I'm having a hard time getting the right words together, so for now, it'll be mostly pictures and whatever comes to mind.
There are so many things that go through my mind: the people, the hugs, the speeches, the feeling of not being alone is all this.
It was such a beautiful day, sunny, warm, just enough of a breeze to keep all of us comfy while we walked. There were over 400 people there, possibly more than 500, all because they lost someone the same way: suicide, unexpectedly.
We arrived in plenty of time to register, find the other members of our team (most of whom I had never met before), get our raffle tickets, sign a petition here and there, pick up our beads (white for a lost child, blue for supporting the cause; there were other colors, too, red, green, purple for a lost spouse, relative, friend). There was an MC, two speakers, Senator Tom Torlakson and Ken Holmes, the Marin County Coroner, both of whom have lost somebody to suicide. The speeches were short and to the point (why can't we discuss suicide the same way as heart disease, cancer and bring it out of the darkness and into the light?), there was a brief warm-up and then we started our walk.
Our team consisted of 10 members, Rachel (my facebook friend), her mother (who started the team), her brother who provided the hockey sticks the posters were attached to; Casey's parents, Erika and John; several classmates and friends of Casey and Larry and I.
Rachel and her family had made 3 posters with pictures of Casey and Henry and several of us carried those throughout the whole 5 km. Those were a sure conversation starter. I carried one of them for the whole 5 km only handing it off to Larry when I wanted to take pictures.
The walk went off without a problem, there was a drawings for several prizes (2 trips to Mexico, dinners at various restaurants, golf at a nice course etc.) and Rachel's brother won tickets for Six Flags something we were all thrilled about.
There were team photos - it'll be a while before those are available - a moment of silence and then it was over.
My group, the Bridge Rail Foundation, had collected over 1,400 pairs of shoes (I need to update the number later when I get an exact count - the exact count is 1,560) to represent the people who have jumped from the bridge. The official count is at 1,300 but that is too low. There are plenty of people (including quite a few in our group) who are not included so it was important to many of us to have more than 1,300 pairs to remember the ones not counted.
I'm uploading as many pictures as blogger lets me. There may be more later.
I didn't mean to write quite so much and I'm sure there is more to be said, that'll have to wait.