This past October we had the pleasure of joining the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Cocoa Beach chapter for an Out of the Darkness walk in our area. This past Saturday, we were able to join them a second time, and our entire team went out. We’ve truly enjoyed growing closer with the AFSP this year. We value them as an organization, and believe strongly in their vision.
Below you’ll find the voice of Erin, one of our spring interns. We’ve invited her to share her perspective from the walk in Orlando. Enjoy her words, as we hope they find you well tonight.
The day was filled with many emotions—pain, sadness, happiness, hope. It was filled with questions and memories. We were a group of more than 700 strangers, but we were all connected by our shared experiences and stories. Laughter helped us remember the good times and our tears served as a reminder that the pain never fully leaves us.
As we walked, many wore beaded necklaces in honor of the loved ones they had lost. Some were walking in an effort to bring awareness, to support the cause and bring an end to the tragedy called suicide. On the sidewalk were chalk drawings and names of those lost and words of hope from survivors. There were stories shared of recovery and hope. We were honored to be able to walk with them and celebrate life together.
Finishing the walk was an accomplishment, because we truly had gone on a journey together. There were hugs, cheering, memories, and a sense of connection. Strangers had become friends. No one was walking alone. Another intern, Kim, said that it felt like we began the walk in pain, but ended in love and newfound hope.
We saw beauty through the pain of loss. Hope was restored through those three miles, and love broke through the wall of pain. Behind the sorrowful words, were stories of hope. We want to help others and make a difference, and put an end to suicide. And we can. We can walk with those who are hurting, and hold their hands through the pain. Together, we can save lives.
<3 – Erin
Spring 2010 Intern