In the morning, I am getting up at an ungodly hour (4am) to wait for my friends who are picking me up and then we are driving the 9 hour road trip to Toronto Canada for Camp Widow. We did this same thing last year, and we had fun on our car ride together. And of course, after arriving, the weekend was filled with healing, laughter, grief tools, honoring love, and friendship. I expect nothing less to be true this time around.
It is the 10 year anniversary of Soaring Spirits International, and the founder, Michele Neff Hernandez, has decided to step down from doing her "Key Note Address", which she has done at every single Camp Widow since the event began. At each camp event, she creates a themed talk , always with a beautiful and poignant and different message, and she delivers it on the big stage on the Saturday morning at 9 am of the Camp Widow weekend. Her Key Note has always been my very favorite part of camp, and I can already feel myself getting emotional as I think about never hearing her words of comfort and wisdom again on that stage. I wonder who else will do the Key Notes, and will I be moved by their message? I'm not the greatest when it comes to change, and right now, I'm still in the deep mourning phase of my acceptance of this reality.
The other thing going on for me is that this year, I am in a beautiful relationship with my next great love story. And although I love going to Camp Widow and always will, I don't want to leave him behind right now, for reasons I cant get into here, but I just wish we could be together at this time. He cant come with me because of work and other commitments and money, so we will part for 4 days and miss each other and talk every day and all of that.
I love Toronto. I'm excited to talk to the Canadians - I always get such a kick out of how incredibly nice everyone is there. I cant wait to see my friends in the widowed community, especially the ones that I only see once a year at these events. Im excited to do my presentation about loss, love, and death - and Im always happy to be able to provide laughter and healing for other widowed people. I look forward to gently walking the labyrinth that is just outside the hotel - it gives me peace to slowly meander along in the circle, thinking about all of life's complexities, and being one with nature.
I hope to meet new widowed friends who are hurting and struggling, and be able to tell them with certainty that it wont hurt this badly forever. I hope to sit with them and let them know they are going to be okay, eventually. And they are not crazy for whatever thoughts they are now having.
I love this time of year. The fall. The crisp air. There is a mellow-ness about me as I pack up for this trip to Canada. My passport is ready, and I am feeling purposeful.
Toronto, here we come ........