The Widow or Widower Next Door

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Tough Times


It's Better to Look Good than to Feel Good...or Is It?


Many widows and widowers are old enough to remember Fernando Lamas and Billy Crystal's spoof impressions of him that were hilarious. They made Fernando's quip "It's better to look good than to feel good" famous.


It sounded ridiculous, of course, but when I think about that statement more carefully....maybe he had something there. Let me explain what I mean.


I spent a lot of years as a sales rep or a representative of my company as a property manager, and then as a small business owner. I had to put my best foot forward every day, whether I felt like it or not. My clients didn't care if I had wrenched my back or had a fight with my fella just hours before.  All that mattered to them was that I was up to my best game when I interacted with them. Personal problems were just that....personal. It was up to me to put on my "game day suit" and muster for the day.


While I'm first in line to champion the idea that we need to cut grievers a lot more slack than we get, that doesn't discount the notion that we, as grievers, have some responsibility to rally and make our interactions work too.  I'm sure, if you are reading this, you've felt the pressure to "get over it" and get back to if we have any idea what normal is now supposed to be.


I find, though, that just about every experience I've had over the years winds up being something I can draw upon years later.  Grief is no different for me.  I found, on those "off my game" days at work, that my "'game day" preparation helped quite a lot. By that I mean, that every day, I got up, got showered and got dressed so as to make myself as presentable to the world as I possibly could. That meant wearing clothes, formal, office, or casual that fit and flattered the shape I actually have. It meant wearing colors that are cheerful. It meant wearing nothing ripped, dirty or otherwise in need of repair. By the way? I often shop at second hand's not impossible at all. It meant using at least a little makeup.


While all grievers deserve their "stay in my pajamas from sun up to sunset" days, especially early on, I find that getting up and getting my game suit on really helps my spirits. My mood and my attitude lifted as my appearance pulled me along into "normal".  People respond and interact with me more...and better...when I look better. That lifts my spirits too.


I've started a Pinterest board to collect some ideas for staying stylish and lovely at any age and any phase. Number one accessory? A smile....even if you have to paste it on. You may say that's phony, but I have a harder time staying down in the dumps when I have a smile on my face, phony or not. Member that SOUND OF MUSIC song? "When the dog bites...a few of my favorite things"?  It works...often, anyway.


Join me on my Pinterest board at  and find some inspiration for looking good and feeling least better.










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Let Us Talk About It




Dinner for One?




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Many new and cruel realities landed on me with and beyond the death of my husband. One of the earliest was that most of my meals were now going to be eaten alone. That has many implications, but right now, I want to talk about the most practical of those concerns. It's difficult to cook for just one.


Besides having to overcome the habits of cooking for two (and the memories that brings), grocery stores and market places are not often geared for solitary meal prep.  I can't tell you the dollars I wasted on throwing out spoiled food because I couldn't use it all up before it went bad. Honestly, some of it went bad because I could only bear eating at home alone a few days a week. I needed to be around people, and so I ate out a lot.  I found several places where I was comfortable dining by myself and they became my "Cheers" restaurants, even though I very rarely drink. The staff at each place got to know me and it felt welcoming to go to those places. I recommend that strategy. It worked for me.


Nevertheless, I had to eat at home some times. I came to dread it, as meal preparation was a hassle too. Too much thought, too much work, too much clean up for just one. I began to revisit my Home Economics background to figure out ways to prepare meals that were healthy and nutricious AND were not such a hassle. I bought a Nutribullet and began by having healthy fruit and protein shakes for breakfast. It also has a heating element for savory soups.  The Nutribullet wasn't cheap, but I don't regret a dime I spent on it. It gets used daily. Available here from Amazon #ad




Next, I went back to batch cooking. I began making large batches of chili, herbed butters, vegetables, name it. All the hard work, all the chopping and so on was done once and then I'd portion it out and freeze in bags, using my other favorite kitchen appliance, my Foodsaver. I've owned several over the decades and love them!  Available here from Amazon at #ad



FoodSaver Tips and Tricks:


From there, I went on to experiment with freezing in muffin tins, and then with Mason Jar salads and such. I found that the Mason Jar salads stayed just as fresh as everybody said they did, if packed correctly.  Muffin tin freezing, as a first step, was a great technique for portion control.  No more fixing mashed potatoes for 4 (who goes to the trouble of making just one mashed potato serving) and then eating the whole pot.....because it's there!

