Widowed AF

#99 - Debbie Weiss

March 11, 2024 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 99
#99 - Debbie Weiss
Widowed AF
More Info
Widowed AF
#99 - Debbie Weiss
Mar 11, 2024 Season 1 Episode 99
Rosie Gill-Moss

In this episode of Widowed AF, Rosie talks with Debbie Weiss, a widow who lost her husband George to male breast cancer in 2013 after nearly 40 years together. Debbie opens up about the extreme isolation she felt after George's death, as they had no children and little family support. She shares how George shut her out of his medical care as he struggled to accept his terminal diagnosis

However, Debbie made the courageous choice to rebuild her life step-by-step. After a time she tentatively dipped into the often funny but challenging world of online dating as an older widow, an experience she hilariously recounts in her book "Available As Is: A Midlife Widow's Search for Love." Debbie persevered through many disappointing dates until finally meeting her current partner of five years.

She emphasises that despite the devastation of losing a spouse, there is hope if you choose to move forward. Debbie found new joy by joining social groups, getting a graduate degree, and ultimately buying her dream home by the water. Her inspiring story shows that with courage and perseverance, widows can rediscover hope, happiness and even love again.


For more information about Debbie' s Book can be found at https://debbieweissauthor.com/



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Widowed AF, Rosie talks with Debbie Weiss, a widow who lost her husband George to male breast cancer in 2013 after nearly 40 years together. Debbie opens up about the extreme isolation she felt after George's death, as they had no children and little family support. She shares how George shut her out of his medical care as he struggled to accept his terminal diagnosis

However, Debbie made the courageous choice to rebuild her life step-by-step. After a time she tentatively dipped into the often funny but challenging world of online dating as an older widow, an experience she hilariously recounts in her book "Available As Is: A Midlife Widow's Search for Love." Debbie persevered through many disappointing dates until finally meeting her current partner of five years.

She emphasises that despite the devastation of losing a spouse, there is hope if you choose to move forward. Debbie found new joy by joining social groups, getting a graduate degree, and ultimately buying her dream home by the water. Her inspiring story shows that with courage and perseverance, widows can rediscover hope, happiness and even love again.


For more information about Debbie' s Book can be found at https://debbieweissauthor.com/



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

hello and a very warm welcome back to Widowed AF. You're here with your host, that's me, Rosie Gilmoss, and joining me all the way at 5am in the morning from California is Debbie Weiss. Hello Debbie.

Debbie Weiss:

Hello, Rosie.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um, thank you so much for joining us today. Now. I know a little about your story because you sent me an application form and I do a little research before these interviews, but I would prefer for the audience to hear it from you. And I always do like to hear kind of the story fresh on mic as it were, because you get the kind of natural response then. Um. So you've been actually a paid up member of the Widow Club for a little longer than most of my guests. Um, and I will just sound like you have, um, you have written a book, haven't you, and you have a really successful blog about being widowed, which is called Widowed and Hungover, is that it? The

Debbie Weiss:

Actually, I haven't blogged for a while, but I was a blogger, uh, soon after my husband died, and my blog was called The Hungover Widow,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Widow, sorry, I knew it was

Debbie Weiss:

on my website.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and it's your email address, isn't it? Because I looked at it and I was like, Oh!

Debbie Weiss:

Yes, it is.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So we're going to talk about that as well, Debbie. But, um, if you don't mind, just give me a, either a whistle stop or a fully in depth tour of what brought you into the club nobody else wants to be a member of. Oh,

Debbie Weiss:

well, I've known my late husband since I was seven, um, and he was eleven. We were family, uh, we were family friends. His mom and my dad were both scientists here in Northern California. Um, we kind of got thrown together over the years until it sort of clicked when I was 17 and he was 21. And, uh, I needed a date to my senior prom. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a, this is like a rom com

Debbie Weiss:

it kind of was, yeah, yeah. It was a nice story. And,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

the ending, I suppose. Yeah.

Debbie Weiss:

so we were together ever since. And, um, we went through, he was an engineer in the Silicon Valley. Uh, get in Northern California, and I went through law school, I'm an attorney, and um, everything was fine. I retired at 40, we didn't have kids, and then, um, when he was around 50, he, he was, he worked very hard, and uh, he came home one day and said, well, there's something on my chest that isn't healing, I'm, you know, I'm, I'm gonna go to the doctor, and apparently he'd waited a long time because he had to wait for his software product to ship for the year. That was his highest priority. And, uh, it turned out he had metastasized male breast cancer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh my goodness.

Debbie Weiss:

That's very rare for

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You are my first guest to have lost somebody to male breast cancer. It is rare, isn't it? It's, it's, yeah, it's not something, I don't think I've met anybody who's lost somebody to that before. Gosh. And of course he left it. He's a bloke, right?

Debbie Weiss:

Right. Exactly. And he's an engineer, so he was particularly blokey, you might say.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Geeky. married to a tech guy. It's cool. Geeks rule the world.

Debbie Weiss:

So, um, we had some good years left, but in the, uh, about, I don't know, I'd say about the fall of 2012, he started to decline and it was very rapid. He went from a walker to a wheelchair and eventually he passed in April of 2013. So that was a little over 10 years ago,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Wow, and

Debbie Weiss:

coming up on 11.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

so you, you really didn't get very long from diagnosis to losing him then. Um, sometimes I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse when it comes to cancer because it's, um, I mean, I, I, I haven't experienced it personally, but I have spoken to many people who have watched that awful decline. Um, and it, it must just be awful to watch somebody who is, you know, the, the kind of male strong figure in your life, just decline in front of you like that. And I'm so sorry that you experienced that. I really am. So if you don't mind, I mean, going back, yeah, nearly 11 years, would you, what was life like that in terms of grief support? Because even in the six years that I've been widowed, it's come a long way. Um, I'm thinking even just 11 years ago, there wouldn't have been the kind of plethora of support groups and online support and all that sort of thing that we take almost for granted now.

Debbie Weiss:

Well, um, I did get grief counseling,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Mm hmm.

Debbie Weiss:

uh, through my local, you know, my healthcare. agency, um, and the therapist was, was really good. She was extremely helpful, but I didn't have much grief support until I started reaching out. Um, you know, we didn't have, we had no kids. Um, I have a very small family. At the time, my dad and my stepmom both were having their own health problems. I'm an only child. Um, my husband, his name was George. George was an only child.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sorry, we didn't mention George's name, did we? Sorry, George.

Debbie Weiss:

Actually, I think his mother might have been a bit of an Anglophile, because his name was George Albert.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, definitely then, yes. Yes, how royal.

