This past Saturday, I participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk. This was my second time participating in this event which helps raise funds for Suicide Prevention, treatment, and support of those affected by suicide. In this post, I want to highlight some of the things that stood out to me about participating in this event this year.
One, although I did not quite meet my goal of $300 this year, I raised 235 dollars and was the 6th top fundraising individual for the walk! I did the majority of my fundraising by posting often on Facebook. That was it! I am blessed to have family who wants to help support me and the things I am passionate about.
Two, I realized that while I feel that my connection to and interest in suicide prevention is strong, it is no where as strong as it is for many who walked with me. I talked in detail with two different individuals who had lost close loved ones (a wife and a daughter) to suicide. I saw multiple memory boards full of pictures and names of loved ones many of these people walking had lost. When I saw these boards and heard these stories it made it all very real. It was a somber reality to realize that so many people lose loved ones to the monsters that our depression and suicide. However, I was also struck by the hope and perseverance these people had who had gone through such devastating loss. I realized community, faith, and support provided healing to their hurting souls.
Three, the people from the foundation working at the walk were ridiculously supportive! One complemented my tattoo on my arm and I shared that I had gotten it at a time I was struggling and that being able to get it done and not whimp out showed me I had the strength to get through anything . In response to my vulnerability , she hugged me ! Then, as I was walking, it didn’t take long for me to start running out of steam. It was only 3mi (5k) but I haven’t really exercised in 2 years. I commented to the people right behind me that I was out of shape and it was kicking my butt. One of them works for the foundation and walked the rest of the walk beside me, talking with me the rest of the way!
My take away from the walk is that community is powerful. We were never meant to go through life alone. It is through supporting one another, tough personal work, & God’s help that we can live a life of hope and share this hope with others.