the wittiest widow

Witty Commentary on widowhood

I don’t dream about Bryan much anymore, and that’s unfortunate.  He wasn’t even in many dreams in the beginning.  When he was they were very disjointed and we were usually dealing with the fact that we had just broken up (?) or something else equally stressful.  It was an odd way of interpreting him dying, but dreams are never really literal anyway.  Side note, if you do dream about only mundane everyday things, maybe you should read a Tolkien novel or something. Anyway, I did recently dream about Bryan, after getting nada from the celestial plane for months. When I woke up however, I wasn’t exactly stoked about it. You see, my subconscious had manifested a version of my spirit bae who was kind of a…tool.  It was Bryan, just douchey.  Like if Bryan lived in Ocala, Florida or some other equally godforsaken, southern fried place, and wore crocs and jorts exclusively.  In the dream Bryan was straight stealing checks, checks (!) from random people and using them to buy stuff like TVs, video games, and…lawn equipment. Aside from the televisons which are universally liked, he wasn’t in to either video games or lawn equipment in real life. I can’t even. Um what does it mean when your subconscious talks shit about your husband?  I was so confused.

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Now Mr. Griffith, exactly why were you committing the truly low-rent crime of stealing checks? It’s frankly, embarrassing.

Just think of me as a well-dressed Leonardo DiCaprio because it’s time to go into the dream, and unpack this shall we? First question, why is this dream set in the swamp land of the Australia of America? I live in Florida now (which also means I’ve got a license to talk shit®), but never Ocala, and Bryan never lived here.  If I was the architect of this dream, I sure as well wouldn’t have picked a place where there are more meth heads than alligators.  Neither of those things are particularly appealing to begin with, and Ocala’s got a shit ton of both. Secondly, the Bryan I and everyone knew was the kindest most generous person ever.  He wasn’t no criminal, and even if he was, I’m sure it would have been for something way sexier than check fraud.  Like diamond heisting on the French Riviera.  He always looked quite dapper in a tuxedo. Lastly, he wasn’t even good at it! I can’t remember exactly how his thievery was revealed, because dreams are foggy, but like it wasn’t hard to figure out.  Then everyone was pissed off and I had to defend him as the good wife that I am/was/will be whatever.  According to the 2-second Google search I just did, dreams “which revolve around theft are the psyche’s way of indicating a fear of loss in your life. When you have dreams about theft, consider your own feelings of security in your waking world.” Well that actually…makes a lot of sense I suppose.  Although I”m not sure how scared about loss I still am since it’s happened to me more than once on some heavy AF levels.  Also I give zero fucks about my own life and I”m not scared to die #liberated, so maybe it’s not that accurate after all.

It was a weird dream feeling (what I call the feels you have in the dream world) to know everyone pretty much thought your hubby was an a-hole, and that you had to be his ride or die (too late) chick when you weren’t feeling him either.  Dream Bryan didn’t even apologize when I pulled out the big guns of “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.”!  Well I don’t remember much after that, except waking up and thinking “I don’t dream about you for 6+ months, and the first time back you’re a petty check thief?!”  Damn subconscious, it’s shady over here.  I couldn’t really find too much specifically on dreaming about a dead loved one acting differently, but the general themes were anxiety, insecurity, and change, which all sounds about right.  So I guess I’ll chalk this up to I’ll take what I can get, and hope my psyche interacts with a better version of Bryan in the future.  For now, I’ve got to make sure that top has actually stopped spinning…

inception top

pablo picasso blue period femme

So a funny (is that the right word?) thing happens when someone close to you dies.  My theory is, in an attempt to take a mental break from the 24/7 pit of despair that is your brain, you tend to become obsessed with random and often obscure hobbies, habits, or tasks.  For me, it’s MURDER PODCASTS.  I can’t explain it but in the months since Bryan 86’ed this living thing, I’ve become a subscriber, longtime listener, and no-time caller to not one, not two, not three (sensing a pattern?) but 12 murder-themed podcasts!  In my current state, I enjoy few things more than taking my lunch break in my car, blasting the air conditioning and listening to Karen and Georgia rehash their newest favorite murder.  I live a wild and crazy life right?