Debbie Weiss:

And, um, and she was Chilean, so that was particularly surprising. So, um, yeah, but I was very much alone. Um, and, you know, the thing that did help me was ultimately I went to my local synagogue for community, and the rabbi offered me grief support. And that was, that was very helpful. But, um, you know, I was very isolated when I lost George, and that made it even more difficult.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it's interesting because having had three young children myself, I experienced the loss and the, um, ensuing kind of carnage, I guess, for want of a better word, that comes from that, especially when you're navigating it with children. But doing this. I suppose perhaps I was guilty of thinking it would be easier without children and that to lose your partner without children you would, you could process your own grief and you weren't carrying all this extra grief. But I think I've changed my mind a bit. I'm not saying either is worse than the other, but you lose your other half. You lose your best friend and you, especially if there's just the two of you, that's a real loss, isn't it? And every single day I've got three little Replicas of Ben, even the girl, and I was kept busy. I couldn't lie in bed and drink gin, you know, which is very much what I wanted to do. I had to do the school runs and make sure that there was at least something edible in the house. I think my kid ate, like, very sprinkles for breakfast once, but we don't judge the grieving. Um, and so I, hearing that kind of isolation that you felt, and I think perhaps other people are even guilty of it, you know, well, well, there's no kids, so how do I support and, and particularly if you are a fairly, you know, independent woman, you're a lawyer, you're not, it's all, I think, I suppose what I'm trying to say in a very roundabout way is this facade that we can put on to the outside world, it's only when we are able to say, I need help. That it comes, isn't it? People sort of offer what they think we need in the very early stages, but actually it's the continued support and somebody to talk to that is so important all the way through actually.

Debbie Weiss:

I agree completely, because George and I didn't have many friends. Uh, when he passed, I was, we were very isolated. We, we, by choice, we were pretty anti social. We were both introverts. In retrospect, that seemed a very foolish choice. But, so I had to start kind of from scratch in terms of trying to find a community. And it would have been better if I'd had a support group. I had a few friends like from the gym or something. And the best thing for me was somebody who would go on a walk with me once a week. I had a couple friends, a couple women. We weren't really close before he died, but at least, you know, they'd said, Hey, let's, you know, a couple of times, let's go for a walk. You know, let's do this in a couple of weeks. And something that was ongoing was extremely helpful. It's, it's weird in retrospect, but you know, after some months, I wound up joining a couple social groups. We have Rotary here, it's a service group, and I had George's old sports car. And I'm not a car person, but there was a local car club that I wound up speaking with. And you know, I wound up joining these groups and going to things because the car club had a Saturday morning breakfast. So there were people and it was very lively and afterwards, they usually did something car related, but, you know, I had something to do on Saturdays at the beginning and then the, the, the Rotary Club had a weekly dinner. And again, that wasn't really my group, but once a week, you know, I was out, I was having dinner and a few of the people in the group were my neighbors and they were very kind people and I sort of had some recurring things, uh, where I was with people and I was doing something besides sort of in the evening, sitting alone in my living room. with George's massive, massive home theater system. And you know, wondering, what am I going to do?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I can, I can very much relate to this because I did have quite a wide circle of friends. I think had it been the other way around, um, Ben would have struggled more, but I was still very much in the school run, the nursery drop, the baby groups, you know, all these things that bring. other humans into other adult humans. Um, and I love that you joined the car club. Actually, I think that shows real balls just to go, all right, I'm going to try something completely different. And I'm going to expand my social circle because it is so isolating being widowed. And even with a fairly wide social circle, I actually don't see that many of them anymore. You know, they gradually dropped away. And I think initially you're almost a bit toxic. People sort of don't want you around. Um, Tell me a little bit more about, sort of, cause I know you mentioned a little bit about online dating. Are you happy to talk a bit about that today?

Debbie Weiss:

Sure.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah? Okay. Cause that, that's, that is again, a really interesting topic because people think that we are kind of robots and when our spouse dies, we lose everything below the waist, right? So the idea that we are searching for this human contact. And the physical relief, pleasure, you know, some joy somewhere in this kind of stark wilderness can result in some judgment. And so I'm really grateful to people that are prepared to talk about that, that phase. So in your own time,

Debbie Weiss:

Well, actually, that's what I wrote my book about, was dating after widowhood, because it was so surreal. Um, but way before I wrote a book, though I was writing, um, about 14 months after my loss, I went online, uh, and I joined a group called J Date. Which was, uh, for Jewish people, and I'm not particular, I'm not religious, but I figured online dating was so crazy, I would join something that seemed a little more moderate. Uh, maybe a little, a little tamer. And, uh, I started to, to meet people, and, um, It was scary. I, I joke that I wrote my book, I wrote my book to help other widows, but I joke that I wrote my book because, um, I had to warn other, at least U. S. widows about the exceedingly poor quality of available middle aged men.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm, I'm hearing as much, I'm hearing as much from my fellow widows.

Debbie Weiss:

yeah. It's, it's interesting because, you know, us widowed folk, when we die, I mean, when our husbands die, we We've had long relationships. We know what that's like. We're quite capable of love, of having, of sustaining a relationship and probably being a grownup. You know, we've, we've been with a partner and we've sadly seen through death, but a lot of these guys are sort of stuck in adolescence or, you know, I joke that, you know, a lot of the first dates, the only good thing about them was that you could truly tell why these people had been single for sadly, most of their lives. Um, So it was, it was definitely surreal. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you feel quite vulnerable as well. And because you were with your husband since you were 17, excuse me, which is 17 and 21 is actually the ages that John and his wife were when they got together. Yeah. And she died at 37. Ben and I were a little bit older, but not, not much. But I, I'm hearing this idea, this kind of thing where you, basically you meet as children, almost, you know, young adults. You build the building blocks of life, you know, you go off, you get your qualifications, your jobs, or in my case, you have your family. And then suddenly. Well, what now? And you're right, um, divorce, divorce men are not the same breed. And I think when you've been with somebody a long time and you love them very much, you have very high standards. And you're constantly sort of comparing to what you lost. I mean, I don't anymore. I hasten to add, but you do. And you're just looking and thinking, Oh God, is that what's out there? I'd rather be single forever. And then, a, a gruff northerner walked into my life and that all changed, but, yeah. In fact, a friend of mine, one of the guests of the show, has sent me today a picture of a guy on a dating app to show me what the caliber of men is out there. I won't be cruel and share it, but, I don't think there's much better in England, if I'm honest.

Debbie Weiss:

I've heard that from, from women I know, um, in England, cause I've talked to a bunch of different people in connection with the book. And some have said, yep, not better.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No. Not better. So, I'm thinking Early days of online dating, well maybe not so much over there, we were still, we were still relatively fresh to it, um, So you're kind of, you've gone for a Jewish website, I'm, Lulu has, she touted the idea of a classic FM dating website, and I was like, maybe not that far. Um, But yes, the idea of sort of finessing it down. And there is a lady I interviewed on the podcast who's actually set up a dating app for widows. Um, one is called Chapter Two, which is a more sort of relationship based one. And the other one is called Widow's Fire, and I think you can probably figure out what that one's for.

