Slices of Life: The perks of widowhood

Erma was right. Laughter and pain are separated by a thin line. I, for one, choose to cross it.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” Erma Bombeck.

I find it appropriately appropriate that the introductory quote for this column comes from the person who inspired my writing. Erma was funny, but she was wise, as well.

In the vein of the opening quote, I give you perspectives on widowhood. I’ve lamented and bemoaned my circumstance, not understanding why such a thing could possibly happen to me.

But it did. And lamenting and bemoaning, however appropriate, are just not all that fun. And life is meant to be fun; it is meant to be filled with joy and laughter, in the best of times, but even and maybe more importantly in the worst of times.

RELATED: Slices of Life: The great laptop crash and other daily foibles My laptop had an unfortunate run-in with water. Laptops and water don’t mix. Water always wins.


RELATED: Slices of Life: Confessions of a potluck failure I start with the best intentions. I fully plan to make a dish that fits in amidst the chicken and rice casseroles and baked bean hot dishes. Then I start cooking.

With that thought in mind, I’ve put together a short list of the many perks of widowhood. They come in the wake of lamenting. They come in the wake of living out something beyond your reality. They come despite it all.

Perks I’ve noticed about widowhood:

You can double dip into the salsa or sour cream and no one cares.

You not only get to pick the TV show, you get to hold the remote (and control the volume)!

No one steals your covers or hogs all the pillows.

No more wasted time being intimate with the person you love. That leaves you free to pursue other hobbies, like lying awake and staring at the ceiling.

Less laundry. Less clothes in the closet. More hanger space for you!


You never have to worry about what you’re going to do on Friday night. Netflix rocks! So does drinking alone.

Simplicity in the kitchen: you get to cook dinner for one — every night.

No bickering about whose turn it is to take out the garbage or mow the grass or unload the dishwasher. It’s always your turn!

No more fighting for alone-time.

No need to expend the time, energy or money on one of those sappy, romantic anniversary cards.

If someone forgets to flush the toilet, you know who to blame.

So many (many, many) invitations to social events. (Not.) But that’s OK because antisocial is the new black.

No one to ask you how your day went. (Who wants to rehash that crap?)


You only have to make half the bed.

Disconnecting their cell phone — think of the monthly savings! (Not to mention the time you save not having to text them multiple times a day.)

No more private jokes. Those personal moments are so overrated anyway.

A streamlined schedule. No need for kisses goodbye, kisses hello or bedtime kisses.

You get to figure out how to do all the things he or she used to do, like pay the bills, fix a faucet and cook. Remember, learning is growing!

When you go out to eat, no one will say “Want to split dessert?” You get to eat the whole thing yourself.

And so on … The perks are never-ending, just like grief.

It feels weird to laugh, when you are supposed to be sad, when society almost requires you to be sad (but doesn’t want you to cry in public — too uncomfortable!). But in the wake of grief, laughter feels good, even if it feels a little out of place or weird. It shouldn’t. Laughter is natural. It is healing. It is a universal human behavior, and that speaks volumes.


Erma was right. Laughter and pain are separated by a thin line. I, for one, choose to cross it.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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