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Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Here's a spot we can share things we learned during our Camp Widow weekend ... workshop notes, special speaker quotes, lessons learned, fun stories, life-changing moments.

Yes, I should have started this during Camp but I didn't spend as much time in my room this time. Guess that's a good thing!

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Started out with the Widville meet-up Thursday afternoon. So nice to put a face with the name of those we've gotten to know here online and to see special friends we met at a previous Camp.  These connections are one of the most valuable parts of attending Camp Widow.

So wonderful to meet Tiffany (Lovie) for the first time - and to see my dear friend Lisa (Marielee) again!

I posted other meet-up photos here:  http://widowedvillage.org/photo/albums/camp-widow-west-2012

Beautiful Ladies!

Friday morning brought the setup of our Widowed Village booth - many who attend Camp Widow haven't joined us here, so this booth gives us a chance to talk to them about all that Widville provides. Thanks to wifi and our laptops, we can actually show WV to them and even let them create their profile right there if they'd like!

Then the campers started arriving to register, collect their packets and check out the Camp Widow store and other booths in the registration area.

The hotel is big and beautiful.  Here's the view from my room in the South Tower, where all of the Camp Widow events were held. And, of course, San Diego is amazing. Although this desert gal sure was feeling the humidity.

The Welcome Reception is a great place to meet those who are not Widvillers. The speed question icebreaker helps a lot, too!  Friday night fireworks on the bay were an added bonus.

Friday began with New Camper Orientation and a Newly Widowed Group Session. Roundtable discussions provide more intimate opportunities to discuss specific topics and were held throughout the afternoon (topics included: Just for Widowers, Empty Nesters, Baby Boomers, Survivors of Suicide Loss, Widowed with No Children, Widowed but Not Legally Married, For New Partners of Widow/ers, Support for the LGBT Widowed, and Meet the Adult Children of Widow/ers).  I attended two Intensive Workshops on Friday (Rituals for the Journey and Memoir Writing) and will share my notes in a separate post.

Many campers started Saturday with Morning Yoga (not me, however), followed by Michele's Keynote Address. Michele is an amazing speaker and I am always inspired by listening to her. If you'd like to listen to her keynotes from previous Camps, here is where you'll find them. I'm hopeful that both of the 2012 Camp Keynotes will be added here, too:  http://www.micheleneffhernandez.com/media-gallery/audio/

Saturday was full of workshops, a Camp Widow Alumni Off Site Event, the American Widow Project Mini Adventure, the Soaring Spirits Award Banquet, and the Rooftop Message Release. A pretty amazing day! I didn't attend the alumni event or mini adventure, but heard they were spectacular. Hope those who did attend, will post about them here.

Yes ... there was dancing and smiles and laughter, too!

I didn't know how they could possibly come up with something as meaningful as the ocean love release at Camp Widow East, but since this hotel is not located right on the ocean the SSLF Board had a challenge. And they met it ... water is the healing focus for the East Coast Camp and fire is the healing focus for the West Coast Camp.

We were given 3 recycled glass hearts and 3 pieces of paper at registration, along with these instructions:

  • On one piece of paper write down what you would like to release from your life. "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." ~ Joseph Campbell
  • On another piece of paper, write down your hopes for your life. "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it; under its roof." ~ Barbara Kingsolver
  • The last piece of paper, write down something that you are grateful for at this moment. "To be alive it to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of the here and now." ~ Donald Altman

We wrapped one piece of paper around each stone and were able to to reflect and then toss our worries, hopes and gratitudes into the fire.  The large space on the rooftop allowed room to gather together or to be alone. It was a rather spiritual experience ... allowing each of us the space to do what we needed but the compassion shown by others to those who were struggling is a very special thing to witness and participate in.

Love it!

Sunday had an early start with the 5K Widows Dash. I didn't do an official count but think there were around 30 who participated - plus the volunteers. You don't need to run - or dash even - walking is perfectly ok. And it takes place all around the marina and park area, so the views are wonderful. I didn't take my camera to this event, so no pics.

We had time to run up and shower before the Farewell Buffet Breakfast and Michele's closing remarks. It was super humid so a shower was a necessity (and I was just a volunteer!). There was plenty of time there for more conversations, last-minute purchases from the Camp Widow store and sign ups for the 2013 camps.

Another Thank you for sharing.. it has been amazing talking to people in chat who attended

I hope you might be able to join us at a future Camp, Bonnie. They are truly life-changing experiences.

OK - I'm finished with my official Camp Widow West story for those who didn't attend and might be curious what it is like ... now let's get personal.

  • Share what Camp was like for you
  • Share your 'take-aways'
  • Post questions
  • Post photos
  • Post suggestions for future camp workshops

Thanks Dianne for taking your time to share!    

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