Resting

Resting on my laurels is almost too enormous a thought for me, but I’m going to give it a test drive.  The widow in me feels somewhat jinxed by even writing the words on paper, because I know that bad things can happen.  I’m going to suppress those feelings as well as I am able and give myself a break for a bit (at least as long as it takes to write this blog.)  Over the past four or five years, I have been working diligently to accept and manage this unexpected life of mine. I have set goals and many times I have been able to achieve them.  It has been an enlightening time in my life.  I have had to completely reassess what is important to me and then align my life to support my priorities.

The health, well-being, and general happiness of my family are my first priority.  It was my priority before Dave died, but it’s funny how the magnification of our home lives and relationships has changed.  The balance of trying to do anything to make up to the boys that their dad died and not giving them whatever they want just to make them happy has been difficult.  I have always wanted my boys to be hardworking, loving, compassionate people who are givers, not takers in this world.  Then, life took their dad from them.  It took a while for me to learn to accept I will never be able to make up for this.  It took a while for me to come to grips that being their sole parent will be fine…maybe even a good experience for them.  I still struggle with that one…I miss parenting with him.  We were so different and he brought so many wonderful things to our lives.  Re-aligning my brain, my actions, well, really my whole life and soul to meet this priority has kept me on my toes and working really, really hard over the past few years.

Another priority is modeling a life worth living.  This is not just for my boys, but for me and anyone else around me that glance into my life.  My husband loved life.  My husband was a fun, happy guy.  The last thing that he would ever want for me would be for my life to stop or be miserable.  I’m not talking about my grief here…that is necessary…I have to recognize, name, experience and walk through my feelings, emotions, all of the consequences his death has brought me. I am talking about this unexpected life I have now.  I’m talking about my happily ever after.  I strive to remember the things that make me happy, the things that bring me joy, the good/healthy habits that bring me growth, the things that make me Chris, not just widow.

My third guiding principle these last years is to be kind.  I am kind in a way that I truly didn’t know before he died.  Kindness really drives me.  Again, with this priority, I have to make sure there is balance and I am not trampled over by those who may not value the same things.  Kindness does not mean pushover.  Kindness, smart, strong, and even sassy can live together.  I’ve always considered myself a servant-leader and acting with kindness toward others (and myself too) is at the root of this.  My older son has asked me, “How are you always so nice to people mom, especially when people can be such jerks?” My reply is that it isn’t always easy, it’s a choice.  It’s a choice to treat someone with dignity who may not do the same for you and at the end of the day I am at peace because I have been kind and loving to those around me.

These things will not change as I rest.  These are constants.  What will change? I will not be going after or trying to grab the next gold ring.  I am going to enjoy the ride for a while.  I am going to enjoy the culmination of my work for the last years. I am grateful for the struggles…working on my masters, getting my teaching certificate, getting/changing jobs, creating this blog, submitting work all over the place, learning to coach and then coaching, finding crossfit and working on my physical well-being…all these things have had me pushed to my maximum for a long time.  Now, many of these things are my norm.  Now, it is time for me to enjoy the nook I’ve carved out…enjoy the now, be present to today…maybe, dream about a future…yes, I said it…a future.  Sitting in the here and now,  resting my soul, and maybe walking into a future that doesn’t feel so foreign anymore.

Holiday spirit

Nearly every morsel of me wants to title this blog…bah humbug…but that little light of hope I carry around won’t let me do it.  The holidays are upon us and well, they are bringing me down.  At least I think it’s the holidays.  I’ve had so many changes this year. The largest one, taking a new job hasn’t been what I had hoped. My personal life, well, I’m not sure how much personal life I have because I work a bunch and it is catching up with me. My boys just aren’t themselves.  Is it really as simple as we are back in the midst of the holidays again and our broken hearts surface again in a more distinct way?

I really do have a hard time some days sorting out which is which.  Are some of the things that bring me down just normal things or am I taken down more deeply because of my widowed soul.  I know many people struggle with work, children, balancing their lives every day. Is the acute pain I feel because down deep, I know my life would have been very different if cancer hadn’t knocked on my door nine years ago and taken the only man that could put up with me?

It has been a very long several weeks.  Really, it has been a long semester.  The new job I took, shuffled our lives around so much.  That coupled with the fact that it was necessary for me to take on coaching for extra income the last six weeks has exhausted me.  I was already feeling pretty guilty about how much time I am with my boys, but add coaching and I only see them for three or four hours a day, if that.  I feel like that out of touch parent.  They spend more of their days with other people.  The time we are together is not quality time because it’s catch up time.

