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I don't know about all of you, but I should not shop alone.  My wife knew this, and would be sure to go with me if I went anywhere other than the grocery store, and even that could be dangerous.  I always got what was on the list, but there was always something else that ended up in the cart. When we were shopping together, all it took was that glance from her and the thing went back on the self and I went back to pushing the cart.  Now don't get me wrong and think I was the only one who needed reminding that the house was full and we didn't need another thing, my wife would once in a while grab something we really didn't need.  I would give her the look and often she would smile back at me and win that battle, but only if she really thought it was necessary.  I can say this with very little doubt, my wife probably cost about $5000 a year to keep happy.  This is food, clothing and everything.  She, as her father liked to put it, was a cheap date. I say this as I look at my expenses over the last nearly 9 months and see the trend.  My spending has only fallen off a very small amount without her.  

Now, if she was here, but not eating food and such, my spending would have dropped off even more, probably to make her annual spending look more like $10k.  I have bought things to replace old things that normally we wouldn't have done.  She would have given me that look.  Last weekend I went to Costco (I have to say it is odd having memberships to 2 wholesale clubs just buying for myself) and found a nice pair of wireless headphones.  I walk or bike part way to work most days and so for the 2 to 3 miles I am on the road, it is nice to have something to listen to.  My old headphones kept popping out while biking because the cord would get stuck behind my helmet.  See I can justify just about anything :D.  That said, I never would have bought them had she been with me.  This isn't my only purchase, a new bike kit, a camera and the list goes on.  

I think I need a widow(er) support shopping assistant :D.  

That said, it is remarkable how many times I can imagine the look my wife would have given me in various situations.  Taking pictures of yet another random flower, or animal that we already had 1000 pictures of (but it is digital.. see excuses).  The look when I am doing something odd in the kitchen, or have failed to clean up after my something odd in the kitchen.  The knowing look on Saturday when we would rather be out hiking but the yard calls us to task.  These missing looks that I can imagine and even use to drive myself to do something that has to be done.  As depressing as it is, each day I see my wife's reaction a hundred times, it is burned into the back of my eyes and so without even blinking or changing my look, I know when I have veered off course.  It is just way too easy now to ignore that look, because I can have the internal argument with her that I so crave. 

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Comment by TFH2015 on Thursday

I don't know, it may just be me but after coming through what we have, a healthy little dose of 'I'm getting it because I want it' is in order.  My wife was the practical one of the two of us but she usually told me to go ahead and get something if I really wanted it.  Her reasoning being that 'I worked hard and so much of my time was spent as her caregiver' that she felt I needed to reward myself.  I am at the point now where there is no guilt in being good to myself.  There is only me to look after as the kids are grown and on their own.  I go through phases where I spend more than I should followed by phases where I spend no more than I have to so I hope it kind of evens out in the end.  Perhaps a psychologist would tell me I am just trying to fill the void and maybe I am but being on my own I choose to give me gifts now where at one time, my wife would have been the beneficiary of my bargain hunting.

Comment by BabushkaD (Debbie) on August 10, 2018 at 1:09pm

Tony, I can understand this. I have always been a "good shopper", great at finding bargains, but also have a hard time passing up good deals and things I want, even if I don't really need them. This impulse is increasingly strong, especially if my mood is elevated to a bad extent with my bipolar. My funniest/scariest/most outlandish attempt at purchasing something expensive I really couldn't justify was during a manic episode while my first marriage was ending...I mean Ebay can be a dangerous place, and that used limo was a steal...and I even had done some crowd sourcing to try and find out who might be interested in a limo service...dang...but I am not a business-minded person, and rural Kansas is not a place to own a limo anyway, etc., etc., and when i did win the auction, I literally had no way to pay the seller. EBay kicked me off. Ironically, approximately a year later, they started sending me letters inviting me back, welcoming me as a valued customer. Breaking your contract by not being able to pay a seller 12K or so is apparently only worth a 1 year suspension if it's your only offense...lol. I have learned to manage this pretty well, that even if I feel the urge for retail therapy combined with the impulsivety, I try to go to only Dollar Tree or The Arc Thrift Store. My 10 year old, who I realized in the last 6 months is invigorated the same way I am by shopping (uh-oh...starting to teach him how to handle that already!), went to Dollar Tree last week, mainly to get new sunglasses and a couple food/toy items. We left with about $50 of stuff. Not ideal, but the trip had been made in response to an absolute meltdown by him where he had broke his sunglasses accidentally while upset. He needed the trip to calm down and resolve the situation, and it helped me too. You don't feel as bad leaving with $50 at Dollar Tree, knowing a similar trip to Target would have cost at least $500....I feel ya, brother. Hang in there, and message me anytime you need to. 

Comment by vintage56(barb) on August 10, 2018 at 4:17am

my story is a little different, we were both very frugal. After he passed, it took me some time to get used to spending money on things we wouldn't have bought before. But it seems whenever I did, Frank would signal his approval by dropping me a "penny from heaven". (A fellow widow told me about them). So many times when I am not only spending money but doing something outside my comfort zone, I will find a penny on the ground and say, "Thanks Frank."

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on August 7, 2018 at 11:07am

That's called Retail Therapy ...

I got to the point of dragging sacks out stores for the extra people I put on my shopping list. I rationalized they needed stuff ...

I also bought clothes & shoes I was never going to wear. For some reason, I had a fascination w/stilettos. I filled an entire closet wall w/them. I've never worn stilettos, they were on display for every time I was angry at Bob's killer & wanting to gouge out his eyes. Of course, I could never ruin beautiful heels making a bloody mess. Instead, I admired them, choose each pair specific to the damage they could cause, talked to them & put each back in their place when it ended. They were my distraction as well as stopping point in bringing me back to my senses. My girls were very happy w/the cash in hand earned from selling them at a garage sale ...  

I don't much care for shopping now ...  :-)

Comment by DIVA70 on August 7, 2018 at 10:48am

Thank you for posting....it bought back memories of me and my beloved Tony. I can hear him asking as we pulled into the store parking lot, "If I promise to behave can I come in with you?" Usually we had a list for the grocery store or we had a specific item we needed to purchase. But something 'extra" would always catch his eye. I cant tell you how many times we would get to the cash register and I would spot those items carefully concealed under other items. I'd give him the look and he would pretend to be remorseful. Once I demanded he sit in the car and wait for me but he broke me down with just a smile.Now when I shop I find myself doing the self same thing. I purchased his favorite brand of coffee (the price was too good to pass up) only to discover I already had more than enough at home. I guess I forgot I'm only shopping for one now. I can hear him laughing at my overindulgence and I picture him chiding me. I miss him so but I know these memories will always be there whether I want them to be or not. So I will just keep pushing on as best I can. I hope you too find comfort and solace in your memories of your loved one.

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