A darkness comes over you when someone you know, someone close to you, commits suicide. It is honestly a darkness you can’t explain. It causes you to see everything differently, or maybe not even see many things. This darkness is not to be talked about…the darkness is lonely and isolating. As you are walking in the darkness you have no clue where you are going, but you realize you have to keep moving.
Mandy and I are participating in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Dallas on April 25-26. It is an event by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We will be walking for 18 miles through Dallas literally walking out of the darkness of the night into the light of a new day.
Since I heard about the walks, I wanted to do one. Each year there are two in different cities. A few years ago one was actually in DC when Matthew and I were going to be in town visiting his mom. The only problem, I was pregnant. Yes I know women who are pregnant run marathons, but those women are not me. I knew I did not have the emotionally energy at the time to complete such an endeavor. It was not my time to participate.
When mom died in August of 1998, Mandy and I had no clue how to cope with what happened. No one gave us an easy guide to your mom killing herself. We were 19 and 21. We missed two days of college. We tried to keep our routines and as much as we were together in the journey we also were each alone. We were each alone because we both had to make sense of what happened and somehow find a way to walk out of the darkness that now engulfed our lives.
We are similar is a few ways, but we are also very different… meaning our grief journeys were going to be totally different. Not only are we different people, we each had our own relationship with our mom. When mom died our lives became a tangled mess and we struggled to see how to begin to untangle it since we were in the darkness. We tried to be there for each other even though we were coping in such different ways.
So when Mandy emailed me a few days ago and asked if I wanted to do the Out of the Darkness Walk, I was delighted to say yes! I figured it has been 16 years since mom died and it is time we symbolically come out of the dark. As Mandy said, “we have talked the talk, now it is time to walk the walk.” The best part is we are taking this journey together. A journey to signify the healing we experienced and a journey to signify how we have walked together through this entire process.
Mandy is terrified of the walking 18 miles. I am terrified of the raising money. We are going to use each of our strengths to encourage the other. We could also use encouragement and support from our family, friends, and anyone else! Support comes in many different ways. We would love emotional encouragement and if you would like to contribute financially you can at http://theovernight.donordrive.com/participant/amygrosso (all proceeds go to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention http://www.afsp.org). Most of all please educate yourself on suicide and don’t be afraid to speak up about such an important topic. We are the ones who can bring the topic out of the darkness.
I am going to try and blog our journey over the next six months!