Some people find podcasts of this topic disturbing and/or morbid, and I can’t say I disagree, but I guess I’m going through a “Blue period” or something.  Although I highly doubt my blue period will yield anything as profound as what came out of Picasso’s (one semester of art history and I am impressive AF!).  I have to say though, I think we were on the same page when he painted Femme aux Bras Croisés (Woman with Folded Arms) because that’s me pretty much any time I’m in public. At work? sitting in a meeting freezing with a BRF and “folded arms”.  Waiting in line at Target? Switching from one foot to the other because I most definitely have to pee, with “folded arms”.  Laying on the table getting my eyebrows waxed? Pursing my lips in agony with “folded arms”.  You get the idea.

pablo picasso blue period femme

She’s slaying #notimpressed

But I digress.  What was I talking about? Oh right, muuurrrrddddeeeeerrrr! Or redrum if you’re dyslexic.  [This blog is certified compliant Section 508 of the ADA].  Anyhoo, I can’t explain it totally, but the things that help me forget about my current life circumstances even for a brief moment tend to be dark; unless it’s “Parks and Recreation” on Netflix, but that’s really universal.  Perhaps I feel less hopeless about the future seeing resilience that comes from others who’ve been through some shit and come out on the other side.  Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing, “well damn, at least my life is not as fucked up as that one!”.  Or it could be the lessons learned.  It’s a sick, sad world out there and I believe knowledge is power.  How was the Golden State Killer finally identified? Does Iceland have the death penalty?  Why was my sorority so crazy about security in our college town?  All of these questions and more can be answered, in the wonderful world of murder podcasts!  [Answers: 1) familial DNA match from ancestry.com subscriber 2) no 3) because Ted Bundy murdered 2 women in my sorority’s chapter house at FSU 40 years ago]

I know some people, including my mother especially, would rather I not dwell on the dark arts (only Harry Potter you’ll ever get here), but until I see the world as a place worth living in, I doubt my satisfaction from these stories will lessen.  If nothing else, it provides an escapism that I’m yet to find in anything else.  And for the record, plenty of “happy” well-adjusted people listen to them everyday. So maybe check out some of my faves, in no particular order:

  • My Favorite Murder where I learn how to stay sexy and not get murdered.  It’s hilarious and educational!
  • Dirty John This took the world by storm and had a crazy twist.  Bonus points for the sense of superiority you’ll feel knowing this would NEVER happen to you.  Even my mom liked this one!
  • Serial Killers I mean yeah, the title is pretty much a dead (get it?) giveaway
  • Up and Vanished The case of the disappearance of Tara Grinstead starts out “colder than Alaska” but the story of the people in this small Georgia town sucks you in.  Aside from the ridiculously annoying millennial host, they actually solved a murder case in real time and that’s pretty awesome.
  • Sword and Scale  Likely the darkest of the bunch but also the most factual and in-depth.  I never understood the doll baby on the logo though…

 

That’s all I got for you, fellow or future murderinos (that’s an industry term).  Until next time, I’ll just be widowing out listening to stuff about murder.

This morning as  I left for work my landscaper rolled up to conduct his usual bi-weekly lawn maintenance.  I waved to him and anticipated the inevitable “Your grass is cut, you can pay me now” text (I’m paraphrasing).  Like clockwork my phone pinged, however this time it was joined with the little passive aggressive shame nugget that I really should be having my lawn cut more often because it’s summer and why don’t I pay up so the yard won’t look like shit? (again, paraphrasing).  I mean he’s not wrong…it was starting to look a little Florida vacation home circa 2007 (that’s a cerebral economy joke in case you didn’t get it).  At the same time it’s like “Back off bro! I’m a lonely widow who doesn’t own a lawnmower!”  This just proves to be another glaring example of one of things I hate about widowhood…having to do all the shit myself.