I’ve been trying over the past several years to let my social life back in too.  I’ve had a bit of success, but I think the more I let it in, it compounds the loneliness. Once a month or so, I have a night out and then the nights home feel quieter, lonelier than before when I was just used to being alone at night. Does that make sense? I think again, changing jobs has a huge impact here too.  Teaching in high school is a much different beast than teaching in an elementary school.  I’m not sure if it’s just this particular place or high schools in general, but the apathy runs deep and I finding myself disappointed in my choice.  I love the kids and the teaching, but miss collaborating with colleagues.  I keep telling myself that it takes time to build new relationships in a new workplace, but now I’m not sure if that’s it.  I miss my former colleagues very much.  I miss a work place that fosters building relationships and models it.

I also had very sweet, dear friend let me down in a way I never thought would happen.  I trusted this friend with a very vulnerable part of me.  A place of respite and safety for me has disappeared.  I am so hurt by this and what appears to be a lack of care for the disappointment that my heart is broken.  It really makes me wonder if it’s worth it to put that trust in someone, anyone really.  So, I don’t know if it’s just a normal disappointment that’s hurting my heart or is it my own abandonment issues that make it impact me more.

All these pieces of my life march into the holidays with me.  I see the spirit around me rising, but I’m feeling more broken this year.  My fragmented heart is feeling its scars. I am thinking about my boys and another year without their dad has passed.  My little one is always so angry.  I’m not sure if it’s a phase or if it’s his grief coming out sideways.  My big one had his heart broken by a girl.  He appears to be handling it ok, but again, that anger comes out.  I wonder if he’ll struggle with the same abandonment issues that I struggle with as he moves into adult life.  I wonder if we will always be waiting for the other shoe to drop when we have happy moments.  We did know happy.  We did know safety, security.  We did know love. The other shoe dropped though.  I really don’t know if I’ll ever be able to buy in completely again.  I want to, I hope I can, but I don’t believe I’ll be able to get there.  Well, because I know nothing really lasts forever.  Nothing.

Yet, despite nothing lasting, the light of hope, the memory of love, and the longing to feel safe again will propel me into the holidays the way it always does.  I will go through the motions and hope they become reality. I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. I know I will hit moments when it feels like life is miserable. I know this.  I know I will hit moments that scream at me that I’ve made the wrong decision, trusted the wrong person, or let myself and my kids down.  I will pick myself up and try again.  I have survived.  I will continue…holidays or not.

That damn hope.

That wonderful hope.

That undying hope.

“She fell and no one caught her…”

Thanksgiving is here. I am grateful for many, many things. Every day I count my blessings…really. My life is pretty, dang good most days. Sure I have struggles and challenges, everyone does.  Widowed and non-widowed alike will have moments of acute gratitude and acute pain. It is what it is.  People have joy and sorrow in their lives every, single day….holiday or not.

I’m getting better at holidays.  Over eight years of practice now and I don’t feel completely taken down by them. This is my ninth Thanksgiving widowed.  It is my boys ninth Thanksgiving without their dad. When I write these words, they knock the wind out of me. Yesterday, I was so fortunate to see Dave’s work buddies.  I’m not sure if they know how much it means to me to get that call to come by and see them.  They were just gathered for a short time, but being in the room with them, well, it reminds me that he was real.  He was here. We had something. After all these years alone, sometimes I forget that I’m loveable.  I forget that I don’t have to bear all the responsibility alone. I forget it happened to me.

Along with those moments of respite, I remember things too.  I remember that for a while, I had someone who always had my back.  No matter what, Dave had my back. I had his. We knew this.  Our relationship wasn’t perfect…very far from perfect, but I never doubted that he would catch me if I fell.  He would catch me when the big things happened…when I lost a job, a friend, a dream…and when the little, daily things would trip me, his hand was always there to help me up again.  I did everything in my power to be that to him…always. Even in the midst of a fight, maybe even hating each other for a while for whatever reason, I knew he would always be there for me.  I could fall and be caught…no matter what.  Knowing this changed me.  I was braver.  I was more trusting.  I learned to love fiercely, because I wasn’t afraid of being dropped.

