Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Top Eleven Tips for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood: Tip #1

In every species from humans to fruit flies, women outlive men.  Yes, even the majority of the annoying little fruit flies you see flitting around you at a picnic are female.  Just today I received an article saying that by age 65 half of all American women will be widowed.  And if that's not sobering enough, last fall a study from Harvard about the "widowhood effect" made the news.  Because of the stress of losing a loved one, the bereaved spouse has a high chance of dying within six months of losing a mate.  I wasn't sure I believed that so I asked a funeral director if she thought it was true.  She said, "Absolutely."

In view of all this information I've come up with (apologies to David Letterman) my top eleven tips for widows.  I'll be posting one each Thursday.  Some are aimed at new widows, others are appropriate for veterans like me or for people who aren't widows at all but would like to know some of the things I didn't know until the worst happened.
So here we go with Tip Number One.
You know how, when you board a plane, one of the flight attendants (or sometimes a recorded voice) gives that speech you've heard a thousand times so you know it by heart.  Know how s/he always says, "In the event of a loss of pressure, oxygen masks will drop down.  If you're sitting with someone who needs assistance, put your own mask on first before helping others."

Of course if you're caring for a loved one, you want to do the most you can, but think of yourself, too.  It's hard to be a competent caregiver if you're not at your best.  And it's hard to be what I would call a "successful widow" if you let your health deteriorate because it's too much trouble to get that mammogram, schedule your annual visit with your internist or gynecologist or dentist.  It's easy to skip that exercise program that used to keep you in shape.  It's easy to forget to refill your medications or even to take them.  And cooking for one can be heartbreaking.  Grocery shopping can, too, when you see couples shopping together or you pass an ingredient in your spouse's favorite dish.  So you skip meals, live on snacks or fast food takeout--not a good idea.  Widowhood is tough enough without letting yourself get sick because you let yourself get run down.  About cooking for one:  I always figure if you cook for yourself, you'll probably have leftovers for the next day.  Amazon has lots of good books on single person cooking:
Going Solo in the Kitchen;
Help--I Gotta Cook It; \
Serves One:  Simple Meals to Savor When You're on Your Own

Take care, and come back next Thursday for Tip #2



Susan Kane said... [Reply to comment]

Luckily, I still have my husband. But, after seeing my mother and mother-in-Law struggle with the changes in life, I appreciate your tips. very important.


Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011