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©03 The Media Desk

       The Desk has found itself on mailing lists (not email lists, it doesn't read those) for groups that are all into helping those recently widowed.
       It got a very nice pamphlet about leading a social life as a single again. Cooking enjoyable meals for one. Breaking up household chores so you don't become overwhelmed or bored with them. How to handle holidays. That kind of thing.
       Lots of helpful hints and tips. A couple of them the Desk may try anyway.
       Except they were written for people about twice the Desk's age.
       The pictures were of senior citizens.
       The marriages mentioned were in the Golden Anniversary range.
       They talked about adult children accepting new 'companions' for the widowed spouse.
       Then there was the letter from an area outfit where you can meet others facing their Golden Years without their lifetime partner.
       A religious outfit is out to assist outgoing mature believers in finding someone to share this 'special time with'.
       Then there was the phone call the other night that sparked this article.

       "Mr. 'Leftover'."
       "I am Sonya with 'Name Deleted' Outreach. We are truly sorry about the loss of your wife."
       Silence from the Desk.
       "I am calling to invite you to an event in your area next month. Do you think you would be interested."
       "What's it cost?"
       "The event is totally free and refreshments will be provided, also at no cost to you."
       "What are they selling?"
       "We're not selling anything. It is a gathering sponsored by our organization simply to give individuals in your situation a chance to meet and get to know each other and our group."
       "So what does your organization do?"
       "We simply provide information about issues of interest to seniors and those now living alone for various reasons. We offer discounts on medication, travel, and other services people your age most commonly use."
       "And what is my age?"
       Pause. "I'm sorry, your age isn’t listed in the profile."
       "Where did you get the profile?"
       "We use several sources for…"
       "For your information my wife was forty one, I'm forty-three. I am not a senior citizen and I have two teenage daughters to raise instead of going on a senior citizen cruise."
       "I'm sorry, but I'm sure you'll find the information provided…"
       "On where you can get discounts on middle school uniforms. Yeah. Crap."
       "Good bye."

       These people are worse than dealing with creditors and those types.
       But, to be fair about it- Some have been better, others have been worse.
       When it is an actual telemarketer with a sales pitch the Desk still keeps them on the phone as long as possible.
       That one TV shopping channel she used has finally given up trying to call Mrs. Desk about her backordered whatever it was.
       Some cancer patient supply houses refuse to remove her from their mailing lists, so their catalogs and flyers end up on the table at the Post Office.
       Capitol One eventually got the idea.
       And so on.

       But now.
       Now the Desk has to deal with those well meaning social activist types that won't take references to "White Man's Hell" and comments about tortures used during the Inquisition as 'No'.
       And the vast majority of these outfits are for those at least twenty years the Desk's senior.

       Face it, there are no groups out there for those in the Desk's situation.
       If you are never married, or divorced, going through trial separation, changing your sexual orientation, this or that religion, with kids, with pets, a left handed contact wearer, or have had gastric reduction surgery, whatever, there are not only groups for you, you can sign up for a dental insurance card and get coupons in the mail for reduced price hotel rooms in Vegas.

       Not that the Desk is all hot and bothered about going to some group and sitting in a circle and listening to somebody sob about how they feel betrayed.
       Been there, did that, two years ago when her cancer came back. That part of it is over with and good riddance thank you very much.
       The Desk wants to move on. Not dwell on what happened and live in perpetual mourning.
       Yes it is sad about loosing her. Yes it still hurts. At times, the pain of the loss is so intense it cannot be described other than with clichés. The Desk still thinks it sees her, or something of hers here and there. Recently at the Convention it thought she would be back in the room taking a nap at one point, she wasn't. That part of it will take years to get over. But there is no point to sitting around stewing about it.
       The Desk will grieve when it needs to, and then take a deep breath, and go forward.
       And sitting around in an encounter group isn't going forward.
       It is sure there will be somebody there who is still lamenting their loss years after the fact. It knows a couple of them (both are somewhat older than the Desk, but still). It is senseless. And it is not for the Desk.

       Ahhh, there it is, the bit in a booklet from another outfit, an insurance company this time.
       'Being Social Again'. In the section labeled for the stage of recovery three to five years after the partner's death.
       Three to Five YEARS. Who figured that one out?
       If you sit around mourning for Five Years you really are going to die of a broken heart for crying out loud. Grieving for that long isn't grief, it's depression. And not the depression you see on talk shows either. This one is the major psychological disturbance kind. Terminal, literally, personality disorder.
       OK, in some people's eyes the Desk shouldn't have gone to the convention, and it most certainly shouldn't have been seen in the company of a rather attractive woman for several hours only six months after Mrs. Desk's passing. But you know what? They will get over it. The Desk didn't do anything improper (it most certainly isn't ready for romance or anything else that way, not yet, maybe not for a while, but that is for the Desk to decide, not some busybody right?), it didn't even buy her a drink, but it did have a good time anyway, and she seemed to too.
       Besides, you have to crawl before you walk right? Unless you are Meat Loaf…

Who am I? Why am I here? Forget the questions, someone gimme another beer
What's the meaning of life, what's the meaning of it all?
You gotta learn to dance before you learn to crawl
You gotta learn to dance before you learn to crawl!!

    Song: Everything Louder Than Everything Else. Artist: Mr. Meat Loaf. Written by: Jim Steinman.
      Album: Bat Out of Hell II. 1993

       The Desk is not going to be doing any dancing any time soon. Sorry.

       So what's the point of this whole mess?
       Just that everybody's situation is more or less unique. No one group, medication, or anything else is the right solution for everybody. And in this case, Nothing may be right.
       Indeed, there may be no Right Solution here. But there is a good chance there are several Wrong Ones.
       And the Desk doesn't need a room full of people wringing their hands and wiping their eyes while they spout platitudes to each other and seek solace through their ordeal to discover that fact for itself.
       OK, not every group is like that. But a lot of them are. And there is no way the Desk is going to put itself through that. Melancholia is something the Desk is pretty good at recognizing, and overcoming. Depression is on its list of things to do when it gets time, but it takes a lot of effort to be depressed and the Desk is usually too tired to work that much in its spare time.
       So it will muddle through. Without the groups and services and coupons for an herbal Viagra wanna-be and so on.

       "Thanks anyway."


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