Friday, February 24, 2017

For Widows Only: Internet Dating, 3 Tips to Guide You

Photo property of Linda Della Donna
Cannot be reproduced, copied or shared without permission.

It was sometime after I buried my husband that I decided it was time for me to begin dating again. Can you imagine? Me, age 50 *hand-over-mouth*-something, doing that high school activity, again? Well, it's true. I realized after three years, it was time, my time, to move on with the best of my life. I wondered where to begin. I chose an internet dating site, filled out a profile, hit return, and as Dr. Phil says, "It's okay."

Now, before you, dear widow, scurry on over to one of those internet dating sites, I have three tips to guide you, and here they are:

1: Give permission. Give yourself permission to go out with a member of the opposite sex, or same sex, as the case may be. Call it, go-for-cup-of-coffee, call it, meetup-under-the-big clock at Grand Central Station, call it, anything-you-like, but give yourself permission. You are a free woman now, and as such, you are entitled to get out of the house, and have some fun. If you feel like you are cheating, stop that!

2. Be cautious. Internet dating is risky. Do not give out your home telephone number. Under no circumstances, until you have had ample opportunity to meet this person, should you tell this person where you live. Meet at a busy, outdoors, if possible, busy cafe', or busy restaurant, or busy bus stop waiting bench. Are you getting a message here? Tell a friend, tell a neighbor, tell a trusted family member that you have an internet date and when. You can even record the information in an email message to yourself, with a cc to an out-of-state acquaintance. I like to place a call to myself and leave a message on my landline answer machine stating where I am going and when I expect to be back. For chuckles, I describe what I am wearing. I figure if the meeting works out, I will have a record and know what not to wear the next time we meetup.

3. Be prepared. Okay. So you met the guy. And, he likes you; and, you like him. You agree to meetup again. Only this time, you say it's okay for him to pick you up at your place. Why so trusting? Maybe it was the way he held the door for you at the restaurant, or helped you off with your coat, or gently held your chair as you seated yourself at the table. Maybe you like that he's a civil structural engineer with International Business Machines, or that you feel sorry his wife died of lung cancer. Whatevuh. Take my advice, dear widow, and pin a mad #20 bill to the inside of your bra before you go out your door. What is a mad $20 bill? Mad money. It says you are prepared to get mad in case Mr. Wonderful trades angel wings for devil horns and you need to call a cab. Never be afraid to pick up and leave.

It's not easy losing a husband. And getting on and out into the real world again can be tough. But if you remember my three tips outlined above, you may discover a fun time, meet a nice friend, and be one giant baby step closer to the best of your life.

You have permission to email Linda Della Donna at little red mail box (all one word) (the at sign) the initials a o l (all together) (dot) (com) to ask a grief question and/or request a copy of her free e-book For Widows Only: Us.

My Mighty Muse
The E

Thursday, February 23, 2017

For Widows Only: Who We Are

The Club nobody wants to join.

We are women left.

We experienced the best of times; The worst of times. And survived.

We discovered the meaning of life -- Nothing like the loss of a spouse to wake us up to that.

We gained some; We lost some -- Friends and pounds.

We had friends run out on us. We understood they just couldn't take it. At least, we tried to.

We lost appetites, and we lost weight. And in the spirit of true friendship, we watched true friends reappear, and the pounds.

We discovered life as a widow is different than being married, but trying to explain it to anyone is like describing the color orange to a blind man. We know it's best to change the subject. We train our eyes to look away.

We spend endless sleepless nights pondering the future. We wonder -- Can we meet this month's mortgage payment, next month's electric bill. Even if we know we are able, we worry, What if...

We daydream -- Consider moving to an island someplace in the South Pacific; sailing off into the horizon, peddling into traffic on a bicycle, motoring cross-country on a motorcycle, blazing a trail on horseback. We contemplate running away every minute of every day. We will do anything to escape the pain, but we don't. Because we know, deep inside, there is no place to run away to.

We contemplate entering the convent. We think, Maybe there is peace there.

Every morning, we get out of bed. And we remember -- He's gone. He's not coming back.

Every evening, we turn out the light. And we remember -- He's gone. He's not coming back.

We love our sons, our daughters; We love your sons, your daughters. Heck, we love everyone! We
love grandkids, most especially our own.

We eat meals standing up, usually over the kitchen sink.

