The Wonder of a Camp for Widowed People (the sequel)
It is truly a wonder that a camp for widowed people exists! In October 2021, after I attended my first camp, I wrote about it here. This is the sequel.
Camp Widow is a safe place created by widowed people for widowed people.
A place of help – hope – and healing.
What do widowed folk gain from attending camp?
- Room to sort things out
- A chance to let the fog of shock lift a bit
- Resonance with other widowed people
- Hope of getting through the grief process
- Helpful tips on framing your experience
Some have said that it was at Camp Widow that they remembered how to laugh again.
Tomorrow I’m heading to Camp Widow in Tampa, Florida for my sixth camp. Attending Camp Widow helped me to dive into the healing I needed after losing my beloved Dan; to gain tips on navigating a new reality that was overwhelming; to find my way.
A person once said that GRIEF is like a debt. You can pay it now, or you can pay it later. But one day it will come due.
I knew about Camp Widow before I was widowed which gave me strong motivation to attend. Before being widowed, I did not realize the many subtle ways that grief impacts life. Coming to realize how to do the work that grief requires helped me immensely.
Additionally, each camp provides new ideas and solutions to bring to my daily life as a widow.
The Wonder of Peer Support.
Camp Widow is a place where most everyone has been widowed. All the presenters are widowed. This is fertile ground for peer support to flourish.
Peer support is the “process of giving and receiving encouragement and assistance to achieve long-term recovery.” Peer supporters “offer emotional support, share knowledge, teach skills, provide practical assistance, and connect people with resources, opportunities, communities of support, and other people” (Mead, 2003; Solomon, 2004).
Widows attend camp to sort out how to live life without our person next to us. Speaking to others who are further along in their grief, and hearing the stories of those who are somehow finding their way through it gives me a sense of hope that I can indeed do the work that grief invites me to.
The Wonder of Familiar Faces
Returning to camp offers the wonder of familiar faces and a chance to be there for the widowed folk who are arriving for the first time. Some of these widows and widowers meet online first and communicate through Soaring Spirit’s Widowed Village or their Pen Pal program. Others nourish their healing through meeting in person in Soaring Spirits Regional Groups and in other groups in their communities.
The Wonder of Love Persevering
During camp the presenters model how love lives on. At each of the workshops the presenter introduces “their person” at the beginning of their presentation. It is easy to see the love they still carry for them.
The Wonder of Being
It can be a freeing experience that at Camp Widow everyone knows why you are there. Informally, throughout the four days, we introduce our partners to each other and/or show them their photo on the WELL LOVED display. We share stories and do not feel the need to explain ourselves. If we feel tearful, we let the tears fall. Kindness is present generously in all the spaces. Love flows generously, too, and without conditions.
WE NEED NOT BE ALONE IN OUR GRIEF
We are not alone. There are many ways that the Soaring Spirits community offers support and they are standing by, ready to welcome you if you decide to avail yourself of the love and support that is here for you.
You deserve it.