Debbie Weiss:

Yes, yes, I could, I could take it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And the idea behind that is that you're sort of screened before going into the app. I mean, I, I, I can't vouch for it. I never used it, but, um, there is a push to find safer ways for people to date. But I just think you're going to get the same old toads climbing in there, aren't you?

Debbie Weiss:

Well, you know, I was on a whole bunch of different sites. Ultimately, I moved off J Date because, pretty quickly, because there weren't that many people on it. Especially where I lived, which was a suburb. Um, I lived about, uh, an hour southeast of San Francisco. And, um, a lot of these guys, again, Mm, they seemed to have enough issues that I thought I would better find a wider pool and that there might be a larger percentage who were vaguely sane. Not

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I like these vaguely.

Debbie Weiss:

but I did go on some different sites and I don't know about England, but in the U. S. they have terrible names. There's plenty of fish, uh, bumble, which I know some people like, but it's kind of more like the verb bumble. And, um, also, uh, OkCupid, where,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

okay. Cupid. Yes. I think we have that over here.

Debbie Weiss:

yeah, that was probably the largest and the most successful one for me. And it was, but it's a very dreary process. And, um, and, you know,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

thick skin, don't you?

Debbie Weiss:

I'm sorry?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sorry, I interrupted you. You need quite thick skin. And when you're freshly widowed, you haven't actually got very thick skin, have you? So it's um, it's not, I don't know. I think we kind of jump into it. I know I looked because I was nosy as much as anything. It didn't exist when I met Ben. I wanted to see what it was about and I was quite quickly disillusioned with it, but I was very fortunate and I met my alive husband and I've been able to kind of have a new, very loving, healthy relationship. But I think if I was now sort of thinking, Oh, I'd like to start dating and having to dip my toe into that world, I think, I don't know, it just feels so demoralizing and vacuous. And yeah, I know plenty of people who met their respective other through it. So I don't know. Perhaps it just takes perseverance.

Debbie Weiss:

I agree completely on perseverance, Rosie, and that's what happened for me. You know, I dated George from high school and I was a geek, so when I started dating after being widowed, I wasn't really sure what I wanted, especially having just seen the person I love through cancer. I was up for a little fun.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Debbie Weiss:

Surprisingly, the dating apps, well, unsurprisingly, did not yield as much fun as I would've hoped. In fact, not much. Uh, the people were so problematic, but I persevered because ultimately I realized I wanted another relationship and I, I wanted to be partnered. And I actually have been in a relationship with somebody I met online for five years now, so it did work, but it's very much like having another job.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Debbie Weiss:

a matter of having a good profile that is set up for a relationship and it's a matter of just screening and Depressing as it is just going on the site and spending a certain amount of time in a certain Very depressing my number of hours on the phone Screening

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Hmm.

Debbie Weiss:

you know, the more I went on the fewer people I actually met The more, uh, rarefied, I made my profile to say, I am looking for a relationship. If you're looking for anything else, I applaud you, but please don't, don't, don't waste your time contacting me. Yeah. Move on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

My cousin was doing Oh, sorry, you

Debbie Weiss:

but it did ultimately work, but it was extraordinarily time consuming. Now I'm retired. I retired very young and. If I were to lose my current partner of five years, I honestly don't think I would go back online. That isn't something I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm getting a lot of cats if I lose another one.

Debbie Weiss:

Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um. Just a couple of things that I sort of latched onto in there. And one of them is this idea of, um, wanting to be partnered again. And I re I wrote that down because I can relate to that. Now I wasn't desperate to be looked after or to have a new dad for my kids. Or what I wanted is I loved being part of a couple. I loved knowing that in this whole wide world, this one person had my back above all others. And that's what the main thing that I lost. I lost that. Ally, that co pilot in life. And I think because you have had that, you are open to it and you want it again. Why wouldn't we not want it again? And actually I really admire your perseverance because yeah, it does sound like a job. Actually. I have, I was gonna say my cousin, she was filtering them with video calls. So you'd get a 10 minute video call before she'd agreed to a date. And I was like, God, that sounds really mercenary. But she's like, it's the only way it's the only way. And especially if you have got young kids, cause you're paying for a blooming babysitter to go on these dates.

Debbie Weiss:

Yes, I mean, I agree. I did phone screening, um, video calls weren't as popular when I was doing this. Um, I really kind of sometimes felt you had to see somebody in person, but it took a while, you know, to see somebody in person. You know, there's so many just people who simply wanted to text or nothing really came of it or you'd meet somebody for a coffee. Uh, definitely coffee, not a real meal. I learned that the hard way when you're sitting across somebody and, you know, you're going, Oh my God, I can't wait to get out of here. And they're saying, Oh, let's get dessert. You know, let's have an, let's have another cup of, you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

so full.

Debbie Weiss:

no, I'm done. Yeah. I got to go. Yeah. It was, it was painful. It was so, so time consuming, but I did want a partner again. You know, my big thing was, I just remember, you know, sitting at home every evening, you know, when you're partnered, you have someone who's with you and you have love. Yeah. And. You're not, you're not isolated in, in the sense that, you know, friends are very important. I certainly realized that as a part of my loss, but I just remember really, I wanted someone to ask me about my day. It was very important to me in the evenings to have someone to ask me about my day. And I know this is a very odd kind of benchmark, but I sort of, I wanted to have somebody where on a Sunday, a Monday morning, I could say, or Sunday evening, I could say, it's dark, it's cold to say, could you take out the garbage cans? You know, So those, those were kind of my little, my little benchmarks. I wanted, I wanted someone to ask about my day, and I, and I wanted someone else to take out the garbage cans when it was dark and cold at night, or at least, you know, do it sometimes. Had that

Rosie Gill-Moss:

if you, I don't know if you do it, it's very sexist and stereotypy, but we tend to call them pink and blue jobs. So, for example, the bins would be a blue job, but maybe the laundry might be a pink job, and they're, you know, they're very interchangeable. We're not totally stereotyped. I'm going to move my mic, hang on. There we go. I'll turn the volume up a bit more. And I can remember getting the lawnmower out, and at my old house, I had a fairly small garden, and I got this lawnmower out, you know, much swearing and huffing and puffing as I got it out the, uh, the shed. And then I mowed this little patch of grass, and it took about 10 minutes, and I thought, well, he made a fuss about that, didn't he? And it's all, you know, the male, you know, this is going to be a really tough job, you know, and so you're really grateful. Um, but bins, I'm with you on bins. I hate doing the bin and the cat litter. So yeah, that's definitely a blue job.

Debbie Weiss:

Yeah, I had a home, um, and again, it had a small garden. It was, back then I had a smaller home, but it was interesting doing everything by myself. And it was certainly interesting when something went wrong and some contractor came over and he was sort of this American stereotype. Oh, hey girl, a girl looks like we're gonna have to replace all that drywall, probably about four, maybe five thousand dollars. And you know, so much of what I dealt with was, you know, I'm a widow, but I'm not a moron.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, I would have had my law degree, I think, framed in the doorway if I were you.

