Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembrance Walk 2013

I remember feeling so much emotion before last year's walk.

I was afraid to invite people to go with us, afraid no one would come.  Then I invited people anyway.

No one could come.

I was, strangely enough, okay with that.  Relieved might be a better word.  It would be hard enough for me to be there without feeling like I had to "host" other people who had come with us.
I was still stressed out about the whole thing last year.  I met up with a friend to have coffee the day before the walk and ended up having a slight meltdown and crying in the coffee shop.  Looking back, I don't know why I was filled with so much dread, except that I didn't know what to expect.

This year, we went with relatively little fanfare.  I signed up and put it on the calendar.  My friend Angie picked up our shirts for me.  I didn't invite other people to join us, figuring they were busy anyway.  David and I wore our event-issued "I have footprints on my heart" t-shirts and Zuzu wore her rainbow hat with her "little sister" bow attached to it.


The weather was chilly, but not bad in the sunshine.  We ran into friends--some friends (Hi, Angie, Katie, & Kim!) we met through a grief support group and some friends we met through other social circles and then discovered we were connected in grief also--and we stood with them, Zuzu in her stroller.  We listened to a poem and a variation of a song I happen to like.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

I cried, but it was a soft kind of crying, easy to start and easy to stop.

I do not think we look like ourselves in this picture.
And then we listened to the reading of the names and we released our three balloons in memory of our little girl, sending so much love up and out to her.


Eliza's three balloons.


Balloons!
I was glad that Eliza's name came early in the alphabet, because somewhere between F and G Zuzu decided that stroller sitting was no longer suiting her so we let her wander a little bit.  She spotted a Boston terrier wearing a pumpkin sweater and was instantly smitten with "Gus."  I didn't have a chance to really talk to Gus's owner since I was busy saying things like "Gentle hands!" but I did notice that he and a woman who appeared to be his wife didn't have any kids with them and I wondered if they were there to support someone else or if they were mourning their own loss.

There were over 2,500 people there, not all of them parents, but all of them missing a baby.  As I listened to the names being read, I thought about all the babies that might have been, babies whose parents I probably wouldn't know if we weren't connected by loss, babies I feel like I love and miss myself because I know how loved and missed they are by their parents...  Otis and Andrew and Jack and Hayes and Olivia and Cale and Max and Bear and Anna and Elizabeth and William and Ethan and Julius and Aiden and Ava and Camille and Margot and George and Charlotte and and Aliya and Bennett and Leah and Libby and Andy and and Mason and Finley and Cutu and Norah and Scotlyn and Reese and Teddy and Liam and Evelynn and Levi and...  I probably shouldn't have even started that list because I know it could go on and on and on.

It's almost impossible for me to consider the vast numbers of people who have experienced loss and to associate that knowledge with the understanding I have of the way our life was so completely shattered by Eliza's death.  How can there be so many broken and grieving parents in this world?  Because, believe me, they are everywhere.  And most of the time, you definitely can't tell by looking.

Thanks to our friend Rob for taking this picture!
 A Walk for Remembrance isn't the way I wish we spent a beautiful Saturday in October.  But I'm still glad we went.  In a world that kind of revolves around Zuzu these days, it feels good to do something just for Eliza.  And it helps me every day to know that there are other broken people whose friendship helps us hold it together.

8 comments:

  1. Tears are streaming down my face right now....seeing that list of names with Eliza's. Zuzu and that little sister bow....thinking of you.

    Kelley

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  2. So lovely. I haven't been to a Walk to Remember. Maybe we should next year. We attended a walk for Preeclampsia. I was excited to raise money, because that's why we lost our daughter, but the walk was harder than I realized it would be. Most babies don't die of preeclampsia, so most people were there with living children. My husband and I were there alone, and I felt very sad and out of place. It's hard to imagine all the grieving families though - it's a sense of community but also overwhelming sometimes, to imagine the sheer number of lost little ones.

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  3. What a beautiful day for your event! I didn't go to the Walk to Remember this year up in Seattle; it started too early for being two hours away with a four-month old. We did attend the TEARS Foundation's Rock & Walk for the second year in June (about a week before I had Asher), and I, too, found my tears were not so unmanageable as last year. Thank you for remembering Aliya and Bennett... <3

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  4. I really loved my first Walk this year, it made me feel so connected, and was a good grieving tool. I like the idea of dressing my rainbow baby in rainbow, I will do that next year!

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  5. You're such a beautiful family.

    I love seeing Eliza's name in print. I just love it.

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  6. Oh Brooke, thank you for calling Levi by name.

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  7. I am still in love with those hats all the Rainbows got. They are so adorable, of course Zuzu could make mud cute.

    I'm so glad you did this, that remembering her sister will be a constant in her life.

    Light and love to all 4 of you.

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  8. Thank you for saying Leah's name, friend <3

    XO

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