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Thursday, 06 May 2010

Units of Time

By polkadot22

Minutes, hours, days, months, years. How did Mom do it? I often asked myself. She became a young widow at the age of 38 with five young children to raise. We lived in the country on our grandparent's small farm. I remember Sundays when aunts and uncles would visit and try to keep her from crying so much. Finally, after two years, she was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown.

I was twelve and felt so totally responsible for my younger brother who was three. I sometimes worried that she wanted to lie down beside Daddy's grave and just die! How awful, I thought. What would happen to us? Was my attitude considered entitlement? Mom died at the age of 83, a widow.

I am not a young widow. I am an older widow. (No longer considering myself with the nicer term of "mature." Isn't that for the 40's now?)

I struggle with these units of time. Each morning I try to make a list of things to do and then cross them off as I accomplish each task and use time. My house is big but I have not considered downsizing. I can't imagine where I would put all the "stuff" in a smaller residence. Perhaps one day, I will have no choice.

My flower beds are looking okay and the weather is pleasant now here in the north but like everything in my life, it seems we could all use more attention. I bore easily and often feel useless. My children and step-children live close enough but their lives are full and too busy for me to intrude on them too often.

I do a little volunteer work because that's what everyone said I should do to get a life again. I held a part-time job for two years (I called it my "instant white rice" job because it was so easy and required little thinking but I loved the social aspects. I even got paid!)

For a short time, I had a comfortable relationship with a friend (man) but that's ended now and I need to find something more to do besides meeting friends for lunch or dinner. Then my diet would be better and summer clothes should fit again. Besides I can't afford this much entertainment anymore. My unemployment checks are ending soon.

Yes, I would like to travel and visit Greece or Rome someday. I had a chance to work for the Department of Defense in Italy a long time ago (when I was very young and much smarter.) I decided to get married and divorced instead. That's the way it happened the first time around.

So I will continue to wait for the butterflies to return from Mexico or wherever they are now. Maybe my two little dogs will come out to play with me. "Come on guys, it's not time to eat yet!"

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Your story brings me back to thinking of my mother who became a widow at age 39 or 40.

I know all too well the feeling of, on the one hand, mom is alone and feeling lonely, and, on the other hand, my brothers and I had jobs and family requiring most of our time and effort.

We all did our best, but could never fill what she lost. That’s the unfortunate part.

I feel what saved her emotionally until age 94 was the friends she had, many of whom shared in her situation.

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