Camp Widow gives spouses the chance to heal, find community

Although there were ample tissues on hand, the atmosphere at the Toronto edition was more hopeful than sombre.

There were no campfire songs, s’mores or swimming at the camp held Nov. 10 to 12 in downtown Toronto. But there were roundtable discussions, tears, laughter and new friendships forged at Camp Widow.

One hundred and sixteen people (71 Canadians and 45 Americans), ranging in age from their late 20s to late 70s, came to the event at the Eaton Centre Marriott to hear speakers, receive practical information and learn about how to rebuild their lives after the death of a partner. But for most, including return ‘camper’ Irene Phypers of Uxbridge, it was an opportunity to experience camaraderie with others who’ve suffered a loss. And although there were ample tissues on hand, the atmosphere was more hopeful than sombre.

Phypers’ husband, Corey, died at age 37 in November 2012, after they had been together for 10 years and married for three. He had been a heart transplant recipient 12 years before, but had developed coronary artery disease and was on the list for another transplant when he passed away.

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