Why I Walk: Creating a Legacy
I began volunteering with NILMDTS when I moved to Colorado in 2014. My daughter, Madison, passed away a couple of years prior to NILMDTS forming, however, I truly relate to how important and treasured the photographic memories of our children are. I wish I would have had the chance to have such amazingly personal and candid photos taken of my daughter. I also understand the struggle that parents go through trying to make the decision to have the photos taken. It feels like an impossible choice during an already impossible situation.
Being a part of this organization and participating in the annual walk provides me with a chance to help other bereaved parents and to keep my daughter’s memory alive. It’s a way of staying connected to the bereavement community and possibly providing newly bereaved parents with a sense of hope in a very dark and difficult time. It is also one of the few times a year that I hear someone else say her name – something that even after seventeen years of her being gone, brings me to tears. It is heartbreaking that many close to you may feel that not acknowledging your child is ‘helping’ you when in reality it is devastating.
Attending the walk is a time for the fears and stigmas surrounding child loss to be cast aside. You are in a safe space – free to say your child’s name or tell their story without judgement or question. You are surrounded by love and understanding. There are numerous resources available as well as the opportunity to connect with other bereaved parents. Walking for our children, all of us together for the same purpose, is powerful and uplifting.