Since I’ve returned from Camp Widow in San Diego many have asked how things went. People do find the concept of a gathering of The Widowhood to be intriguing, a circle of united souls someone recently described to me as The Worst Club with the Best Members. Really, does anyone really want that membership? I’m guessing not. But I think it brings some comfort that there is such a thing as Soaring Spirits, International, the organization that launched Camp Widow and Widowed Village.
I personally happened upon Soaring Spirits on-line one night while trolling the internet for guidance and help not long after Rich’s passing. I clicked a Google Link that brought me to the blog of a Widower. His “About” section relayed that he was a musician who was originally from New Jersey but had moved to Georgia. Being an artist originally from New Jersey now residing in Georgia I reached out to tell him I appreciated what he’d written. He graciously replied suggesting that I seek out the Soaring Spirits website to check out what it had to offer. He shared that although his intention wasn’t to meet a potential new partner, he ended up getting married to someone he met through the Soaring Spirits network. His message was both positive and hopeful.
I did eventually check out that site and even considered attending Camp Widow in Tampa last March. But…I wasn’t ready because if I went then I would actually be admitting to the world that I really was now somehow a widow. I guess it’s like Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking when you think everything that has happened really hasn’t and that Your Person will surely magically return. That’s why it is commonly said that the second year of widowhood can be more difficult because by then the less than magical reality has set in.
But when I saw that Soaring Spirits had a blog site called Widow’s Voice I took a step. I hadn’t written anything since Rich had passed and I thought that blogging would help in my progression toward my new unwanted life. I’d blogged about the dog-human bond for over a decade, surely that would be relevant.
I wrote to Soaring Spirits and asked if they needed bloggers, I received a big thanks for asking, but there were no openings at the time. They already had their seven bloggers, one for each day of the week. They said they’d keep me in mind…and they did. Not too long after, Mary Moore Hughes who coordinates the Widow’s Voice bloggers reached out to see if I was still interested. I was, and after a discussion over Zoom and some writing samples, I began posting for them in September 2022 each Saturday Morning.
Then, I applied to be a Presenter at Camp Widow. My Proposal for Tampa 2023 was not accepted, however, I later received word that I was welcome to Present at the San Diego event. I happily accepted.
I think you can see my progression, interestingly, it is only recently that even I can. Also, you can see how the initial “rejection” wasn’t a rejection at all and if we prevail positively, something good can result. That’s so important to remember when you are already dealing with so much. I also thank the Soaring Spirits organization, its Founder, Michele Neff Hernandez and her devoted staff members and volunteers for giving me a chance and allowing me a way to chart my circuitous ever-evolving journey to a New Normal.
As I try not to make my posts too lengthy, I’ll share more about Camp Widow in subsequent posts and share more about my own workshop and how it’s getting me back on the Write Path and to keep Living On.
Have a great weekend.