Today I’m exhausted for good reasons, and thinking back to all the many times I have been exhausted for reasons I didn’t want to be. Exhausted from crying so much, or from trying to figure out my life again, or from just trying to do the myriad of ordinary things in life as a widow like buying groceries, going to the doctor or making new friends. I had years of being exhausted for reasons I didn’t like, and sometimes those days still come. But today, this tired feeling comes not because of my grief, but out of my grief. Out of the ashes of the hardest and scariest loss in my life, seven years later I am still standing and am now able to hold space for others who are still in that fresh hell of early grief.
As Mike and I drive wearily home from Toronto’s incredible Camp Widow event, it is a kind of tired that we want to have. The kind of tired that means we are still living and still trying to do meaningful things with what has happened to us and what we have left.
Over the past few weeks we have been working hard on some special things for the banquet event, a way for everyone at Camp to honor their partner. I’ve also been preparing for my creative workshop that I hosted for the third year in a row. Being able to be a part of Soaring Spirits in a myriad of different ways has been such a powerful and life-changing experience for me, and continues to be that. Each year I attend a Camp Widow event, I leave changed. Each hug, each conversation, each tear and laugh shared. Each person that lets tears flow and smiles glow in my workshop. Just as each message from a blog reader impacts me, so do all the experiences of camp.
As a widow, I’ve been so humbled to contribute things that help other widowed people. And I’ve learned that I have the ability to help others, just as much as anyone, which I never really believed before. I’ve learned in a bigger way than ever before that the more we give, the more we get.
When it comes to widowed people, when you give love, you get back more love than you can possibly imagine. I can’t think of a single other group of people I would more rather pour my heart into.
And the part that really makes my heart overflow the most? Who would ever think widowed people could still have so much love in them to give, after so much inside them has been broken? But we do… we most definitely do. Not despite the fact that we know pain, but because we know it. And even more so, because we know love so deeply.