In the years since he died, I sought out people who might catch me.  I’ve been lucky because I have a pretty strong net of people who will catch me. The ones that wouldn’t or couldn’t catch me weeded themselves out pretty quickly after his death.  It takes a special soul to catch a widow…at least that’s how I see it.  As a widow, I feel even more invisible. I feel that not only I would not be caught, but who would even notice if I fell?  Who would see me? I feel invisible…would anyone even notice if I needed them to get my back?

I think this is one of those feelings that transcends time for me.  No matter how much I achieve, no matter how much I build in this new, unexpected life, I still worry about being seen and having someone there to catch me.  I know  that having someone like that is rare…I was lucky.

I think this fear of not being caught is a reflection of not receiving one of the things I value most in life.  I put it out there every day for other people.  It is who I am.  I build relationships.  I will love you fiercely.  I will have your back.  If you are family, friend, colleague, student, neighbor, well, really anyone who has become a part of my life, this is what I will do for you.  Some people get this.  Some people are ok with it…some are not. It is who I am. I am one of those people you can count on…nearly all the time.  I think this is why I miss having someone in my corner so badly.  It is one of the many, many reasons I miss Dave so badly…especially this week.  As I think about what would have been our 17th wedding anniversary that just passed, as I think about another holiday season, as I think about the future and how mine was ripped away eight and a half years ago, I miss him deeply.  I miss being caught.  I miss being seen.  I miss being loved fiercely and being able to love someone that way.

In the eighth plus year of this unexpected life, I know for certain that it will continue to teach me unexpected things.  I know that there will be new and unexpected joys.  I know that I will appreciate them even more than the average bear…I know that even though I worry about no one seeing me, no one catching me…someone will.  I know that this holiday season will pass and it will give me unexpected gifts.  I know that I will be stronger, more loving, and more me with every passing day…and for that I am grateful.

Time

Seventeen years ago I got married. In only a few days, I will have been alone as many years as I was married.  Crazy.  Thinking back, I feel like there have been so many lifetimes in my one lifetime.  There is this intangible thing about time, yet when I look back, time feels so concrete.  When I think that eight and a half years have passed since Dave died, I really can’t wrap my brain around it.  In those early moments, it felt as if time had stopped.  If it hadn’t stopped, I certainly wanted it to stop.  I wanted to stay as close to the moment that he was still on the planet as I could.  I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t want to go forward into a future without him.  Now, I am sitting here and I’ve survived many more years than I ever thought possible.  Time has passed. I can breathe again. Who knew?

In those first years, time was the enemy.  It moved at a snail’s pace.  Every day took forever to pass.  The nights moved even more slowly than the days.  The exhaustion of the day would take me to sleep quickly, but only a few hours later, I would wake and lie awake for the rest of the night wondering how I would survive the rest of my time here.  How would I raise our sweet boys?  How would I crawl into bed every night alone?  How would I ever make it through another day without his smile?

It took many years and much help from others to get where I am today.  In many ways, time seems to have passed quickly.  How could so much time have passed already?  On days like today when I sit and remember, it feels like he was just here.  As I look around my life though, there are so few signs of him anymore.  Life is so different.  I am so different.  He is still in my heart like no other can be.  He is still in our conversations.  He is still ours.  The thing is, this life looks so much like me now.  I miss his imprint on my life.  We were so different. I miss the variety.  Time has cemented my will on this life now.  On days like today, I wonder what would be different if he was still here.  Would time feel like distance or like home?

I wonder too how he would feel about how I’m doing with all of this.  There’s the quick answer…he’d be proud of how I carry on and survive…but, I’m not so sure he’d like our world with so much of my slant in it.  He loved me, but he also balanced me.  He saw through me.  He knew when enough was enough with me.  I miss having someone to call me out on my stuff.  I miss that my kids don’t know “the me” that I was with him.  I still think I was better then.  I think my heart was softer.  I think the feeling of being beholden to someone and giving them that same space in your heart, life and soul makes me better.  It was such an investment of time and energy, but so worth it.  Maybe it isn’t time that feels intangible without him, maybe it’s me that feels less tangible?  Maybe it isn’t the movement of time that is so elusive, but it is me who feels so detached most days that I’m elusive?

I do know seventeen years ago, I made one of the best choices I ever made.  I would do it many more times…even if I knew that how much pain that choice would bring. To find each other was such a lucky moment…to lose each other, not so lucky…but I still feel lucky most days.

