Widow-To-Widow: A Mother And Daughter Talk With Addie Beckom

WRT 2 | Widow

 

Losing the love of your life can be too much. It is too painful that we almost forget how to live. In this episode, Tina welcomes her mother, Addie Beckom, to share some tips on living life in this widow-to-widow talk. Addie talks about her relationship with her husband, the experience of widowhood, and how she continued to live. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you lose your husband, always remember that there is hope and give yourself the opportunity for healing and encouragement. Tune in to this inspiring episode now.

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Widow-To-Widow: A Mother And Daughter Talk With Addie Beckom

My guest for this episode is Mrs. Addie Beckom, my mom. I share it with four other people but we’re not going to talk about them now. I have her glass of water ready and we are going to have a very engaging conversation. My mom is old and she is going to meet you with her sparkled-up sweater and give you some tips on living life.

She will share about our dad who passed and being a widow, what that experience has been with her and how she has continued to live. She brought a picture of our dad right here, Mr. Jesse Beckom, the love of her life. I am so glad to have my mom here and share how important dad was to her life and encourage you that no matter where life changes you or what age you are, there is hope that gives you the opportunity for healing and encouragement.

 

WRT 2 | Widow

 

Our guest is my mother, Mrs. Addie Beckom. Mom, can you share a little bit about yourself with everyone?

My name is Mrs. Beckom. I have 4 daughters and 1 son. I like to sew, cook, exercise, help out and do volunteer work wherever I can, whenever I can.

How do you spend your days? What are some of your interests?

If it’s a nice warm day, I like to go for a walk but if not, I’m in the house doing whatever needs to be done in the house. Maybe taking a nap, watching some TV and before you know it, the day is gone.

Let me tell you a couple of things. My sister and my mom live together. We live next door to each other. When my mom says she’s going on a walk, I don’t want you to think it’s like somebody casually walking around the corner. My mom is out here grinding. When I’m working from home, I’ll try to go for a walk with her at lunchtime. Oftentimes, I need to give a time limit because my mom will have me walking in these streets.

As I think about it, my actual first experience with exercising is going walking with my mom to go run errands. We were in Chicago and we lived on 126 blocks. I believe we would walk down to 115th to the grocery store with a shopping cart and walk back. That was my first experience. Thank you, Mom, for making me stay healthy and introducing me to exercise. This topic is widow to widow. Mom, how long were you and dad married?

We were married for 52 years.

How did you folks meet?

We met at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Your dad is from Chicago. I’m from a town called Hannibal, Missouri. It’s the Boyhood Home of Mark Twain. That’s the way I explain it to people and then they say, “I remembered that.” I was sitting in the corner by myself because I’m a shy person but your dad said he didn’t mind me being shy because no one else would talk to me so he came back and talked to me. We got together up to that.

What were some of your dates like with dad, Mom? They want to know.

We would go to lounges, movies and plays.

You mentioned some walking too with dad.

He would walk me home from work. He lived in an apartment that the hospital had for the workers but I lived in projects about 1 mile or so away. It was fun walking home until the mosquitoes would get to me but they wouldn’t bother him. I wouldn’t say we stopped walking. We stopped slowly walking. We would speed up to the destination.

I don’t think I’ve heard the story of you and dad would walk. It’s interesting. Walking started early on in the process.

I would walk as I was growing up. We went to a school in Douglas.

High school or senior school?

It was all on campus and that’s when I started walking because I would have to walk about 1 mile to get there.

Raising children, what do you have to say about that? Any advice from your experience of raising children?

Take care of your child as they’re growing up. When they get a mind of their own to do things, don’t try to stop them. Unless they get in trouble, then you have to take control. Coming from a family of eleven children, we would share things or have fun together. Our parents never restricted us from doing anything.

 

WRT 2 | Widow

 

You got to develop into the person that you needed to be without somebody pushing you in a particular direction. Any memories from your children growing up, particularly me?

I remember you have a friend that you would hang out with quite often but then something happened. You and your friend fought.

That’s how it is in the Chicago hood. Anything you want to share that you have from my childhood, Mom? She told me she has.

I was going through some papers and I found a poem. It says, “A short way to have a yummy day.” It starts with, “Happiness is something we create in our mind. It’s not something you search for and find. It’s waking up and beginning the day by counting our blessings and kneeling to pray. It’s giving up thoughts that breed discontent and accepting what comes as a gift, heaven sent. It’s giving up wishing for things we have not and working to achieve the things that we want. It’s knowing that life is determined for us and pursuing our tasks forced by completing what God gives us to do that we find real contentment and happiness to. Have a yummy day, Tina.”

You and I both have no idea how old I was with that when I was still in your home being raised. I’m still living that type of life so that’s interesting to hear a poem that I have no recollection of doing but exists. Pay attention to what your children are doing because there’s something to feed into.

