~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

"I Want to Live"

Saturday night at Camp Widow means one thing: time for the banquet. We doll ourselves up, we put on the fancy, and we celebrate our strength, celebrate that we've made it this far.

At the banquet with my friends and widow sisters Beth and Judy.
And there's a dance floor and a DJ...who by the way is instructed to play no slow songs. For one Camp, they happened to hire a live band, and for whatever reason there was no instruction on what to play or at least not to play. Which was unfortunate, because they played At Last, and there were people running out of the room crying. That had been some people's wedding song. Hmmm, can you say "sensitivity fail"? But--I digress.

At one point during this Camp's banquet, I was dancing near my friend Barbara and a woman named Betty, who I hadn't really had a chance to interact with yet. All of a sudden, she says to Barbara, "I feel old," and when Barbara asked how old she is, she gave an answer in the late 60s.

A few minutes later, Betty and I were still dancing near each other, and she said something that I couldn't quite make out, so I asked her to repeat. She said, "I want to live."

I want to live.

The tears welled up instantly...as they still do every time I think of it. All I could do was say, "I don't even know you, but now I have to hug you," and she let me. Further evidence, by the way, of how the bond between widowed people can form--instantly, strong, and very deep.

I mean, how easy would it be for her to give up? To give up on life, to give up on ever enjoying it again. (It's a temptation I am all too familiar with.) But no, something in her has risen up and refused to take the easy-but-ultimately-self-destructive path. Just...wow.

Talk about inspiring!

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