Originally uploaded by jillgadz
No, this is not a photo of a group of us, nor is it San Diego, but it speaks to the feeling I get when I think of the friendships I have developed in the widowed community.
Last night I went out for a drink with a large group of people at the Camp. Upon returning back to the hotel, I picked up my laptop, and settled into a sofa in the lobby. I was writing last night's post when the last of the group were returning to the hotel as well. A couple of the women noticed me, and came over to talk, surprised that I would be sitting there writing. This was maybe around 1:30am, and indicative of these late night conversations, we began discussing many very personal aspects of widowhood that don't often get discussed. Both of these women seemed to both have a wickedly dark sense of humor, as do I. We talked about ourselves, and asked probing questions that had been on our mind.
I love it when I find myself in a situation like this, as it allows the direction of the conversation to take on a life of it's own. Somehow when it is late at night, it is far easier to let your guard down, and talk about your weakness and frailties. And as is usually my experience, I am having this conversation with two straight women. But because I sensed that they were kindred spirits, I was able to talk free of judgement, and welcome their questions, no matter how personal. It was refreshing.
During these days of trauma and grief, we need to be open to expand our definition of compatibility. We need to recognize that while it is always valid to seek out the type of people we think we need in our lives, there are times when we are so deeply wounded that our prior list of contacts just won't fit the bill. For me, during this past year, and throughout this past weekend, I found myself immersed in conversation with so many people, hearing their stories, and speaking about mine. I was able to reach across the chairs to recognize that the direction of our stories were taking a similar turn.
There were several conversations that led to a slow recognition that our spouses had died of the same type of cancer. It brought us so much closer, with that clear sense of knowing. I was also able to have a one on one conversation with another widower about my loss, his loss, our experience in the days since our loss, and where we currently find ourselves. We both reached the conclusion that should we return to the Camp next year, that we need to facilitate a gathering of other men to have a similar discussion.
Back to my two new late night friends. It felt like such a relief to have that type of a release. A release of our pain, and of our self doubt. A release of our worries. A release of our hidden desires. A release of our times of vulnerability. Our bodies tired, our eye lids feeling heavy, we continued through the night, finally ending our conversation at 4:30am. I don't know when I will see these women again. I don't know when I will see this widower again. I don't know when I will have the opportunity to sit with widows and compare experiences in dealing with the brain cancer of our husbands. I don't know when I will again see my now quite close blogger friends.
I do know this. I am blessed. I am blessed with having these kindred spirits around me. They circle my heart in times of pain, they offer support when I need to talk, and they laugh when I need to express my sick sense of humor. It is my hope tonight that each of you have, or will find, kindred spirits of your own. And know that I am one already in your back pocket.