We met friends today in Tampa, at Al Lopez Park, to take part in the 7th Annual Out of the Darkness Walk by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. There were 10 great reasons to walk here, but other great reasons to walk were remembering loved ones who have left this world too soon... our Debbie, Sarah, Jacob, military and first responders who were friends of friends. Children watching and learning and embracing exercise and feeling love around them were other reasons, as well as supporting our extended family of friends and loved ones.
We walked for Sarah today, with so many who loved her. Her mother and I worked together oh so many years ago here in Tampa. We watched her grow from belly to beautiful young lady on Christmas cards through these many years.
Happily, there were more smiling moments than tearful ones, though those came too. It was a park full of love and support, many still freshly raw from the loss of loved one. Speeches brought memories to my mind and heart that years have helped to dull. To all those who've lost, for any reason, please do know that time does help to ease your grief or change it in some way... even though it may not feel possible right now.
When you see so many who are hurting and their care, it reconfirms that suicide is not a selfless act, it is not because of how someone was raised, not because of how alone someone was, but because of a disease and how someone had a moment that no one but they could control. We cannot change it, no matter how many ways we wish we could. We survive, we remember, we appreciate and we continue to live... because our lost ones want us to and because many still here need us to carry on.
BE KIND. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. BE KIND. Always.