Why “Camping” with Widows is Important & How You Can Help

Update: $20 into my goal of $375 – can you help me get to $100 today? Click HERE to donate.


Last August I attended my first Camp Widow with the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation in San Diego, CA.  Not only was it my first Camp Widow, but I was presenting with my awesome friend Supa Dupa on blogging about grief.  Despite my severe back injury at the time, I made it out there with the incredible help of my friend Donna who made Camp Widow possible for me in many ways.

Prior to arriving at Camp Widow I had many fears that (I have come to find out) are very common amongst new campers.  Here were some of them:

  • It’s going to be a sob fest
  • My grief is mine alone and no one will be able to relate to me
  • I’ll be the youngest person there
  • I don’t want to participate in everything, it will be too much
  • San Diego CANNOT be fun with that many widows in town
  • Everyone is going to be cranky
  • I won’t know/get along with anyone
  • It’s not worth the expense
  • I cannot emotionally handle this

The list really does go on, but these are the ones that stick out in my brain as the ones I worried about the most.  What I came to find out over the course of 3 very quick days was that widows are actually quite fun, even a bit goofy.  I had never been around more real & authentic people in my life – no one there was hiding from their grief, from worry about saying the wrong thing, from talking about the issues that really mattered in life – it was ALL out there (and I do mean ALL out there).

I was worried people would see me and freak out because I am young, but I wasn’t the youngest person there.  Instead, I met the youngest person there, and we powwowed around with an awesome group of widows.  And we had fun!  Tequila in the Gas Light district kind of fun.

And I cried, yep.  But I didn’t cry for 3 days straight.  I cried for my grief, and I cried for their grief.  We were together in this, and no one was alone there.

While the schedule was tight, I never once felt obligated to attend anything, but instead found myself wanting to attend everything.  But, if I didn’t feel up to going to something, I didn’t have to.  That’s the beauty of it.  You come for what you want out of it.

And I could emotionally handle it – it didn’t mean I was in a strong emotional place, but I was fighting for myself, and everyone there was fighting for me and fighting for my future.  I was fighting for theirs too.

I was worried I wouldn’t connect with others, but I did.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t click with everyone, but I met some great new people, I got to finally hug those whom I had met on Widville and it was all worth it.

While I enjoyed my first time in San Diego, I was especially excited when it was announced there would be an East Coast Camp Widow, and that is where I am heading this April!  I will be leading a roundtable discussion on being widowed with no children at Camp Widow East in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I’m more of a beach/mountains/calm life kinda gal, so I cannot wait.  And, tying with it my love of road trips, I’m driving there!

I know not everyone can afford Camp Widow, and that’s why I want to raise $375 to provide a campership for 1 camper to attend the Camp Widow of their choice this year.  I know that there is some person out there who is not able to attend because of expenses, and this year, I want to provide this gift to them.

Please visit my secure fundraising page and contribute to give 1 person an opportunity to go to Camp Widow and feel connected in a way they may not have felt since the death of their spouse.  Click here to donate today.  Thank you!

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Comments 1

  1. Hi Brenda, I have spent a portion of my evening reading your blogs, a living autobiography in progress really. I clicked on something that took me here, and as I always figure…it was for a reason. So I read, and I read….I shed tears along the way, my chest got tight, at times I could not breathe. It’s been a good 40 years since that fateful day that my fiance’s plane went down. He was the pilot, trying to fly the “bush” in Alaska to get hours in the air to maybe, (just maybe) achieve his dream of someday becoming an airline pilot. He had asked me to marry him before moving up to Alaska…I had gleefully said yes i would love to marry him. After the distance became to much to endure, I started packing up to move to Anchorage to live with him until we could marry.But I never got to take that flight, the news was that his plane went down- the torrid winter had set in instantly during the flight, freezing up all the controls of the small plane he used to fly “the bush”. they told me they (he and the 12 passengers,)never even saw the mountain they hit, visibilty turned to zero…it was over in a moment, a breath, a blink, a lifetime.
    I am sharing this with you because I was trasported fully back to the day from reading your blogs, woah….I was NOT expecting Gary to be Kevin …or Kevin to be Gary…. but let me continue my saga for just another minute please.
    The word was that they were helecoptering close to the wreckage, just enough to confirm that there were no survivors, as it would risk too many more lives to try to land something in the deadly storm, that it would not be until the spring, when the ice finally melted, that the love of my life would be “rescued” and be properly returned home for a burial, to rightfully get to say my goodbyes. It was a long, depressing, lonely winter to say the least! Point here being (my dear friend that I have never met in “real life”) that im my eyes, i dont know what is better- there is no better way—just saying that atleast you got to say goodbye, hold Kevin, touch him, help him, hurt with him…..
    you get the idea? I feel so much for you, you are doing soooooooo much better than I think i did (also very young indeed! my 20’s barely) Use the supports out there, stay strong and enjoy those good times- and not least of all…let yourself be “reborn” thru new love!! If you read my Spark page ever, you will see that I love so very deeply, truly, and happily with my husband of now 31 years…. and I hardly have a day like today where I think about Gary…but oh, how bittersweet to have cried alone, along with your sentiments- i felt like it had just happenend again- fresh pain, fresh loss, but bittersweet, not so devastating. this is what I wish for you Brenda dearest, 40 years….. I have had quite a life, one I could never had forcasted or imagined the day…or 4 years after …the plane went down. Time. That is the bottom line… Time, healing, loving and you are so lucky to have so much support, and it is wonderful that you can help others in your shoes. I have so much love for you, we have a connection beyond Mars bars and Swiss Rolls!!But I love that connection too, it makes me really smile, even laugh outloud! You my dear….are amazing! thanks for listening. phew…I needed that apparently! Ha!! ***SNOW*** jill Salmons

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