Sunday, May 01, 2005

Yesterday our parents and many friends joined us for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event here in Iowa City. It was a beautiful day--cool and sunny. We ended up kind of bringing up the rear and it was a good vantage point to see the line of walkers stretching for two blocks in front of us.

The UI Collegiate Council chair spoke at the beginning of the walk telling the crowd about Will and that many of us there were walking in his memory. She got a little choked up talking about him and I'm sure others there joined us in our tears for a few minutes. It's not the most uplifting way to start your day, but I think it was probably a good reality check--a reminder of why we all got up and out there early on a Saturday morning.

Later in the day I went to mass, where I still have a hard time, but I still go when I can because I think staying away completely would allow the sorrow build up to an insurmountable hurdle and I'd never regain the peace I once found there. I started out teary, thinking about Will and the walk and the love and support that surrounds us, propelling us forward as we make our way through this daily jumble of emotions. Then a song began that has always stirred my emotional memories, ever since I was seven and it was played at my baby brother's funeral mass. The lyrics are based on one of the readings we used at the family service we had for Will:

I will never forget you my people. I will not leave you orphan.
I have carved you in the palm of my hand.
Does a mother forget her baby? Or a woman the child within her womb?
Yet even if these forget, I will never forget my own.

Luckily I had some tissue in my pocket, but I'm sure the people around me wondered what was going on. And then, just as the song was ending and I was getting myself back under control, a sunbeam came in through the stained glass directly to the place I was sitting, like a spotlight. My first thought was, "Hi, Will." My second thought was "If I saw this in a movie I would think it was so contrived and cheesy!" But I really did feel love and warmth in that moment, and I believe that Will can bring light to the dark places of my life.

I just need to keep walking.


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