Sometime last year I came across a website that was called Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. There was a camp experience call Camp Widow-particularly designed as a weekend about loss of a spouse. It is right down the block-in San Diego. I only discovered it after the 2010 weekend. This year I am contemplating signing up.
Thinking about camp reminds me of my childhood. I spent many summers at "sleep a way" camp in the mountains near NYC. The summers were both terrifying and rewarding. I cried at the start of the summer because I was homesick and at the end because I was leaving camp for home. It was hard to make friends and get acclimated to the environment each year. I often felt isolated and as if I did not belong. Funny how I never felt that way once I was married and had a family. I knew that I belonged somewhere-Bruce and the kids did that for me. Now alone again, those feelings still are there. But I am getting better about feeling more comfortable on my own. I can be in a room and not know anyone and as long as I am interested in what is going on in the room and have my security blanket (my knitting), I am fine. Those feelings persist and accounts for my trepidation about going to camp.
I have met some amazing people on this journey. Most of them are widows. Easy to reach out to those who have had the rug pulled out from them-like me. I enjoy their companionship. Maybe it is that we do belong to a group of sorts-we have a new identity and that identity forever changes us. So in addition to being a nurse and a teacher and a knitter, I am now also a widow.
So I think I will sign up and once more go away to camp. And maybe there will be tears this time too-maybe even some homesickness and some fear of making friends. But I have learned that I am a bit resilient and that when I am feeling really bad that perhaps that too will pass.