My brother Rick was there (one of my greatest supports in life), and my once stepdaughter and now friend Angie. Angie lived with me and was a part of Amber's life during the pre-teen and teenage years and they became great friends.
I was surprised that there was a crowd at the walk and it saddened me to realize how often suicide happens around you without you knowing about it. No one wants to talk about it as I have mentioned before, but these people obviously did not care what others thought and that was an immediate relief for me. After the months of silence this was a huge change from the treatment that I had gotten used to. The ceremony was about to begin and we all retrieved our balloons and stood together while we heard a couple of people speak. I was in another world at this point-I could not tell you what was said-I was watching the children for any sign of not being able to handle the situation, noticing all the people, wondering if all these people had lost someone, I saw faces I knew from high school-were they here for my family? or for their own? My mind was reeling, my knees felt weak and I was ever so mindful of not falling apart because of the children. I did not want them to see me break down in front of all these people. I had not been allowed to do that in all these months-I could stay in control-this was no problem--.I was doing my best until the time came for all of us to release our balloons. We had a prayer, a moment of silence and then all at once we released-there were so many. It meant EVERYTHING-I definitely had tears, it was if I was saying goodbye to her again-the ceremony was very moving. You could hear a pin drop as we all just stood in silence and watched the balloons disappear into the sky higher and higher until they were gone.
Then we started walking-we walked for two miles and afterwards we came back to the start where there were a few door prizes given away and everyone stood around and socialized. The kids played-I watched them smile and laugh-it was like being at a family reunion for a bit. I was so happy that I went to the walk. It confirmed my thoughts of how wrong I was being treated at home, and the obvious stigmas surrounding suicide and mental health issues. I was very impressed with the walk and the healing affect it had on myself and others and knew I would attend every year. As you may remember Elizabeth went with me to the walk and I was glad that she was able to see the way other people treated those in my situation and hoped that it might have moved her in some way. We did not stay long afterwards, we still had to make the drive home, but no regrets on my part at all. I felt that my family honored my beautiful daughter Amber that day and it made my heart full of pride of them all.