We eat cold pasta for breakfast out of a container. We use our fingers. We think, Why dirty a fork?

We traded lacy lingerie for flannel pajamas; silk robes for cotton terry cloth, and candlelight dinners for an open refrigerator door.

We identify red wires, white wires, and yellow wires inside a gem box in a wall when the ceiling fan switch in the master bedroom doesn't work. And we fix it.

We know which circuit breaker shuts the current in every room of the house; when to change the battery in the smoke detector; how to plunge a stopped toilet; how to snake a clogged drain.

We keep a supply of Draino under every sink in the house, because we swear to god we'll never let that happen again!

We know where the water main is; what number to call for the garage door repairman, and when to use it.

We know how to read a tire gauge, check the oil, change a flat.

We rake leaves, we hoe peas, we plant corn, tomatoes, and celery. We reap the harvest. And we cook and eat it, too.

We paint the house; Outside and in.

We tile the bathroom; grout it, too.

We know how to wash a floor on hands and knees.

We cry out loud when no one is looking. And don't care if they are.

We are strong; we are weak.

We are big; we are small

We are tall; we are short.

We are every color in the rainbow, different sizes, different shapes.

We are different; we are same.

We've been congratulated, applauded, patted on the back, hugged, French kissed, mentored, adored, and loved by the best.

We have loved and lost; buried and mourned.

If getting through a day without Him by our sides was an Olympic event, a role in a motion picture, a horse race at Hialeah, we'd own a Tony, an Emmy, an Oscar, and our hand prints and footprints would be stamped in a sidewalk outside a Chinese Restaurant on Hollywood and Vine. And the world would know us by the giant horseshoe of red and white carnations hanging around our necks.

We've made sense of the senseless, discovered the meaning of grief -- insanity gone greased and wild. And, we've learned life's valuable lesson: When you lose a spouse, life goes on.

We remind the world that love is never having to say goodbye.

Congratulations, Widows! Take a bow.

Article Source:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For Widows Only: What Grief Is; What Grief Isn't

Me and E
...And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life.
--Linda Della Donna

Grief is unbearable pain. It lingers long after standing over a hole in the earth with your dead husband in it. It results in friends not calling anymore, because they don't know what to say; you  not feeling up to going out, because when you do get out the house, you just want to run back home, jump into bed, and pull the covers over your head; you not being able to control your tears, because every thought cramming your brain are thoughts of Him.

Grief is not punishment for a past moment in your life. So stop that. You did nothing wrong to deserve the death of your loved one.

Grief is a journey. Long. Dark. Unknown. Think tunnel. Can't go around it, and can't go over it. You just got to go through it.

Grief is not a straight line. Sometimes years go by without feeling pain, and then when you least expect it, it rears its morbid head and bites you hard in your heart reminding you that mourning the loss of your significant other, husband, soul mate, mentor, lover, best friend, and hero, never gets easy, it just gets less hard.

Grief is a thumb print. No two alike.

Grief is not one size fits all. There is no grief map, grief prescription, grief guide, grief watch, grief calendar, or grief clock to help make your journey pleasant. Each widow must figure out for herself just how long it will take for her to feel life is worth living again without Him by her side. But you, dear widow, have permission to take as much time as you need.

Grief is overwhelming to the strongest and mightiest of individuals, and until a widow has perfected her coping mechanism, the one that teaches life is rich and rewarding even without her best friend by her side, she will struggle with her pain.

I know it is not easy losing a beloved spouse, but this much I promise, dear widow, as time inches forward, you will make it through your grief process. You will stop looking at your wristwatch, clock, and calendar, and measuring your life in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, because you will have learned it wastes energy, energy best spent on living life to its fullest. I know, because I am a widow, too, and if I can make it through the grief process, so can you.

Eventually, we all evolve into the best we can be.

Author Linda Della Donna supports individuals going through the grief process with tips and shared resources. Feel free to write her to request a copy of her FREE E-Book, Treasury of Quotations, or to ask your grief question. At present Della Donna is studying and writing again with a goal of having her own on-line grief advice column.

For more articles on grief by Linda Della Donna, be sure to check out

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One Widow Wants to Know, Letters, Hello Linda

Letters, Griefcase gets letters.
Hello Linda,

I just became a widow at age 57. And I'm atheist. And I'm a lifelong loner who used to love solitude but now feels lonely, which seems very strange. And I have no brothers or sisters or cousins or friends, not even one friend. And I'm not a joiner. And I'm in therapy for social anxiety disorder.

