The quest for peace, acceptance and happiness after losing my husband to depression has taken me to some unexpected places. It has lead me travelling (around Australia to meet with other widows and to the USA to connect with Soaring Spirits at Camp Widow), encouraged me to try new things, forced me to open myself up to ideas about life and spirituality and introduced me to some really wonderful and interesting people.
Recently, this quest took me on another unexpected adventure, to the Ocean Soul Retreat in Bali, Indonesia, where I undertook their holistic healing program.
Having never been on a retreat, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. As an introvert and self-declared control freak (not to mention, picky eater), I was a little apprehensive about the idea of spending a week in the company of strangers and relinquishing my comfortable, but not-so-healthy, lifestyle to embrace a program of healing treatments, daily yoga and a very different whole foods menu. However, I decided to go all in and embrace the program designed – kale and all!Read more
This week I'm all over the place, both geographically and emotionally. It took me a week plus a few days to get from Camp Widow in Tampa, back here to Arizona. In that time, I hit highs and lows, some of them to be so expected that it is given a name "Camp crash".
Additionally, tomorrow would be my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary. We used to calculate, as we drove the country in our last 4 years together, how many anniversaries we could realistically celebrate, given our ages when we married. It was a second marriage for both of us and believe me, we celebrated our alone time once the kids (4 between us) grew up and went out on their own. No empty nest for us! Sex whenever and wherever in the house we wanted; who has time for empty nest?Read more
Once again, I have no idea what to write about tonight. Im not feeling like myself right now. I have been sick with the worst cold on the planet for almost 2 weeks now. It started about 2 days before leaving for Tampa, Florida, for Camp Widow. Being at camp and sharing a room with 3 other people and giving my comedic presentation and talking, talking, talking all week long, only made things worse. Now, Im back home, and I cant get through a sentence without coughing like a maniac. Im also absolutely exhausted. Camp was incredible, like it always is. But being sick while there kind of sucks. My energy was zapped and I felt like I was faking it all week long. I wanted so badly to hang out with people and go in the pool and the hot-tub and have drinks and stay up late with everyone else, but I was so tired and just not feeling good at all, that I opted out of most of those things. It took every ounce of energy in me to give my presentation, and as a comedian, Im a perfectionist, so I wasnt exactly happy with my results. Everyone will say they didnt notice or that it was still great, but I just felt "off."Read more
I just finished my first Camp Widow and I'm on my way back to Arizona to see our oldest son get married. As soon as Camp finished, I hopped in PinkMagic and headed north to the Panhandle and turned west. All of which is to say...I haven't even begun to filter through the experience of meeting so many beautiful people, men and women who are traveling this widowed road.
There is too much to write about, too many impressions, too much emotion, too much of pretty much everything and I need to focus on driving, so I am.Read more
Well here I am at Camp Widow in beautiful Tampa. Today I attended round table discussions on 'being widowed by suicide', 'being widowed without the chance to have children' and 'signs and synchronicity'. I met some wonderful, inspiring people and told my story a couple of times. And I didn't cry once.
Not sure what I want to write about tonight, but I will begin by telling you where I am. Lobby of Marriott hotel, Tampa, Florida. Attending and presenting my comedic performance for the 6th time at Camp Widow. All of the camp events officially begin in the morning, but Ive been here since yesterday afternoon, and have already reconnected with old friends and met a few new ones. Us widowed people find each other pretty easily. Just look for the nearest bar.Read more
Grief illiteracy has been on my mind quite a bit in the last couple weeks. Even if you don't know that term, you'll know what I mean when I tell you about my face-to-face with it. And you'll nod your head and say to yourself (or to the room in general)....oh, yes....
I keep a personal blog in addition to writing for Widows Voice, and I have for years. It began as a way to chronicle my and my husband's travels. After his death it became, and remains, about the most difficult of travels; alone and without the man I love next to me.
As I write this, I'm sitting in a plane, flying from Los Angeles to New York. I'm back in the USA for Camp Widow East next weekend and decided to make a holiday off it, fulfilling a life-long dream of visiting the Big Apple.
I'm almost in Tampa for Camp Widow, arriving early from Arizona. This has been a long road trip for me, and taxing in a different way from my previous travels, emotionally. Perhaps it's the knowing that this really will be for me, as so many have assured me, a life-changing weekend. This grief is exhausting and I want it to shift for me but at the same time, being honest, I suppose deep in there somewhere is fear also. Fear that it will be so life-changing for me that I won't recognize myself afterwards. Not that I recognize myself now. All I know is that I'm not the woman I was with Chuck. Everything else is up for grabs.Read more
Tonight, I just wanted to be me.
Sometimes, I just want to be me.
But, not this version of me. Old me. The me that existed before July 13, 2011. The me that had a sick but random and giddy sense of humor. The me that laughed with abandon, and laughed often. The me that was easygoing and fun and carefree, sarcastic and crazy and youthful. The me that had only been through the deaths of my grandparents, uncles, and a few family friends and acquaintances, which , although very hard, isn't even on the same playing field as husband. The me that knew what it was like to go to a funeral, and then go home - affected by the death for a few hours or days or weeks, but able to live my life much in the same way as I did before. That me.