I walked the 5K today for Kaukauna’s 3rd Annual Walk for Suicide Awareness. I am really happy that I went. They provided a scenic view along the river and I listened to a mix album on my iPod that my friend Randi created after a few people we knew took their lives. I didn’t expect the event itself to be so emotional. I thought that maybe it would be more about celebrating their lives and reliving happy memories. Perhaps it was because I was there alone to soak in my own thoughts. Or possibly that when I pulled into the parking lot there were over a thousand people. I knew what it meant and it broke my heart. Every single person there had attended a funeral and wondered why their loved one (or maybe, with that ripple effect, even an acquaintance) would do such a thing.
As I was walking back to my car, an older man covered in sleeve tattoos caught up with me, asking if I had walked alone. I said, “Yes.” He told me he lost a daughter and I mentioned my friends/co-worker. And then he gave me a hug “for walking for those people.” It was just what I needed. Sometimes you just need a hug. As he walked away, I realized he was part of the group I followed in the beginning.
His team name: Inked Angel.
I wondered if his daughter had been covered in tattoos and, if so, what meaning there was behind them for her. Or, maybe, it was her family that got tattoos of angels on their own bodies in memory of her. His wife had several tattoos exposed on her legs, too.
To any one who reads this blog, please say a little prayer or keep this family and their daughter in your thoughts. I know I will.
BREAK THE SILENCE.
KNOW THE SIGNS.
SAVE A LIFE.