Camp Widow’s Pop-Up in Denver was a great success. SO MANY of the yellow name tags which indicate first time campers. Some drove from Mississippi, Texas, and even New York, for this “taste” of what Camp Widow offers.
It was a privilege to welcome those waiting in line at the registration table–unsure of what they were attending, tired from travel, and yet here they were. They arrived as first time campers, return campers, and volunteers for the Soaring Spirits CW Denver Pop-Up at Arapahoe Community College. A one-day experience that included many of the components of the weekend Camp Widow experience.
Meaningful Connection and Synchronicity
One person I met was standing back from the registration line, possibly feeling unsure; definitely feeling overwhelmed. After welcoming her and validating her long drive to attend the pop-up, I asked her if she’d like a hug. She said “yes” and as I hugged her I told her that I am sorry for her loss but glad that she was there with us.
Our paths crossed again at the end of the day. The entire group had just written our person’s name on a rock and on the opposite side of the rock, we wrote one quality our person exhibited that we want to carry forward. We then took a group photo and it was after this that the new camper and I found each other.
I asked how the day had gone for her and she said it was really helpful.
“What did you write on your rock?” I asked.
She held it up and I was startled to see the word, “Integrity” — exactly the same word I wrote on my rock.
Unknown to each of us, we chose the same word to describe our husband’s character. In my almost two years as a widow, I find things like this happen often.
Synchronistic experiences leave us with a curious sense that we should pay attention. –Goop Wellness
Airport travel presented some unexpected challenges
If you were flying out of Denver last Sunday morning then I probably saw you in line! Denver International Airport’s security check line wound from the baggage claim in a snake-like-line that took over an hour to navigate and ended at the START of a ten-row-check-in line!
I managed the wait by observing details. The few masks to be found were mostly white, with a few black, blue, and floral. There were a plethora of folks carrying guitars and instruments and varying attire including men wearing Harley Davidson sweatshirts in near proximity to a pair of tall nuns sporting light blue habits with black veils.
It was not until the Monday after the pop-up, in the afternoon that I felt the fog of “camp crash” arrive in delayed-reaction-mode: body aches, intermittent tears, and a worry muscle in my mind sending signals to every other body system.
What is going on with me?
Turns out, it was a delayed trigger reaction.
Running quietly in the background as I finished out the day on Saturday; as I returned to the home of our hosts; as I packed for Sunday’s departure; as I traveled home through the crowded airport to board the two-hour flight—a trigger—completely unnoticed before, waited until Monday afternoon at my home to announce itself.
A trigger that waited until I got home?
During the pop-up I attended a workshop presented by a widow and her husband about how they met and married many years ago. I deeply admired their way of being—the way their gifts complemented each other. A well matched pair whose contrasting ways of being made their presentation both fun, interesting, and enlightening.
Their way of being took me back to the 1980’s—but not immediately
Watching them seemed to subconsciously remind me of a time in the 80’s when my husband and I facilitated small and large group retreats. While they were speaking, I was engaged with their story and with the group dynamics in their class. I did NOT make the connection while in their presence—not until late afternoon on Monday did it hit me.
Grief is so strange.
Thinking back on the charismatic couple’s presentation took me back to the many times Dan and I facilitated small or large retreats of varying types…the banter between us; his way of lovingly teasing me with words or a look; the way our different ways of being provided a balanced approach; the fun we had traveling to offer workshops near and far.
Grief is my teacher, but (honestly) sometimes I want to cut class
The bittersweet memories that arrive unexpectedly—or after-the-fact by 48 hours, as these memories did—is how I experience the grief journey. It is unpredictable, showing up when I least expect it.
Having this feeling in the class—perhaps distracting me from the content—that seems predictable. But this? Arriving so much later?
Whatever the reason, the arrival of these memories were bittersweet. Those were some of the best times of our lives. We prepared and offered a talk that we gained as much or more from than those who paid to show up and listen. I miss this guy so much.
This “missing” him…the hole in me that exists now….it is the price of love.
It is a price I would gladly pay again, if I had the chance.
It is bittersweet, because he’s gone.
It is mostly sweet because the moments behind these memories were the place our love grew.
In some unexplainable way, we are growing still.
I know this in my bones.
Long live love . . .