Maybe it was the refreshing breeze, or the serenity I felt as I strolled through the camps pathway. Perhaps it was simply the joyous conversations coming from some of the campers and warm hugs and smiles from the buddies. Though I can’t pinpoint what it was specifically, I knew this combination made me feel right at home.
Last year was my first experience at Camp Good Mourning. Everyone explained how I had to come and that it was so much fun. At first I thought they were exaggerating but, it wasn’t long before I was proven wrong.
After everyone met the members and buddies of their cabin and we got to camp, just like any other clubhouse day, our time was filled with fun exercises. We did activities like archery, paddle boarding, and canoeing. We even sang the infamous SpongeBob campfire song around a real campfire, but my absolute favorite was zip-lining.
My cabin and I decided we would name ourselves “G2W.” G2W stood for girls to women because we could not stop singing the end of the road by Boyz 2 Men. While the music was fun, it could never compare to the cries, stories, or memoirs we shared of our loved ones. We developed strong friendships at camp. I would never forget how someone from my cabin mentioned that this was one place you could cry, mourn, and remember the ones you had lost shamelessly.
Before camp or Kate’s Club I would barely talk to anyone about losing my dad and stepmom. At camp I met people who I knew I could confide in as well as hang out with. Towards the end we had a luminary walk where everyone made a bag with a picture of their loved one and whatever you wanted to write to or about them. Everyone got a chance to see every bag, but the moment you were face to face with yours it was almost unbearable. Everyone cried and screamed and just let all of their emotions out, but I almost felt like I cried the most or shouted the loudest but, I knew it was okay because there were people to console me through my agony. I then realized my problem was suppressing my grief. At camp I was able to let it all out and that’s what has guided me since.
At camp I learned how to identify my struggles, fix them, and move on. It introduced me to lifelong friendships and exposed me to activities that I would never try. Upon our departure we had to put something in the time capsule with our cabin, and I did, but besides tangible objects I knew there were a few things I needed to leave behind. Those things were pain, self-pity, and depression. The moment we left was the moment I had been set free. Without camp I’m sure I would have been alright, but with it I was a force to be reckoned with.