Join the blog hop: Widowed people review NBC's "Go On" sitcom

A new NBC sitcom features Matthew Perry of "Friends" mega fame as a young widowed sportscaster. People keep asking me, "what do widowed people think of the show?"

I don't want to say too much about my personal take on the show -- yet * -- but there have already been a few blog reviews by members of my communities and circles so I thought it would make sense to do a Linky, blog hop, blog carnival, or whatever of our thoughts on the show.

I'll be creating a new post in the next few days that contains all the links to those who post. If you're working on a review, please do let me know by THURSDAY OCTOBER 4, when I will publicize that post with everyone's link in it. So, subscribe using the email link over there -----------> or email me direct. If you're not widowed, just state that in the first paragraph of your post.

I'm inviting members of WidowedVillage.org, my online community, to participate. This will be a new thing because many of them aren't used to readers from "outside" even though the site is public.

Looking forward to seeing what a whole roundtable thinks of the show... really! There are some good gags in it.

Here's a quick clip from the show. * * *


* * Dammit, I leaked. OK, I'm saving MOST of it for the review next week!
* * * This is not one of them. * * * *
* * * * I'm signing off before I do any more damage.... 


Dating a Widower, more thoughts

A while back, I published a whole post explaining why I typically defend widowers who are dating against the advice of columnists who specialize in the particular foibles and hazards of dating widowers.


That doesn't mean I think widowed people (men or women) deserve any kind of special consideration when dating, either.

Too often I hear young widows (we usually say "under 55" just to have SOME answer) speaking wistfully of dating someone who "gets it," meaning, in our code, someone who's also widowed. It seems like it would be easier than "cleaning up" one's grief for the dating market or dealing with divorced men (about whom we can be quite judgmental). We get misty eyed thinking that this widower would understand the troubles we've seen and that there would be so much less guilt involved in the new relationship.

Well. This is as Hollywood as it gets.

Widowed men are only human. They can behave badly when dating. Maybe not worse than other men, but if a woman enters the relationship with misty rose-tinted gaze, when she's most vulnerable (and especially if she's decided to short cut knowing whether she's ready and committed to dating... because after all he's "just like" her)... it can get ugly. Widows are vulnerable enough... don't make yourself MORE vulnerable by dating someone who you feel is owed any special treatment. His loss is no more romantic than yours, after all.

Yes, you can live happily after after (once per person). But don't overlook the practical aspects of your situation: there are far, far fewer widowed men available at young ages, and no matter your age, there will always be fewer widowed men available. Dating is -- for many of us, at many times -- a numbers game. You need to have the largest pool available... and the clearest idea of who you are (not JUST widowed) and the most critical perspective on who you're considering to share your life.

Don't get all fairy-tale on this... a widower is just another man to be considered for his own merits and flaws. I'm suggesting that widowed women are more susceptible to this, but Abel's column (and the other Dating a Widower sources) tell me that widowers are getting the same kind of affirmative action from single and divorced women in the marketplace. Preference that I doubt is ever given to widowed women when they date.

Everyone deserves love, but everyone also deserves the right partner and to be taken seriously enough that they can be seen for who they are.


Butterfly metaphor: the leftover goop

We LOVE to use the butterfly when we talk about people dying or people being transformed in huge ways. But nobody talks about the bloody goop that's part of the process of metamorphosis.

Because, I guess, it's pretty yucky.

On the face of it, if you look at the big salient bits, it's a nice image: caterpillar becomes butterfly. MAGIC. NATURE. Faith. We have lots of explanations.

So the living person is transformed into -- so much more beautiful! -- a soul. And the person who's being transformed -- hoorah! gets some rest time inside their chrysalis. We can use that. It's a good metaphor.

My daughter got a butterfly kit for her birthday, though. It was upsetting enough to me that she wanted to keep the butterflies indoors as pets, and didn't care that this would shorten their lives. Kids are cute, right? They have to learn their own lessons. OK, I chose not to fight that battle.

We watched most of it happen and it was some damn metaphor, really.

It was also gross. I have heard that the creature inside the chrysalis is a sort of chimeric soup... neither caterpillar nor butterfly. I tried, hard, not to visualize what it was doing in there, the pretty capsule that it wove from its own excretions. None of this, of course, was covered in the friendly brochure packed with the kit.

I knew my daughter was fascinated that seeing the wings emerge and dry would be something like seeing a human being born. But I had no idea the image would actually be fairly complete.

Because no one told me to expect the trail of bloody, mucus-y gook that would trail from the cocoons down the mesh of the butterfly habitat, leaving a brutal stain over the adorable pink flowers on its floor. 

Then the little light went on. I thought, how like my life.

It's been six years and I'm not a butterfly yet. There's a long period of living as something indeterminate on the way to whatever it is that's new. Living through loss and reaching middle age gives me access to the drudgery of deep work on who I am and how I was formed, that I might have avoided if Gavin hadn't died. (Maybe. Probably not.)

I can't be afraid of things being messy. I shouldn't be surprised that it takes a long time to change... if I really pay attention, I know I'm pretty different than I was 20 years ago (really substantially) and that there are more than three stages of growth, that caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly was never really MY story.

And I'm not in such a murk, really. I get things done, I have a good life, life is immeasurably easier than it was during infertility, Gavin's illness, single parenting, or forming a new relationship.

I guess what I'm really saying is, it would be great if the common myth was, not that you change into a butterfly (or anything magical or natural sounding like that) but that human growth is big and slow: if the common wisdom was, not that it takes a year and then you fall in love and grief goes away, but that it takes five to seven years (at minimum) to build a new life after loss. And that it takes five to seven years for a step family to begin to gel.

It's slow. It has a bunch of stages, and some of them are dark and some of them are drippy. Sometimes a natural metaphor that you really like just doesn't fit. And it doesn't happen on its own.... it kind of hurts to grow.

And that goop is perfectly natural, you know you will leave some things behind and you won't always be pretty.  It's not a bad thing to be fascinated with it or to be pissed that the brochure didn't give you the whole story. You have to live with ambiguity, with muck and darkness. And someday, you will even fly, drink from flowers, and rest on dewy leaves, your true colors unfurled in the sunlight.

At least, if a scientifically-inclined 8-year-old doesn't insist on keeping you in the guest room for all 3 weeks that remain of your life.

Epilogue: After a fair amount of motherly nagging, my daughter agreed to let the last three butterflies "smell the air outdoors" from inside the habitat, and eventually gave two their freedom. (They probably got a few days.)


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