Jacci Smith Reed: Develop welcome kit to help new widows - The Buffalo News
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Jacci Smith Reed: Develop welcome kit to help new widows

Someone should really come up with a “welcome kit” for widows. I have learned that there are some fundamental things that every widow needs in her new, changed life.

First, there is the much-needed and really well-made back scratcher. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you realize at 2 a.m. that you have the most irritating itch right in the middle of your back and have absolutely no way of relieving it.

After many tears from that often-felt “reality check” that it is “just me” from now on, rolling around on the bed trying to find relief and feeling guilty for being angry at your spouse for dying, you realize that if you had a back scratcher, it would have resolved the entire problem – well, at least some of it.

Second, there is the necklace attachment so that you can wear your favorite necklace again. The necklace is beautiful, probably one that your husband gave to you, but the chain is so fine and the clasp is so delicate that you can’t do it by yourself. You try the normal way, try clasping it in the front and even try putting it over your head, which is almost sitcom silly. Nothing works.

But they do make a little attachment that hooks on both sides of your chain and then has a magnet to pull the two ends together. I would guess that a woman designed this – probably a widow. This is an absolute must in your new life.

Third is a body pillow. Missing those hugs and snuggling like “a spoon” makes for a lot of sleepless nights. A body pillow lets you hug something and allows the mind to pretend that you aren’t sleeping alone. I even take my body pillow on trips; heck, I even named it. Hey, this new life is hard enough as it is. I can pretty much do anything I want to help me through the day (or night).

Fourth, there is the essential grabber. You know, that gadget that lets you grab and pick up things you can’t reach or get to. My wine glasses are in the highest cupboard. I can’t reach them and my days of standing on chairs are long over. So it’s my grabber that I use to get the glasses down when I need them. This is one of the best inventions for the widow in her new life.

And let’s not forget the helpful jar-opening gadget. Those jars simply were not made for women over 60 to open.

Lastly, and probably the most important thing in the kit, is duct tape. Early on in my widowhood, another widow told me that there wasn’t anything I would not be able to fix, repair or mend with duct tape. She was right.

Duct tape found its roots in World War II. It was invented to primarily keep soldiers’ ammunition sealed and dry. They found it could be used for so much more and actually used it to fix airplanes and firearms. For me, it has temporarily stopped leaks, held furniture together, held a piece of my car together after an accident and held my refrigerator shelves in place.

Being a widow is not easy. It is a whole new life and not one that any of us looked forward to or wanted. In the blink of an eye, our entire life changed. Sometimes, it’s the little things that we miss the most. I think the widows kit is here to stay.

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