Debbie Weiss:

Yeah, yeah. I, I mentioned it a lot. I was back then. I mentioned a lot. Yes, I'm an attorney and this isn't going to work. It, it really came up a lot when I was settling George's estate. And people are like, Oh, we can't help you. We need the deceased. It's like, well, he's, he's not coming back. I'm an attorney. I'm sure you've dealt with this before and I will call you every day until we deal with this now.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you sound like me, actually. That's how I dealt with getting my son in school. I called the contact at the council and said, I'll ring you on the hour every hour then, shall I? Until I got, until I answered. But, um, I, I can also relate to this idea of, um, you know, trying to call insurers or, uh, utility accounts and them saying, well, we can't do anything without a death certificate. And I would say, well, I don't have one because he's lost at sea and they would then say, okay, well, we can't do anything. And at the time he had very proudly bought a Land Rover Discovery for one of the big, chunky sort of, and, and, and we lived, we lived, um, with kids went to a country school and he was really proud. You know, he could afford this car and it was the start of the next stage in our, in our family. Cause we'd just had a baby. And, um, This car cost 650 every month before I drove it off the drive and they wouldn't stop it because it was in his name, I had no death certificates and the same for the utility bills, the mortgage and I had to use, I had to utilize, a friend of mine helped me who is a lawyer and she took the case to the high courts and he was legally declared dead. But it was only the second in this country, the second time this law has been used. So there was a huge amount of uncertainty. But also, yeah, you, and not only are you treated like you're a bit stupid, I felt infantilized. I had to get my mum to make phone calls for me. And I was a grown woman with my own home and my children. But it took me back to feeling helpless and childlike. And. I think you are very, very at risk of being a victim of this because people will take advantage of you. Unfortunately, it's the same with the elderly. You're seen as, and actually I'm thinking dating as well. Lots of people think you are a very rich widow and particularly if you've retired young. I mean, gosh, gosh, it's. There's a lot of additional complexities that people really don't think about. And I think one of those is just how childlike you were made to feel in the early days.

Debbie Weiss:

Oh, I agree completely. I felt that so much. Um, the good thing is I'm pretty good at putting that to rest. but yeah, but I can do that. I just turned on my lawyer self, you know, during the day after he passed, I, during the day, I just took care of it all until it was done. And I did have a death certificate, so I could deal with things funny. He had, George had a very expensive sports car because he was a tech guy. And so

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Go on, tell me what it was.

Debbie Weiss:

it was, it's a, I still have it. It's a 2009 Porsche Carrera for us. It's beautiful and sadly we got it when he was diagnosed with cancer because we kind of wanted him To have his dream car and also as an engineer he had three or four, he had like three cars I mean, which is insane We had a small little house and I was kind of willing to do anything to get him down to fewer cars But when he passed I had this crazy thing with these ridiculous payments and that was the hardest thing to get in my name The house I mean we had you know, we had a trust we had you know, we're organized pretty organized some things but Sadly, George had been in denial when he died, which added another level of complexity. He didn't think he was going to die. So we never prepared things, um, beyond the very basic. So getting the darn car in my name was the absolute hardest. And the first thing I had, to pay it off. And once I actually got this straightened out, um, you know, they were like, Oh, you can refinance, you know, they were throwing all this money. And at that point I was just like, I'm done with this bank. And I actually wound up keeping the darn thing and driving it for a number of years. And I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Good for you.

Debbie Weiss:

oddly

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you.

Debbie Weiss:

But it was, it was funny. I remember doing this and you know, you'd call someplace, they'd be like, Oh, well we're, you know, pick something an hour and a half away. Can you just come in? And it's like, no, I can't. I'm grieving and I'm sure you've dealt with people who aren't right next to your office. What do you do?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Debbie Weiss:

You know, it was just, it was difficult, but it did help me in the sense that it made me realize that I in fact did have all my marbles. And that I could stand up for myself. Dating was a different story. It was extremely difficult. Men were quite patronizing again, which was odd. And, you know, they'd be like, well, you'll never find anyone like George or you can't expect this. And I remember thinking, yes, I can expect that not from you, but I, I can certainly, I can certainly expect that. I can certainly move on. And it was, it was a little surprising, the number of guys who seemed to think that I was just sort of naively sitting in my house. Well, someone might take advantage of you, you know, you need to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

as well, you know? The Rapunzel up in the tower. That's, I, uh, I had a brief, um, interlude with a man that he He said just things like he, um, I have an iPhone and he got me a Samsung watch and he was like, I said to my friend, Oh, but she's going to move over to the Samsung. Am I? And it was that need that sort of, um, I guess some men are attracted to women who need saving, right? Um, it's sorry. I've just, I made a quick note that I wanted to just come back to you. If you don't mind, um, you talked here a little bit, just briefly about, um, Uh, it's sort of denial, uh, of what was going to happen, but also you talked about getting this dream car and John and Sarah, he, she had one good day, you know, this good day that people have when they're terminally ill and there's a video of her and they've gone out in the car and he walked into the Range Rover showroom. And there was, the car that she wanted was there on display. She's got, you know, she's attached to tubes and wires and, you know, possibly even in a wheelchair. And he just bought it so that she could have it to be driven around in. It had like a massage seats in the back and things. And her sister now has the car because he couldn't keep hold of it. But it's like the. Final hurrah, almost. Yes, you can have this little, this thing that you want that will give you this joy whilst everything else is so horrible. Yes, you can have that car. I like that.

Debbie Weiss:

Oh, it was, it was fun. We actually got it when he was Fairly soon after he was diagnosed so he was, again, he did he lasted in, with a lot of functionality for years. Much longer than the doctors had expected. So he was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm sorry, in that case I've totally misunderstood because I thought it was very quick. So was it 2012 through to 2013? Just confirm that for me because I don't want to be wrong.

Debbie Weiss:

oh, he was diagnosed in 2009. And he didn't really start to decline until 2012, and then he passed in April 2013. So he really only had about nine months that was That were really bad. He continued to work up until the week before he passed and when he got the car He was still in pretty good shape. Sometimes he was bald, but he was driving through San Francisco in this super wide car, had the big wide back tires, enormously fast through the city and it was a little bit nerve wracking, but he did it perfectly. But he did, he was kind enough, he got the PDK. This was the first year that the car shifted faster than a person. He was a manual shift, stick shift kind of guy. But he even told me he got the man, he got the automatic transmission for me.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Phew, I can't We've just bought a new car this week. Um, I've actually swapped out the I drive a great big V Class. It's this, uh, eight seater. And I'm just so sick of it. We don't We have four kids, so we don't use it very often. And all I can see is this kind of check sitting on the drive because

Debbie Weiss:

Mm hmm.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

haven't depreciated. So I said, let's just go and get a Mini. I mean, and I've, so I've, I've got myself, I haven't got myself. We've got a little mini for me to put, yeah. And they do the bigger ones, but it's just funny you say that. Cause he was like, do you want to stick or automatic? And I was like, Oh, automatic. God, I've been doing this stick for years. I wouldn't know where to start. So can I, if you don't mind, um. Just ask you a little bit more about the denial, because that must be quite difficult if you are obviously not a stupid woman, so you are processing the medical. Presumably. And how do you manage that? If the person who is terminally ill is very resistant to accepting it.

