Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On Hope ....

                                             .... image from here.

.... and whether it matters.

I am now in Myrtle Beach, preparing with the rest of the Board members for our first Camp Widow on the east coast (therefore named, Camp Widow East).
We have all been crazy busy for the last few weeks (months for some) preparing for this weekend.
This past weekend I was attached to my computer almost 24/7.  Crazy, but worth it.

I have found myself thinking about the men and women who will come to Camp for the very first time.
Some of them have been widowed less than a year or two.

I think back to where I was at a year and a half ..... approximately the same time when I went to the very first Camp Widow.  I went with 3 other widow - friends, which made it easier.
And I loved it.

I loved it because I was surrounded by 100 other people who understood me.  Other people who understood what I meant, even if I couldn't finish a sentence.

I loved it because we laughed a lot more than we cried.

I loved it because I didn't feel alone for one second that weekend.

But mostly, I loved that weekend because I left filled with Hope.

There were many, many people who were "further out" than I was.  And they were surviving.  Not only were they surviving, but they were Living.  And that gave me Hope.  I was not at the point where I could live again.  I was just existing.  And trying to survive.
I needed Hope very badly.

And I got it.
I was filled with it.

I knew that if those men and women could live again, then I could, and would, too.
I had Hope.

Since that very Hopeful weekend I've spent a lot of time trying to give other widows/widowers Hope.
On my blog.
On this blog.
On the phone or through an email.
And sometimes ..... sometimes face to face.

Hope gives you the strength to live one more day.
Hope gives you possibilities.
Hope helps you know that you are not alone.

Hope matters.
Very, very much.

And that, my friends, is why I am here in Myrtle Beach, hoping to meet many of you this weekend.
I want to share Hope with you.
I want to tell you that you matter.
I want to help you realize that you are not alone.

And I want the same for all of you who read this blog.
You matter.
Hope matters.
You are not alone.

And hopefully, if I can give you hope, you will one day be able to give someone behind you .... hope.

Because, as we all know, Hope does matter.

Very, very much.

So please .... keep hoping.
And please .... keep passing it on.


  1. This is why I come here - hope and understanding.
    I live in the hope that all that I have experienced will allow me to live my life as a more compassionate human being.

    Thanks Janine! You always inspire.

  2. Thanks Janine! I really needed to hear this today. I will be attending Camp for the first time and have been really anxious about it. Everyone at SSLF is so wonderful and supportive. I, however, am concerned that I will not fit in anywhere. I'm not at the same place I was a year ago and because of the business of life have not had the time to keep up with everyone on the website. Most seem very close. But your message today gives me Hope that everything will just fall into place and I will have a place at Camp Widow East.
    Thank you

  3. Anon #1: Thank you for your kind words. I'm just grateful that I can use the worst thing that ever happened to me to help others who also experienced the worst thing that could happen to them. When I know that I've connected with just one person, I know that Jim's death wasn't just a waste. His death put me here, on this web site (as well as other places) to give you hope.
    And while I wish with all my heart that I had no reason to be here .... that you had no reason to be here .... this is the reality of my life, so I'm very grateful to be here .... connecting with you .... and giving you hope.

  4. Anon #2: Please try to let go of any worries that you have about CW. I promise you that you will indeed fit in. Everywhere.

    Yes, I think that the group of people who are in Widowed Village are a close group, but the majority of the "campers" aren't in that group. There will be many, many people who, like you, will be here for the firs time (in fact, they are the majority!).
    And, I'm sure that the Wid Vill folks would love to get to know other people and welcome you and anyone else to hang out with them. :)

    I think that widows/widowers are a pretty inclusive group of people and that you will feel welcomed and accepted and very understood. It's been my experience that as soon as I meet a widow, we instantly connect (even if it's only meeting on-line) and form an immediate bond. When I meet a widow in person, the first thing we do is hug .... tightly. We are complete strangers, but the moment we meet, it's like we've known each other forever. It's like nothing I've ever experienced in any other group. Ever.

    I hope that you feel even more hopeful now. :)
    Would you do me a favor? Please make sure that you find me (I won't be hard to find, trust me) and let me know you wrote this comment. I look forward to meeting you ... and give you a hug. :)

  5. I so wish I could be there, since the gathering is finally on this side of the coast. But I am heading into the last 2 weeks of school and can't afford to take the time to drive to South Carolina. Hope everyone has a wonderful time!

  6. I am sooooo jealous! I would just love to be at Camp Widow this year and I thought it was all going to come together but just as I was arranging things my son in North Carolina told me he and his wife were expecting TWINS!!! at about the same time! So I have been waylaid ........ again. I will get there some time. C an't believe you are so close but so far!! From Australia it is difficult. But I would so love to meet some of the Widow's Voice family. You really have saved my life from the other side of the world! Keep up the amazing work. I constantly spread the word about Widow's Voice here in Aus and have such positive feedback. Love you guys xxx

  7. Thanks Kim and Anon. I, too, am sorry that you can't be here. But we all understand, sometimes better than most, that things, and/or people, sometimes get in the way of our plans. And so we adjust .... and keep walking forward. Because life is short and things happen.
    I wish you both the best and sincerely hope that I will get to meet each of you at the next CWE. :)

  8. Janine - I know I am not a widow but I want to tell you that your email exchange with me on the recent loss of my son has filled me with hope. Hope that I will emerge from this dark hole I am in as a stronger more grounded and more appreciative of all the things I had with my Jonathan. THANK YOU for that - just thank you. And I will pay it forward when I am able to, I promise you that.