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.Read more
The month of May looms large in my heart and soul, as I remember back to that May day in 2009 when Chuck and I began our Happily Homeless travels, after selling our house and belongings, and our last 4 years together as we adventured around the country…remembering that April night in 2013 when our adventures ended as he took his last breath and I placed his cremains and his flag on the shotgun seat next to me, and...wow... remembering this month, in 2013, as I began my Odyssey of Love for him, creating, at the same time, a community of Love and support for myself around the country.
It inspired me to make a list of what was, what became, what is, sacred and holy to me.
Indulge me, if you will, and, maybe, be inspired to make your own list.
Memories of dancing with him over the years...in the kitchen, in our backyard, at social occasions...dancing as a way of being further connected. His arm around my waist, my hand in his. Holy.
The twinkle in his green eyes as his gaze caught mine across a crowded room. Followed by a slow wink. It was as powerful to me as his touch. Holy.
The confidence he always showed in me that brought me to an awareness of my own strength, my own determination, my own gutsiness. It has stood me in good stead as I weave my way into this damned new life without him. Holy.
That moment as we lay in bed together, when he put his hand on my stomach, which I, of course, immediately removed because I didn’t like my stomach and he asked why I did that and I told him and his response was to place his hand ever so gently back on my stomach and tell me how he loved each and every part of me. That memory strengthens my resolve to make my body strong again, even in grief. Holy.Read more
So, after about 3 and a half years or so of writing and not writing and then writing again, and then the last 6 months or so of REALLY doing a TON of writing and not being able to look at computer screens anymore because my eyes hurt so bad - I am finally finished writing my book. It is FINISHED!!!!
I handed it over to my editor 2 days ago, and now he will edit and make suggestions on things like grammar, structure, spelling, and a little bit of content. And then it will be ready for uploading and publishing and that whole process by early June, so that it will be 100% OUT and available for purchase and shipping etc., in time for July 13th. That weekend is Camp Widow in San Diego. My great hope is that I will be there as a presenter, this time with my book on sale at the Camp Widow bookstore, for the first time. More importantly, July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of Don's death, so it's really important to me to be able to honor and recognize that day, with this book finally being out there for the public. I hope like hell that it helps people; brings them comfort, hope, or a few moments of knowing someone else understands.Read more
Mike was always at the forefront of new technologies…
Ha now there’s a sentence which is surprised at having been strung together. Mike was certainly not the most adept at such things…probably what I meant to say was that he loved to see all the techie gadgets that came along during his lifetime and then buy them and try and figure out how to use them. As a kid he was a fan of Dick Tracy and his watch and so there you have it. When Skype came along and then the iPhone and then FaceTime he couldn’t wait to have one of everything and I know if he’d been around when the Apple watch came out he’d have one of those too, and would have been quite gratified to see Mr. Tracy’s gadget truly come to life. He was tickled pink to be able to chat live in video with his daughter and baby grandson.