From June 21 through the 28th I was on a TAPS Widows Event in London and Bath England. I really enjoy going on retreats with TAPS because I can be around other women who have experienced the same as I have, a death of a spouse. Another thing I like about these retreats is no one expects you to be a specific was, meaning no one wants you to act a certain way like you would when your spouse was alive. People that I know have put that requirement on me, but I’ve since severed my relationship with them. I can’t waste my time on people who won’t accept me for who I am NOW. Widows in the TAPS organization accept other widows at face value, they don’t expect or want you to be anyone but who you are right now. And these retreats are at times a window to who you are.
This retreat also taught me something about myself that I really didn’t know. I discovered that as for being in a relationship again, I’m just not ready for that just yet. And I discovered this is absolutely OKAY as well. Some widows are in another relationship, some aren’t. Every one of us are on a similar journey, but definitely not the exact same one. Will I ever be ready? I really don’t know the answer to that question, and I don’t think I must have an answer. What I now know is simple. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t then that’s OKAY as well. Now how I learned this is a entirely different story that will be told some other time, maybe not here, but it will be told.
In London there is a saying, well it’s mostly said on the tube by a recording and it’s there to remind people to watch out, be careful. Those simple three words are “Mind The Gap.” As you get on and off the tube there is a gap between the train and the platform and people have fallen and died because they didn’t “Mind the Gap.” I think this little saying applies to TAPS as well. What I found when I went to my first TAPS grief seminar was just this. There was someone making sure I didn’t fall into the gap, they were in fact Minding the Gap for me. I was reminded of this on my first tube ride to Westminster Station. TAPS was making sure I didn’t fall into the gap that pops open. That is one reason why I love TAPS. TAPS has done so much for me, and many others who have suffered a military loss. I wonder where my next retreat will be.
So next time you are out and about, don’t forget to MIND THE GAP!