Debbie Weiss:

Actually, I didn't handle it very well,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Fair enough.

Debbie Weiss:

then. This was hard. George kept me out of his treatment. He chose not to have me to go to the doctor with me. He was Um, he was the tech guy on a program here in the U. S. called Quicken, and it's, he really managed this program. He was very strong. He described himself as an engineer of almost infinite bandwidth. So he sort of handled all this from the start as if it were kind of another series of irritating meetings. You know, he took, he drove himself to and from chemo. He would even grocery shop after, and he chose to keep me out of his treatment. He didn't want me to come to the hospital with him. He didn't want me there for chemo. He didn't want me there for anything.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And how

Debbie Weiss:

also

Rosie Gill-Moss:

about that?

Debbie Weiss:

well, I felt terrible. Um, I was looking, I'd look at Google. I'd look at his medical notes that he brought home. Once or twice I spoke to his doctor myself, but in general I really couldn't and I found out very sadly when he was truly declining and Just looking like, I mean, he was disintegrating and he'd gone from, he was a big guy, he was 5'9 you know, 200 pounds, then down to 175, then, you know, probably more like 120, 130, and I was just trying to see what was going on. Um, I, and it wasn't until he was practically gone that I found out he put an order in place that prevented the hospital staff from contacting me directly.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, wow. Okay. Gosh. So that must've felt almost like a bit of a rejection. Um, like you're being pushed away. Uh, forgive me if I'm projecting my, how I would feel onto you, but. I can't imagine that. I mean, like I said, I don't have direct experience, but when John was very poorly in hospital and thankfully he had the foresight to put me as his, uh, primary contact because we hadn't been together a very long time. And, um, his estranged dad kept trying to ring the hospital. Um, and it all got quite complicated, but I, I can't imagine. Not being part of it and feeling quite excluded from, uh, uh, John describes it on, he describes it as you are both going on a journey, but you're taking different paths and you don't know what lies ahead for you. They don't know what lies ahead for them. And you're both frightened for each of you and for yourselves. And I'm just thinking you probably wanted more closeness. I'm sort of rambling a little bit here, but yeah, that must've been really difficult for you.

Debbie Weiss:

It was extraordinarily difficult, and particularly difficult because he didn't want his parents to know, so he demanded that we keep from him, from them, that he had cancer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's a big ask.

Debbie Weiss:

It was tremendous. I had so much guilt, uh, because his parents, he was an only child, and his parents were overall good people. We'd had some issues with them early in our relationship of them being a bit overbearing, but in general they were good people who loved him. He'd had a good childhood and they didn't deserve that. You know, I would try to say, you know, maybe you want to spend some time with them.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. Oh

Debbie Weiss:

extra time. I think he was trying to save all of us from what the inevitable, or maybe didn't believe that there was going to be an inevitable because it was odd. He was so smart and clear eyed. And then ultimately he just was in denial. And it was odd because again, I was the person who was going to have to make the decisions. when he couldn't. Um, so it was odd because he'd always been very protective of me. He was four years older. My mother died when I was 10 and she died at the same hospital where he was getting treatment. So I know he was trying to protect me, but I, I think ultimately, I think the cancer may have affected him in some way. And his going into denial was a kind of mental illness.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It does seem to take so much more than the physical. It seems to take the very, I'm going to say the word essence, of the person away. And John has talked about this and the grieving process starting much sooner. Because I mean, for you, the decline was, you know, quite condensed as opposed to what I thought at the beginning. Um, but what about at the, at the end? Did he, did he die in hospital? I'm sorry, I'm really probing you and please tell me if it's too much, but I, I like to know everything.

Debbie Weiss:

He did die in the hospital. Um, yes. Yes. He, by this point he'd had pneumonia and I could tell from his body that he was dying. I won't go into the details, but he was physically quite disintegrated and I was taking care of him at home without enough help because he thought he was going to recover. So we didn't. And I was thinking, oh my God, you know, I'm dealing with some open source and things. I thought, am I killing him? You know, I don't have a training in this. It was frightening. He wouldn't let me get things like a hospital bed. Um, later I found out he turned down things like palliative care, which would have been helpful, and all the services the hospital would have offered. Um, and yeah, it was extraordinarily difficult. And then finally he went into the hospital, and at that point I was getting ready. to get, like, full, more in home care. We had a little bit, but not enough. And when he went into the hospital, I was kind of hoping, honestly, he'd stay for a bit so I could do something to organize our home better for him to come home. And that's when I got a call. Uh, he was, he was in an oxygen, he was in an oxygen tent, though, and he wasn't, he looked. It was just getting worse and I was actually hoping they'd keep him because he wasn't set up for income here at this point We had emergency We have a 9 1 1 here when the ambulance he may call Had been to our home several times when he'd fallen and he couldn't get up and it was horrible to watch I couldn't lift him and you know, they finally had to take him away couldn't breathe, right? And it was the first time I'd seen him not doing well mentally He was off and they took him and I thought well, I hope they keep him there a while to get proper care I can't do this at home and The next day I'd gotten a call from his doctor who said, I'm sorry, he had this, I'm gonna cry, he had this order in place, we couldn't speak to you, but he has a matter of days, maybe weeks, and he died a few days later in the hospital.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Were you able to be there? Did you want to be there? Yeah.

Debbie Weiss:

I, I visited a few times during that, about that terrible week. The first people, at that point they'd called his parents somehow, and they were there with him. Um, was extraordinarily difficult. The day he died, he seemed fine. You know, I could understand him in the oxygen tank. Most people, oxygen tent thing, most people couldn't. I could. We understood each other. We smiled. Um, he was, he was making some jokes. It was, it was great, um, people there from the hospital because it was a very different kind of situation. In retrospect, I wondered if they were a little concerned for their own liability because Um, you know, they haven't told me anything and in retrospect, that wasn't right when I look back, I wish I'd been more proactive and pushier, but

Rosie Gill-Moss:

First time, right?

Debbie Weiss:

first, yeah, hopefully only and, um, that afternoon, I remember he said, you know, his mother was there and his father who looked really depleted and his mother's an extraordinarily strong woman from Chile. She doesn't, she's a nuclear physicist at a time when women didn't do that. She's a human rights activist and He looked at me and he said, he said quietly from the tank, you know, go home. He said if you don't go home, she's not gonna go home. I want y'all to go home and I went home and his mother stayed with him and he died that afternoon and she stayed with With him when he was gone.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, in so far as a good death to be with your mother, who brought you into the world to be with them at the end, it sounds about as comforting as these things can be. Um, I'm, I, yeah, I'm, I am so sorry because 11 years, 11 days, it doesn't matter. The loss is still as enormous and. I've gotten kind of goosebumps listening to you go back in there. So I will have affected you then. Um, I mean, wow, about his mom, that's really cool.