Before I met Bryan,  I lived alone and embraced my independent womanhood.  Sure, I wanted to find a life partner, but I was okay running my own self.  In the immortal words of the Child of Destiny, “All the women, who are independent, Throw your hands up at me. All the honeys, who making money, Throw your hands up at me. All the mommas, who profit dollars, Throw your hands up at me. All the ladies, who truly feel me, Throw your hands up at me.” Yes, that was me being an independent honey who profits dollars.  When I did find a true partner in Bryan, I found that I relished taking some of the load off.  Suddenly I wasn’t responsible for EVERYTHING and it made life easier.  This isn’t some profound new idea after all, but I know of plenty relationships that aren’t that way, and I think, “what’s the point?”

Bryan was happy to do the grocery shopping, vacuuming, and getting the oil changed in my car-three things I have always hated, and still hate, to this day.  He also did 99.9% of the cooking (there’s one time he was gone and I had to feed myself and another time I made him a cake).  It was glorious, I just watched Jeopardy and food appeared.  Now I don’t mind cooking per se, it’s the cleaning I hate…and he did that too.  The kitchen was his domain and I was fine with that.  Nowadays, I go to the grocery store maybe once a month if I’m lucky and barely microwave a frozen meal.  I eat out way too much, causing damage to my wallet and waistline.  That’s just what it’s like in the abyss.  I recently had my kitchen completely redone with new cabinets, counter top, back splash and paint.  I’ve cooked in it ONE time.  #realtalk  The reason for this is likely 1 tbsp. laziness, 2 cups depression, 2 tsp. hatred of dishes to clean, and 3 tbsp. indignant bitterness that Bryan isn’t here to cook for me.  Now that’s a recipe for…wait for it…disaster!  LOLz

I also tend to ugly cry most late Friday nights as I land at JIA at 11:48 pm from a long week in Nowhere USA and must drag my 50 pound bag a mile to my car, if I can even remember where I parked it.  Pre-Bryan I didn’t mind this ritual.  I could finally drive my car and not some shitty Chevy Crapper (trademark pending), I was finally warm in the Florida air, and I could sleep in my own bed and catch up on my TV.  When Bryan and I were together he always picked me up from the airport, and dragged my suitcase up and down stairs.  I would literally say “You can take my bag now” unironically.  Those were the days, you guys.  When I landed at DEN I was suddenly a little less exhausted and bedraggled because I knew my man was waiting for me at Arrivals Door 508 with (always) a Coke Zero and (sometimes) pizza!  But that is no more.  I must carry my own bag, metaphorically and literally. I’m so fucking deep aren’t I?

Last Friday night, my flight from Minneapolis was late and I landed at 12:20 a.m.  I’d been up for 19 hours.  My bag was the last one on the carousel and after walking in stifling humidity (no longer pleasant) keys betwixt knuckles to avoid rapists, I could not find my car.  Widow brain had struck again and I totally forgot where I parked it.  Twenty minutes and two elevator rides later, it was spotted, but not without a parking ticket!  So yeah I cried all the way home.  Thanks Bryan!

I’m chalking this up to the many “secondary losses” I’ve mentioned before. I hope to someday not feel like every day is a burden and utterly annoying and exhausting.  I’ve got to retrain myself to embody the Destiny’s Child mantra of a honey who makes money.   I guess I just got too comfortable having a husband.  Pro Tip:  Don’t have a husband and you’ll never be mad/sad when you don’t have one! On that note, I think I’ll go pay the landscaper now.

I’ve done it! I’ve aged to 33 whole years! I can’t 100% say it’s been graceful, dignified, or that I’m looking forward to 33 more, but it happened.  Generally 33 is not a milestone year by any recognized marker, but when you’re fresh into widowhood, friends and family tend overly indulge you on your birthday and basically throw a Goddamn ticker tape parade.  I’m not complaining, I just know that any chance to focus on something other than my horrible, depressing day to day is something your circle will pounce on.  I actually had to plan a birthday celebration semi-last minute because people were DISAPPOINTED I wasn’t planning on anything for my birthday! When does that ever happen?  Honestly, when are you ever generally excited to celebrate a 33 year old millennial’s woo girl birthday.? The answer is never, and that’s totally as it typically should be.  But as we’ve discussed before, when you’re a widow, “typical” is no longer “applicable”.  Anyway, I was all set to acknowledge the day minimally, but generally keep on, keeping on:

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My friends had other plans:

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Wearing 3 birthday hats is gangsta AF

 

