This past Saturday night, while at Camp Widow East in Tampa, Florida - I was sitting at one of the tables at the fancy banquet that Soaring Spirits throws for us during each of the camp events. I was talking to my friend Sarah (who writes in here each Sunday), whom I had been talking with in regular phone calls and online for months and months now, sharing our grief and our pain and our love for our partners with each other. She is someone I have cried with over the phone more than once, and there we were - sitting at the same table, in person, finally.Read more
...... have grown in numbers over the past 6 years.
Some people have faded from my life.
Some have stayed.
Some came in during my "after".
And those have never left.
I doubt that they ever will.
This past weekend I spent time with 8 of these people.
They are 8 of the most amazing women I know.
And 8 women that I'm proud, and so very grateful, to call "friend".
This is the board of Soaring Spirits International.
We all come with different backgrounds, different stories, different views on somethings.
I would trust them with my life.
I never really liked running. Never really saw the point. For exercise? Sure, but I’d much rather play a sport or go swimming or do just about anything other than feel the pounding of my flattened and worn-out feet, screaming for mercy against the hot and unforgiving pavement. Or feel my knees hurting and buckling and cracking with each breath, showing their severe weakness and obvious disapproval of this evil form of torture.Read more
I now divide my life into two chapters.
Chapter one began when I met Dave. My life path suddenly became clear with him. I felt really safe and loved for the first time. My grades in college improved, the lifelong battle I'd had with insomnia disappeared. I moved across the country to be with this man who turned my world around.
We spent nearly 7 years living in "sin" and 8 properly married. We chose to have no kids. We liked the little cocoon of our life and didn't want anything to compromise our time together.
My future seemed clear. Easy. I actually recall saying "I wish more exciting stuff happened to me!"
Hanging out a while back I was chatting with a female friend-of-a-friend having a great (non-romantic) time. Eventually, we decided we should become Facebook friends. I suggested she find my profile and send me a “friend request.” She typed and searched as I spelled out my name (‘C’, ‘H’… yes “Chris”. “Weaver” – ‘W’, ‘E’…. Apparently there are a lot of Chris Weavers on Facebook.) As she scrolled I looked at the little profile pictures and, when I saw my mug, I pointed and said “Ah, that’s the one!” She clicked and I went about my other business while she read my profile. Then it happened. She said something loudly I didn’t see coming: “OH! You are a WIIII-DOOO-WEEER!!”Read more
I find I’m still reflecting on my experiences from Widow Camp. In those few short days I feel like I moved forward leaps and bounds down the healing path simply by being surrounded by others who share similar past experiences. The friendships I made there still stand and the conversations haven’t stopped. The reward has been well beyond the investment.Read more
There was a real chance that Maggie would have died that first night we were in the hospital back on January 6, 2007. Despite our dreams, our plans, our love and our forever-together commitment, I’d truly be alone. As she slept soundly in a cozy, drug-induced haze, I felt like it was me against all the evil in the world… and the evil was winning. I felt the most alone I had ever felt in my life. While I watched her chest slowly sink and rise with each laborious breath, my mind raced with terrible, terrible thoughts and I feared I was never going to speak to or kiss my sweet wife again. It was the longest, loneliest night of my life.Read more
The people in this photo have experienced despair. These smiling faces have cried buckets (okay maybe an ocean) of tears because someone they love is not coming home, ever. Some of us were called to an emergency room or opened the door to a uniformed officer who told us the news that would change our lives; while others sat by a bedside day after day, night after night...climbing into a hospital bed to say the final good bye.Read more
As I write this, hundreds of widows and widowers are half a world away at Camp Widow.
Finding others who don’t look at them with pity, but with knowing.
With friendship.Read more
.... was had by all.
I am at the San Diego airport, waiting for my flight back to Houston.
I am spent.
I am exhausted.
Physically and emotionally.
And I know I'm not the only one.
But it's a good exhaustion.
And I know I'm the only person who thinks that.