Sometimes I let my mind wander to the most random of things. I go about my day, completing task after task, only to discover that in the midst of doing something mundane, my mind has arrived at some random destination.
That happened today, and usually when it happens - when my mind stops spinning and arrives somewhere - it's a "full circle" moment or one of those pauses where I nod along to the clarity in my own head for a second.
I found myself arriving at the random thought: where do you find the most widows all in one place?
A nursing home.
Day after day, night after night, what kind of place has the most widows all together?
A nursing home.
And that's where I work.
In the kind of place where there are the most widows.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if my personal experience has the benefit of attempting to make me a better social worker in my current line of work. I've come to realize that this tragedy is fraught with lessons, whether I notice them immediately or not.
I co-lead a grief and loss support group at my place of employment. The other leader is my friend Pastor Ginny who gave the funeral service for Rick for me last year. Together, we call our support group "Lessons in Loss" and every other week for almost a year now, we've gathered residents together to learn and share...while learning and sharing ourselves.
Instead of just a "kid" (to our elder population anyway) or the Social Work Director with a penchant for leading groups, I have something in common with the residents who sit around the table with Pastor Ginny and me every other week. I'm a widow too. I know about loss. I'm not just talking the talk... I walked the walk. And sometimes when someone new comes along and she's decades older than I am, but she just lost her husband... I've been there before her. And that's weird. Because I'm 30. But it's cool. Because I can help.