So we’ve settled somewhere in the middle and will be doing 2 of my favorite things tomorrow, drinking and singing karaoke.  I’m totally cool with that.  I love doing both of those things, and preferably simultaneously.  I also think I have an inflated sense of my skills, but you know YOLO!  I mean I thought it was totally appropriate to sing “Gangsta’s Paradise” at my wedding while all of the typical outlying wedding guests that probably shouldn’t have formed their opinions of me based on that performance and instead solely on my bridal beauty, quizzically looked on.  I used to sing Alanis Morissette to Bryan while he was driving, hoping he would compliment me on my beautiful and spot on vocals.  Well, Bryan was never a liar, so the shower of compliments didn’t ever happen.   He did lovingly put up with my beautiful vocal stylings and even occasionally joined in.  So tomorrow night, I’ll be dedicating the perennial fave “My Heart Will Go On” by the greatest singer in the world, to my Ride or Die, BLG.  Everyone else can just deal with it, it’s my 33rd birthday after all!

Mother’s Day 2018 was just a couple weeks ago, and I made my not-obligatory-but-really-obligatory-because-the-passive-aggressive-guilt-isn’t-worth-it-if-I-don’t-go trip home to Virginia.  It was…fine.  The weather was beautiful and brunch was delicious, but I couldn’t help but notice the overall air of melancholy I felt the entire time.  The house was so quiet, the wifi questionable, and I felt simultaneously lonely and longing for alone time.  Grief is wack like that.

Going home doesn’t make me happy the way it used to.  After my dad died in 2011, the first holidays were very shall I say, “dark”.  Literally and figuratively.  Like for real, my dad put up all the Christmas lights a la Clark Griswold, and you know my mom wasn’t climbing on the ladder to hang 27 wreaths on every window of the colonial I grew up in.  His passing was Thanksgiving Day so those first few holidays were a total blur/nonexistent, but by Christmas 2012 an attempt at normalcy was made.  I say attempt because I wouldn’t consider it a rockin’ around the Christmas tree success.

kevin mcallister

Home Alone with cardboard friends would have been better

As I sat in the living room by the tree with my brother and mom, I couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was.  No music playing, no extended family or friends like years past, the gifts just seemed not as exciting, and as if we were just going through the motions of opening them.  I remember thinking, I guess this is what family is now, and being depressed at said thought.

A year later I was dating Bryan and I was excited to go home, celebrate the holiday with him, and meet the clan that forged him in the fires of Moordor! j/k he was just a normal baby j/k he did actually weight 11 pounds! Anyway, his family has always been very close, more close than mine, and they did the holidays up right.  His sister had just had a baby and Bryan was quite proud of his new nephew.  Throughout the time we were together, I started to like the holidays again.  He definitely influenced me as I saw how happy he was to spend time with family, cook great food, and exchange thoughtful presents.  When Mother’s and Father’s Days came, he dutifully picked out charming, hilarious, and loving cards, and ensured the Omaha Steaks for his pop came on time.  (Getting weekly Omaha Steaks mailers became a joke in our house after that. They are relentless about the meats)!  Celebrating the holidays with Bryan was just more relaxed, joyful, and we started to make our own traditions.  Suddenly, I no longer associated the word “obligation” with holidays.  There we were, just living the dream, putting up tiny Christmas trees,  passing out on White Russians at Thanksgiving, and shotgunning beers at the Grand Canyon on the 4th of July!  But then, and I don’t know if you’ve already heard, he DIED.  What a jerk.  In the aftermath, holiday celebrations were frankly the last thing on my mind, as I was transported back to that pointless melancholy feeling but times a million.  I couldn’t understand how people could look forward to those days that seemed like a waste of time, money, and mental energy.

grand canyon

America’s Birthday 2015

I still generally feel that way about designated days for celebration.  So I as I flew home and sat at a spring brunch to honor Mom, it stung extra hard to know that Bryan could no longer honor his mom whom he loved so much, and that I was once again a single lonely woman without the family I made for myself.  The crazy thing about this widowhood is that it never stops surprising you in new and shitty ways!  On the surface I wouldn’t expect Mother’s Day to be a trigger day (I use that word because I”m woke, y’all), but it inevitably was.  I made a point to visit with his mom and stepmom and send them each a card from the both of us, because I know that’s what Bryan would have done.  It was great to see them, and I’m thankful we are so close.  I just wish every damn holiday wasn’t so hollow. Wittiest Widow, over and out.