So my problem is this - When I look on the internet for other women like myself, I don't find anybody whose situation is exactly like mine.

People advise turning to God (that doesn't work for me). They advise joining organizations (hard to do when you have crippling shyness and anxiety). They advise turning to family (What family?) They advise turning to friends (What friends?) They offer "reassurance" that the loneliness will go away. What if you used to love solitude, but now feel lonesome?

I feel so alone in my situation. Is there no other woman quite like me in the entire world?


Hello CF,

First, my sincerest condolences. Though I am a widow too, I can't imagine what it is you are going through. Grief is like a thumb print--no two alike. Each one of us must plow our own new path. Next, your situation is not unique and you are not the only widow in the entire world feeling alone and lonesome. I get letters all day long from widows from all over the world writing to let me know how alone and lonesome life is since losing a beloved spouse. And some even have family, friends and religion for support. In time, we widows all learn a new normal--acceptance that the love our life is forever gone and we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move forward. You can and you will get through the tunnel of grief. I promise.

Your letter is well written and you are able to express your feelings well, especially at this difficult time. This tells me that you are smart, focused and have a good heart.

You mention that you have difficulty reaching out to others, and point out that "People" give you advice, and that you are seeing a counselor to help you with a social anxiety disorder. Your letter to me tells that you can and do reach out. Seeing a counselor is another plus. All this is a good thing and you need to be made aware of this.

The Grief Journey is a long, hard and most challenging trek for all widows mourning the loss of a husband. In a perfect world there would be a little book of instructions complete with road map, compass, and set order of directions in which to turn to guide us. But there isn't. So we must turn to ourselves. It is all deep inside you. You have to just sit quiet and let it happen--when you least expect it, it will bubble up and remind you that you are okay and that everything will be alright.

Losing a spouse is like losing a limb and we must relearn how to walk unaided again.

Give yourself permission to grieve. There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There is just your way. Keep doing what it is that you are doing. I believe you are on the right path. And by the way, for what it's worth, you write beautifully. Why not keep a journal, write in it every day, if only for ten minutes. It will be good reward to see how far you have traveled in your journey one week, one month, one year from now.

I hope this helps. Write to me again in six months and let me know how you are doing.


Linda Della Donna
...And sometime when I wasn't looking,
I got a new life.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents' Day, Presidents' Widows, Quotations

Mary Todd Lincoln's Dresses

Today is Presidents' Day here in the United States where we Americans take time to honor our famous leaders.

Today Griefcase takes time to honor the widows of these famous men, those obscure females who did not ask to be cast into the limelight, but were; the famous First Ladies who supported their husbands elected to the highest office in our land.

With great pride, Griefcase shares quotations from famous First Ladies of the United States of America. I hope you enjoy reading them, learning from them and may they inspire you to pick up your pen and write something:

If you keep making jokes like that, somebody is going to shoot you, father. --Mary Todd Lincoln

A woman is like a tea bag. You can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. --Eleanor Roosevelt

One must not let oneself be overwhelmed by sadness. --Jackie Kennedy

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition. --Martha Washington

It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other peoples business. --Dolley Madison

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be.

My Mighty Muse

Sunday, February 19, 2017

For Widows Only: What I've Learned

After my husband died, I trashed my writing--Journals--An accumulation of spiral bound notebooks, one for each month of each year for four years. And a YA novel manuscript I was working on. I blamed my husband's dying on my writing. I told myself, Self, if you hadn't spent so much time writing, you might have noticed your husband was sick. Then I shut myself in a room in my house and scribbled in spiral bound notebooks.

Nothing made sense. And the only person who could save me from Self was dead. I suffered unspeakable grief.

One day I got out of bed and rearranged the furniture in every room of the house. I moved a dresser out of one bedroom and into another bedroom. I moved a computer and desk into an upstairs hallway. I moved a dining room table into the living room, divided six dining room chairs and hid one in a different room in every room of the house. I moved the baby grand piano. I pushed a sofa, loveseat, a coffee table and a hassock out of the living room and into the dining room. I moved the kitchen table out of the kitchen, stacked it and its four matching chairs in the garage.

