Melodie – Brea, CA

Widowed people know how to party. After all, we are the same silly, wild, funny people who fell in love, got married, and started families. When we lost our spouses, with them went much of the fun we used to have. We have been sidelined by grief, but we are still very much alive inside. It was powerful to be with 150 people who have at one time cried like I cried, curled on the floor in desperation, and believed that we would never stand again. Yet we all still stood. What connected us was not death, but it was having had to consciously decide to live. Widow is a huge word, laden with awkward pauses and apologies. This weekend the tragedy of individual death-stories almost cancelled each other out. We were all equals in grief, and everyone, "got it." I felt... normal. I love these people now, because over these years we shared the most intimate and profound of life experiences. Because through it we found strength we didn't know we had. Because we have honored our partners in death as we did in life. And because we found a way to forget our troubles for a few hours, and just live. They must be so proud of us. Who would have guessed that it would take a widows conference to enable me to stop feeling like a widow?