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I Just Want My Dad Back~ Suicide Awareness Walk

Daughter of a parent of suicide who is sharing her personal journey and creating awareness.

About 9 months after the loss of my Dad I wanted to do something to help raise awareness. I decided to do a ”Out of the Darkness Walk.”

Out Of The Darkness Walk

After losing my dad to suicide I wanted to do something to help raise awareness. I was on Facebook one day scrolling through and noticed a friend who was doing a walk for her sister. Knowing how her sister passed I decided to click on the link to see more of what this walk was about.

The walks are done all over the country and they have a few mile walk that is done during the day and an overnight walk. I started to read up on the event and immediately I wanted to do this. I thought being with a group of people who all went through the same pain as I, that I would feel included.
I immediately put a “team” together and started my donation link. Within hours I had my goal amount. (I set it low because I knew people probably wouldn’t donate much if any but that wasn’t why I wanted to do this.) All the money that was donated to this link was going directly towards research, educational programs, and support for survivors of suicide loss. In my time of grieving I wanted to support something for this cause. I now know just how much they do for the surviving families. I decided that I wanted to do this for myself, but most importantly for my Dad, to keep his spirit alive.

The days leading up to the walk my nerves got the best of me and I wanted to back out. After my Dads passing I became an introvert. I wanted to be home, be in my “safe” zone, and away from people. I knew this walk would have thousands of people but I also knew these people were there for the same reason. I had poured my last couple weeks into this and gathered people to do this with me.

The morning of the walk was cold, rainy, and just yucky. I remember thinking and worrying because I’d have my girls with me and I didn’t want them getting sick. My fiancée, his dad, my mom, and my girls were all set to walk. We had more people walking but due to the weather they decided to stay home. When we arrived at the walk site we went to where they had to check in. It was then I could see just how big this walk would be. I stood there and my emotions took over me. Tents were set up to sell the normal tee shirts, mugs, stickers. The word suicide was everywhere around me. I remember having a moments just standing there crying, looking at all the people who were there going through what I did.
It was then that I felt at peace. People of all ages were there to show love to someone they knew. As we waited for the walk to start we went over to a vendor and got some lunch. It was along a river and we sat in peace and watched the water. People had names of people on their shirts, were carrying signs, wearing hats, bracelets. The groups of people that were there supporting loved ones was astounding. After we ate we went to the start of the race and waited to start. They did a moment of silence and that again caused so many emotions. You could hear the sobs echoing through the crowd. You could feel the weight of the loss of the others around you. When the moment of silence was over, we began walking. It was a short three mike walk around the beautiful capital city. It was still a gloomy day, but it it had stopped raining for the entire walk. We walked along side of a family who through talking we found out that their daughter/sister passed from suicide. In fact, the bridge that we started on to cross over the water to the route, was the same bridge that she took her life. I realized that impact of this walk on that family. They were doing a memory walk at the same place they had been to mourn their daughter. The same place they had went when they received the call they desperately didn’t want to hear. That made me think about just how many ways people chose to end their lives. We continues to the end with that family. I wish I would’ve gotten telephone numbers of the family just to stay in touch. But after the walk was finished we all dispersed and went our own ways.

That night when we got home, and put the girls to bed I sat for a long time. For the first time in a long time, I sat and felt happy and accomplished. Although my dad was no longer here, I felt as though we did something to honor him and I felt like I could feel him around me. That night had been the first night in literal months that I had slept great. No bad dreams, no multiple wake ups.
Last year we couldn’t attend the walk due to the virus and large group gatherings. It was a bit of a bummer but I knew that this was for the good of others. I plan on continuing this walk for years to come. It’s my way of showing support to others, even if just walking, showing up to that walk and being their is a different kind of support.

These walks are done all over the states. My goal is to do a night walk when we can get together and do large gatherings again. If you are interested in a Walk I will put the link below on where to find a walk closest to you. Even if you’re unable to walk there is great information on the link to check out.

Out of The Darkness Walk

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 24, 2021:

Inspiring. Thanks.

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