Not Your Ordinary Camp ……

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…… is Camp Widow.

I know …… the name is suggestive of a hotel full of little old women, wearing black and sitting in rocking chairs.
Well, the word “widow” is suggestive of that.

Until you become one.

Not at first.
At first I think that most people hate that word. I did.
Because I wasn’t old and you’ll rarely find me sitting in a rocking chair.
My husband was dead, yet I still felt married to him.
I was not a widow, thank you very much.
I was not one of “them”.

Then came my first Camp Widow.
Only it wasn’t called that the first year. It was called the National Conference on Widowhood.
Yeah, we all know it was a blah name.
Which is why it was changed before the weekend was out.

The name wasn’t important to me.
The experience was.
It was full of laughter, tears and more laughter.
Outsiders would never guess what we all had in common.
Never.

After that first weekend of spending time with over 100 people in the same boat with me, the definition of the word “Widow” started to change.
I loved every person I met.
And I still do.
They are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
Each year I look forward to seeing them again. And again.
We love, and hate, the reason that we all love each other.

We are widowed.
And so much more.

Now I embrace that word. Because to me, “widow” means that I’m a survivor.
I’m still here.
And I’m strong.
I’m living as fully as I can …… because Jim can’t.
And because he loved me.
He would expect nothing less.

The definition didn’t change overnight.
It took time.
Sometimes it felt like forever.
I wasn’t always sure that I’d get to here.
Sometimes I’m amazed that I did.

And all of the time …… I’m glad I did.
For Jim.
For our kids.
And for me.

God is good.
All the time.

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