…Is today! Shout out to all my widowed ladies, hollar!!! You know we keeps it mad real sans hubbies!

Anyway, take a minute to reach out to the lonely hearts today and let them know they’re not forgotten.  Also, while this organization is sometimes a little too touchy feely for me, they generally do good work! (Although I’m a way better blogger than their existing community 🙂 ).

national widows day

Hope For Widows

As I’ve said before, unless you’ve gone through the Titanic sinking-esque experience of your spouse dying, you’ll never truly know what it feels like to wake up every day after that contemplating death, hating everyone and everything, and constantly asking “what it is it all for?!”. I know, fun stuff right? But I’m not here to talk about that heartwarming topic, not today at least. I want to discuss something I have personally found to be an amusing side effect of my life circumstances, the online widow/widower support group.  You’d be surprised by a) how many of these there are, and b) how quickly and easily they find you when you get your newly minted widow status.  It’s like they have Russian bots or something! In the 14 months since Bryan hasta luego’ed (see how I butchered Spanish and made that a verb? I’m totes multilingual), I’ve joined about 5 online groups, un-joined 3, and hidden the other 2 from my news feed.  From the nearly constant updates, the petty drama (oh yes), and the sleazy dudes trying to slide into your DMs (that’s what the kids say isn’t it?), I’ve had to reign it in. As a wise woman once tweeted to the Cheeto in Chief, sometimes it’s important to “delete your account”.  So without further ado, let me be your Frommer’s travel guide for your visit to Club Widow.

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I know that’s supposed to be a trident, but it looks an awful lot like a W…for widow. Subliminal message much?

  • Just because we have this life-altering event in common, doesn’t mean we will have ANYTHING else in common.  Obviously any group composed of people on the internet will be diverse in all ways (age, income, location, nationality, race etc.), but the unique thing about widow/widower groups is that that somehow matters less in these groups than others, or frankly none at all.  Throw all of the elements that make you a unique individual out the window, because here at Club Widow, we’re all the same! Now let’s divulge deep emotional scars to complete strangers! When I do check in and read some posts it’s amazing how many people live their lives in total chaos, primarily from their #poorlifechoices.  Now without having a deep conversation about privilege and my bubble, these are people I doubt I would ever cross paths with otherwise, and so it can be interesting (but mostly sad and/or hilarious) to get a peek into their lives.  Sometimes it helps just to know that hey, maybe i’m not doing as bad as I thought; I mean shit, if Nancy* is fighting with her in-laws (and broadcasting to literally thousands of strangers) I should be thankful for the awesome relationship I have with mine, right?  For example, here’s a post on one of my “favorite” online support groups from 14 hours ago:

“I need advice as I’ve been in full blown out agrument [sic] with my family they say I should be able to make it on 234 a month without a job yes my rent is cheap and it’s 60 a month but I’m still paying deposit this is another 50 a month then diapers are 25 wipes 15 phone 50 internet 85 then if my baby needs milk or something it’s more and in Feb that gets cut off”

Wow, okay. Let’s unpack this shall we? First of all, where the hell are you living that your rent is $60 a month?! That’s amazing. I want to go to there [update: it’s Missouri, so no I don’t].  Secondly “if” your baby needs milk? Now I don’t pretend to know anything about keeping a human alive but isn’t that like a given? Last I checked, I didn’t think milk was optional, but I haven’t checked in a while. Lastly what happens in “Feb”? I mean that’s also like 8 months away (math ew) so I feel like the “full blown out agrument [sic, yes I know how to spell and want you to know it too]” will be resolved by then, no?  You might be thinking, hey wittiestwidow, you’re being kind of callous, you don’t know her story!  And that’s my point, I DON’T know her story, or anything about her or her situation, yet she’s making it my business.  What am I supposed to do with that?  How can I possibly help her? I’m all about venting, but I gotta say, I’ve got nothing for you, Nancy**. Cannot relate. Doesn’t compute.  There’s hundreds of posts weekly, just like this that clog my news feed if I let it.  They’re not always this heavy, but there’s always drama, and more often than not, it’s self-inflicted.  Another example, paraphrased: “my son won’t get a job and is eating me out of house and home. every time I give him money and food he never says thank you. how do I kick him out?”  Um..I’m sorry for your loss and life is downright muthafuckin hard, but I don’t think this relationship is a mutually supportive one.  The sad thing really I’ve learned, is that for many widows/widowers they simply don’t have a support system and so they use a virtual one.  I wish there were more resources out there because the internet is not what I would consider an emotional resource.  As I’ve said before, I don’t know where I’d be without my extensive and robust (love that word) support system.  And for that I’m grateful.  So when the posts pop up:

