On Saturday was the 10th annual walk to remember. It was our second year attending. The walk honors and celebrates the lives of babies gone too soon. “We take the steps that our babies will not get the chance to”. The organization does so much: from supporting grieving families, educating doctors nurses, midwives, has retreats and so much more. They recently changed their name to forever footprints to honor that. This year I’d imaged I’d have a rainbow baby in my arms or belly, never did I expect to honor yet another life. When I arrived and started to look around I realized that I shifted back to the anger portion of my stages of grief. I know in my heart that if my lyme disease was caught that maybe just maybe my babies would of had a chance. Seeing the sheer numbers of people over 4,000 people in attendance honoring 500 babies (now that’s 500 names read, so some like “myette’s four angels” that means much more than 500. That’s craziness, couldn’t help but think that some other losses beside mine could have been prevented as well. I tried to shift focus… This year they added a 5k run as well, prior to the walk and ceremony. I was thrilled when I read the news because I have always found running a great way to connect with my angels but unfortunately due to the difficulty I’ve had with my treatment I wasn’t able to. Luckily for the runners the race started at 7am, because it was still cool on this unusually hot October weekend in Orange County. I think there was about 150 runners, my husband included. My son and I cheered daddy on who was wearing the memory sticker provided in one of the many tents “For my Four Angels”. He ended up winning the race. Very proud.
We took some time after to walk around the different booths, purchased a blue balloon for our rainbow Ryan (all proceeds went to the organization). We had some of the free coffee, feed the boy some breakfast. Soon enough it was time to walk over to the ceremony. They had it set up beautifully: pink and blue balloons all around. It hits you like a ton of bricks when you walk up to the staging area: the enormous amount of people, the grief, people with pictures and tshirts with the faces of the most beautful angels, posters with cute nursery rhymes that will never be sung face to face on earth…..love, pure love. There were a couple speakers. The board of director first and then Sean Hanish the creator of Return to Zero (www.returntozerothemovie.com). Please check out this movie if you haven’t already. It is based on the story of when they lost their son, he was stillborn. It’s wonderfully done. I’m sure you know someone who has experienced a loss and that just gives you a glimpse to our world..the good and bad. What I took from everyone up on that stage was that they cared. They cared about each and every baby that was lost and all of us left behind. After they were done speaking Peter Bradley Adams sang Brand New Wings. I can’t imagine a dry eye in the place. The ceremony finishes with each baby (ies) name being read aloud and the parents walking the aisle to receive a beautiful white rose. http://www.//foreverfootprints.org/oc-walk-to-remember-live. Then we were off to walk the steps our babies would never take. Even though still somber I think this is where for me it shifts to a celebration. I remember last year I think the was the first time during the walk that I felt my babies presence. This year I had that sentiment too, and gratefulness. Of my two year old, my family, my supportive husband and hope for the future. Also of the time I had with my angels from seeing those two pink lines, to every twinge and burst of love in my heart. That’s what I think a lot of us feel on this walk…. It was HOT this year but luckily they had a couple of water stations and the way back provided a couple of shady spots. The district is an outdoor shopping mall and they had various booths set up along the area for the celebration of angels. The was Now I lay me down to sleep, Race to the Rescues, Return to Zero and several others. This year they had us all gather by the movie theater so there was more room and had Peter Bradley up on stage with a full band. He played some lively country type songs where the cutest little girls got up on stage to join in. Up neighboring wall there was a video slideshow of so many beautiful angels. I urge you to attend and event like this whether or not you’ve had a loss or not. It’s a great way to show that all life matters and it’s a way to take care of us parents who have gone through the unimagnable.