Each year for the past 8 I have participated in the Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society. As part of fundraising efforts, we have personal pages telling people why we "relay". I was thinking yesterday as I was traveling home from Camp Widow about the reasons why I come back each year and continue to work on it in the months in between.
I love Camp Widow. I love the joyful noise of it - the voices chattering, the loud bursts of laughter, and even the quiet sniffles. I love the look of it - the groups of people chatting, the heads nodding, the hugs, the smiles, the compassion and the community. I love the feel of it - welcoming, understanding, warm, caring, and oh so inspiring!
I spoke with so many people over the weekend I can hardly keep it straight in my head, but I was touched by the conversations I had with each person. I heard a hundred different stories of how people found out about Camp and how they ultimately made it there. I listened as people described for me their loneliness and isolation as a widowed person, and their revelation at the community they found in San Diego. I was awed by the courage it took to come when they had doubt it would help them, and inspired by the hope I heard in so many voices.
Why do I go to Camp Widow? I go because of you. I go because I want to be there to meet you and hear your stories and see your transformation when you find our community. I go because we all belong to an exclusive club with VERY high dues, and I want to see our members in person, not just online. I go because I need to be reminded that moving forward (exactly right Meagan - not moving ON, but moving forward) is a very tough choice and we have to make it each and every day, no matter how many days/weeks/months or years it has been. This is a tough road we all travel, but the bumps are much easier with the love and support of each other. I love you my widowed family. You are the reason I go to Camp Widow and I can't wait to see you next year!