Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Going Off the Rails on the Crazy Train

I don’t think I’ve ever been on a road trip alone.  Well...from northern Colorado to the Wyoming border, but that doesn’t count.  Especially because now, for the life of me, I can’t remember why I did it.

I left this morning on a journey south from Denver to Santa Fe for a Women’s Retreat.  Yet another one of my journeys into the unknown.  But if it meant I could have a few moments of peace in my car alone...I was willing to take the chance.

About 20 minutes into my trip it occurred to me:  I’ve never driven this far and this long by myself.  I’ve always been either putting in a Disney DVD going 80 miles an hour or listening to my husband contribute to my ADD by changing the radio station at the beginning of every song (couldn’t we just listen to one all the way through??). 

I’ve never had complete silence and control of all of the buttons in my car for more than 2 hours.

I originally thought that this would be a great time to enlighten myself.  Six hours of driving through southern Colorado and mid-way through New Mexico...there’s a lot of room for enlightenment.  So I borrowed a few books on CD from the library so that by the time I hit the New Mexico border...I would hopefully be a whole new person.

One lives in hope.

I popped in Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of NOW” and kept driving towards what I was sure would be a complete energy shift from the old, worried me to the new, “nothing can touch me” me.  But once I hit Pueblo, I had to finally admit it.

I didn’t get it.

I understand acknowledging that voice inside you that you should ignore.  But honestly...sometimes that voice is really funny and my “being” all by itself is pretty dull. 

So I popped that sucker right back out of the CD player and decided to listen to the radio.

I have come to a conclusion:  One should always choose their place of residence by the radio stations.  In fact, I remember, long ago, when I was a dad once threatened to retire in Angel Fire, NM...just because they had a great blues station.

After listening to one rural radio station after another...I now completely understand what he was talking about.  I may just have to retire in Cimarron, NM because they have a radio station that will play the Beatles...followed by Black Sabbath.  It seemed like nothing was off-limits for this station as long as they appeased the Septic Tank Service company that sponsored them.  But what really pushed me over the edge and had me so close to calling a realtor was...

It seems that with every lawn mower you purchase, you get a free box of ammo.

Forget the beach for retirement.  I’ve got Ozzy, short grass, and dinner on the way.

It’s possible that I would have had an educational experience listening to Mr. Tolle, but then I would have missed the area of New Mexico that only plays old country songs.  Now, I came to country music kind of late.  But after 2 hours of listening to that station, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I’m all caught up.

And now I know that Hank Williams, Jr. is kind of like the Jay-Z of country music.  That guy’s a little racy.

It’s amazing the things you start paying attention to after hours in the car by yourself.  For example:  Did you know that New Mexico must be the “Call us if you see a DWI” Sign Champion of the United States?  I’ll bet there are more signs that say that on I-25 than there are oil wells in Texas.  And the truth is...after driving completely straight, due south for about 3 hours...I was tempted to call and report myself, just for the heck of it. 

At least it would have made the drive more interesting.

It’s straight.  Dead straight.  There should be a warning about that.  You know how there are those signs that say “Next Rest Area:  60 Miles”?  They really ought to have one as you get over Raton Pass that says “Next Tree:  200 miles.”

But there’s not.  There is, however, a very helpful Bear Crossing sign.

It’s flat.  It’s straight.  And it’s dry.  The only cloud in the sky is dust.  And after about an hour of basically napping with my eyes open, something occurred to me.

Those poor damn settlers.  I mean, my hands were dry and cracking and my contact lenses felt like they had been suction-cupped to my corneas as I drove through landscape that looked like it was a state-wide bonfire waiting to happen.  I can’t imagine coming up on this in a covered wagon, just knowing that your husband took a wrong turn somewhere, while the kids asked, “are we almost there?” from the back of the pack. 

And I thought I had it rough.

One of the more interesting things I observed, while on my drive, was at a truck stop (of course), somewhere between the middle-of-nowhere and south-of-the-middle-of-nowhere.  It was a scale in the women’s bathroom and for a quarter, it would not only tell you your accurate weight, but would give you your winning lotto numbers as well.

