Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Retreat: Tennessee's Band of Merry Widows

Ever since I left Retreat in Tennessee, I’ve been thinking about how to write this blog.  I actually thought it would come easily because so many things happened over the weekend.  But then I realized that this weekend wasn’t just a “story”….

It was an experience.  

I’ll be honest with you…I actually thought the weekend was shaping up to be a complete disaster.  After planning this retreat so easily (it seemed like everything I needed just fell into my lap…the Inn, the coach for the Saturday afternoon session, dinner reservations…everything), all of it seemed to start unraveling just a couple of days before.

A blizzard hit Denver and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get out.  It was raining like crazy in TN, making it impossible to put together one of the activities I had planned on.  My luggage got lost.  To the amusement of the workers at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport, I got into the wrong rental car and was frustrated when I couldn’t get my key to turn (yes…I AM that flaky).  And then upon arriving at the Inn, I received the message that the coach for Saturday’s session might not be able to make it…because her husband had been in a car accident.

Which put the blizzard, rain, luggage, and silly rental car experience into perspective.

At this point, I just let it go.  It occurred to me…who understands things not going quite as planned like another widow?  And I decided that instead of harping on the little petty, annoying things that had happened…I was going to have the great weekend I knew was possible.

On Friday, the clouds cleared and the sun came out.  My wonderful coach that I had booked found an amazing woman to back her up.  And the attendees for the retreat started trickling in.

You have to understand…it takes a lot of guts to do something like this.  To book a weekend with a group of strangers and just take the leap of faith that it will all work out (and that you won’t have to have your friend call in with a “sick cat” story to get you out of the weekend), takes a tremendous amount of courage.  But another thing you have to understand is that the people who are coming…it’s a special group.  They’re the kind of people who just might take that leap of faith with you.

And you can’t get better than that.

We met for dinner on Friday night at a little place that served amazing Cuban food.  The group started warming to each other and by the time everyone sat down with a glass of wine in front of the fire in the parlor of the Inn, I thought I heard something.


These strangers suddenly started laughing and talking as if they’d known each other for years.  Confidences were revealed, memories were shared, and our upstairs neighbors were awakened.  By the time we made it to our “ice breaker” activity the next morning…we had not only already broken the ice…

…we were swimming together.

Things that we had never admitted to anyone were met with understanding nods and sympathetic tears.  Difficult times and happy memories intertwined until they meshed together into one, big story of our lives.  Determination seemed to be the running theme as we all decided together that our widowhood would not be our ultimate defining experience and that life is out there…just waiting for us.

Together we figured out that the only thing worth regretting in life is not eating an entire pie when you have the chance.

That widowhood can happen to anyone, at any age, but then again…so can life-long friendships.

That only another widow will not even blink an eye when you explain how you know your loving husband visited you from the great beyond…because you got a whiff of an unexplainable cow patty in your yard.

That wishes have the ability to fly.

To my Band of Merry Widows from Tennessee…last week I thought of you as “attendees.”

But now you’re friends I will never forget.

Special Thanks To:
Maria at The Eureka Inn
Linda Poland with Positive Solutions

And our wonderful, unexpected photographer (and Daughter of the Year) who took our group shots:  Carolyn Bild

1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome. So glad you all connected and had so much fun. Next time you are here in the south, count me in!