This week I'm all over the place, both geographically and emotionally. It took me a week plus a few days to get from Camp Widow in Tampa, back here to Arizona. In that time, I hit highs and lows, some of them to be so expected that it is given a name "Camp crash".
Additionally, tomorrow would be my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary. We used to calculate, as we drove the country in our last 4 years together, how many anniversaries we could realistically celebrate, given our ages when we married. It was a second marriage for both of us and believe me, we celebrated our alone time once the kids (4 between us) grew up and went out on their own. No empty nest for us! Sex whenever and wherever in the house we wanted; who has time for empty nest?
So, all of this occupied my mind as I drove west.
Camp Widow. It was a series of organized workshops, and lots of social time, which was, believe me, just as valuable, if not more so, than the workshops. The speakers were inspirational and shared their widowed perspective with all of us. First-timers (that would be me), returnees sharing their experience, strength and hope, staff and volunteers; it was a monumental undertaking and a beautiful success.
My highlights of that weekend?
Tom Zuba, who had a story that both emotionally exhausted and uplifted me at the same time. His words, his new perspective on grief, made so much sense. Grieving will last forever. Mourning will not. Simple and powerful words. Now if I can just get through this mourning period with my sanity intact. I'm at the point where it feels like it anyways, people in general are looking at me and wondering why I'm still talking about Chuck, or still feeling such sadness at his missing from my life and why I'm not fully embracing this new life I'm creating and, I don't know, jumping for joy yet. Oh well...
Kelley Lynn, a widow and stand-up comedian, who loudly and in a very New York way, with lots of swearing and so much honesty, spoke of her husband not being a rainbow and made me almost pee my pants with laughter. Do yourself a favor; find her on youtube.
The flash-mob that I wrote about last week.
What was totally and completely freeing? The word fuck used so freely. Yes, I know there is a contingent of people who think it a crude word and unimaginative and why don't you find another word in the English language to use there are so many others. You know what? Sometimes, and, certainly in my case and the case of many others in this boat, the word fuck is the most descriptive, sharp, 4 letters that can be used. It was oh so liberating, hearing it used so well.
Widowhood is, in many ways, a strange, weird, world. There is a sense of vulnerability that goes along with it, and a sense of alone-ness that is different from any other death I've experienced. Its been suggested to me that I join a dating site and find another lonely soul with whom to connect. It isn't the suggestion by itself that I find slightly offensive; it's more the mindset (which I think is way too common), that if I get involved with another man, I won't think so much about Chuck. That he can be replaced maybe? Odd thought, that. No matter if I fall in love again (and I would like to because I love being in love and I'm good at it), I will always be Chuck's widow. Factually and emotionally. That's not a bad thing. It just is.
I know I can say it here freely. I miss my husband. I miss him every day, every minute. And I hate that tomorrow is our second anniversary apart, the second of many. I miss his hugs and his warmth and his protection and our love together and his masculine energy to my feminine energy and our teasing and our wild sex and our laughter and spooning as we slept. I miss everything about us.
And, with all of that, I'm still creating a life for myself. It all goes together really, the old and the new. He, and our marriage, is my history and will always be part of my story.
The men and women who gathered together at Camp Widow gathered me close and we formed a network of understanding and acceptance and the freedom to be exactly who we are, where we are. And I thank all of you who were there.
And to my dearest husband, Chuck...I will always love you. I will always be your girl. And I will always remember you and your love for me and I will always miss you next to me. Thank you, most of all, for showing me love, and accepting my love for you~