I really wanted to blog from camp widow, like, every 2 hours. I wanted it to be a live-from-the-event detailing of everything that was happening. But, I also wanted to be part of what was happening. I came home, and I wanted to blog about EVERYTHING. I was exhausted. Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything ___ly. Finally I’m able to take some time, to have stepped away from that weekend, from all the many wonderful and interesting widow(er)s and look at my notes and breathe and feel without feeling overwhelmed.
Here’s what I learned, in bullet-point fashion Side note (because I LOVE sidenotes) these are my interpretations of what they said, and may not be EXACTLY what they said…
-When you go to an old place, one that you went to with your dead spouse, are you seeing death or new life?
-How you react to visiting that old place is NEVER as bad as when they died, so don’t make it out to be. I call this the “Get over it Brenda” method.
From Jennifer and Michele:
-Ask God ‘Why’ (even though you’ve already done this 1 bazillion times), imagine His answer. Is or will the answer EVERY be good enough? If you’re like me, and you answer HELL NO, then stop asking. Just stop. Breathe. Stop.
-Sometimes the Energy with which we are angry with God is preventing us from something…(this was my ‘oh crap, they’re right’ moment).
-List your blessings – what are their true worth?
-When you say you have NOTHING good going on in your life, what are you discounting? Friends, family?
-We write to survive him/her dying, not BECAUSE they died.
From Irene & Mike:
-You may only realize you want another relationship when you accept that your spouse WILL die and that it’s worthwhile to go through again.
-Myth in culture: SAINTED DEAD SPOUSE. Did he/she have faults? Yes. I say that honestly-Kevin had faults. He rocked, but he had faults.
-Not everything that goes bad in our new life is attributed to widowhood, it is about so many different things.
-If you are the new person in a relationship with a widow(er) you cannot think of yourself as the second choice, but as the FIRST choice in the life we are living NOW.
-Can you deny your past? No. Like any event, it makes you who you are today.
-You are not going into this broken, you are going into this good, and ready for something new and exciting in this new life. You’re not damaged goods.
These are the things I learned from workshops. My overall learning experience? We all have different and unique stories, but we all share the same look. I looked around me and saw myself at different phases of widowhood in other widows’ eyes. I saw myself at one month. I saw myself at three months. I saw myself at one year. At one and a half years. Coming into my third anniversary, I see myself now in those that I see who have made it and survived and are thriving. I also see myself in the broken moments that still knock us off of our feet. There was such a knowing in being surrounded by one another. It was greater than I imagined. I felt that presence in our online community, but it was so much more definitive in person. There were no words that needed said, just the looks, the “hey, I get you” glances. They were all there.
I hope to share in this experience again, and to be a part of widows’ lives as they just begin and as they conquer through.