As time continues to push me into the future, sometimes it feels my life with him was the fantasy.  It feels like maybe that part of my life didn’t happen.  I know this new life so well now that a life with love at my side is a distant memory.  Time has cemented me into this life I created to survive losing him.  It is his love that keeps me strong and hopeful.  It is that memory of him loving me that gives me hope that maybe someday another will be willing to walk beside me, hold me near, and love me, even in this transformed state.  The more time that passes though, the more I don’t see it happening.  I know that no one will love me as he did.  That’s just not how it works.  New people love us in ways we never knew possible and I’ll love in new ways, but there is a tapping in my heart that the more time that passes, the longer I survive on my own, the less possible that new love will be.  Time becomes concrete when I look back at it and as I become even more capable of handling life alone, I fear that I don’t even look around anymore for a different way.

Time heals? I’m still not sure.  I do know that it passes whether I like it or not.  Is it better or worse? Who knows?  It is just different I guess.  I am so different now than I was seventeen years ago as we stood together and took the risk.  Time passes.  Time changes me.  Elusive or concrete, tangible or intangible, it still moves me forward…I will sit in it, survive it, look back at it, and continue to wonder where it will take me next.

A change will do me good…

After Dave died, every change was painful.  In those first days, I wanted time to stay frozen.  Even better…time would go backward for me and I would land back in his arms.  I would wake up and he’d be right there next to me, still healthy, still well. I remember going through his things, feeling like I was violating his privacy, and trying to throw away even a paper receipt would send me reeling.  Change was the enemy.  Change had been thrust upon me and I wasn’t going to give it anymore…I had already given him up and I couldn’t bear more change.

That was how I felt.  Despite these feelings though, throughout my time since him, I have still changed.  Imagine that! I have even agreed and chosen change along the way…so odd that one of the things that brought me the most pain, most days…well, I forced myself to do it anyway. When I was frozen in pain, I almost craved change, the very thing that terrified me most.  I felt that if I changed, I would be further away from him.  I just couldn’t bear that.

Change is inevitable, we know that.  I knew that.  There was also that sound, grief advice that I had heard through the years, “Don’t make any big, life changes in the first year of your loss.”  I always teetered trying to balance this.  I craved change hoping it would whisk me away from my pain and always worried I was doing huge damage to my grieving soul and perhaps the grieving souls of my boys.  I usually fell a little off balance, landing more toward change.  Hell, how bad could the change be…I’ve lost him…I can deal with a bit of a change, right?

Well, within a few months after his death, prompted by a friend, I bought a new home.  Soon thereafter, we moved from the home Dave and I had shared for a very long time.  It was hard.  It was really hard…but I felt the change would do me and the boys good.  We would have more space, a yard, well…all the good reasons a family moves for…and it has.  I love my home.  It was a good change and I think that if I had stayed in our home, believe it or not, healing would have come more slowly because I would have been more successful at freezing time.

In the next year, we had to change schools for my big boy for multiple reasons.  We left a community that I had belonged to for many years.  I had been a minister there, I had taught in the school there, we went to church there and we were at home there for many years.  They loved us through Dave’s illness and supported us in many, many ways.  After he died though, things changed.  My big boy needed a different learning environment.  So we changed.  Not everything at first, but within a year or so, we had.  We held on to some dear friends, but really didn’t look back.  In moving and changing, we found a school community that embraced us even more.  Not only did they embrace us, but they wanted what was best for my boy.  This community has been a lifeline for me for years.  They have truly embraced my crazy and loved me despite of it.  Eventually, I began working there bit by bit as my little one grew.  They moved me from position to position when they saw an opening that matched my talents, my time and their needs.  They inspired me to go back to school for my master’s degree (oh, there’s another change) to officially join the ranks of teaching.  This change has healed me and helped me become more of who I am meant to be.

This week I made another change.  I am moving to a new school to teach.  I have another amazing opportunity.  I will become more of who I want to become.  I have spent a few days in this new place, with these new people, and am excited for what is ahead and anticipate with joy how I will change.  I have the opportunity to teach what I love.  It is another life changing step, another step toward thriving again. I am hopeful that this change will do me good too.

Change is inevitable.  Many times, I have gone toward it kicking and screaming.  Many times, I have embraced it and ended up in a place that surprises me and even more surprising, brings me joy.  It is not easy.  Every step I take toward thriving again takes me another step further from who I thought I would be.  I end up further and further from what I used to picture as my future.  That hurts deeply sometimes.  I hate moving further away from a time when Dave was here with me.

