Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Facebook & Widowhood

Buffy, Supa Fresh (Robin Moore) Hyla Molander (Drop Dead Life) and Poor Widow Me
Believe me, widowhood is not the neighborhood you want to live in. Besides all the obvious, there’s uncertainty. At every corner, there’s a decision to be made. Where’s my husband to stop me from making yet another idiotic choice? Of course, when he was alive I rarely listened, but at least I had the option.

Widowhood is a like a pineapple upside down cake without the pineapple and the cake part. Does this analogy make sense? Sure it does. My life has been turned upside down and there’s no upside to it. There you go. But, wait…maybe there is an upside. I had an opportunity this past weekend to help myself and others.

I just got back from Camp Widow, a Widow Conference in San Diego sponsored by The Soaring Spirits Foundation. Here for the second year hundreds of widows gathered at the Marriott to share, compare and fit in somewhere. Yes, that rhymes and worse, it sounds suspiciously like a sound bite. I know because I used it in my workshop. As it came out of my mouth I realized that if someone else said it I would laugh in her face. Luckily, few are as rude as I am.

The atmosphere at the conference was almost giddy with grief relief. Widows, widows, everywhere. Regardless of our circumstances we bonded instantly. Where else is a widow to go to feel such genuine understanding? At home, I’m unique, the only widow in my social circle. Here, I was just another widow. It never felt so good to see I wasn’t so special.

Facebook played a key role in bringing many of us together. It was nothing short of incredible to reach out and physically be with so many who until that moment was just a name, a sad story and a few photos.

We were told over and over again that the discussions led by me and Supa Fresh and Hyla Molander each day these past few months enticed many to embrace the chance to meet in real life…to hug our neighbors in Widowhood. Hearing this was better than a brownie…okay, almost as good.

We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses and actual home addresses. We vowed to stay in touch.

If life gets the way and we go back to being Facebook friends until next year’s conference, that’s okay, too, because we touched each other. Now we all know that we’re real.