I woke up to the most horrible dream about a week ago. Only the second worst kind of dream to have behind the dream of reliving my fiance’s death. My new partner, Mike, had been in an accident, and just like before… I got the phone call that changed everything. Just like before, the dizzying sensation of shock slammed into me, and picked me up off the ground like a tornado. As I swirled through a surreal vortex of a sudden reality I could not comprehend, I found a whole new fear.
When Drew died, the fear was that I would not live through this pain. I was very literally afraid for my life… because I didn’t see how anyone could make it through something so painful and so horrific and come out the other side. I was not afraid of my body dying, but worse, I was afraid my soul had died right along with him, and that I’d be damaged, angry, or just an empty shell of a person for the rest of my life. This was a very real fear for about the first 6 months. And it took time to begin to see proof that my soul hadn’t died too, and lay that fear to rest. I’m sure I’m not alone in having experienced this.
In this dream though, came that new fear. No longer was the first thought “What if I’m gone too?” Now it was… “How the hell am I going to take care of her on my own?”
So if you read my last blog, I was pretty stressed last week waiting for blood results and I’m happy to say everything is fine so I guess my stomach issues were really emotionally based. I do want to take a moment to thank everyone who has read my blog and the kind comments. I haven’t commented which has struck me by surprise since I am typically a talker.
Knowing that I had a blog entry to write, I thought about the kind of week I had dealing with Tin’s first birthday. It had been week after week of tough first days and this week was finally quiet. My mind is suddenly quiet. Today I realized, in my efforts to make it through the days, I am running from one task to another. I had told myself that I had to deal with my loss and not avoid it with a full schedule. Funny how you elude your own rules without realizing you are disobeying yourself. The heart wants what it wants.
I just returned from my 500 billionth Camp Widow.
Okay, I'm exagerating, but not by much. Besides, I lost count long ago on how many times I have been honored to be a presenter at this amazing healing place called Camp Widow.
July 13th was the 7-year mark of Don's death. Camp Widow began on July 13th. Friday the 13th. Nothing incredibly weird happened on Friday the 13th at camp, other than the fact that my entire life is incredibly weird all the time.
This time, at camp, I was going there as both a presenter and also a new author, my book being out on Amazon for over a month now, and on sale at the Camp Widow bookstore. The entire weekend people came up to me and asked for their book to be signed. It was my honor. My favorite part of that was sitting there and penning the name "Kelley Lynn Shepherd" over and over, knowing that I did not take my husband's name when we married, but that I would now take it on the pages of this book. Writing that name again and again made me feel so emotional. So filled with pride that I was well-loved by this incredible man. So happy to share with the world, pieces of our story.
At camp, I met new friends and saw old ones. I attended some workshops that helped me to heal just a little bit more. I had lots of drinks, hugs, and support down by the pool. I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean - on two different days. I sat in my widow friend's bed and ate chocolate chips with her while laughing at our strange lives. I waded in the pool, floating from end to end without a care in the world. I went on a sunset cruise to celebrate Soaring Spirits 10-year anniversary in existence. I ate lunch at the famous Hotel Del Coronado, with two widow friends. I stood on a balcony from my hotel room, admiring the gorgeous view of San Diego, and appreciating all of the beauty in nature. I enjoyed an unexpected upgrade into a suite, where I spent the morning of July 13th reflecting quietly, and alone, and with my dead husband. I gave my presentation to the largest crowd I've ever had at Camp Widow to date. I danced to Prince out on the dance floor, and held out my arms and empathy when a fellow widowed brother had an outburst of tears overflowing.