Well.  It’s about damn time my weight came with some good news attached.

But the main reason I wanted to write this blog is to let you in on a secret that I’m betting no one knows about and I feel like it’s my duty to break the story.  As I started into the Santa Fe city limits, I saw the most amazing thing.  On the side of the highway was a somewhat run-down trailer with an American flag and an enormous sign on the side that said:  SHOW US YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

I had no idea that Donald Trump owned property just north of Santa Fe.

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How the Grinch Stole Easter

I feel like I don’t usually expect much out of Easter and therefore it expects very little out of me.  And since we expect so little from each other...I shouldn’t have been surprised that both of our low expectations were met this year.

First of all, I don’t know what in the hell was up with my kids.  All I know is that I didn’t wake up cranky, so this time I can’t possibly blame their mood on my own, as I usually do.  My mom tried to blame it on the donuts they ate later that morning, but I don’t think one donut per child has enough sugar in it to turn all 3 kids into a whiny, sulky herd for 12 hours.

I usually try and give my kids a few inexpensive, outdoor toys for their baskets since nice weather is (hopefully) around the corner.  I look at their Easter toys as more of a gift to me:  False hope that I’m giving them things that might occupy them and keep them from fighting with each other for about 5 minutes on a sunny day.

This year, as I was shopping for Easter, I had also been shopping for summer clothes for my kids.  So everything was lumped into several garbage-sized bags that I had hidden not-so-discreetly in the back of my mini-van.  This meant that on Easter Eve, I was rummaging around, trying to find the little things that I had bought my kids for their baskets.

Never again.

Anyway, the rabbit poop hit the fan then next morning as my kids were taking a look at what they had gotten and my 9-year-old daughter just about had a nervous breakdown because the Easter Bunny had apparently given her brother and sister a Pez dispenser and not her.  And that’s because E.B. didn’t notice that the Pez dispenser had gotten tangled up in a pair of $3 shorts somewhere in the Target bag.

Now...when one of my kids gets upset about something little, I look at it one of two ways:  Either I get irritated beyond reason because I know in my adult brain that in the grand scheme of things a candy holder with a creepy bunny head on it is really not that big of a deal.  There are times I want to shake them and say, “Your dad is gone...and this is what you’re upset about???”

It’s the bad little mom in me that wants to do that.

The good mom stands there and is so proud of the fact that she has done such a great job of keeping the lives of her children up and running so that they can just be kids and get upset about stupid stuff like a Pez dispenser. 

It’s a toss up on which mom shows up during any given situation.

But Easter morning, as I watched my daughter’s face go from partly cloudy to possible hurricane, I decided a change needed to happen.  I’m not in the business of raising children who focus on what they don’t have, rather than what they do. 

Mama don’t play that game. 

And if that’s the point we’ve gotten may be time that my 9-year-old learns that the Easter Bunny (aka, Me) has a lot going on, mistakes can happen, and it’s time for her to give my little bunny ass a break.

(Now, if you don’t know the truth about the Easter Bunny...please do not continue reading.)

The truth is...I have been dreading this moment since she was born.  If you ask anyone in my immediate family, they’ll tell you that the day I found out about Santa and good ol’ E.B. was one of the most traumatic moments in my life (death of husband included).  Despite what my dad was not when I was 25-years-old.  It was at an age when I should have been told anyway.  Rumors had been circling in my 3rd grade classroom right before winter break and I remember a friend of mine and I getting into a heated debate about Real vs. Not.  It wasn’t pretty.

(If there is a guy I went to elementary school with named Ryan out there reading this...I apologize.) 

My parents decided to tell me after that 3rd grade Christmas and...really...I had it coming.  We were driving home after spending the holidays in Louisiana and I remember that being one of the best Christmases I had ever had.  I had asked Santa for a teddy bear that was as big as I was and that’s exactly what I found under the tree.

As we drove home, I came to the conclusion that if Santa could bring me that...he could bring me anything.  So on December 27th, I began planning my Christmas list for the next year which, if I remember correctly, involved a professional ice-skating dress (even though I didn’t ice skate) and a cash register set-up similar to the one they had at the local grocery store, complete with scanner and stocked cash drawer.

