I went to Camp Widow East (Tampa) last weekend and well it was fun, sad, interesting, engaging and weird all at the same time. You wouldn't expect a bunch of people who are grieving the loss of their person to find so much joy in just being with each other. It was nice to be able to remove the mask for a few days and just be who I am right now. I know this won't be who I always will be, nor is it who I once was but right now I am a person who is multiple shades of screwed up over missing a large portion of my identity. At Camp I could be just me, rather than still trying in some ways to be 'us'. Since no one truly knew me, there were no preconceived expectations or anything along those lines. Dianne was, as always, great and hugged me less than a minute after getting to the group session on Thursday.
I got home on Monday and started planning out my next trip to Camp, need to start socking away a little spending money now to pay for my trip but well worth it. That said coming home was a bit of a let down (Camp Crash). It was like being on crutches for a few weeks and then having them taken away suddenly and being told to walk on your own. It is a little unbalancing to lose the support system that was all around you all day long. I feel I was lucky in that I had my support group meeting the night I got back so I was able to go from 250 people around me down to 8 people around me before being down to just me again.
I did find that I was a bad camper though, I spent 3 days with people and only took home 2 phone numbers. I am not normally an extrovert so my natural tendency is to sort of sit back in the background so this entire camp thing was about pulling myself out of my shell and I got far enough to gab with people and to have a good time but not so far that I actually invested in the relationship while there. This is probably the biggest reason I have to go back to Camp, I need to take that next step and actually engage and invest in relationship building.
Advice to anyone considering camp - Do it, but make sure you take the time to ask people you spend time with for ways of staying in touch. Increase your social network of people who understand your current situation and aren't going to judge you for that. Also go to as many sessions as you feel comfortable with, but try to take some time just to hang out with people. I overfilled my time with sessions and didn't really take time on the side just to gab. The worst that can happen is that you can find some folks you don't have anything, other than loss, in common with and you just move on to someone else.