I couldn't bear the sight of empty chairs.

I emptied bookshelves, carted books from upstairs, downstairs; books from downstairs, upstairs. They were His books and I couldn't bear to see them. What I couldn't carry, I dragged, pushed, carted or rolled.

For months a television set the size of a Miata rested on the floor in an upstairs hallway. It was too heavy to lift and I was too tired to drag it. Again.

One afternoon a man I hired to shampoo the living room carpet arrived. I gave it to him. Free. I made a rule: What Self can't move, Self can't own.

Every time my adult son paid a visit, he noticed the furniture in another room in the house had been moved. One afternoon he stopped by and exclaimed, 'MA. YA' GOTTA STOP! I SWEAR TO GOD I'M GOING TO SCREW YOUR FURNITURE TO THE FLOOR!"

I couldn't help myself. Have you ever studied a mother bird building a nest? Have you ever noticed her reaction if she suspects one twig has been disturbed? She squawks, puts up a terrible fuss, begins dismantling her nest; works at putting it back (helter-skelter) together again. Looking back, I realize in my bird-sized brain, Ed's dying represented the twig and the nest my world. Or maybe it's the other way around. I was a feathered frazzled yellow-eyed wreck. In my own defense, I was just trying to make my world right again.

It is two and one half years since Ed's death. I've come a long way baby. I've learned there is no right way, no wrong way to mourn. It's okay to laugh, cry, sing, and dance, again. There's no need to feel guilty.

I've learned being a widow sucks and my life as I knew it will never be the same; no one will ever understand. Though they say, I understand.

I've learned I will miss Edward Louis Sclier all the days of my life, that when someone we love dies, the love doesn't.

I've learned I am strong as Hercules, funny as Lucille Ball, that I can take my home apart and put it back together the way it was. Well, almost.

I've learned I can laugh out loud and wiggle myself free when I find myself trapped in a corner behind an armoire. I've learned the valuable lesson when you experience the death of a spouse, like it or lump it, life goes on. I've learned love is never having to say goodbye to the one you love, that I will love Edward Louis Sclier with all my heart and all my soul, forever. I've also learned His spirit is with me, and it will be with me all the days of my life.

I've done a lot of strange things since His death. I've made a lot of strange mistakes. I've learned about grief--Can't go around it, can't go over it, can't run away from it--You gotta go through it. I've learned I'm okay with that. I'm getting on with the rest of my life, rearranged the furniture one last time.

I've learned life is hard being without the man I love, but in order to survive, I must accept it.

Linda Della Donna is a freelance writer and a widow. You can read more of her articles for Widows Only at:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day, Widows of the World, Mourning Joy

After my husband died, I tried to hide my grief and my love for the best friend a girl ever had. I was ashamed to admit that I loved my husband. Still. It is 12 + years and today on this heart of heart day, I am stopping by to say all these many years more, and for all the world to read,
I love my husband. Still.
--Linda Della Donna

To all my widow friends,

Happy Valentine's day. May you feel loved, blessed, grateful, be filled with what I lovingly refer to as mourning joy all the days of your life, and may you celebrate in your own special way, this special day.

Widows of the World, take a bow! 

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be."

Widow Tip: Open your joy-nal, set a timer for ten minutes and write something. Go ahead. I dare you.

Widow Quote: It's never too late to start over. --Lynne Gentry

Friday, February 10, 2017

ADK, Nothing, I Heart NY

Whenever the noise of city sounds and concrete views of parking lots fogs the landscape of my mind, when life's disappointments and seemingly endless broken promises rise up to haunt me, when mindless chatter from social media sates me, when I think I just can't take what life has dished out to me one more minute, that is when I head to the mountains to clear my brain. --Linda Della Donna

Morning is here. That loud noise that awakened me is the sound of bright sun breaking the clouds, the signal that my new day away from it all, has arrived.

It snowed last night. It painted the earth the color of white and everything old became new again.

I sat in the hotel lobby for a long longer longest time thinking about what to do. I could think of nothing. I have always wanted to do nothing. So, that's what I decided to do. Nothing.

I walked to the main street in search of nothing. Along the way, I stopped in a hat store. I tried on woolen hats with pompoms big as a fist, bunny fur hats with teddy bear ears and a black woolen cap resembling a kitty cat head dotted with satin and sequined bows and chatted with Kelly, the friendly salesperson. I wanted a hat, but couldn't make up my mind which hat to buy, and then I remembered today was my day to do nothing. So that's what I did.