After working on my list (out loud) for about 12 hours in the backseat of the family station wagon, I remember my parents slowly turning to look at each other in the car.  And then the truth came out.

I was so mortified at what they were saying that at the next stop, I angrily got my 9-year-old self out of the car, looked at them and shouted, “I guess the next thing you’re going to tell me is there’s no Tooth Fairy either!!!”

I was locked in the bathroom at the Conoco before I reality really set in.

There was no Tooth Fairy.

I haven’t yet talked about this day with my therapist, but as you can will forever be implanted in my memory.  So as I sat down to tell my daughter about the Easter Bunny, I prepared myself for a similar scene.  Instead, she just gave me a hug and said, “I’m sorry I was so rude downstairs.”

Obviously she’s a little more aware of how the world works than I was at that age.  Either that or maybe Ryan gave her a call.

Once again, I went through a moment that was a helluva lot more traumatic for me than it was for my kid and the last few days...I’ve been feeling a little blue.  I think that it’s just that I’ve hit another parenting milestone alone and having to admit to my daughter that there isn’t as much magic in the world as she was kind of hard.

The only comfort I have about the fact that I had to do this alone is that if her father had seen the way she was carrying on about a Pez dispenser, I don’t think he would have been as delicate in his truth-telling as I had been.

Daddy didn’t play that either.

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Case of Emergency

Yesterday was somewhat of a milestone for me.  Although it may not seem like much to the outside world, it’s something that I know my widda peeps will understand.

I went to a doctor’s appointment with my boyfriend (I hate using that makes me sound like a 12-year-old) to find out whether he was really sick...or just in excruciating pain.  The appointment wasn’t IN the hospital but it was in an office within a block of the hospital, an area I’ve avoided for the past 4 years.

The good news was...the doctor really thinks that whatever he has going on is benign, which is what I tried to focus on as she explained that screws, metal plates, and painful surgery will be necessary to fix the problem that he has.

I know it’s not me going through it...but I’ll take that over the alternative any day.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks, wondering and worrying how what the doctor was going to tell us yesterday would affect the future.  Before his initial appointment 2 weeks ago, I remember sitting down to dinner and wondering if this would be the last “normal” evening we would spend together.

Because, as we all know...once you hear certain can never go back.

Before the appointment yesterday, we busied ourselves with the small home improvement project of painting my son’s room.  Or I should say...I kept him busy painting my son’s room because my shaky hand and impatient nature usually makes painting projects come out looking like some sort of abstract drippy, blotchy piece of art.

As he rolled, brushed, and filled in holes, trying to cover up the disastrous paint job I had done 6 years ago (with red paint, no less), I said, “Aren’t you grateful that we have this project today that’s mindless but keeps us busy until your appointment?”

He gave me kind of a deadpan stare and said, “Yeah.  Thanks.”

What can I say?  I’m always thinking of others.

As I showered and got ready to leave, I felt that familiar tightening of stomach muscles that I didn’t know I had and tried not to think about what might be coming.  But I couldn’t help it.

A million scenarios ran through my mind.  What if they wanted him to stay for tests?  What if they said they wanted to admit him immediately?  What if the tests involve surgery?

I started thinking about when I went to the hospital after my husband’s accident.  When the nurse called that morning...she assured me that my husband would be fine.  I packed clothes for him to come home in (a bag that is still packed and sitting in my of the “mysterious widow things” I can’t seem to get rid of).  And I packed a bag for myself.  But after the shit hit the fan at the hospital later that day, it became apparent that I had packed the wrong things.

Since the accident had happened in July, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, unaware of how hot and cold the hospital gets.  Nothing in that bag was even remotely helpful to me through the next 3 days.  Now that I think about it...I don’t know what in the hell I packed (I do remember having my all-important People magazine).  And I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice.

