Adventures of Camp Widow Canada – pt 4 – Sleepless on Saturday

4 am is NOT a good time of day to be getting back to your room and going to sleep if you have a 7am yoga class.

I did not make the yoga class.  AGAIN.  Last year I missed it as well.  Dammit.   Ah well.  That’s life; sleep was more important.

I was awakened at 8-ish by Connie, one of the “other” roommates that I didn’t know that well.   She let me know that it was almost time for breakfast and the keynote address.

I stumbled out of bed, grateful to have been woken.    I didn’t mind missing yoga but I didn’t want to miss Michele’s speech for anything.   She’s rather amazing when it comes to putting things into perspective and showing us that yes, hope matters and yes, we CAN build a life after loss.   If you weren’t there – I highly reccommend taking an hour and listen to it here.  It’s amazing.   I am building my life and creating my foundation and my cement mixer (purple with polka dots) is full of things I can build on.

After the keynote address, I realized that breakfast hadn’t been enough to satisfy. It was a typical continental without any protein and I was *hungry* so Connie and I decided to head over to the restaurant.

We sat and had breakfast and talked.   Got to know each other.  Got to understand each other.   My breakfast was pretty awesome:

Breakfast in Toronto

Its interesting how you don’t KNOW someone until you’ve taken the time to talk to them.  (yah yah…. that seems just… logical, yanno?)  Found out she’s a pretty awesome person.  We have a lot in common.  We are kindred souls on a number of levels.

After breakfast, we decided we’d go check out the really cool church located right beside the hotel.   We both love old churches and buildings, so it seemed logical.

Toronto Church

The church wasn’t open on Saturdays.  We said a few choice words… and then sorta looked at each other and headed back to our room.

By this time, my lack of sleep was catching up to me and I was having trouble staying awake.   I told Connie I was going to lay down for a nap.  I missed out on two of my workshops – but I think I needed the sleep more.    Scratch that, I KNOW I needed sleep more.   I had to be up for my 2.45 workshop (Grieving Teens) because I was the workshop monitor – basically making sure the presenter stayed on time, handing out and taking back feeback sheets and so on.

It was an ok workshop.  I felt it could have been longer or perhaps started in on the “meat” of the workshop sooner as it didn’t start getting interesting or relevant (to me) until about 15 mins left in it.   It didn’t give me what I needed and didn’t address some of my concerns but others seemed to get lots out of it.

After that workshop was over, I ran to the next one.  I was scheduled for “My Husband is Not  A Rainbow”  but Taryn’s other workshop was on at that time and the rule was if you were waiting by the door – and someone didn’t show – you could get in.

I got there, and there were only 6 of the 8 registered participants.

I waited breathlessly – the others saying “there’s no way anyone would skip this”

But yesterday, a couple someone’s had.   Extras got in.   So I waited.  And hoped.

Finally – the time came – and I was IN!  WOOT!!! SO freaking excited.

I was just getting settled – and there was Dana at the door wanting to talk to me.

She assured me that the spot was MINE but because I’d taken the workshop before – there was another person who wanted to get in and was I willing to give it up?

I thought about it.   Seriously considered the fact that I KNOW Taryn’s workshops are freaking amazing.  And that I get SO much out of them.   Finally decided.   “If it has been a shorter time since their spouse has died, I’ll give up my spot”

I peeked while she went out to find out how long for the person waiting… and it was a FRIEND of mine!!! EEP!   I felt so bad… she didn’t have less time out than me, but she’d never been… augh!   I shed the guilt and went in to participate.  I’d made my decision and I wasn’t going to feel guilty about taking care of myself.

The workshop was one I’d taken before.  It was just as magical and amazing as it was the year before.   We’re in the middle of our guided meditation when Taryn says to think of our love.  Last year?  Mark came to mind immediately.   This year?   Mike showed up.  In my mind AND in text at that exact moment.




So freaking embarrassing.  I forgot to put the phone on silent.  I stood up and fixed it and hoped that everyone else had kept their eyes shut so they didn’t see WHO forgot to make sure the phones were on silent.

The rest of the meditation was lovely, if a bit hard for me to get back to.

After meditation, we discussed what it was like for us, and then she told us about the arrow exercise.

I did this last year.  Blogged about it here.

Last year, I was the first to volunteer.  I stood up, put the arrow tip to my throat and walked through.   No problems.  No issues.

This year?  This year it HURT.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I couldn’t get out of my head and into my heart.   I waited as long as possible, second to last.

I got up to the wall.  Stared at my piece of paper.   Put the tip of the arrow to my throat.  Taryn adjusted the fletching end against the wall.   I took a half step… and panicked.

It HURT so much more this year.  I had a harder time getting out of my own head and into my heart.

Finally… I stepped.  And stepped again.  And got out of my head, focussed on the goal and ignored the pain.

I broke the arrow.

A side note:  Last year, for whatever reason, my pictures of the arrow breaking either did not turn out or did not make it to the page.  I have never seen them.   I’m still waiting for Michele to post this years’ photos.

Once the arrow broke, so much broke inside me.

Walls inside me that I’ve been putting up and reinforcing.

False beliefs about my abilities.

And the dam that holds my tears back.

And I cried.

Taryn hugged me and I almost couldn’t’ hold myself up.  That beautiful, tiny woman had enough strength to hold ALL of us up as we broke through.   She held me when I couldn’t hold myself.   And I cried.

Finally letting go, I sat down in the circle and the last participant went.

It’s hard to adequately explain how incredibly freeing that workshop is.   I’ve seen the ones where they bend rebar, I’ve heard about the one walking on glass, and the thought that we can move past the pain, move past the hurts that hold us back, it’s uplifting and enlightening.

I wish Taryn lived closer so I could spend more time with her.  She amazes me.

We had a small debriefing and the class disbursed.    It was time for the gala dinner.   And to get ready.  All fancied up.

The dinner?  That’s for part 5.   Who’d have thunk that 3 days would turn into 6 or 7 blog posts?  LOL

Not me – last year I did one and that was it LOL