Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hope .... Personified ....

.... is what I saw this past weekend.

I saw individuals come on Friday .... who didn't look like they had much hope.
And I saw others who did.

But slowly, as the weekend wore on ..... I saw more hope on the faces of the former.
And I knew that all the work we had done to get this Camp here .... was more than worth it.

This was my fourth (out of 4) Camp Widow.
This was my favorite Camp Widow.
I met so many of you ..... and each one of you touched my heart.  I could feel my heart growing over the weekend.
It now holds more people than it did before.

Some of you I held .... while you cried.
Some of you laughed with me, until we both cried.
And some of you listened to me, as I cried.
Yes, there were tears this weekend.
But tears are not a bad thing.
Tears can connect us to one another.

I saw a lot more laughing than I did crying.
I know I laughed WAY more than I cried.
In fact, I cried less at this Camp Widow than I did in the past.
Far less.
Not that laughter is better than tears .... but it is a bit more fun.
(And laughing doesn't leave my nose red for 3 hours afterward.)

I saw a lot of beauty this weekend.
I saw a lot of love and acceptance.
I saw a lot of friendships made .... or deepened.
I saw a lot of understanding.
I saw a lot of ..... hope.

I did not see the inside of my lids much.
Nor did the rest of the board.
But we know that every hour of lost sleep was one more hour we were probably getting to spend meeting/talking with someone new.
And maybe that someone needed hope.
Or maybe just to laugh.

I'm not sure what each and every person needed who came to Camp Widow.
But I'd best that most of us wanted to connect with someone else.

And many of us needed ..... hope.

And if THESE didn't give anyone hope .....

                                              (S'mores on a stick .... WHO KNEW these existed?!)

....... then I would dare to bet that faces like this did.

To those of you who came .... thank you.
Thank you for the love and friendship you gave me.
Thank you for the tears.
Thank you for the laughs.
And thank YOU ..... for the hope.

The hope that we can keep making these weekends happen .... so that more and more widowed people will be able to attend.
And leave with hope.


  1. All I can say is THANK YOU!!! This was truly an amazing experience. I often found myself stunned as I looked around wondering what I was doing surrounded by all those widows, then I realized, I was one too! If anything, I gained so much perspective and met wonderful people whom I have connected with online this past year. I am forever grateful for the widowed community (my community).

  2. Janine, What a beautiful tribute to Camp Widow.My thoughts exactly!! Thanks for all you do to make it possible.

  3. Janine,
    Thank you for the hug when I needed one. You got it exactly right-I am still recovering from camp. I met with therapist today and she asked how my week was and for the first time ever I was able to answer "Transforming" and Amazing" The party Saturday night helped me to remember what it felt like to be joyful and to dance again. Camp West - can not wait till August...well yes I can...I have something to look forward to now and friends to keep in touch with untill then and to hug when I get there! Wow I am crawling out of the grand canyon and I am not alone. Last Camp Widow I delcared that I was "hopeless" after this weekend....I found hope. Thank You for all the planning and work you did to help us there and for those that are sitting on the fence about going to camp...sign up while your thinking about it. You can always change your mind if overwhelmed - last year I missed my plane and waited a day...before I glad I did go and returned this year. This time the speakers made sense...I was not crying so much...I was laughing this time rather than reminding myself that I was now a widowed person..This camp session I was having fun where ever I could find it and without guilt for not being the person that was left alive...there is still a lot of living to do and look forward too...starting with camp widow west and Michelle's inspirational keynote (hope to be able to listen to them on Soaring Spirits site soon) much gratitude from us East Coast widows.