I dressed very carefully yesterday, wearing layers and comfortable shoes.  I didn’t wear my favorite jeans...I wore jeans I thought I could sleep in if I had to.  I packed my purse full with a book, phone charger...anything I thought I might have to have for the next 24-hours in case I couldn’t come home.  I debated on whether or not I should wear a scarf that would look cute with what I was wearing...and could double as a pillow later if I needed it.

I tried to discreetly prepare myself as much as possible...without scaring the crap out of him.

It didn’t occur to me until this morning how weird and kind of sad that was.  That I couldn’t take someone to a doctor’s appointment without worrying that we might not come home for awhile.

But we did.  We left.  Just like a normal appointment that a normal person would have on a normal day.  Well...except for the upcoming screws and plates and stuff.

I will tell you that our relationship hit a new level yesterday that my widow friends will understand.  As I was driving him to his appointment and he was filling out paperwork, he asked me a question that I consider a big step.  A new level of commitment that really says where we are.  It’s not something I was sure I was ready for, but just have to take the plunge.

“Can I put you down as my emergency contact?”

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Worst Year Was ______.

You know...I always hesitate before I write about something hard I’m going through.  There is always a fear that a new widow will read it and think, “My gosh...I’m just trying to get through today.  This woman has been at it for almost four years and she’s still having a hard time???”

I’m always worried about it because when I was newly widowed, I became friends with this woman I had an instant connection with who was about a year ahead of me in the Grief Game.  As I neared my 1 year mark, so proud of myself that I had actually made it, she made a comment to me that just about shattered my world.

“The second year is the hardest.”

I hate to sound like a 16-year-old, but...WTF???  I had waded through birthdays, tread water through holidays, just about drowned in the every day...and now you’re telling me it’s going to get hard?

Yeah.  Thanks.

I swore that when I started the Widow Chick support group on Facebook and later launched would never say that.  Because the truth may not be true.  Grief is different for everyone.  For some, the first year is the hardest.  For others...they may sail through until the 10th.  You may have very well had your worst year and it's behind you.  But if you think that the worst is in front of might be.  Because that's what you're expecting.

Bottom line:   

You should never listen to or read about what another widow is going through and think it’s absolutely going to happen to you.

Because they’re not you.

Our hardest times are as different as we are.  I don’t share your birthday.  And even if I did...that may not be the hardest day for you.  You may have more memories on New Years Eve or President’s Day or...Monday.  All of these things are different. 

We’re all different.

As I’ve always said...grief is a tricky bitch.  Just when you think you’ve pummeled her into the ground, she sometimes sticks out her foot with her gross, gnarly toes and trips you up. 

I know I should put it in a more poetic way, but I’m tired so that’s all I got.

Being’s not who you are.  It’s where you are right now.  And some days, you’re more widowed than others.   Some days, you can actually function like a normal human being.

And’re tripping some stranger at Wal-Mart with your own gnarly toes.  Just ‘cause you feel like it.

Yup.  I get it.’s something to get used to. 

It’s kind of like a new relationship. 

I’m pretty sure you didn’t move in with your significant other the moment you said “hello.”  They took some getting used to.  Even if it was a quick eventually figured out what life was going to be like from day to day.

I mean, really.  Remember when you were first together with your significant other?  And the feelings were so intense?  What you were experiencing was so new.  It was all you thought about.  It just completely consumed you. dated for awhile.  You got to know each other.  You were more comfortable.

Finally the relationship part of it settled in.  You didn’t really think about were just in it.  Occasionally, feelings from when you were first together would pop up and surprise you.

Well...flip it.

When the loss first happens, it’s there.  It’s in your face.  It’s all you can think about.  Every decision you make is based on that new relationship.

Then it settles in a little.  You start figuring out its quirks and how it operates.  But instead of bringing you roses, it’s playing songs on the radio at inopportune times.  It sneaks up behind you to give you a “hug” when you least expect it.  And even though it never did the dishes, you’ve figured out by now that it never will. 

Sooner or later, it stops shaving and you don’t really think about it.  It farts in bed, tells you what it doesn’t want for dinner but doesn’t offer a solution, and goes out with its friends without clearing it with you.

It’s kind of here to stay.

