Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The One Thing .....

.... yep, the only one.  The one thing that makes Jim's death bearable is that (see above).

If you've never seen that picture ..... then you need to know that it's a room FULL of widowed people.  Widowed people of all ages, stages in life ..... pregnant, brand-spanking-newly widowed, widowed with small children, widowed with teenagers (thus a very good reason to get out of the house), widowed with adult children, widowed with no children, widowed and re-married, widowed and then widowed again, older widowed, younger widowed.

That picture was taken at Camp Widow.  This year, in less than 2 months (oh my goodness I'm trying to not hyperventilate at that thought!) we will be hosting our Fourth annual Camp Widow in San Diego.  It will actually be our FIFTH Camp Widow, because we had our first one on the east coast back in April.

If you've never been to Camp Widow you can't know what an amazingly fun time we have.  If you've never been you probably don't know what it feels like to be in a room full of 200+ people who "get you" and they do indeed get "it".

When you come to Camp Widow it's like you can take that huge, heavy load of "being widowed" off of your back and feel lighter for the first time in probably a long time.
Ironically enough, we don't see each other with the labels that others put on us.  We see each other as people.  Beautiful people who are survivors.  We see into each other's heart and we find the personality that's sometimes buried beneath the widowed load.

If you've never been to Camp Widow then you may not know what it feels like to be understood .... without having to say a word.  You will meet another widowed person and instantly know that you will probably be friends for life.  You will learn that you are very, very normal.
You will learn that the things you have done in your own timing have been done at the perfect time.

You will learn new things about this path we all walk on.  You might pick up some new ideas about making choices on this path.  And you might meet someone who's a bit behind you on this path .... thus giving them the encouragement they need to keep walking.
Just because you came.

Yes, you will definitely learn that you are not crazy.  And that you are probably a lot more normal than you'd like to be.  :)

But the most important thing that you will learn .... that each and every one of us has learned these past 4+ years ......  is that

And that, my friends, is one of the very best things a widowed person can feel.  And know.

This, all of this and more, is what helps make Jim's death bearable for me.  The smile that I see on someone's face when they know I "get it", when they feel encouraged by my words, or my hugs (I give great hugs) ..... or just by my very existence, lets me know that Jim's death was not just a waste of another human being.  His death has made a difference.  Yes, in me ..... there's no way around that, but his death has made a difference in someone else's life.  His death gave me the ability and the passion to encourage you.  To let you know that you can .... and will .... survive.  No, you won't always want to.  And that is perfectly normal.  I promise.  
You will survive.  One day at a time.  Maybe one Camp Widow at a time.  :)

You will encourage another person on this path.  I can promise you that, too.  And sometimes ..... sometimes all it takes is your presence, your very existence.
Because if you've made it this far ..... then the people behind you on this path know that they can, too.
And that is huge.

So if you've never been to Camp Widow I hope you'll consider going in August.  Just click here,  on Camp Widow ..... and you'll learn a little more about it.

For those of you who are planning on attending, will you please consider being a volunteer?  There's no job you can't do .... I promise.  And by helping out you'll most likely meet more people .... and encourage more people.
Our volunteers help make this wonderful weekend happen.  And they can tell you that we're quite easy on them.  :)
Oh!  And you'll get a free shirt!  
A shirt and a chance to encourage other people in this "club no one wanted to join".
Who could ask for more?

But the best thing?  The best thing is that you'll be going home .... knowing that the death of your loved one ..... wasn't wasted.  And maybe that will make this "club" more bearable for you, too.

Join us at Camp Widow ..... and see that you are not alone.
And you'll probably have more fun than you can imagine.

P.S.  If you'd like to volunteer or have any questions email me at

P.P.S.  You all can help us spread the word about Soaring Spirits by going to our Facebook page and "liking" us.  There are way too many widowed people out there who have no idea that support is available to them.  The more "likes" we get, the more visible we'll be to those people who think they're all alone.
Thanks for helping spread encouragement!


  1. Have commitments for thisCamp Widow but am already gathering widows to consider 2013.

  2. Janine - your blog entries have encouraged me on this journey of a year and a half.
    Even when I reached that horrible point of thoughts of suicide and came to this blog in the middle of the night and poured out my pain and grief and felt truly - I could not live another day. . . I did. Your encouraging words and the words of other widows and bloggers helped me to carry on.
    Here i am ( surprised) a year and a half later.
    Still I have days . . . where I think "he died? he is never coming back? how can that possibly be?"
    and I cry as if it were all new.
    I have learned so much about grief - here
    and even more about living and surviving and yes even, how to thrive as a widow.
    This is my support group.
    Right here.
    I come here almost every morning.
    I feel so grateful I found Widows Voice so soon after my beloved husband died.
    I might not have made it this far.
    Thank you for shining the light in the dark.
    To all of the widows out there. . . live!
    There is someone else out there - another widow who needs your strength and experience and support.

  3. Can someone post the group photo of camp east?