I'll be missing Camp Widow West this weekend for the first time since Dave died. I didn't feel a drive to go this year. I know exactly what I'll be missing not going, and that makes me sad, but the need to go has faded. I'm not sure what I'll do next year when camp time comes around.
I'm so incredibly grateful for its existence. I found Soaring Spirits and Michele by doing a google search for widowed resources. If there was one thing I'd tell anyone else who's joined our ranks, it's that finding support is the most important move you can make and Soaring Spirits is support like no other.
I wandered into that first Camp Widow in San Diego, only 2 months after Dave died, numb and in shock. I left 3 days later with new lifelong friends and countless concrete examples of how people not only survived being widowed, but eventually welcomed life again. I held those examples close in the following months and years.
It's been years since he died. Wow. I still find this a shocking fact.
I leaned on my new widowed friends when I couldn't pick my head up off the floor, or think straight enough to function. I grabbed onto the strength I remembered from camp over and over again.
I still do.
What a beautiful expression of all the pain Michele suffered when she lost her love. The ripples of her love radiate out and engulf all of us. I might not feel the need to be there this year, but my heart will be there.
If you haven't already gone and you're thinking you might, DO IT. Set aside your worries and doubts and get yourself there. You will be so glad you did. Not glad that you had to, no, but glad that you did. This experience is too hard to take on without the kind of support you can only find at camp. Go find your people. Create your own little survivor's club and witness for yourself the power of love. It's all over the place at camp. You can feel it.