Thank You: We'll Keep Walking
This past Sunday my family and I walked in the park as part of raising awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As you know from my many posts (most recently this one) we do this as a family every year that we can. (Last year was virtual so while we did raise funds, it wasn't actually a walk.) This year was the same, yet different from previous walks. We checked in and got our t-shirts, we visited the tents set up around the perimeter and got buttons on which we wrote who we were walking for. And then we walked around the lake (in the drizzle). Much like any other year.
What was different? While there were a lot of people there (more so than a "regular" rainy Sunday), the large groups weren't there. We had been given staggered time slots. Due to church commitments, I had to request the last slot of 11:30-12:00. So many of the people who had registered to walk were already gone by the time we got there.
But we walked. And we talked, which is something we don't do enough as a family. (Though I do try every night at dinner. It's not easy to engage a teen boy in conversation.) Despite the fact that it was chilly and damp, it was a good walk. We chatted with the group ahead of us (members of a local church who also run a monthly food pantry) and took photos. It was just the same as it always was, but also different.
One thing we as a family did differently was make a phone call as we walked. As always, for the weeks and days leading up to the walk, I have been asking for financial donations. What was amazing is that we got so many. Our little team of 3 people has, as of this writing, raised over $900! (I set our team goal for $750.) We had small donations; we had large donations. We had donation from people we knew well and from those we didn't know at all. (So if you are one of the people who donated as the result of one of my blog posts or because you saw my plea on our local thrift shop's page...THANK YOU!) There were a half dozen donations from anonymous. (So I can't thank you, but THANK YOU.) And there was one large donation from my extremely generous cousin who lives on the other coast. We decided that we needed to thank him as we walked. The only challenge was that being on the west coast, we needed to wait until at least noon to make the call because it wouldn't be cool to call before nine his time! (As it was I was a little apprehensive about calling early on a Sunday morning.) So as we rounded the north end of the lake, we called and thanked him and his wife for making the donation and letting them know that a little rain and a little cold didn't stop us or any of the others who are dedicated to raising awareness about suicide and mental health. It felt good to include them and make them, in some way, a part of our walk.
It felt so good that I think we'll do it again next year. You can take that as a challenge. Make a donation and you could be the recipient of a family phone call next October as we walk. (Add that to your wish list!)
I will say that because of the damp and cold, I was glad to come home afterwards and dry off. However, no matter what the weather I will never stop walking. More importantly I will NEVER forget all the people (event those whose names I do not know) who supported us. I am not alone; I will never be. You have supported me. You have supported this cause that is so important all of us. No one is alone. NO ONE IS ALONE.