Eventually the newness wears off.  And just like any relationship...that happens it its own time.  Could be a year.  Could be a week.  Could be a decade.  Or for may always seem new.  It’s just all about where you are.

Where my analogy fails to help is with the mortgage.  ‘Cause Grief never stepped in and offered to pay half.

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The I's Have It: Has Widowhood Made Me Selfish?

I had no idea that when I became a widow, I would become more selfish.  And believe me when I say that I’m not writing this as a statement about widows in general...there is a very good chance that this just applies to me.

I’ve been having a bad case of selfishness lately and it’s really bothering me.  I don’t remember being this way before I was widowed.  But then again...maybe I was.

I’ve been dating someone for awhile and it’s about as serious as my little widowed brain can handle at this point.  We see each other as much as possible and in my work and my personal life, he has become one of my greatest champions.  If I have a problem or joy, he’s usually the first person I tell.  I have complete confidence that when something is bothering me, all I have to do is talk through it with him and I will reach the right conclusion.  What’s even better is that when my kids are on me constantly and I feel like I just can’t take it anymore...he defends me and asks gently that they give me a break.

I know.  He’s polishing off his halo as we speak.

But this last week we hit a speed bump.  A medical speed bump.  And it’s just about made me want to throw my car into reverse and go in the opposite direction.

He’s been having hip pain, due to a fall at work.  He fell awhile back but the pain has been increasing, so this week he went to the doctor who ordered an MRI.

And there was something on it.

Now, my husband didn’t die of an illness.  He was in an accident so I’m not sitting here having flashbacks to something I’ve been through before.

What I’m having are flash-forwards and worrying 6 months ahead to something that is probably not going to happen.  And all of these thoughts are completely about me.  My head is filled with, “What am I going to do??” instead of my mouth saying, “It’s okay.  I’m sure everything will be all right.”  All I can think about is how something, even surgery to correct the problem or remove a cyst, might affect me.

Instead of focusing on what might lie ahead for him...even if it’s something minor...I can’t stop thinking, “I can’t go sit at the hospital.  I just can’t do it.”

Me.  My.  I.

I know that I’m feeling this way because of my previous experience.  If I hadn’t gone through the unbearable pain of losing someone before, I would have no problem sitting in a room, patiently waiting for someone to come out of surgery.  If my husband had come home, years ago, with the same problems that my boyfriend is experiencing now...I probably would have just said, “Well, all right!  Let’s get in there and fix this!”

Instead, all I can think about are hospital smells and sounds and I want to bury myself under the covers and pretend like it’s not happening at all.

I’ve been trying to keep this mental belly-flop to myself as much as possible.  I screwed up is it that whatever is going on is happening to him...and yet he’s reassuring me?  I feel so terrible every time he gives me a hug and says, “It’s going to be fine.”

I mean...shouldn’t I be saying that to him?  What’s wrong with me??? 

Believe me, I’m well aware of how much time and energy I have wasted in my life, worrying like I do.  There seemed to be a brief moment in my life, after my husband died, where I just felt like life was a crapshoot and I didn’t worry about anything.    But now it seems like I’m constantly “borrowing trouble.”  It’s hard to not picture the bottom dropping out of your life.  Especially when it’s happened before.

But honestly...this whole way of thinking and my apparent inability to support this person...any person...because of what’s happened to me is just unacceptable.  I’m so angry with myself.  Even when my dad had knee surgery, my mom was telling me, “You don’t have to come down the hospital!  We’ll be fine!” because she was worried about me.  Really??  The man had just gotten over a major infection and had to have his knee replaced again...and they’re worried about me???

I don’t want to be that person.

The other day I thought, “Maybe I’m not ready to be in a relationship.  If I can’t take the bad with the good, I probably shouldn’t be here.”

Well.  That’s great.  Then I guess I should stop interacting with all of my friends and family and resign myself to a life of complete and utter solitude.  ‘Cause you never know when something might happen.  And I just can’t take it and, therefore, am unable to be there for anyone else.

Is this what widowhood has taught me?  To actually have less compassion for other people?  I could be wrong, but if there was a lesson here in all of this...I’m pretty sure that’s not it.

