This past Thursday was of course Thanksgiving. Many people in our widowed community struggled hard with the holiday, because holidays can be brutal, to say the least, on the widowed. So, my co-leader Allison and I thought it would be a great idea to have our November meetup for our Soaring Spirits Regional Group on Thanksgiving weekend, at a comfy/cozy/comfort food type local restaurant, and gather everyone for lunch and a chance to vent and chat with their fellow widowed friends. So yesterday, eight people in total showed up for a lovely lunch at a local and wonderful restaurant, where our meetup was complete with shared delicious food, empathy, understanding, memories, stories, validation, some tears, lots of laughter, and peanut butter pie.
We had older widowed people and younger ones. We had those who were married for 45 years, and those who were married for 3 years. We had those with children, and some with grandchildren, and some with no children. We had people at the table who, like me, got a phone call on an ordinary day that changed their life forever – and others who were caretakers for their partners as they witnessed them dying a little more everyday due to illness/disease. We had a member who was talking about the frustrations of starting to date, and another member who said she had zero interest in ever dating or finding love again. Someone shared a story that included the information that she is not at all religious, and someone else shared that she knows for sure that God has a plan for her, and she trusts in that plan. Someone ordered shrimp, someone else ordered salad, and someone else chicken.
Every person at our table yesterday – we are all severely different in so many ways. And yet, we are bonded and we feel familiar to one another because we ALL had our entire world altered forever because our partners/spouses died. We all have such different stories, backgrounds, personalities, and taste in food. And we come together in solidarity and understanding and empathy for each other, and for what we have been through and what we continue to go through. Nobody was judging anyone else at that table. The level of compassion found there was and is outstanding. We get it. We get each other. There is lots of nodding and lots of choruses of “yes!” whenever someone shares a widowed experience. Sharing time with other widowed people is an honor. Having them as friends is priceless. Seeing where they end up going in their life after loss is mezmorizing and awe-inspiring. Helping each other crawl through the horrors of our new reality, and then witnessing each others victories and all the ways in we can grow wings and fly and soar into a sky of integration and beauty – there is nothing quite like it. Widowed people are the family you gain, when the family you knew has been ripped away.
This Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for the huge community that I have both slowly and instantly become a part of, as of July 13th, 2011, when my world was turned on its axis on an ordinary Wednesday
I love my friends in the widowed community in ways that are tough to put into words.
But that’s the thing.
I don’t need to put it into words.
Because those of you who are reading –
you already get it.
And even though I wish like hell that you didn’t know,
and that I didn’t know,
there is not one moment in my day where I don’t feel eternally grateful that we have each other.
I like to think of my widowed friends as a GIFT –
a gift that was given to each of us by our person who died.
They gifted us the beautiful friendship of each other,
so that none of us would ever