A person’s life emerges from their experiences. The daily ups and downs craft our being like water on rock. We emerge—for better or worse—from countless decision points and random events that occur as we travel toward future.
For most of us, the events of our lives are ours to ponder and not a matter of public knowledge.
For others, something bigger grows from their experiences and seems to take on a life of its own. I am thinking about our first born daughter, Michele. The eldest of seven siblings, she was only 35 years old when a random event—sudden death—took from her the person whom she planned to grow old with. As she tried to find her way through shock and grief, she followed her heart and it led her outward. She sought advice from other widows and, step by step, she somehow allowed the waters of life to form her.
As we sit on the threshold of the 15th anniversary of Soaring Spirits, I have my own collection of memories of how our family tried to love Michele into life after losing Phillip. I remember how our love helped, but was not enough. None of us had walked in her shoes. We did not have the missing ingredient that would make all the difference, but we recognized it when it arrived in the form of Michelle Dippel: peer support.
It was as if Michele had thrown out an invisible ad to the universe.
Seeking young widow, preferably with children, as a companion on the path of grief. No previous experience required.
As the death anniversaries of Phillip and Daniel came and went, and the experience of single parenting presented its own questions, the two young widows found a formula that helped them move toward healing. They cried, laughed, commiserated, and raged together. They held each other, figuratively through texts and emails and literally through visits in both Texas and California. Rough waters continued to form them. Life, as we well know, is rarely obedient to our wishes.
Still, we find our own way to keep going.
The waters of life make their mark on us and we cry, laugh, and rage our way through our own particular story. It’s impossible to predict how the story ends. In the meantime, we who are widowed have the support of the programs of Soaring Spirits where you may find:
- A special pen pal to come to know and love through the written word or phone calls;
- Dinner out with widowed friends where talking about your person is as normal as any other topic;
- Zoom meetups attuned to your particular preferences and needs;
- Sensitive, compassionate help for the Newly Widowed:
- A cache of fifteen years of blog posts for every.single.day—written by and for widowed people:
Then, of course, there is Camp Widow which provides a crash course in how to survive grief along with the magic of meeting “peers.” It also offers a family who believe that tears and laughter can coexist, love wins always, widowed people rock, death sucks, and that there is room for our person in whatever new life we choose;
Additionally, Soaring Spirits teaches emergency room staff, insurance companies, pastors and ministers the nuances that offer comfort to those they meet when life turns suddenly into grief. As an organization, it has broadened the terms “widow” and “widower” in a way that invites the fullness of life to share space with sadness—each having a unique gift to us in turn.
It’s true that a person’s life emerges from their experiences. The daily ups and downs craft our being like water on rock. We emerge—for better or worse—from countless decision points and random events that occur as we travel toward future.
Keep going, my friend.
You are not alone on the path. Throw your invisible ad into the universe. Seek what you need. There is someone who gets you and is waiting to meet you.
Something wonderful is just ahead in the mysterious place named future.