Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not Very Private .....

.... and definitely not exclusive ......
is this club we're in.
You know.... the one no one wanted to join.
And yet here we are.

It's not a club we chose.  It's not a club we applied for.  And it's definitely not a club any of us pictured ourselves joining.

It's not a club for only wealthy people.
In fact, the cost of membership is way too steep for anyone.

And the initiation period?  While it seems to be a different amount of time for each person, it rarely ever ends at the 'magical one year mark', contrary to society's opinion.

And though some clubs end their initiation periods with a "hell week", almost every week is "hell week" in this one.  At least in the beginning.  And sometimes in the middle.

All in all, it's a pretty horrific club to find yourself in.
But there is one positive thing.
And from what I can tell from my four-plus year membership .... only one.
And that is ..... the membership.

I have never been in a club with such amazing members.
People who don't want to be there, but still do all they can to encourage, love and support the members who join after them.
People who definitely feel the pain of each other.  And feel, as well as show, compassion.

Today I "met" a brand new member.  A friend of mine who's never set foot in this club's door gave me the phone number of a stranger she met in a store a couple of weeks ago.  A stranger whom she watched cry because her husband had died four days earlier.
And though my friend isn't a member of this club, she knows someone who is.

And so last week she sent me this stranger's phone number.
I called her today.  And we were not strangers, once I introduced myself.
Which is very, very common in this club.
As is what I will do the moment I see her tomorrow night:  give her a very long and very hard hug.
She needs it.
And I need to give it.

I formed a "chapter" of this club over 3 years ago.  I needed to be with other young members .... and the need felt as great to me as the need for food & water.
Greater, actually.  I thought I would die if I did not find them soon.
So I spread the word through my friends, who spread the word through their friends ..... and that chapter went from my great need 3 years ago, to about 13 or so members today.

We meet every other week for dinner and bonding.  And lots of laughing.
Sometimes we cry.  Most times we laugh.  And all of the time we support each other.
Tomorrow night, we will meet a new member.
And I guarantee you that I will not be the only one who gives her a hug.

In fact, though lately we've had less than 8 of us at the last few meetings (as tends to happen this time of year as school gears up to let out for the summer), after I sent out an email today telling them about this new member, not one single woman wrote to say she couldn't make it.
Instead, each email that came in notified me that each woman would be there.
Because that's what we do.

A club we wanted to join?
No. Never.
But a club that supported us and made us want to support others?
Yes.  Indeed.

And a club of which I'm very, very proud.
You guys rock.

1 comment:

  1. "...a stranger she met in a store a couple of weeks ago. A stranger whom she watched cry because her husband had died four days earlier..."
    This brought back a flashback. I remember going into the grocery store just days after burying my husband. It was likely the first time I'd been away from family and friends and back out in public so to speak. I felt so overwhelmingly alone as the chipper cashier yammered on to me about the day. I don't think I could even respond to her as I knew I would turn into an instant puddle of tears. That stunned feeling of shock was so surreal. At the time I never thought I'd emerge alive and well so to speak. (I'm at 22 months now.)

    Just thinking about that now has brought me to tears. The early days were definitely the shittiest for me. I was just in auto-pilot mode. Knowing that I had to keep going every day, one day at a time, but not even sure why.

    I tried but never found a local support group for widows. (Did individual then group grief counseling though.) I didn't find this website 'til almost 6 months in. Wish I had found it sooner, but it's a godsend. The support we get from others walking the same path as us is priceless.

    And I remember my sister calling me from across the country on the one year mark and asking if I felt better now that I'd gotten the first year over with, and I said kind of sarcastically, 'Mmmm. Nope. Not really. Really it's pretty much just the same as yesterday and the day before..." I know it wasn't the response she wanted to hear and was just wanting and hoping that I'd feel better, but she's my sister, not an acquaintance, so I didn't lie.

    But I'm coming up on the 2 year mark, and I do believe that I now AM feeling better and happier. Still reduced to a pile of tears sometimes, but in general much, much better. And part of that is due to this blog. Thank you contributors and commenters!