First of all, I want to thank all of you that supported me in this cause with your financial donations. I know that you will be greatly blessed for your kind sacrifices. I also am very grateful to those of you that supported me in other ways.
The walk was GREAT! It was a beautiful morning both because the weather was so nice and also because so many people came out to support a very important cause. After getting myself all checked in I wandered around the different tables and booths they had set up. They had several sponsors that were there donating items and services to help support the cause. There was a memory table where people put up pictures and stories of loved ones they had lost.
As I walked around and mingled with a few of the people it was interesting for me to learn how everyone had different reasons for being a part of the walk. Yes, we were all there to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. However, most everyone had another reason...a personal reason...for being there. For some it was a way of coping with the recent loss of a loved one. Others were there to meet and unite with people who were also struggling with depression and other mental illnesses. Many were there as a way of honoring the memory of those they had lost and vowing they would never be forgotten. I too had a personal reason for being there. This walk was a way for me to outwardly express my inner commitment to never, never give up. No matter how hard life gets suicide is never the answer, there is always hope if you just keep going, keep pressing forward.
One of the booths next to the memory table was full of balloons. Each balloon represented a loss or reason for walking: White=Loss of a Child, Red=Loss of a Spouse, Yellow=Loss of a Parent, Orange=Loss of a Sibling, Purple=Loss of a Relative or Friend, Green=Struggled Personally, Blue=Supporting the Cause. Prior to starting the walk we had a moment of silence and then launched the balloons. It was very interesting and yet sad to see the many different colors of balloons that filled the sky. Suicide affects everyone.
The last few feet of the walk had people lining both sides of the road, cheering you on as you approached. Walking through this cheering section people were constantly giving me high-fives and hugs. They also had "red tape" for each person that crossed the finish line. I liked the idea a lot because the winner was not just the first person to cross the finish line...everyone there that day was a winner.
This walk was one of the best things I have ever done. I learned a lot about myself both in the preparation for the walk and by actually walking. It is an experience I will never forget. It is a cause I will never stop fighting for. I am grateful to be alive and well today. I'm grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father that has brought me safely out of my darkest days. I love life and know that it is always worth living. Every day is a gift and a blessing. There is always a silver lining to the dark clouds, we just have to raise our head out of the darkness and look for the light.