“Why am I on here telling strangers about myself?
Widow. In my mind she is an older women who wears black. She is inconsolable with her grief. People pity her. Of course this is a stereotype. Bu think of a widow’s portrayal in movies and literature? Maybe Scarlett O’Hara was the exception! It’s true I am a 55-year-old widow. But I’m also a happy, fulfilled and funny woman. Even as I grieve, I am building a new life-one I fought for very hard. It’s the first time in my adult life I bought a home and a car by myself. I’m starting over in business as a creative entrepreneur and handling my own finances. I imagined sharing my life with someone else.
I’ve come a long way since my husband Bruce’s diagnoses of Stage 4 Lung Cancer on Christmas Eve 2014. The doctor said he would die in 7 months and I should sell our dream home. A fall down the stairs would be fatal. Bruce shared, as I drove us from the hospital and under heavy drug delirium, we were heavily in debt and our small decorative arts business was in trouble.
Somehow, we made it home that day and through the next five years. I learned to be a caregiver, financial planner, bread winner, and handy woman along the way. I ran our business alone for a few years and then closed it. We moved two times including from Kansas City to Plano, Texas in search of better treatments for him and steady income for me. I continued in my profession of decorative painting, interior design and teaching the trade. I joined the Dallas Writer’s Workshop and found a new calling in short stories and essays. We met every challenge-often with humor, a fighting spirit and a lot of hope. It seemed we had it finally together.
And he still died. Bruce took his final breath on June 26th, 2019 with me and our dogs by his side.
I was left in the following weeks to ask, “What’s next?” So I read through all the stories I shared on social media about the struggles, lessons, and the funny or sad adventures of our life. I noticed the number of people who reached out to me in their own grief seeking comfort. I was happy to offer some. My heart was broken but not defeated. The writing gave me relief and meaning. Suddenly I had a new path if I was brave enough to follow it. I quite my job, moved back home to Kansas City (during a pandemic), bought another fixer upper and decided to start a more personal platform for my thoughts and tales. During this time, I met Bill, another 50-something in the middle of life changes. His writing inspires me so much I invited him to collaborate on this blog. We hope to create a place to share stories about how interesting and fulfilling life is after 50.
“Why Third Act?”
I’ve lived the life of a young college girl and then a career gal. Now I have the knowledge of a grown woman with an added zest of confidence. Bill and I talk about learning from past mistakes and the joy of finally knowing what you want and being lucky enough to find it. It’s the best time for a personal encore! In stories and plays, the third act is where the characters find resolution and hopefully growth. There are also 3 stages of loss: the initial grief, acceptance and finally (hopefully) transformation.
Transformation, growth and resolution. Does that sound familiar? If it does, then we are writing for you-someone on a similar journey. I hope you find our stories, projects, ideas and other creative endeavors thoughtful, helpful but mostly inspiring. Let’s figure it out and have fun together.