Change is also filled with magic.  It gives me this magical opportunity to recreate, to adjust, to renew and revise myself in ways I never thought possible. Even when it terrifies me, even when the logistics of the change seem like it won’t work, even when I am so exhausted from over processing all possible outcomes…it comes down to that craving again.  I crave joy.  I crave happiness.  I want to be an example to my children of taking risks even if they don’t work out.  I want magic in my life.  When I embrace new things, new challenges, I am better.  I become more of who I want to become.

Eight years ago, I was on my knees begging for God to change what had happened to me. I was so broken. I was so lost.  Bit by bit, hour by hour, days grew to months, months to years and what happened to me has indeed changed.  The circumstances didn’t change, but I have.  It didn’t bring Dave back…which was all that I wanted then…but time has brought me back to life.  It may be a life that I don’t recognize some days, but I have carved it out and found my way, one change at a time.

Sometimes, most times, a change will do me good.

It’s a long road…

 “…cause it’s a long road to wisdom but it’s a short one to being ignored…”

~Flowers in Your Hair, The Lumineers

Driving to San Diego is one of my favorite things.  I love getting up early to travel the empty highways.  I love the way the landscape changes as we ascend the dry, desert mountains on the Arizona side toward the moist, lush, green mountains on the San Diego side.  I love the descent into the cooler, summer weather.  I love the way my boys sit in the back seat together watching movies, reading, or listening to music.  My big huddled with my little gazing out the windows excitedly waiting for vacation to begin…even though it already has.

I love driving.  I love listening to music and watching the road speed by me.  I listen to old, to new, rock, alternative, country, R&B, well, pretty much anything.  I listened to The Lumineers for a while this time on the drive.  I was thinking about the upcoming weekend and the upcoming experience at Camp Widow West while the music played.  When Flowers in Your Hair played, a line of the lyrics got stuck in my mind:  “…cause it’s a long road to wisdom but it’s a short one to being ignored…”

Throughout the weekend these words kept creeping back in to my mind.  Since Dave’s death, it has been a very long road for me.  Now I’m not saying that I am full of wisdom, but I am working on gaining some.  It’s not really wisdom of knowledge I seek, but wisdom of the soul.  This wisdom I value is the understanding of pain, love, joy, sadness and survival. I have worked very hard to come back to life over the past eight years.  I did not want to come back to life in the first year or so.  I wanted to go back and be with Dave.  All I wanted was him to be with me…for him to be here… not dead.  It was a very, very long time before I could even admit to myself that I wanted to survive and be happy again.  In finding that truth and admitting it, I wanted to find the wisdom of surviving a heartbreak that I thought would be the end of me.

One of the paths of wisdom I chose was writing again.  I also chose reading the words of those with similar loss, pain, and hope.  I found Widow’s Voice http://widowsvoice-sslf.blogspot.com/ shortly after beginning my own blog.  I was inspired by the truth shared.  I was inspired by the openness in sharing loss.  In my real world it was very often hard to share the truth and pain that was always lurking in my heart.  When I shared my deepest pain, fears and loss it made my people around me worry.  When I wrote it down and shared it with the widowed community, it helped.  It helped me.  It helped a few others.

Sharing with the widowed community through my writing lessened my need to share about my heartache publicly, verbally. I let my blog be the main voice of my grief.  With that simple act, I decided to become more of a listener than a speaker.  Now for those who know me…this is a difficult act…I’m quite the chatterbox…but, nonetheless, over the past years, I have tried to listen more than speak.  When I think of the lyrics that stuck in my head, I think of this.  Early on when all I could do is share my story with the people around me, I soon felt ignored.  I felt like they couldn’t listen to me anymore.  I felt isolated…hence, the name of this blog…I felt like I was out on an island alone with no way off.

So, this last week when I went to San Diego as a volunteer, I went hoping to be a listener.  Now, I’m not sure how well I actually did it, but I heard the stories of many women and a few men.  They openly shared their journey with me whether we were strangers, acquaintances or friends.  I witnessed courage in many ways.  I witnessed pain and joy, tears and smiles.  My biggest hope is that one widowed person felt heard.  I wanted to be a soul who really listened to their story, their pain, their struggles, their triumphs and successes.  I wanted one less widowed person to feel isolated, alone.

I’ve worked so hard on my own stuff, that I was able to listen and it was about listening to them…not their words setting off my own stuff.  I heard them, not me echoing in their words.  Although there is always an element of this, it wasn’t about me; it was about the person in front of me who blessed me with their presence, their story.