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  • Online widow/widower support groups all have stupid names. I’m not sure why this is a trend, but it’s a lame one IMO. There’s a tendency to make grief cute or more appealing, and I don’t know where that comes from. Grief is raw, dark, real, and intense. There’s no reason to gloss over that. Now I doubt I’d ever start an online widow/widower support group because as you can see, I’m lukewarm about them at best, but you can bet your sweet ass if I did, it would have a witty, yet appropriate name like “Life is Pointless” or “Fuck. Period.” I don’t know, I’m just spit balling here. So far, groups I have come across include:
    • Hot Young Widows Club aka “HYWC” — Cool. This experience has made me feel neither hot nor young.
    • Late Night Widows & Widowers aka LNWW — They love acronyms don’t they? And why do we only grieve late night? I’m not good at compartmentalizing my day like that.
    • Widow Dark Thirty — Alright, kinda catchy. I see what they did there.  I’m just not sure what the death of Osama bin Laden has to do with my husband’s.
    • Widow Peeked Inside — Enough with the puns already. Widowhood is not some awesome drug trip Alice in Wonderland-like hole that you eventually get out of.  Let’s not make it sound mysterious and intriguing shall we? Also widow peaks are for vampires.
late night widow

I guess there aren’t any widowed graphic designers

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  • Everyone is obsessed with their “Chapter 2”.  So if you thought there was societal pressure to get married and settled down; quadruple that pressure when you’re widowed.  Apparently it’s a race to remarry or find a new partner.  I didn’t get the memo.
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    Me, not racing to the new love finish line

    When they’re not posting about family drama, widow/widowers can’t wait to post about the great love they’ve now found and how awesome they are.  Also, again with the “cuteness” factor, widow/widower groups have dubbed a person’s subsequent romantic relationship his or her “chapter 2″…eye roll. I can’t relate to a lot of the elements of these groups, but this one in particular baffles me.  Dr. F has told me that just like the pace of grief is unique to everyone, the pace at which people get back on that dating horse is also unique to every individual.  And that’s the only thing I can understand. Because the thought of dating was at one point as foreign to me as the concept of a trade deficit is to our president, then shifted to physically repulsive, and now that I’m just #deadinside it just seems like a waste of time.  Bryan was so 100% my “bae,” that I can’t imagine finding another human being on this earth that fits me as well as he did.  And we all know what to do when the glove don’t fit…stop wearing gloves. That’s how it goes right?  I’ve been told it will just be “different” with another person but I can’t really wrap my head around what that life would look or feel like.  Confession: I did go on one Tinder date recently (that’s a whole other post) and I pretty much decided it wasn’t for me.  I think I’m ruined for life honestly.  Like this guy was perfectly pleasant and nice, and if I was 27, I probably would have been more excited about him as a prospect.  But post marriage, as short as it was, I know what a great relationship (for me) could be and how you truly can be so perfectly matched with someone, that “fine” and “nice” aint cutting it.  Basically I need a clone of Bryan.  Ethical questions be damned, how far along are we on that whole human cloning thing? Not ready for prime time? Oh damn. Anyways, so for now I read the myriad of happy Chapter 2 posts, and assume they’re just desperate AF. Which leads me to my next topic…

