Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Odyssey Towards Camp Widow~

There is no getting around the silence.  It's tangible and fraught with emotions.  We can dress it up however we wish, but the silence that consumes every corner after our beloveds die is, almost, as palpable as their presence once was.

I'm on the road again, headed to Camp Widow in Tampa, driving PinkMagic.  My intention is to stay primarily at military family camps for overnights along the way.  I feel more secure on base, and I feel closer to Chuck.  Today was my first day of travel, with a late start from Phoenix after running into difficulty with the lights on my trailer.  I didn't get far;  I'm at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. Quite frankly, everything is so emotional, and Chuck and I had always wanted to come here, so I decided to call an early day.

The stars tonight are quite beautiful, clear-lit and visible way up there in what seems like forever.  For a little while, I sat outside on the picnic table with a blanket around me for the chill, just....gazing.  Thinking. Wondering about this Odyssey, which is no longer only about honoring Chuck's final request of scattering his cremains at our favorite places, but about creating a new life without him.  Part of that creating means attending Camp Widow.  It means registering for the flashmob and the Widows Dash.  Neither of which I am in any shape to do, physically or emotionally, but that is precisely the reason I need to do them, to push myself.

Dancing with the flashmob will most particularly push every comfort zone.  Since Chuck's death I haven't danced, I haven't hooped, I've struggled with yoga and the heart-opening poses.  Before he died, any of those activities would have been done joyously by me.  And it isn't that I won't allow myself to feel joy in doing them now.  Its' that I don't feel joy enough to do them.  It just isn't in me.
I expect there will be torrents of soul-wrenching tears when I join the flashmob;  I expect it will call up every bit of emotion in me.

What do I expect of this Camp Widow?  I don't know.  An easing of this devastating grief, perhaps.  I can't imagine such a thing but I'm open to it.  At the least I'll connect with hundreds of other widow/ers and there is incalculable value in that.  I'll make new friends, I'm sure.  I'll be able to talk about Chuck.

This widowed grief.  Never could I have imagined the down-to-my-toes filling every cell in my body crushing sense of loss and emptiness it would bring me.  You can't dress this up as anything other than what it is and I'm not going to lie about it.  It's horrifying and devastating every second of every day.

So, I look up at the stars and I wonder and I think about Chuck and this new life without him that I have to create and how unbearable his absence is to me and the long road ahead to Florida, to, I don't know....forever.

And then I stop thinking and I just look up at this starlit sky.  My heart can bear nothing more than this moment.

And tomorrow I'll turn the key in the ignition and continue on.


  1. Alison, you so eloquently described the grief that clings to me 24/7 for the past 3-1/2 years since the love of my life unexpectedly died. My husband was a retired USAF fighter pilot. He was so strong and so protective and we loved each other totally. You described perfectly the pain that clings to me and the pain that no one, absolutely no one I know, wants to hear about. I feel so alone in this emptiness and I keep asking "now what?"

  2. Yes, never could have imagined the grief following his loss, it's so there in your face every second of every day, in every thing you do (and don't do). I am another person since his death, one so very lost, just trying to figure it out, not doing it so well.

    I've struggled to get back into yoga too. The "be here now, this moment is all as it should be" gets me every time. Usually spoken by a young yogi, who probably wonders why I'm crying. Used to be a yoga for loss near me, which was very beneficial, I fit right in with all others experiencing loss. But no more, and I haven't found a teacher to my liking. My dancing days have dwindled too, lately I put on some reggae at home, and find myself beginning to wake up and move. I think the body reflects the where the heart is, and being joyful in dance and moving were just not a part of early grief for me. I'm 5 years out. Give it time.

    Safe travels to Florida, have tried to get to camp several times, hasn't been in the cards. Hoping to one day.

  3. Allison be safe gal, and have the very best adventure. I'll be thinking about you here in Tucson. I hope to do San Diego this year!

  4. Alison, this will be my fourth time attending Camp Widow East . It is the best thing that I have done for myself since my husband died. Just to be with people who get it is and understand is so comforting. Looking forward to seeing your pink van.