I passed a hotel and read the sign for dog sled rides. I thought about that. But then I remembered today was my day to do nothing.

The main street was quiet. Nothing was happening. So I took a picture of nothing.

There was a cute pillow with a cute quotation sitting on wooden chair in a storefront window. I liked that pillow. I liked the embroidered quotation splayed across the front of that pillow. I liked it a lot. I thought about buying it, but I remembered today was my day to do nothing.

Doing a whole lot of nothing I worked up an appetite. I wandered into a restaurant.

A cup of onion soup with melted cheese, a cup of hot chocolate and slice of cheese cake for dessert and meeting the nicest server, owner, and another guest out doing nothing was a special treat. "Come back for dinner, we'll save your table."

My day was drawing to an end. It was time to head back to my hotel. I thought about seeing a movie. But then I remembered today was my day to do nothing.

Tomorrow is another day.

 See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be."

Widow Tip: Find a happy place; make it your own.

Widow Quote: "Widow. The word consumes itself." --Sylvia Plath

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

When Snow Lay on the Ground, Friends, Westchester Wednesday

It was a late winter afternoon. The air was cold and snow lay on the ground. I bundled in candy apple red hooded parka, wrapped a scarf around my neck and headed out the door. With a friend. We cuddled, and we walked the avenue. Along the way, I snapped a few photographs.

Today is Westchester Wednesday. I hope you enjoy my photographs as much as I enjoyed living them.

Starbucks is on Main Street. It is opposite Macy's department store, and across the street from a building I used to work in. I wrote about it in my book, A Gift of love. We ordered hot chocolate to go, walked Renaissance Park and stopped to study tree lights that seemed to glisten like wet diamonds.

We watched street lamps light and snow melt as fog rolled in on little cat feet.

 Broadway was a Currier & Ives post card.

 I liked this scene so much, I snapped it twice.

A stop to ponder sage words. 

Pace University, seemed peaceful ...

And the view of the building where I studied business law and a few other subjects created a happy classroom memory and me suffering through end term exams.

Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be.

Widow Tip: Inhale. Exhale. Just breathe. Find and  live what I lovingly refer to as mourning joy all the days of your life.

Widow Quote: "The hardest thing is not talking to someone you used to talk to everyday." --Anonymous

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Widows Dating, Hello Linda, What Do I Do?

"It's good to hear somebody tell you they love you.
But it's amazing to know they actually mean it." --Quote Addicts

Hello Linda,

A man I have been seeing for more than six years blurted out to me that he met this "Amazing" woman and began to describe just how amazing this woman really is. It is his dogwalker. And he told me this while we were lying naked in my bed and making love. What struck me was it is how he described me when we first met. In all the years we have been seeing each other he never said he loves me and that bothers me. I said nothing, I got quiet because I was hurt but he saw a look of shock on my face and he got very defensive saying he didn't do anything for a year and half with this woman, that's how long he knows her and that's how long she's been sleeping in his home and caring for his dog and he swears he wasn't sleeping with her. Then he accused me of reading something into what he said that isn't there. Linda, Do you think they are having an affair? Do you think he has fallen for her? What do I do?

I am ashamed and embarrassed to think I am such a fool. I know better, but since losing my husband I sometimes get confused am not the same person I thought I was. Please don't use my real name.


Hello CM,

First my sincerest condolences on the loss of your beloved husband. Burying a beloved spouse can leave an indelible mark on the landscape of a mind and may create havoc with a widow's good judgment. It's time to take a giant step back and take a deep breath.

As for the man you write about, I suggest you move on. And fast! Six years of seeing a man and never hearing words, I love you, is way too long to put up with talk about another woman while lying naked in her bed. It is extremely inconsiderate to say the least, if the situation is as you describe. Sounds like this man has little regard for you and your feelings. As Ann Landers used to write in her advice column, "It's time to wake up and smell the coffee."

As for you, let me be the first to assure you that you are an amazing woman! You have the patience of Job.

Take care of yourself. Be kind. Get out. Meet a new someone. Make a new friend. You are a remarkable amazing woman. Write to me again in six months and let me know how you're doing.