  • They are not immune to catfishing!  Wow, who would have thunk it, widows: they’re just like “us”!  I mean the proverbial us.  I’ve seen Max and Nev do enough internet sleuthing to know I’d never get catfished. But that’s neither here nor there. A few months back I came upon one of those happy Chapter 2 posts and quickly realized this woman was being had, and not even well. She’s just that dumb.  Picture an overweight 60+ illiterate (trust me the post was barely legible) meth mouth (hey it’s vivid) gushing over the new love of her life in “Scotland” whom she was going to visit in a few weeks and basically leave the good ole US of A behind. She claimed to have met him through a friend so it was totally legit.  The “friend” was also internet only (read: same catfish).  Did I mention he looked like THIS?! SCOTT FOLEYIt wasn’t an actual picture of Scott Foley, but the photo of a guy this catfish had stolen looked almost exactly like him.  This guy is definitely real, right?? Hot 30 yo Scottish men fall in love with uneducated obese women old enough to be their mothers all the time! (Sidenote: I’m just now realizing that’s how love works and I’ve been doing it all wrong!)  Anyway, she had just posted and there were only about 7 comments so far, all congratulatory in nature.  Well I thought somebody had to say it, so I did.  I can’t remember exactly what I said, and I reaaallly wish I had screenshots but it was something along the lines of “not to rain on the parade but just make sure you’re being careful”.  Aren’t you proud of the restraint I showed? I know I’m great, I was just testing the waters.  Well once I said it the commenting floodgates opened and it was glorious (see MJ gif above).  As she adamantly defended her new love, it came out that they’d only been talking for a few weeks, never on the phone or video chat, she already gave him money, and he said they wanted to get married(…).  Within minutes some savvy members had found the picture he sent of “himself” on the verified account of a US-based doctor. Game Over. It was amazing and I really hope she weighed all the massive evidence we provided and heeded our advice.  But probably not. She whined about us being “jealous” and then deleted the post and left the group.  But I’m sure she’s happy in Scotland with her years-younger American/Scottish/Dr-Scott Foley amalgamation.
  • It’s a tribe mentality and be ready to GTFO if you don’t conform.  As with many of the comment threads on social media, it can be a real garbage dump out there.  The piling on is incessant, and while these groups tout “safe space” and honesty, if you don’t grieve exactly the way they do, the pettiness can come out.  Hey, at least it makes me feel alive again! After being in the Hot Young Widows Club for a few weeks, I found the posts rather surface level, self-serving, and inauthentic.  It seemed it was more a place to brag about your life and have strangers blindly cheer you on and validate your choices.  I thought that’s what regular social media was for.  So I posted asking for more substantive commentary on how others get through their grief and how we can really get something out of this group, and noted it was likely not a popular opinion. Truth, it wasn’t.  All these really “nice” widows made passive aggressive comments saying I was judgmental and to not question how others grieve, that we’re here to support each other! blah blah blah.  Needless to say I bounced. I did get a few members private message me saying they agreed, but I wished they would have said it publicly.  Sometimes it’s lonely being right!
  • I find the term “support” a loose one.  While these (often times) closed groups brand themselves as supportive networks for the bereft, they don’t always work out that way.  When they’re not spilling drama or bragging about their chapter 2, they’re posting a lot of selfies fishing for compliments or posting stupid memes you’ve already seen 398305804958 other places.  And there is also the particularly shudder worthy widower who likes to tell “all the women in this group” that they are beautiful and “deserve good man”…like him.  Hmmm no thanks.  If I realized I wanted a 58 yo diabetic I’d know it was time to bow out.

Now you’re probably thinking, “why even bother with traveling to these Clubs Widow?”  Well for all the bullshit I’ve mentioned above, every once in a while there are truly relatable conversations or positive advice that emerge.  Mixing in some outside perspective from Betty Jo in Duluth helps me to not forget this situation is universal in a lot of ways, and we’re all just trying to make it through.  When I joined them early on, I especially looked to widows who were further along to get a sense of what to expect, and I have to say that was helpful.

I hope this pocket travel guide proves helpful, and don’t give your money to a stranger you’ve met on the internet, like ever.  Widowed or not, that’s just sage advice.

 

*Not her real name. These groups are anonymous and I protect their sanctity until the day I die!
**Still not her name. Sanctity remember?!

 

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