I’m getting excited about an upcoming conference with several of my friends and I will attend in a few weeks. It’s filled with so many old friends and we make new ones.
It feels so freeing to gather with so many people “just like us”. A few hundred people doesn’t make me uncomfortable but envelopes me in warmth. Their arms are kind and loving.
The need to hide our status or health issues is forgotten and we can and do speak freely. So many people and so many friendly faces. It’s like a family reunion where we all may look different but we share a lot. We can catch up with old friends and share with new ones. And try to make all the “newbies” comfortable and welcome.
We cry over the friends we may have lost over the past year. We cry over the strangers we never had the chance to meet and now they are gone. Gone but not forgotten. We try to make sure each person is mentioned and we celebrate their life. I hope once I leave this world my name is mentioned at this conference too.
We attend workshops to learn new ways to make our voices heard. We attend to learn about medicines, side effects, government programs. We learn new skills and we get inspired by so many others doing just what we do.
We have a few guest speakers who tell us their stories and make us feel included. We even have some comedy and laughs.
We have lots of laughs and smiles are big. And that is what feeling free does for us all.
The meals are great. They offer us tasty food and the hotel staff treat us with the most respect. The free time we can spend on the beach, use the pools or go shopping. Of course, some just take a nap. Lol.
After dinner and the host’s presentation, we choose what to do. The nights are filled with activities as well as Karaoke, dancing, or just music. Sometimes the hot tub or a cool drink is all we need. Then off to our nice beds and sleep for tomorrow is another busy day.
I come back home usually exhausted but excited to share or try out new things I learned at the conference. Best of all is the friendships and bonds that were started or renewed.