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I am in my fifth year as a widow. I am to a certain extent “over it”. I am settled into a routine. I go out to coffee with other widows and occasionally a few couples from groups I belonged to while Ray was alive. I don't have much contact from his family. I do still talk to one sister-in-law occasionally. That's fine. At first I missed the contact but now I don't. I live in a sort of widow bubble, alone yet bumping into others, enough contact to keep me from feeling isolated yet not enough to make me feel part of any particular group.

An ageing widow is treated differently from a widower. I find widowers are thought of as being single men while a widow is just a woman on her own with invisible appendages. Widows are thought of as still having family responsibilities so I am often asked if I spend my time minding the grandchildren now. I think that was once a traditional function of widows but not so much now when families are so scattered. With the distance we are apart it would be difficult for me to look after any of my grandchildren on a regular basis.

As a widow I am free to do a lot of volunteering which takes up my time and allows me to make some pleasant acquaintances. It is no substitute for close family or being a member of a couple but it is okay. I would rather be busy than not and I find a lot to do that I consider worthwhile use of my time. But I would rather be a member of a couple, one of the thousands doing the round Australia trip or going off on a cruise. I may go on a cruise when I can find another woman who wants to go that I can feel comfortable with in a confined space.

At the beginning of the month I went to Honolulu for five days, my first trip east of Australia. I shared with a lady from Arizona who I had talked to for ten years on the Internet. It worked out well. She was my guide to American customs and I found a lot of friendly people in Hawaii, talked to a lot of snow birds from Canada and also the occasional Aussie over there on holidays. It was a good experience. I just loved Waikiki and hope to go back there one day. It was nice to have company and I confess I felt that left down come after I had been home a week. Any time spent in company does that to me, I call it the “empty house syndrome”.

I intent to stray a little further from home this year. I have friends I have promised to see in various places inland of here so will try and do some of those visits. It will take a little planning but that will be okay. I know that I will not get many visitors in return but as most of the people I will be visiting are older than me and have a sick husband or wife that is excusable. It is about time I fulfilled some of the promises I made when Ray was really ill that I would visit later when I had more time to do so.

I don't have someone special in my life right now. I do have plenty of people I talk to, a couple of them men but nothing that is likely to turn into a romance. I am a little wistful about that but I am a hard person to slot into someone else's life I guess. My man friend from last year said it all when he said my life was too complicated. Finding that special person is hard when you have to give them a schedule of what your week usually looks like. Maybe eventually I will retire from some of the volunteer work but for now it is keeping me sane.

I'm glad I took the trip to Honolulu, it was a little scary to go somewhere out of my comfort zone, a place I had never visited before. The other trips I have made on my own since Ray's death have been to England where I have always felt as if I have back up in the form of my cousins there. It is difficult to go out on my own but it worked in Hawaii so why would it not work somewhere else? It has given me a new idea of what I can do while I am still healthy and able to travel. That has to be a good thing.

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Comment by Thankfulheart on January 21, 2018 at 8:37pm

I like your blog. I understand the  not belonging. One has to make the best of each day but it’s it easy . Keep doing what your doing . Good for you your getting out, it takes courage. As far as romance I believe Love finds you if it’s mesnt to  be. 

Comment by Athena53 on February 22, 2017 at 5:17am

I'm glad you enjoyed the trip, Sue!  There were places I wanted to go that didn't interest DH or that would have been too much stress on him and there were so many wonderful places we were able to enjoy together.  Our last big trip was to Iceland in August 2015 and it was one of our best.

My first thought was to visit Australia after DH was gone (the long trip from the Midwest was in the "too stressful for him" category) but when I looked at Business class airfare (sorry, I got spoiled by Business Class on long-hauls when I was working), the airfare was pretty insane.  So, I'm taking a cruise from Panama City through the Canal to Costa Rica in April, on a ship with only about 80 passengers.  DH and I used that line (UnCruise) before in Alaska and loved it, but he didn't handle warm climates well.  Then a favorite Aunt told me about a tour of India and Kathmandu she was planning for March of 2018.  I'd been to India on business several times and loved it but it's not a good solo travel destination.  Booked!  I can't wait. 

I'm also going back to our favorite B&B in Hermann, MO in September.  That will be a little weird- we always toured the wineries together and the B&B has an optional gourmet dinner that's always been couples only every time DH and I booked it- not that singles aren't permitted but I'd just feel strange sitting at my own little table.  Still, I can bicycle for miles on the Katy Trail, which I always did myself.

Like you, I want to travel as long as I can!

Comment by Blue Snow on February 21, 2017 at 4:40pm

That's great, Sue, that your trip turned out to be such a positive experience. I go to monthly travelogues and really enjoy them, but travel seems so "messy and complicated these days that I have no desire to actually do it. Cruises are the most tempting, you wouldn't lack for things to do on the ship.

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on February 18, 2017 at 9:21am

Good for you, Sue. Stepping out of our comfort zone is definitely a good thing - and can lead to all sorts of unexpected wonderful things. I've found I rather enjoy traveling alone. I can choose to be as social as I feel on any given day, venturing out on my own or joining a tour group, or just settling into a comfy spot to people watch.

And volunteering has been very good for me, too. Perhaps you're destined to meet someone in your volunteer world that shares your interests and will be a good match.  I'm not interested in finding a new person, so I'm not missing or seeking that - and I suspect that makes this alone time a bit easier for me to manage.

This is the time we can do those things we always wanted to do but never had time for when we were kids or too busy raising children or climbing the corporate ladder. Do those things now. Ride a horse. Take an art class. Become a docent at a museum. Join a book club. Learn to knit or crochet. So much is out there to fill our days and help us to get back to living.

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