I think part of the true wisdom of Camp Widow West and East is the gathering itself.  The bringing together of people who don’t really want to see anyone or go anywhere because of their broken hearts and wounded souls.  There is such wisdom in being present to another person, even if no words are spoken.  This gathering is one of the only places in my life that I feel truly embraced with all my widow scars.  I don’t scare anyone there or make them uncomfortable.  I am not scared by their stories and am anxious to hear them share their wisdom, brokenness, the ways they heal themselves, the ways they survive every day.

I come home from San Diego wiser than I was when I left.  This is not because I did anything in particular…I just went.  I stood and sold t-shirts and books and listened.  I was there…it’s really that simple.  I just went.  For those of you who haven’t gone yet, it is worth the trip.  For those of you, who shared your story with me in San Diego and share your story with me here, thank you!  You inspire me and give me hope. It is through our solidarity that we gain the wisdom of survival and hopefully peace of mind and soul.

It’s a long, difficult road, but in the end, the wisdom and understanding gained has changed me for the better.  It is a change that I wish had been triggered by something other than the death of my husband…but, once I was able to breathe again, it is a road I now travel willingly because I know I am not alone on this journey anymore.

Preparing for camp

This week, I am preparing myself for camp.  Soon, I get to be a small part of the fifth Camp Widow West created by Soaring Spirits International (http://www.sslf.org/).  It is a weekend put together specifically for those who have been widowed…no matter what the circumstances or situation.  It is in lovely San Diego.  It is in the same area where Dave and I often vacationed.  It is a place of hope and solidarity.  It is a place of laughter and heartbreak all rolled into one.  I remember the thing that struck me most when I attended several years ago… the only common thread…being widowed.  To see so many men and women who had suffered this great loss come together to share their struggle, their hope, and their stories was inspiring.

This year, I am going back as a volunteer.   Volunteering is a more natural state of being for me…participant is really hard for me.  I know that although I wear the volunteer badge at this one, I will still be participant, whether I like it or not.  I know that I will listen to the story of others’ loss and I will share mine.  I know that my heart will break as I listen to the newly widowed and that I will be inspired by those who have survived this journey longer than I have.  It is a bittersweet place.  It is filled with broken hearts that still smile, laugh, and continue to face a life they had never imagined.  It is amazing to see how people turn tragedy into miracles.  It increases my hope and gives me the courage to thrive in my unexpected life.

So as I prepare, I get ready to face the heartbreak of others.  I get ready to experience my own loss in a new way.  I get ready to share my story with those who will hear it.  I have the wonderful opportunity to meet some of my heroes!  I get to be with the other bloggers who share their stories.  I get to listen to the stories of those who have created a place of healing for so many, including themselves.  I get to remember and see how much I’ve changed over the years too.

This year, the boys are coming to San Diego with me.  I was going to go alone, but then thought about sharing the inspiration with them and the value and the possible impact that it might have in their lives.  They don’t often see this part of loss.  They don’t often see people other than us surviving the loss.  It can be an isolating experience losing a spouse, or in their case, a parent.  They will have the opportunity to see others who walk the same walk every day.  They will meet other children who share similar struggles, sorrow, joy, and hopefully understand that we are not alone on this journey.  They will get to see a part of me that they don’t really see too.  They don’t pay much attention to the writer mom they have…sure, sometime they see the books come in the mail and they know that I write.  They might see that what I do has a bigger role than just me sitting at my desk.  They might see that words are healing.  They might see that sharing our story not only brings healing to us, but may bring comfort to others.  They might experience the solidarity of hope and healing that I have been privileged to experience.  I hope they are comforted.  I hope they are inspired.  Even if they are not, that will be ok.

So as I prepare, I think about all the other people who will attend. I wonder how I will be changed by their stories.  I wonder how I will be inspired.  I look forward to the unexpected…and for me that is huge!  Looking forward to something isn’t always a part of my life anymore…it is a more rare and precious thing.  Looking forward to the unexpected is an adventure!  I am so grateful to have this adventure ahead of me!  Camp Widow…here we come!

***Important Note – Camp Widow West is an adult experience for those who have lost a partner or spouse.  My children are not attending this event, but are accompanying me on my trip.  Their experience will be based on seeing my participation as a volunteer, not as participants.  They will be spending time with friends and family while I volunteer.***