Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back To Normal ....

                                               photo source

...... whatever that means.

I returned home last night from Camp Widow.

Back from spending 4 days with people I know and love .... people who understand, and love, me.
Back from meeting new people, who I understand ..... and with whom I instantly connected.
People who don't expect me to be anyone other than who I am ..... now.
People who know there's really no such thing as .... "normal".

I always leave Camp Widow wishing that we all lived in the same community.  Can you imagine living in a place where most of the people you know are widowed?  Where everyone understands that some days are just "stay in bed days", and that sometimes a wave comes out of nowhere and knocks you to your knees.
How different would it be to live among people who know that hitting the one year date does not magically bring about healing and who don't question or blame you for not "getting over it" and getting back to "normal".
I think that living in such a community would make me feel ..... ironically ..... more "normal" than I've felt in over 4 years.

But that's not where we live.
And those aren't the people who surround us.

So here I am .... with another Camp done, summer coming to an end and another school year rapidly approaching.  My schedule will start filling up as different activities start back up.  And I'll often be the only widow in the room.
And I will deal with that.

But I won't stop being who I am to make other people feel comfortable.
And I won't meet some expectations to be who I used to be.
I will not meet their definition of "normal".

I have a new "normal".  Which really doesn't look "normal" to most people at all.
Some days .... not even to me.

But I know that when next April rolls around .... and Camp Widow East begins .... I will once again be surrounded by friends .... who will make me feel absolutely, positively .... normal.

Eight more months .... and counting.


  1. Thanks Janine.
    I think there is no normal. I read once when it comes to medical issues there are the "diagnosed (read most of us)" and the "undiagnosed (those like my late husband who had cancer)"
    Well when it comes to normal, I think there are the normal (those of us who have experienced losing our spouses) and the not normal yet (those who will live to have that happen).

    Death is normal.
    It feels terrible to say it, read it, experience it. But it is what will happen to all of us and those we love.
    I think as widows - we normalize living. We show what it really is about, this transient space we occupy.
    Normal is knowing life ends.
    It is those who haven't experienced it yet - who are living in a dream. Death makes you wake up and it changes the experience of life.

    Sister - you are normal. The kind I understand.
    Thanks Janine

  2. So right you are Janine! To be constantly surrounded by people who know the drill. Life would be great!

    2 1/2 years later I still don't know what "normal" means and I too refuse to let anyone else define it for me.

    Thanks for your sharing and caring. You have a huge heart!

  3. and obviously - reversed.
    undiagnosed ( most of us ) and diagnosed ( those like my late husband who had cancer)

  4. Hey Janine,

    I have said to myself a thousand times since Andrew died how great it would be if I lived closer to other widows who understand what no one else can......


  5. To all of the writers of the Widows Voice blog, I have chosen you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can see the details about your nomination on my blog post: Keep shining the light for those of us on this journey, you each inspire hope and grace! xo, Erin

    1. Thank you, Erin. I'll have to go check that out. You just warmed my heart. :)
      I know that we're all just thankful that we can make a difference for someone when we write. It helps us to know that .... and it lets me know that Jim's death wasn't just wasted ..... it's helped me connect with others who need that connection.
      Again, thank you very, very much.

  6. Janine, what happened to your txmomx6 blog? I enjoyed that so was a real pick me up to dealing with all these day to day issues.