Debbie Weiss:

It's interesting. She's so strong and she stayed with him and she,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm sort of thinking, sorry, sorry, sorry. And

Debbie Weiss:

to her. Um, I'm a little bummed he sent me home, but that's, that's okay. You know, I've had some, I've had a lot of time to come to terms with this. And what I figured out is that he lived as he wanted, you know, when he was diagnosed in 2009 and he was still okay. He didn't want to take big vacations. He didn't want to take much time off. He was still on call for the weekends in case Quicken needed him. He was a great mentor and a great person to the people he worked with. And I realized he lived his life as he wanted. The most important, one of the most important things to him was this project, was this product, was, was this, they were doing Quicken in the cloud back then. And this was his legacy. This was the work that he wanted to do, to be with these people, to be part of this team. That was what he wanted. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

about legacy quite a lot and you, I think it's Emily's episode. She's another American. And I think you would relate to her episode because her husband was very similar. He was literally in his hospital bed, you know, sending emails and things right up to the end. And. Yeah, and I think when I'm very attracted to men who are passionate about what they do and who are successful, and I don't necessarily monetarily successful, I just mean people who have overcome something or, you know, are good at what they do or passionate about what they do, because I think that tells you quite a lot about a person. He sounds ama. I mean he sounds like an amazing man. Just a little stubborn

Debbie Weiss:

was, he was, he was an amazing man and he was such a good person. You know, he was the person at work. He was, you know, he was pretty highly ranked, but if someone needed furniture moved, he's there moving furniture. You know, um

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to lift a, lift a a table. I like that.

Debbie Weiss:

No, he was really humble and really helpful to everybody, even people who are just kind of insufferable. And he was there, and he really worked to build consensus. That was what he was really good at. And he was really a good mentor to people, and it was a very harsh work environment. If somebody got terminated, uh, laid off, he was very good at helping them have recommendations. Honest, though, to get another job. He really, yeah, he was a great person. And on the downside, he was extraordinarily stubborn and he was a workaholic. I know when I was looking for my second person, one of my big criteria was not a workaholic.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. Yeah, I can understand that. And because you were able to retire early, which is a wonderful thing to do, and John is semi-retired as well. He also comes from a tech background, so, um, and I do this, but it's. It's really, for us, it's been amazing because I think we were building this relationship as adults and with blended children and it could very easily, you know, if he was still doing this kind of 12 hour long days, I just don't think we'd have got to know each other the way we have and that time, and actually I couldn't do the school runs I do, for example, if he wasn't around in the daytime, I've got four children at four different schools. So. Yeah, I know, I know, and it's, it's, I'm very aware that it's a privilege we're lucky to have to have this time together, but I'm also very aware that we didn't have 20 years before we, we didn't do the kind of free dating and, you know, wrong one, Ben and I lived in a tiny little flat in London and, you know, we had both had full time salaries and we spent it all on wine and going out and you can never quite go back and recreate that. So yes, you have a different life now, but it's. It's, and it's a wonderful life, but I don't know, I suppose what I'm trying to say is you almost have to cram in a lot of getting to know each other in a shorter space of time when you're older. Not that I'm thinking we're going to die, but you, it's kind of, uh, cards on the table. That's what I'm trying to say. There's no bullshit. Is there? You know what you need, you know what you want, and you're not prepared to settle perhaps. I don't know.

Debbie Weiss:

really resonates with me. Um, you know, I, again, I don't have children and when I met my current partner and we started to date, um, He's a realtor and his child was in his 30s and lives far away. So that was an issue. So we weren't dealing with any other constraints. And it was fun because actually at this point I'd been widowed five years and I'd worked through a lot of the guilt and a lot of the pain and I was having my own life. When I met my partner, um, I was set to go on a It's like a three week trip, uh, with a tour group of the ball, uh, Eastern Europe. And I was just going to be starting, um, that fall, my MFA, I went back to school and got a second graduate degree in writing.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, so you didn't just sit around then, you know, painting your nails while in retirement.

Debbie Weiss:

for years, you know, I've had years where I, I don't do much, but this, this, this was, I was kind of bit at the time I was, I was really geared and I met my partner now, Randall. And he was finishing up, ultimately he finished up a job because he was working a tremendous amount, uh, with, he was in a, in a community where he was selling the homes, but that finished up and we actually did have a lot of time together and we dated in a very leisurely kind of romantic fashion where we went out to a lot of dinners and he'd come pick me up where I lived, we lived about a half hour apart. And then ultimately we had a lot of weekends away and we do a lot of day trips. And it was lovely because we actually did have this time. And after a lot of these men I'd met, I call them schmucks, who had no courtesy and no chivalry, it was lovely to meet somebody with manners and sort of take our time and enjoy things. And, and it was a real bomb after both my loss and again, the, the, the, the sort of lack of regard in the men I'd been dating and I'd been meeting.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. And I think, I sort of say sometimes it feels like humanity has gone everywhere, but I think particularly in that dating world, um, and this kind of lack of humanity that we're feeling out in the everyday world, I mean, even just going into the supermarket and things, it's like people have forgot to human. And I suspect that that is very much exacerbated in the, in the online dating world. And I know myself that there's a, um, I mean, things like, you know, porn websites, I've got a lot to answer for because I know like the men, kind of men who are coming back in, having a second go, should we say, divorced, however, they're, they're single. The expectation of what you were, you were going to do. Or what you might enjoy doing was very different. And I just think it's a very, very, very chauvinistic patriarch word out there. But then I've spoken to men who say that women are just as bad on the dating site. So perhaps I shouldn't tell them all with the same brush, but yeah, I think, um, I think having a standard or expectation of what you want, you know, I didn't want another. Um, man, I didn't want another child. I had enough children, well actually I did, I got another child, but I didn't want to have to look after a man child. Um, Ben was very independent and, and, and that's what I was attracted to. And, and then in John I found that. But then we've had to re kind of regroup, I suppose, because we'd only really got together when he got very sick with COVID and we were sort of forced into a house together. Um, and I had a very sick man, you know, hearing you bringing home a man who needed care and without any kind of idea what you were doing that I experienced that to a certain extent myself. Um, and then having to learn to live in a house with somebody now we work together, but so far so good. So far so good, but it is, it's very. It's difficult, but it's exciting. And unfortunately the young children prevented us having too much of the kind of, you know, romantic, uh, dates and nights away, but we, we do try, we do try and get away and we do have regular babysitters because otherwise you miss that and you're just sat watching the telly every night and you've got to remember that you're a couple. Uh, and actually I think probably children are the impediment there actually. So what, what does life look like for you now? You've, you've said that you've moved. So you were near San Francisco. Where are you now? I don't

Debbie Weiss:

I'm actually still pretty near San Francisco, about an hour away. I live near Napa, and, and I live in a, it feels like a small town feel, um, by the water. I'm, I have a home by the, near the water, um. The Cartina Straits, it's where I live, and I live in Benicia, which is actually the third state capital of California, and it has a beautiful small downtown, and to me, it reminds me a little bit of maybe a small town in England by the water, and the girl I do yoga next to, actually, She's a mom with two kids. She's told me that, and she recently moved to Benicia. She's British. And she said, yes, it does remind her of some towns in England. So my suspicion is correct. I've heard from an actual British person that it does.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was about to ask you where they were from and see if I knew them. This is what we do all the time, the Brits. We're like, oh, where are they from? I might know them.

