Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I Learned at Camp Widow 2010

I have really great news for all of you who are new widows and widowers, or even those of you who are many years past the death of your spouse and are still struggling in some way.

What I learned by attending Camp Widow is that
you can be done with your grief.

When I was first widowed 15 years ago, there was very little support of any kind for young widows, and on-line support was virtually non-existent. I was so happy to find Soaring Spirits, Legacy.com, and all the other resources available via the Internet, for this meant that young widow/ers would not feel the same isolation as I did when I was raw with grief.

I wanted to be part of this community -- to put out my hand to help those who were making the arduous trek that I had previously traversed. My intention was two-fold when I first applied to be a presenter at Camp Widow 2010. Most importantly, I wanted to help grievers by sharing my story and the lessons I learned with my "been there/done that" expertise voice as well as from a professional coaching approach. However, I also thought that I would be interested in listening to the other speakers, for I believe there is always more to learn.

What I discovered, as I wandered in and out of the other speaker's informative and heartfelt presentations, was that I didn't really belong in the sessions -- other than on an academic basis.

Now, without sounding arrogant, I knew I had done a really good job of working through all of the issues with which I was confronted after the death of my late husband. And, I had lots of them for mine was complicated grief resulting from a suicide. But, you never know ... there could always be that lingering piece that you've denied or buried so deep.

The great news is that I discovered that there wasn't anything left for me to consider or process -- and that's a really good thing .... for me and for you!

Please, do not misunderstand me, though. My late husband will always remain a part of my history and life -- and I will still sigh sadly when I think of him missing milestones in the lives of our children. He still resides in the deep recesses of my heart, but he is not an everyday visitor -- not even a frequent visitor anymore. It is a one-way relationship now. As he is not ever present, I need to be the one to always take the initiative and to call him to the surface of my thoughts, when and if I desire to do so.

It has been 15 years, and I am not the same person I was when I was with him. I have grown and evolved by taking special care to reap all of the lessons from my life experiences. The landscape of my life has been greatly altered: I have a new husband, stepchildren, a new grandchild, new obligations, and new happiness.

And, I just wanted everyone to know that there is a shiny, bright light at the end of that tunnel of grief. It is a big spotlight being held up by me, others who have experienced loss and processed it in a healthy and successful manner, and by those who have gone on to turn their loss into a career of helping the bereaved.

Keep on trekking .... you are on the right path! Keep believing in yourself and you will get to the end of that tunnel. I'll be there to offer you a hand up to the high ground of discovering your life after death.

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