Life’s too short to live in a state of “I.” 

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Here's to Honor

Today I went down to Colorado Springs to attend a meeting where El Paso County declared April “Donate Life Month” and made that proclamation in my husband’s honor.  And that’s truly what it was.   

An honor.

It was a really emotional trip and I don’t know why that surprised me.  But it did.  I realized today that Colorado Springs will always mean the bookends of our time together because we had our first hello and our final goodbye within a few miles of each other.  Considering where we had lived and how much we had’s amazing to think that our life together began and ended in the same spot.

What a fool I was to not realize it before.

I met my husband through my roommate in college, Cheryl.  We were freshmen at the University of Northern Colorado and her older brother was a senior at the Air Force Academy.  She talked me into going down there for a football game one Saturday morning because she didn’t want to drive alone.  And it was there that I met my husband and his friends, Matt, Jason, and Steve.

It seemed like from that moment on, every weekend involved some combination of those guys.  A few would come up and hang out over the weekend, trying to get a glimpse of what college life was like without early morning Reveille and forced bed-making.  Or Cheryl and I would make our way down to the Academy, trying to pretend that we were “cool” but in reality we weren’t.  It didn’t take long for us to become what I still think of as Colorado’s version of Beverly Hills, 90210, with Cheryl dating Jason (they married as well) and me dating my husband.

Even before my husband died, I felt nostalgic for that time when we met...when all of us met.  I remember thinking I would probably never feel as special about a moment in time as I did that one.  We were young and life seemed limitless.  And we were under that assumption because we tested those limits on a regular basis.

After the Donate Life ceremony today, I went back to the Academy and drove around for the first time, alone, since my husband has been gone.  I’ve been back with the kids, trying to force them to remember with me what an amazing time in our lives that was, but of course that’s impossible. 

I’m hoping that’s something they will understand at some point, but it may take living through a little magic themselves before they really get it.

I drove past the parade field, where Cheryl and I would watch the cadets marching, trying to find the guys we knew in a sea of matching uniforms.  I stood overlooking where the cadets walked from the dorms to their classrooms, wondering what the new members of the Thirsty Third were up to and if they realized that the friendships they’re making now may very well be the closest they will ever have.  I cried a little bit as I remembered the day that my husband escorted me to his classes when he was a senior, dressed in his blues complete with white gloves. 

We all have times in our lives that seem magical to us and very rarely do we recognize those times when they’re happening.  We’re too busy, too young, or too naive to know that we are experiencing something that we will eventually look back on and wish we could do all over again.

Every time I drive through Colorado Springs, I see landmarks that remind me of that time in our lives.  And even though those memories should feel like a lifetime ago...they don’t.  They feel like they were just yesterday.

The Old Chicago’s that Cheryl’s parents took an entire group of cadets and their friends for dinner while we were in college and would do just about anything for a free meal (and now that I’m an adult, I shudder to think what that tab was).  Every time I pass by, I think of her dad, who got slightly buzzed on about 2 beers...and then we suddenly couldn’t find him anywhere in the restaurant.

The hotel where Cheryl and I stayed while I waited for my husband (then boyfriend) to pick me up for the Air Force Academy’s Graduation Ball.  And the picture I have of that ball when I thought, even at 18, that my arms looked fat in that dress.

The room where he became an officer.

The sign on the way in that says “Welcome to YOUR Air Force Academy” that would always inspire me to say to my husband, “That’s right!  It’s MY Air Force Academy!  I own your ass!”  And now when I think back, I don’t know why I said that because I was too young to even pay taxes.

Fast cars and convertibles.  Cheap beer and some sort of schnapps (is it bad that I can't remember?).  Wearing a path on I-25, going back and forth every weekend, no matter what the weather was like.

I remember all of us together, for the first time in so many years, after my husband’s funeral.  I ignored the other guests and tried to soak up as much time with this I could, feeling like it was just as it had been before and that we hadn’t skipped a beat.  And then realizing we were short one person and how impossible it seemed that he wasn’t there.

