A Kind of Retirement

3_21_11.JPGI love the idea that there is a time, and a season, for all things, but change has always been hard for me. I like sameness, actually I used to thrive in the familiar. But the transformation that has happened in my life since Phil's death has taught me to accept my uneasiness regarding change as par for my particular course knowing that some of the most amazing blessings in my life are a direct result of changes I would not have made, should anyone have given me a choice.

In the spirit of embracing change as a positive step towards growth, I will be retiring from my regular writing spot here on Widow's Voice. Knowing that I will still be involved behind the scenes, and that I will be leaving you in the very talented hands of a dedicated group of writers, makes stepping down easier, but I will miss being a part of your daily life. Before I go I'd like to give you a bit of WV history, and a peek at where Soaring Spirits is headed in the coming years. I've included some links to previous posts to offer you a road map of my own Widow's Voice journey, it has been an honor to enter your homes and travel a bit of the widowed road with you. 

The Widow's Voice blog was created on November 6, 2008 in answer to a request from the community that was slowing building around a website I created for a book I haven't yet written. My concept for the book developed very early in my own grief journey. Having no access to widows my age, I went in search of them armed with 50 questions about the practical side of loss: how long to wear your wedding ring, what to do with your loved one's shoes, what side of the bed to sleep on, did you dream about them, did you wear black, what kind of support did you get from your family....you get the idea. My plan was to compile their answers, add my own story of finding and meeting them, and then put my book baby out into the world. Sounded fairly easy at the time, though I've since learned that the road to publishing isn't as straight and narrow as I imagined. After one year of interviewing I accidentally created a small community. Then I began to get requests for my answers to the fifty questions I asked during my cross-country travels, and so the idea for this blog was born. I'd answer a question a week, and have 50 weeks worth of content! I didn't plan what I would do next...who plans when you are grieving? ;)

My small personal blog grew into a movement I would never have imagined. The transformative change was the addition of other writers. Confession time...I did this because my advertising agency required daily updates and there was no way I could keep up. How to solve this problem? Why not make this space a collaborative effort? The idea to have seven writers on the seven days of the week turned on like a light bulb, and so I began to hunt for writers willing to share their stories of widowed life with this blog audience. Our early authors included Mie Elmhirst and Nicole Hart, who have since retired, but the rest of the team keeps working week to week to inspire, comfort, and sometimes just commiserate with all of you. I am humbled and grateful for the dedication shown by our team of writers Janine, Taryn, Michelle D, Kim (who took over for me when I used to write on two days), Jackie (who took over for Mie), and Matt (who took over for Nicole), and was the first man to join the ladies club.

Until Matt joined us, Widow's Voice only presented the female view of the widowed journey. But the longer we published this blog, the more clear the need to provide a larger variety of perspectives became. To that end, a fellow blogger introduced me to Dan's blog and an opportunity to reach even further by including a gay widower was created. Dan and I have been sharing Mondays for a few months, and I am grateful to leave my writing "day" with this generous, and movingly honest, man. This talented team of writers will continue to be here for you day after day with me in the background cheering them, and you, on from my editorial post.

My blog family has been witness to many of my personal milestones...the challenges of watching my children grieve their stepfather, facing the reality of family life without my partner, the painful realizations around my growth through widowhood, the fourth and fifth anniversaries of Phil's death, the idea of "comparing" my late husband with my then boyfriend, the incredible joy of camp widow number one and number two, the journey from dating to being engaged, and the previously unimaginable wonder of marrying again. Thank you for the gift of walking beside me through these moments, you've changed my life by embracing my words, by adding your own, by sharing your insights with other readers, by encouraging me through the ups and downs shared in these links...and by coming back to Widow's Voice day after day to honor the love you have known as you figure out how to embrace what lies ahead. We began this effort with about 100 views a month, and today we average 32,000. The numbers grow daily, and I continue to be astounded by the power of shared experience. 

What lies ahead for me personally? First of all I will still be the Editor of WV...and I am certain to write the occasional guest post. Next, Soaring Spirits has set some very large goals that include touching two million people annually using electronic means by the end of 2016, hosting a Camp Widow event on both coasts in that same time frame, identifying and securing funding sources that will enable us to meet these and many other goals, and maintaining a laser focus on our mission...creating communities for grieving people that allow them the space to grieve while providing them with tools for recreating their lives. All these dreams began here on November 6, 2008. I leave this regular writing gig to focus my attention on these goals. I want to make this happen for us, and for those who will have no choice about joining us in the future. We speak hope, and so many widowed people need to hear our voices.

Wish me luck, or better yet....join me in the effort!

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