because they haven’t been there… or maybe they’re not allowing themselves to be honest.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love and miss them. Just that we’re relieved… for both of us… that it is over.
Grieving the death of a spouse is like trying to hang-on to a 50-pound yo-yo. Grief plunges you to the bottom of despair, then raises you up for a brief glimpse of life, as you knew it, only to drop you again… and again. I never dreamed surviving the death of my second husband would make breast cancer seem easy.
In the last few weeks, two of my friends have lost their husbands to a serious illness. I’ve lost two husbands to death. I know how they’re feeling.
Last week another one of my girlfriends lost her husband. I’m devastated for her and their sons. Her husband was a brilliant, funny and beloved professor at a university. The Facebook stories from students, faculty and friends underscore the ways he encouraged and enriched so many lives. At some point, my friend will refer to those stories again and again. They will make her laugh, give her comfort and remind her of the wonderful man with whom she shared her life. Other than the passage of time, nothing will ease her pain. I know how she feels. Continue Reading
Photo by Brenda Coffee
This week the world lost a great talent, director Mike Nichols. Nichols was in that small, elite group of people who’ve won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony Award. We’ve love his films, The Graduate, Silkwood, Working Girl and The Birdcage, but he was much more. A kind and gentle family man who escaped Nazi Germany when he was seven. My heart breaks for his wife, journalist Diane Sawyer, and their family. I know what the sudden, unexpected death of a husband is like. Coming to terms with the death of my darling James was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
James liked to run on our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. The day after Christmas, almost four years ago, when he was late returning from his run, I knew something was wrong. I grabbed my coat, a flashlight and my cell phone and made a quick drive down the walking paths he’d cleared on the ranch. I was looking for an upright figure, so I didn’t see him laying on the other side of his tractor, hidden from view.
When I didn’t find him after the first time down and back, I called 911, and then the neighbors, and told them to bring flashlights and to hurry. My second trip I repeatedly stopped, turned off the engine and called, “James. James. James.” My voice echoed his name across the canyon, but I heard nothing in return. Maybe it was because it was nearly dark or because of the camouflage jacket he was wearing, but I’d passed right by him on both trips and didn’t see him.
“I LAY THERE FOR A LONG TIME, STARING SKYWARD AT THE LAST THING HE MUST HAVE SEEN: THE BLUE TEXAS SKY ABLAZE WITH ORANGE AND RED AND STREAKS OF PINK.”
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixaabay
I’ve always been comfortable being alone. Perhaps that’s because I was an only child and I’m good at entertaining myself, but I know a lot of single women and men over 50 who hate being alone. It reminds me of Susan Sarandon’s comment in the film, Shall We Dance, about why people get married.
“Because we need a witness to our lives.”
Not long ago I suggested to a friend, who is divorced and over 50, that she might try changing the conversation in her head from empty nest to my nest. Like many women who’ve lived a big part of their life for their family, now that she’s single and her children have left home, she’s feeling alone. Well girlfriend… I think you’re well on your way to figuring this alone thing out.
Would you believe my friend went to Morocco for a month by herself?
A few days ago as I stood looking out my front door, I watched our neighbor wielding a large spray-bottle and zealously squirting something on every stalk of his thriving red yucca plants. Continue Reading
Image Courtesy the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas
Perhaps it’s because I have a big birthday coming up in June, but I find myself drawn to strong women over 70 who are still rock’n and blowin’ the house down in style. In February I went to see Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, who’ll be 71 in May. I have a ticket to Diana Ross’s 75th Diamond Jubilee Birthday concert, and I’m going to see Cherilyn Sarkisian, the “I Got You Babe,” who will be 73 in May. It’s not like I’ve always loved them, “the way I do the Rolling Stones,” so why am I going?
Simply put… Women over 70 inspire me.