Yesterday, we had our Soaring Spirits Regional Group meetup, at a wonderful outdoor place here in Massachusetts called Hollis HIlls Farms. They have numerous picnic tables for seating, live music, an ice-cream stand, pick your own flowers/apples/blueberries, delicious farm fresh lunch items, apple cider donuts, and chickens roaming around in the grass being chases by laughing children.
And then, of course, there was us. The table of widowed people, a handful of widows and one widower (the women always outnumber the men at our gatherings) The venue where we met was/is a great place, but the very best part of our gatherings is that it doesnt matter where we meet really, but only who we are with. A group of people from all walks of life, all ages, all religions (or no religion), all races and cultures, and all different situations when it comes to our widowhood. Some of us got to widowhood suddenly, others through a lengthy diagnosis and illness, Some are younger, some older. Some have children, others don’t. On and on and on with the various differences in all of us. And yet, the bond created by all of us having experienced the death of our person/our partner/spouse, is something that is difficult to put into words. So as we all sat there, the topics covered at that table ranged from the complexities of new relationships, dating, issues with ones kids (both adult and not adult kids), getting older and still being widowed, dealing with our own mortality, illness, growing old without our person, moving, and so much more.
And here’s the thing: when you can cover all of THAT while sitting at a picnic table, that is a special kind of friendship. That is the kind of friendship born out of horrific loss and pain and grief. And when you have lived through and with this kind of grief, and you have made your way into this club that nobody wants to join, you can then laugh with a darkness and abandon that only comes from deep, deep pain. And so we talked and teared up and laughed and then laughed some more together. And we talked about all the challenges and the changes in both life and grief. Together.
Because the truth is this; our grief changes and shifts, when our life changes and shifts. Our lives change, and our grief changes. Again and again and again. And when this happens, each time it happens, we need our friends. The ones who have walked on shattered pieces of glass in their bare feet, because they had to in order to put their lives back together again.
Living and grieving, breathing and struggling, laughing and sobbing – happen all at once, in the same measure of music, the same fragment of time – every single day.
May we be lucky enough to find our special tribe of humans to tackle it all. Alone. Together.