I've titled this post a hundred different things while writing it in my head: "Lessons," "Confronting Demons," "Stirring the Pot," "Soul Searching," "Growing Pains..."
I was not prepared for the myriad of emotions that Camp Widow stirred up. It really caught me by surprise. Stuff I had buried that I didn't even realize was still there. I was still pretty numb at last year's conference, and I'm sure that was a factor. I was in a totally different place this time last year than I am now. It appears that I am not nearly the only one, either - several of my other widowed friends who attended last weekend's events are experiencing the same sort of emotions.
I hit a low point a couple days ago. Those low points make you feel like you'll never see the light of day again, but low and behold, eventually it passes. I'm happy to report that as time passes, these low points are less frequent, and I seem to come out of them a bit quicker than before. I hope that's a trend that continues... I also consider myself extremely blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and I know for a fact that I can contribute bouncing back faster to them as well.
I talked to several friends yesterday, and I learned something pretty significant from each of them. Some lessons, some reminders...
Lesson number one: Shut up and listen. Really listen.
Lesson number two: Apparently the thing that holds you back from moving forward in life is yourself. This is a bitter pill to swallow, but what an invaluable epiphany.
Lesson number three: Anger is blinding and deafening, and it can make you sick. It can keep you from seeing things that are right in front of your face, and from hearing things that are being said to you loud and clear.
Lesson number four: Pain is progress. It may seem like a hindrance, but it is a sign of growth and understanding. Embrace it, then let it go.
Lesson number five: Stop focusing inward - step outside of yourself and open your eyes and ears to those around you.
Lesson number six: Sleep is priceless. Gotta do this more...
Lesson number seven, and probably most important: Instead of focusing so much on what I've lost, I need to be focused on what I have right in front of me. My amazing children, and the many other wonderful people that are in my life.
I saw this on Facebook yesterday, and it really hit home: "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin
I think a lot of the things I'm accusing others of are the very things I'm guilty of. Another bitter pill, but a really necessary one. Not sure if that's the meaning of that quote, but that's what I took from it, anyway.
These horrible circumstances that we're all faced with have a purpose. No one escapes this life without experiencing tragedy of some sort. The biggest question we all ask is "why" and perhaps the answer is "to help us grow." Soul growth - so we are better prepared to live the rest of this life, and the life that comes after this one.
I'm so glad I've realized these lessons and that I gave myself the chance to think about them and process them- especially in light of the next trip I have coming up. In a week, the kids and I are going back to Buffalo for the first time since we moved, and the thought of going back has been stressing me out. I'm going to keep these lessons in mind, and remind myself to be a little lighter and kinder, and a little bit stronger to face this next hurdle.