Mini Meatloaf Cups  Make favorite meatloaf recipe scoop into muffin tins create a little well with your fingers top w/ tomato sauce bake 350* 25-30 min cool freeze thaw & microwave Make a batch of mashed potatoes freeze in muffin tin and serve together:


The good news I have to share with you is that I've gathered these ideas for survival at meal time onto a new Pinterest board that I invite you to follow. I've got over 100 single serve meal ideas posted so far, and I will be adding to that, regularly. If you'd like to contribute a few of your own, just message me, and I'll be glad to add you as a contributor. Remember, the emphasis is on single serve, easy, healthy and batch cook ideas. Find and follow me on Pinterest, for this board on meals, as well as my other boards on the widowed life at this link:

Follow me on widsnextdoor for more ideas on the widowed life.:


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Grief Will Get You a New Address Book


Grief Stories


What the Heck is a Widow Blog ~ And What do Bloggers Do?





So what’s a widow’s blog and what do bloggers do?


I get the question often, from friends, family and followers. Blogging isn’t as new as you may think; it’s been around since the late 1990’s and like most things internet, has been picking up speed ever since. Blog stands for “website log”, like a journal. The word can also be used as a verb, as in, "I’m blogging today".

Blog defined by Wikipedia means “a regularly updated website or web page, typically run by one person or a small group that is written in an informal, conversational style. As a verb, to add new material to or regularly update a blog.”


Blogs can exist on a website, in an online news source, or even on Facebook or Pinterest.

I like to think of it as much like a newspaper column. Columnists regularly wrote articles for a newspaper, picking different topics to talk about in different columns. Just as newspaper columnists tend to have a special area of interest or expertise. It’s no different with bloggers. It’s even true for the subsets of “widow bloggers”.


And just like columnists, we are paid for our time and efforts via ads in our “paper” or blog.  For many of us, for me, it’s a full time job of many hours work. That’s why I bristle at the rare, but thoughtless reader who accuses me and fellow bloggers (we all catch it, we chat) of “preying on widows”. Sorry, kids. Just like everybody else, just like you, just like pastors, we deserve a paycheck to pay our bills, for writing healing content. Even if we do it online, instead of in a newspaper.


One Fit Widow, ( ) by Michelle Steinke-Baumgard focuses on physical fitness and training as a way to cope with grief and struggle.  Carolyn Moor, of Modern Widows Clubs ( ), casts her attentions to her social clubs around the country for widows. Lynda Cheldelin Fell ( ) , a lovely lady I’m proud to call friend, publisher and collaborator, concentrates on the many grief books she has recently brought to market.



I like to be kind of the voice of “the angry widow”, addressing the many ancillary hurts, indignities and injustices that befall recent (and not so recent) widows. We all discover, upon our loss that the loss is just the beginning of our problems. So many unexpected difficulties land on each of us that we never saw coming.  Am I angry all the time? Heck NO!  Who could live like that?



I do get angry, though, when I hear some of the stories from widows about the ridiculous bureaucracy problems, the cruelness of family members and the social shunning so many of us encounter. I certainly did.  I’m sure that all of us thought we would get some special consideration and tenderness in our time of grief. Sadly, that’s often not what happens. Sadly, most often, the offenders are offending because they know no better. Let’s say….they are pretty clueless. My recent books, with Lynda Cheldelin Fell, (Grief Diaries: Loss of a Spouse and Grief Diaries: How to Help the Newly Bereaved, available on this website in the store ( address in detail the missteps that well-meaning sympathizers make.



By talking about them, shedding light on them, I hope to educate, enlighten, and change our culture for the better, when it comes to how we treat our widows and widowers. It is Biblical, after all, that we be treated well. By talking about them, I hope to bring grief out of the closet. Grief is more taboo than sex….and isn’t that just ridiculous?



Wid Word Salad


Be The Light



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