Debbie Weiss:

gosh, I know her name is Kaylee.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

don't have to. Don't worry. It's fine.

Debbie Weiss:

um, but it's, so it's, it's lovely here. And, um, I moved into a home that I just loved, love. It has a nice, a nice water view and it's, uh,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That's the dream.

Debbie Weiss:

and it's wonderful because the home I lived in before in the suburbs, it was very closed in. And it very closed in, in one of these neighborhoods where every third house is the same. And George had picked it and we picked it together because when we bought it, you know, we were both working very hard and we didn't have time to fix anything up. And it was also what we could afford. You know, I'd saved a down payment. I was 30. I've been working since I was about 24 as a lawyer. You know, it was, we were pretty limited, but he picked the house and I, it wasn't my first choice. So it was wonderful later to be able to pick something that I love. And to fix it up how I wanted to and my partner's been really supportive of that We both have similar tastes and we just we love fixing stuff up. He's a realtor. He has an amazing eye

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I see. You need somebody to do the nitty gritty. It's, uh, again, another similarity really, but Ben and I bought a, I refer to it as the 80s monstrosity because it was, um, it wasn't a beautiful house, but it was a four bedroom house with a drive and a garden, which in the area I used to live in was quite hard to get. And we got it at a bargain. But I, we both used to say, this is not our forever home. This is our five to 10 year house. And then we were doing it, we'll do it up and we'll move to an old house. And when he died, I, my life, his life insurance didn't actually clear the whole mortgage. So I, what I did is I renovated bits of it and then I met John. But we have moved from, he was in a modern house. I was in a 1980s house and the house we have now is actually older than America in places. It's 16th

Debbie Weiss:

wow.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So it is. It's my dream home. It's quirky. Like we found there was an extra bedroom off one of the bedrooms when we bought it, which we didn't know about, but we have gone from top to bottom and every light switch has been chosen and I just love my house and it's like it's ingrained with our personality and with it being such an old house, we are custodians of it. You know, we, we, you look in, in the UK, I don't know about it. We, um, all buildings are protected, so we have a protection order on our building. Um, but yeah, it's, we're right in the village, which is handy with the kids, but, um, the sea is where I think I will end up one day for sure. Not in it, I hope.

Debbie Weiss:

Yeah. A water view is very important to me. Um, my partner lived with a beautiful water view and a condominium that was small. And it was funny because during COVID, we'd been together a couple years and we stayed at his place, which was much smaller than mine and was a condo as opposed to a detached home with a yard. But we found his place so much more joyful than mine that when it was over, I realized I. And I'd finished my master's degree. I realized I wanted to live over here. And I do. I can walk to town. It has a really cute, sort of old fashioned, real cute feeling downtown. And it's walkable.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm going to pick your brains on this, because we want to go to the West Coast of America. So, I'm like, hmm, okay, we'll maybe get a few little tips here of where we can go. Uh, I, I have a pull to the wash. I've always have done. And I was, because with Ben having drowned, I was worried that I would be, um, frightened of it. And initially I was a little apprehensive. I think you are. It feels like the thing that killed my husband. But actually now I feel very connected to him when I'm near water and I love that sense of freedom that looking out at the ocean gives you or a lake or, and actually we don't have, we're not, we're about an hour from the coast here and we have said when we can no longer manage this house, when the kids don't live here, it's a house with a sea view, a hundred percent. That, that's the dream.

Debbie Weiss:

Yeah, we, I have, it's, I have a bay view. It's kind of like a bay, um, off the ocean, but it's, it's enough. It works. And we've been fixing up the house, um, yes, um, and it's, it's been fun and I love it. And it's made a, it's made a huge difference because, you know, it's interesting when I lost George. My house didn't feel that like home anymore. It felt like I was living in his house. And I tried to change, I changed a lot of it and remodeled some of it, but it didn't really feel like my house. And I didn't move because I was more focused on getting out of the house as opposed to, and I wanted to know where I wanted to be. I didn't just want to leave. I wanted to, to have something. I was moving too. I needed a reason to, for that much upheaval. And George was an engineer. So our walls and things were so cut up with. Putting in wifi and surround sound and things. I was afraid I would never find a willing buyer and God knows what I'd have to credit back. Fortunately, this being Northern California, it was during a popular time for sales. It worked out. Yeah. I thought that I was afraid my house was unsellable.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

When

Debbie Weiss:

all the stuff he'd done.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I had my friend Lulu, former co host of the podcast. She came and stayed with me. She broke the lockdown rules. So please don't arrest her. But I, he, I'd just been told my husband, my partner was going to die. And um, so we bunkered in together and he had, everything was bloody tech. Even the, like the blinds on every window in the house, you had to have a remote control. Now, I couldn't find a remote control for these blinds. I kid you not, they were open for about three days constantly while I looked for the remote. And, and actually we, we're restricted in this house by how much tech we can have. But the radiators are beautiful, you know, um, antique style radiators. And then they've got a bloody Tado on them. But yes, I can totally understand this need to make something new and I really wanted to leave my house. I did because the police knocked on the door, you know, that was the house where my heart broke and it wasn't a house that I felt he was desperately connected to because it was a stopgap house. So I didn't really feel much guilt or sadness when I moved out, um, and actually it's been nice. We were only about 40 minutes from the town that we used to live in, so it's close enough for me to see people if I want to, uh, but also. To give the kids the opportunity to start again. And I mean, you talk about making a new network. It is easier with kids because you, the school runs that sort of thing. You, you talk to people, but it's hard. It's hard starting again. Um, And it's hard to build a new network, but it sounds to me like you have taken this awful tragedy that happened to you and you have made a choice. And we talk about this choice all the time. And the choice is that you are going to grab life by the balls, for want of a better terminology, and grab and pull all the joy from it that you can. And you've got your beautiful house by the sea and you're in a new relationship. And. It's just really nice to see, actually, because As you talk to people who've gone through this, this journey of, of recovery, because it is a form of recovery. I love to see those people who have popped out the other side. And I'm not saying that you're not grieving and that you're never going to feel sad again, because you know, you know that you will. You've chosen not to sit in that and to, I sound like I'm 43 at best. I've got half my life left. Do I want to stare at a wall and cry, or do I want to see the world, show my children what exists out there, show them that you can overcome adversity. And I think. That's what each and every one of us is doing. We're all showing other people that the terrible things happen and it doesn't mean the end for everybody, for the person that died, obviously. But, um, and I think by doing these stories, cause I know a lot of our listeners aren't widows, but it's having a real impact into the outside world. And I'm so proud of my guests for doing this. And I'm really, really proud of you for getting up at five o'clock to do it.