I’m so lucky that I have these friendships.  I worried after my husband was gone that they would be gone too.  But I’ve never had to think to myself, “I wonder what ever happened to...” because between all of us, we do our best to keep up.  I guess it was impossible to undo the tie that bound us all together in the first place.

I remember that time with laughter, tears, and a lot of both at the same time.  I know that time can’t be reversed, but if I could go back, just for a day, that’s where I would be.

When irreversible friendships started.

When a roommate was much more than just someone you shared space with.

When four guys, who seemed to be more like brothers than friends, would dissolve into laughter at one simple toast.

“Here’s to honor.”

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011 Retreat: Colorado

I recently had a “lightbulb” moment (and those always make the people surrounding me panic) and realized that what I am looking for in a “widow event” is the ability to truly connect with a smaller group of people, while also getting a relaxing weekend away.  So in an act of complete selfishness, I started working on doing just that and I’m hoping that it’s something that a few of you might be interested in attending with me.  So...

I’m very excited to announce that will be hosting a Widow(er)’s Retreat in beautiful Colorado the weekend of July 29-30, 2011.

The retreat this summer will be held at the Table Mountain Inn at the base of the Colorado Rockies and just two blocks away from beautiful Clear Creek in the historical town of Golden, CO.  I was very careful in my choice of venue because I wanted something cozy and inviting that would be located near shops and fun restaurants.  I also wanted a place that would give those people visiting from out of town the Colorado experience...without requiring that they drive for hours to get to our destination (for those of you flying in to Denver International Airport, you can also reserve shuttle service to and from the hotel for around $60 roundtrip).  This hotel fits our needs perfectly.

My goal for this retreat is for us to connect and relax.  This is not meant to be group “therapy” and I am not scheduling speakers.  The weekend will be all about you and providing you with an opportunity to gain strength from each other and take the friendships we have developed online a step further. 

The agenda for the weekend will have planned activities that will provide us with the opportunity to get to know each other and ourselves a little better.  Here is a general idea of how the weekend will go:

  • Optional, casual dinner on Friday night at the hotel so that those people who are coming in from out of town have plenty of time to join us.
  • Saturday will be a mix of activities that will allow us to get to know each other better...both our stories and where we are now.  In the afternoon we will have a Creativity/Writing Coach coming in to get us thinking a little outside of the box and provide us with non-grief related activities (and don’t panic if you’re not a writer...this is just a chance for you to explore the creativity you may not even know that you have!).  There will also be plenty of “free time” mixed in so that you can decide if you’d like to take a nap, go on a walk, grab coffee (or wine) with new friends, or go for that all-important pedicure.
  • Saturday evening will be a group dinner at one of Golden’s many amazing restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.  Who knows where the night will take us!
  • Sunday morning will be a quiet morning together which will include a simple hike or walk and an activity that will have us enjoying the outdoors and each other.

The cost to attend this weekend is $250 which includes the scheduled activities, breakfast for both mornings, snacks (had to budget for lots of chocolate), and some items we will provide for you that you’ll need for the weekend (which you will take home with you).  The cost for the hotel is $144/night (this is for a king or double queen room, so it is possible to share a room if you choose to).

I would like to keep our attendance to no more than 12 people.  In order to reserve your spot for the weekend, you can easily make a payment through Paypal or I can send you contact information so that you can pop a check in the mail.  Once I have confirmed your spot, I will send you the additional information you will need to make your reservation!

For those of you who live here in Colorado or those of you who have family or friends in the area, you are not required to stay at the hotel and may just join us for the scheduled activities.  If you are interested in the possibility of sharing a room with someone to cut down on costs, please let me know and I will put you in touch with others who are interested in the same.

I can’t tell you how excited I am at the possibility of meeting you all and getting to know you better.  I know there will be tears, I’m sure there will be laughs, and I hope there is my favorite...a little of both at the same time.  I want you to have a weekend where you can relax, take care of yourself, and create friendships that will last a lifetime.

I’m ready for (((HUGS))) to actually be followed by a hug!

To reserve your spot or if you have any questions regarding this retreat, please email me at

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© Catherine Tidd 2011