 

WRT 2 | Widow

 

Plus, evidently, the way you live your life is the way you have always been living your life, just that you’ve gotten older and able to do more.

With this topic being widow to widow, you happened to have two different perspectives. One from being my mom when my late husband passed and then yourself being a widow. I’d like to talk about both of them. What was it like being my mother and watching me become a widow?

Your dad and I couldn’t believe it because it was going back and forth that Mark was okay and then he wasn’t. We felt bad that we had to get to Tina as quickly as possible and we did.

From your perspective, coming to the house and watching me over time, what did that look like for you or what did you take in watching me go through that and still going through to some extent?

I saw you having a difficult time not having your husband there but after a while, you’re still doing what you have to do to live and survive.

Any struggling or different things that you’ve watched over the process or may have come to terms with later weren’t shared upfront?

With the process of your grief, no and it’s because you’re a strong person. Once you stayed in your bed for four months, off and on.

I did not return to work for three months. There was a lot of time adjusting to that and trying to come to grips with what had taken place. Even in strength, some things will happen in life that will knock the wind out of you. That happened unexpectedly on vacation to a man I had spent 32 years with so I had some downtime. How had being a widow been for you in comparison to watching it from the outside with me?

Even in strength, some things will happen in life that will knock the window of you. Share on X

I’ve been a willing widow. It is not that some days I cry but some days I don’t. Every morning, I say good morning to Jesse. He prepared me for it because he would tell me that I wouldn’t be here long after he left. That’s why it didn’t hit me as hard as it could have because I was prepared.

That is a very good point, Mom. People often want to say this is as far as the death of someone’s spouse but it’s the idea of what that looked like being prepared. If I recall, was dad sick for over a period of time?

Yes.

If you could share something about that and how his health changed over time?

When he was two years old, he had rheumatic fever and it did something to his heart. By the time he was seventeen years old, he was okay to go into the military. He went into the Air Force. When he got through four years in the Air Force, he came out. He drove a bus for CTA in Chicago and after driving a bus, he became a police officer. Later in life, he started to suffer more. His last surgery was with a disc and from that surgery, he got a blood clot.

Was that in his back?

Right. The last time he went to the hospital, he was having a blood clot also. It was three different things that took him away.

If I’m understanding you correctly, you were not in dad’s presence when he passed. You didn’t have that piece of that concept.

It was the time during COVID and they weren’t letting people in as often.

That is another thing. I’m glad you brought that up. The way that we as a community are able to deal with death in COVID is very different than how we’ve dealt with death before that. There’s more isolation involved and also less opportunity for people to be there with us and embrace us during that loss. More so for us to be able to share something like this with people that may have lost a loved one also in COVID and not being able to have somebody there with them and grieving as they’re struggling with this. Mom, what has life been like for you since dad’s passing?

 

 

 

 

It hasn’t changed that much but I missed your dad. I miss doing stuff for him.

You say life hasn’t changed that much. Let’s circle back to a few things. Being in Chicago and then you’re here in Virginia, how did that transition take place from when dad passed to where you are?

The way that happened is once the children found out that their father had passed, they rushed to Chicago to be with me and helped me to clear up any little details that needed to be cleared up and get here to Virginia where I’m staying with my daughter Ulanka, next door to Tina.

How many years had you and dad lived in that house, Mom?

We were in there for 48 years.

It’s 48 years’ worth of house cleaning and relocating. Those children that she listed and their children, we were on deck doing that to try to ease the burden for my mom. I like to recap that she left a home that she was in for 48 years, relocated here to Virginia, sold that house and has taken on some interest that would be very interesting for you to know. My mom has a podcast, which is what has inspired me to do a show, watching my mom share something that she enjoys doing. Can you share about the podcast, Mom?

The podcast is called Timeless Journey. The reason it’s called Timeless Journey is that it goes from when I was about thirteen years old to where I am now. I started at about thirteen years old because we would sometimes eat pigtails or pig feet and then I noticed how much fat I was eating so I stopped eating that much fat but I would eat the meat part of it. I didn’t stop eating pigtails and pig feet. I just controlled what I would eat and how much I would eat of it.

As the years passed, I found different ways to take care of my body. For instance, the overnight weight loss with my last child. I had to go in for, not a blood test but it may have been a blood test or something. I won’t eat from 12:00 at night to 12:00 the next day. I looked and said, “I lost 4 pounds.” I was like, “I can’t do this but I want to lose 4 pounds.”

I worked with it and stopped eating by 10:00. I will get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep and lose 2 pounds or more. That’s where the overnight weight loss came from. Also, I found out about my stomach growling. Every time I hear a growl, it doesn’t mean I’m hungry. If I don’t have a taste or the desire to eat food, then I know it’s just my intestines turning up to do what the intestines do. If I do have the desire to eat, then I eat.

