It has been a week full of incredible emotions. Actually a month of it. Hard things shared by friends, entrusted to me and my loving heart and praying soul. Life things. Health things. My personal worries, some important, some so silly to spend any of my time thinking about. And then there's all of the emotions that come during each of our Camp Widow weekends. Joy at seeing alumni return with smiles and wonderful updates of where their lives are now. Sadness to see others who are still struggling and trying to make their way through this new life. Happiness at seeing the new campers make important connections that will carry them through the coming months.
My tender, empathetic heart really feels all of these emotions.
I tried to give myself a couple of days of self-care after returning from San Diego. But there are some things that just cannot be put off. Like a widower who lost his wife last week and buried her on Sunday reaching out for help. We chatted. We will meet tomorrow morning so I can let him know there is hope that he will survive these oh-so-hard first days. And a 5 month out widow who is struggling and heard of me from a friend who owns a restaurant my local group meets at once a month. We're meeting, too.
I've had friends - even widowed friends - say they think I'm too involved in "all that widow stuff" for my own good. Oh, how I disagree. Being able to give back to my widowed community by helping others has helped me to heal. I still miss Vern. That won't ever change. But the deep pain of my loss has lessened as I've reached out to hold other widowed people's grief in a safe space, to give them a listening ear, to let them say their loved one's name and share their memories, and to be an example that they can survive their devastating loss. It feels like this is the work I was meant to do at this time of my life.
~She is stronger and more confident then she has ever been before. She has much work to do, but she is up for the challenge. For those that continue to walk with her, love and support her, she is a completely different woman. Be patient, because she too, is learning to understand who she. Relating to her in a different way may be a challenge for some, but those that care enough to understand her are those that will love her~ Mary CostanzaAnd then there's the offer of a second date. That brought out some emotions, too ... but I'll save that for the next blog post.