Debbie Weiss:

Thank you so much. Yes, that was, that was hard this morning.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I meant to email.

Debbie Weiss:

I'm amazed I'm coherent and I don't have huge bags under my eyes. But, you know, just to go back to what you said, I agree because I was very unhappy when my husband died and I was very isolated and I was sitting on my living room floor and I was drinking alone at night after I was doing all the, the admin y stuff during the days. And, you know, I'd lost my mom at 10. I was 50 when I lost my husband. He was 53. And I really felt like, well, do I live in a hostile universe? What's next? I'm so isolated. And I realized that, you know, at one point. I was sort of, I'd cleared up, you know, most of the, the, the estate stuff. So I didn't have all that to keep me busy and I could, you know, I could stop terrorizing the people at the bait. And I realized I had a choice. Um, you know, my role model is my father because he lost my mom when he was 42 and he went on to make a wonderful life for himself and for me as a single parent. And I looked at this and I said, well, I'm sitting here and I said, you know, but. I have a choice. I'm healthy. 50 is young. I was certainly in good shape because all I did was exercise. Um, I was very fortunate in that I wasn't going to lose my house. I had enough resources that for the foreseeable future I was going to be fine. If necessary, I had a dad and a stepmom who could help me. And I looked at this and I said, Well, you're either going to be miserable for the rest of your life, or you can do something, you know, you can get up and you can start with something. And that I had a lot of choices. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've just written down the time of that because I'm going to quote that up because that is so true. You have the, it is a choice that you have to make. And people can support you, they can help you, they can offer you assistance, but they can, I liken it to kind of a rope ladder being thrown down a well. They can't climb out of it, they can give you the ladder, but you have to do that climbing yourself. Um, and actually, I don't know whether you might be interested in coming back on at some point, because I am. I am cultivating a, um, an offshoot podcast where I speak to people who lost a parent young and how, um, how it was for them at the time and how things have changed, how they are now, but I won't, I won't keep you too much now. I'll speak to you, um, off the microphone about this. Um, it's meant to be a positive thing to show people who are perhaps freshly widowed and have children that they're going to be all right. Or, you know. Can be all right. I don't know where not all are, but anyway, that's a complete digression. I do apologize. Um, just quickly, could you just remind everybody the name of your book and also your blog if you're still happy for people to go? I know you said you haven't written for a while, but it might be useful for people still, you know, floating around in the weeds out there.

Debbie Weiss:

sure. The name of my book is Available As Is, because older singles are, we're like fancy, we're like your home, right? We're available as is, like, like fine real estate, right? We have our, our quirks. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and a few cracks.

Debbie Weiss:

exactly. So my book, it's called Available As Is, A Midlife Widow's Search For Love. Um, you can get it in the UK.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know, I

Debbie Weiss:

Kindle limited. It's a bargain. I have it on Kindle. I'm limited in 99 cents.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

got it on Kindle Unlimited. I downloaded it yesterday. There you go.

Debbie Weiss:

And it's funny. It's actually funny because a lot of this was funny. Dating again was funny and looking at the world differently did have a certain surrealism to it. So it's available as is. A midlife widow's search for love. I don't blog anymore. Um, but you can find my old blog entries on my website. DebbieWeissAuthor. com Here in the U. S. there's another widowed author named Debbie R. Weiss. I am not Debbie R. Weiss. She is a brunette. I'm Debbie Weiss the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

What are the chances?

Debbie Weiss:

on the website looking blonde. So I'm Debbie Weiss author and my blog and my old blog entries are there and I've written a fair amount on well for some magazines and I had something in the Huffington Post

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I know you've got quite the CV. I was having a little look at some places you've been published and I was quite jealous. So congratulations on that as well, because I'm, I'm a writer by trade and I've struggled since Ben died. So I find speaking is my outlet now. And, um. But I hope one day, that's my dream, is to write a book, um, whether it's a guide, whether it's an autobiography, I don't know yet, but I feel that urge to do something written, so maybe one day, maybe I'll come to you for some advice, but in the meantime, I will read your book because I wish, um, and I wish I'd found it sooner, but For everybody else listening out there. Um, if you have any questions that have been raised from this episode, you know where I am. You can send me messages at Instagram, which is w widowed af, um, or you can find us on the website, which is www widowed af.com. For now, Debbie, I'm going to thank you ever so much for coming on and telling your story. Is there anything else you wanted to share? Have we missed anything? I don't like to leave anybody with unanswered business.

Debbie Weiss:

I think we've covered everything, but my message is very much, and it's in my book as well, is that despite everything, there's hope. Because I found hope. And when this first happened to me, I did not have hope. But through taking small steps forward, they started to add up to much more, and that, that gave me hope to move forward. So that, that's part of what I want to offer.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that's, that is exactly what I want to do with this podcast is I want to give people hope. And I didn't think, because sorry, I'm going to keep talking now after I've just started the sign off. Um, it's. When we, by talking, excuse me, um, in that beginning bit, you, you do lose your hope. You have to. And actually I had to very quickly stub out any glimmer of hope because he was lost. Um, but I had to very quickly accept he was dead. Um, and hope is something that I had lost. I thought I would live, I thought I would provide for my kids and be there for my kids, but I felt like I would live a half life, um, and that I was going to be sad forever. And as hope kind of gradually began to, you know, uh, glimmer into my life, I know that I realized how important it is to have hope. And I am, I think that's a really, really powerful message. And I didn't think that we would attract people in the early stages of grief. I thought it'd be a bit too dark humored and, and much like you, you know, um, uh, available as he is widowed AF it's to kind of, I suppose your vibe attracts your tribe, but yeah, and the fact you said the book is funny. This is what we try and do here is to try and smash the stereotype a little bit and show that we're still funny. We're still smart. We're still, you know, we still have fun. It just so happens that we went through an unspeakable tragedy that we are now speaking about. Um, and with that, I'm going to shut up. So thank you ever so much, Debbie. And I wish you so much love and happiness as you embark on this or continue on this next journey of your life. So lots of love and thank you for sharing.

Debbie Weiss:

Thank you, Rosie, for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Take care. And to everybody out there, we'll be back on Friday to have a little chat about Debbie's episode and whatever else has been going on that week. But for now, you take care. Goodbye.

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