Mom, your desire to be conscious allowed you the opportunity to speak with anybody formally or have any speaking engagements. What were those like?

Yes, I spoke to a few places. I spoke at a bookstore at DuSable Museum and two Baptist churches in Chicago. Also, at a Salem Church in Chicago.

DuSable Museum, where is that located, Mom?

In Chicago. Being shy didn’t lead to as much as I wanted it to but then I wrote a book. It’s not in production anymore but I sold a few copies. From the book, I’ve turned it into a podcast.

For someone who says she’s shy and doesn’t speak a lot, she is coming. Mom, what’s the frequency where viewers are and some things you’d like to share about the podcast?

The podcast comes out every Wednesday. You can listen to it on either Spotify or Anchor. On Spotify, I have a video there under Movement Through the Years.

About how long are the episodes, Mom?

They’re between 3 minutes to 10 minutes.

Any of the topics that you recall or some to share with everyone?

Overnight weight loss seems to be the most popular. I’ve been broadcasting since about June 2022. I only have 170 listeners out of the 7 billion people in the world. I don’t think I’m doing badly. I also have one called Money on the Ground. My husband would tell me that I walked so straight that I wouldn’t miss a $100 on the ground and then I was talking to Tina as we were walking. She said, “Not anymore,” so that made me think. Once I got back home, I looked in the mirror and I wasn’t standing as straight as I used to stand. That’s what that’s about, to tell me how I should stand better, stand more and check on myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of body, do you have a couple of exercises that you can share with us? If you can talk through the exercises as you do them.

I have this one, putting my hands on both shoulder blades. Pull up and hold it for a while. This way, I’m building my posture, packs and triceps and working the core. I have this exercise to hold onto something and bring my leg up. This way, I’m firming my glutes.

Any sitting exercise maybe for somebody that’s not very mobile?

Cross your legs, put your hand on your top knee and put the other hand that’s on the knee and lean. It’s another way to build your posture.

My mom’s not a doctor. She’s just sharing some information with her to be able to stretch.

I am not a doctor, scientist or nutritionist. I’m just sharing with you the way I do things.

Mom, how old were you when dad passed?

I was 77.

What has been your strength to be able to continue living your life in dad’s absence?

I keep praying and your dad let me know I would be here after he passed. Other than that, I don’t know what else there is.

Has the family been helpful in regard to this?

My family has been very helpful, especially my children.

If someone was wanting to start exercising, they’ve not done it before, they’ve checked with their doctor and they’ve been approved to be able to do something, what are some things that you find that are helpful in getting started with exercise?

Listen to your body and do what your body says. You don’t have to do the exercises that you see other people doing. Whatever you do, start slowly and then build up to it.

Listen to your body and do what your body says. You don't have to do the exercises you see other people doing, but whatever you do, start slowly and then build up into it. Share on X

When you say listen to your body, to me over the years, that is conveyed into not doing an exercise that would cause me pain or discomfort. Something that may be a bit of stretching but not something that feels like going into an injury that we’ve found over the years that have helped us. I do want to share something. My mom did talk about eating and cooking bacon. Any desserts or different things that you like? Some of her desserts have multiple purposes. Hopefully, she’ll share those with you too.

I like to fix dessert with lots of fiber in it. I like carrot cake, pound cake and cheesecake cake, whether it’s refrigerated or baked. I also like banana cake. The banana cake and the carrot cakes are far from elimination or pooping.

Mom, this has been quite the joy. Thank you for sharing your life and being here to speak with us. Any closing remarks or something you’d like to share with everyone?

I’d like to read this as the closing remarks. These are things I got off the computer. “I used to travel about what life was for. Now, I’ve been alive for sufficient reason. When we have provided against cold, hunger and thirst, all the rest is by vanity and excess. Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. Shared joy is double joy and shared sorrow is half sorrow. Show me the man you honor and I will know what man you are. My life is at hands of any food that makes me lose my temper. Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We are unrehearsed.”

On that note, thank you for being with us and have a good one.

Thank you for having me.

We wrapped up the second episode of the show. This episode is on my series called Family. This was a conversation with my mom called Widow to Widow. Thank you for being here with us and entrusting us to be a part of your journey as you deal with the loss of a spouse, a loved one or something that’s made you part of the widowhood community. Being from Chicago, the word hood is my community, whether those are family or friends. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your experience. Have a good day.

 

Important Links

 

About Addie Beckom

WRT 2 | Widow

My Mom’s podcast is located at:

https://open.spotify.com/show/6bw4xzx6TjefNfGakd4QFI?si=Gm60egJ4T-SAQfCgCLNZDA&utm_source=native-share-menu

Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide